Rich Galen

Obviously it is not helping to establish democratic institutions; Putin is trampling them as quickly as they spring up.

If the Russians - with all their resources - don't want to help orphans and the disabled; or protect wildlife and the environment, well then, how does that fall to American taxpayers to fill in the gaps?

I am certainly not anti-foreign aid. Nor am I anti-US Agency for International Development.

Their work in third world nations saves many lives and makes many other lives better.

But, at some point we have to look at these things program-by-program and say to countries who can afford to do these things themselves: "We'll send in subject matter experts, but the host country has to hire USAID to provide them, including salaries, travel, housing, and all the other expense that come along with having an American in Russia or China.

"China," you ask? Yes. According to the USAID web page you and I are paying to teach the Chinese how to advance

"clean energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is working with China to improve environmental law and environmental governance.

Hell, we can't even do that in Texas much less Shanghai.

New Topic

I am writing this from Nationals Park where the Nats clinched their first post-season position since 1933 when they were the Washington Senators.

The Nats came to Washington in 2005 and, from the All-Star break in that year onward have been not just a bad team; but an awful team.

As post-game analyst Phil Wood said last night "for most of their history in Washington, the turning point in the season has been the National Anthem on opening day."

Last night, reliever Drew Storen came in for the 9th inning against the LA Dodgers, and struck out the side to clinch at least a wild card spot in the post-season.

It was a bigger deal to the crowd than to the players. The crowd of 30,300 went nuts on the strike three call; the players went through their usual hand-shaking at the pitchers mound.

I also recognize it was a bigger deal to me, than to you; but thanks for indulging me.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at