Everything You Need to Know About Last Week’s News #28

In reverse order of importance:

Lance Armstrong managed to make headlines every day last week, from rumors that he would appear on Oprah’s show and admit doping to the announcement that he really would appear on Oprah’s show to admit doping to Oprah’s thoughts about the interview to the actual airing of the interview to the airing of the second part of the interview to the reaction of other athletes to the interview. Maybe this week they will announce a DVD release with Lance and Oprah’s line-by-line commentary on the interview…

Stan The Man Musial died. If you like baseball but don’t know how cool this dude was because you’re not from St. Louis, read this seven-page article from 2010.

A Notre Dame football player’s inspirational story last year apparently involved a dead girlfriend who never existed. Unsurprisingly, the media found this hoax more interesting than a real dead girl driven to suicide by sexual assault from another Notre Dame football player.

Republican Congressman went on a retreat and came back deciding that they want to extend the debt ceiling for three more months. Something must be missing because that doesn’t sound obstructionist enough.

New York passed the most sweeping gun control laws in the country, banning weapons and limiting clips and stuff. It was so sweeping they forgot to exempt police from it.

The United States passed no gun control laws, but Obama talked about the laws he wants to pass while surrounded by very smart policy-making children. Come on, guys, it’s for the children.

The Institute for Justice helped independent tax preparers beat the IRS, which had illegally created new regulatory hurdles to hurt small businesses and benefit big businesses like the H&R Block that the IRS’s new chief conveniently used to work for. On the one hand it’s depressing how hard people have to work just to keep the invasive government from making the status quo even worse; on the other hand it’s encouraging how organized and successful many of the opposing forces are becoming.

A cyberattack on governments around the world that had been running for five years was only just discovered last week and dubbed “Red October.” After the news broke, the espionage campaign quietly shut down. What? That’s it? A lot of unknown information on this story.

France’s interventions continued in Mali. Meanwhile, an al-Qaeda group from Algeria took dozens of Westerners hostage to try to get them to halt, and lots of people ended up dead. Apparently these guys have all been getting their weapons from the collapse of Libya that we helped engineer a couple years ago. Seriously? Have we learned nothing from the last four decades? Ugh.

Remember that China/Japan island dispute from Week 11? Apparently things are “escalating” again, with harsh words and military exercises and ship movements and other things that are often called “escalations.” I’m still biased to hope that economic incentives will stop anyone from doing anything stupid, but I’ve been wrong before. Wake me when somebody starts firing shots.

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One Response to Everything You Need to Know About Last Week’s News #28

  1. RossB says:

    I got into a friendly debate with a family member after we helped get rid of Gaddafi. I made the point that it was a success. Basically, we are at war against tyrants, just like we were at war against the Soviet Union during the cold war. Like the cold war, it makes sense to get the biggest bang for the buck. Unlike Iraq and Afghanistan, we managed to help the Libyan rebels overthrow a nasty dictator without spending much money or many lives (no American lives and a relatively low number of foreign lives). My relative argued that it was a mistake to support the rebels — that we could have negotiated a peace with Gaddafi. He explained that the war caused the fighting in Mali (this conversation took place several months ago). He made great arguments and pretty much kicked my ass from a debate standpoint (although there was a good chance that Gaddafi could have committed genocide in a few weeks if given the chance).

    Oddly enough, we both agreed that Syria is different, and that we should try hard to negotiate a peaceful settlement in that area. In other words, we both supported exactly what has happened over the last few weeks. Most people (including myself) would suggest that this has been a big humanitarian failure (and, from a Western standpoint, a big political failure). I think when it comes to this area of the world, you can’t win; it is simply a matter of how much you lose by.

    There are a lot of horrible things that are happening and have happened over the years. From an American standpoint the big difference is that most of the people don’t hate us like they used to. Even the French, who have a long history of imperialism are actually being applauded (by many Africans) for their intervention in Mali. There is no question that the West is still often acting selfishly, but in general I would say that the actions that are aimed at helping people are greater than those that are purely selfish. This is progress. Perhaps the biggest difference is the existence of a well respected, knowledgeable and non-Western media source.

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