WASHINGTON — The promise the Chinese government made to Britain and to the world as Hong Kong reverted to Chinese control at midnight on June 30, 1997, that China would abide by the “one country, two systems” plan, which would afford Hong Kong greater autonomy, except in matters of foreign relations and defense, was to last 50 years. That promise is falling 33 years short of fulfillment. The communist government in Beijing has been nipping at the edges of Hong Kong’s freedoms for some time, but last Sunday it decided to take a bigger bite.
It was in a college theater class that I learned about a genre called “Theater of the Absurd.” These were plays written mostly by European playwrights between the 1940s and 1960s, as well as a certain style that flowed from their work. What reminded me of this is now “playing” in Ferguson, Missouri, following the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, who was — select one — a) innocently walking down the street when a police officer shot him to death without provocation, or, b) walking with a friend in the street and told by a police officer to get on the sidewalk, whereupon a physical
Robin Williams made me cry. Like his mentor, the late Jonathan Winters, Williams, who committed suicide Monday, made me laugh so intensely tears would come to my eyes. Williams’ death made headlines and led TV newscasts. His comedic genius diverted us from stories about terrorism and other sadness in the world. That’s what comedy does. It makes us forget our troubles — national, international and personal — and for a moment, embrace happiness. Williams, who seemed full of joy on the outside, was apparently tormented on the inside. He suffered from clinical depression.
WASHINGTON — When liberal Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and the conservative former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich agree on something, attention should be paid. Feinstein, who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, said last Friday that the U.S. must confront the jihadists who call themselves the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS or ISIL).
STRATFORD-UPON-AVON, England — “Neither a borrower nor a lender be; for loan oft loses both itself and friend, and borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.” — “Hamlet,” Act I, Scene III William Shakespeare is not known for his economic expertise, but the advice he gives through Polonius in “Hamlet” may be the best counsel ever offered for individuals and governments. After years of debt (90.6 percent of GDP in 2013) and deficit spending, Britain’s ruling Conservative Party is crowing about the latest economic figures that show the country has outpaced the developed world in its economic recove
WASHINGTON — At last, an Obama administration official has come out in favor of a fence. He promises it will bring security to people on both sides of the border. Unfortunately, Philip Gordon, National Security Council coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa and the Gulf, was not speaking of a border fence between the United States and Mexico, but a fence between the West Bank and the 1967 Israeli border.