Ross Mackenzie

Really, other things are happening besides the race for the White House. Herewith, a roundup of items devoid (almost) of politics . . .

Authorities have lit the Olympic torch and will run it around the world — winding up this summer at opening ceremonies in Beijing. Yet in Tibet the forces of freedom have made clear their sentiments about enslavement by a Chinese Communist regime that terrorizes Tibetans to force compliance in every aspect of daily life. In hosting the Olympics to display its arrival at the table of civilized nations, China has picked the scab on the repression whereby it rules not only Tibet but all of mainland China.

Next to Islamofascism, China poses the most severe long-term threat to American security. Yet we persist in underfunding the U.S. military. Most Reserve and National Guard units are significantly depleted. Nearly all manpower components, active-duty and reserve, are deemed deficient in combat readiness. Major new programs face cutbacks if not cancellation. And the administration — this conservative, pro-military administration — has submitted a stay-the-course defense budget for fiscal 2009 and anticipates the base budget will decline thereafter. Imagine the consequences for the nation in this realm alone with the installation of an Obama or Clinton administration next year.

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Two polls say much about contemporary journalism. (1) While 36 percent of the general population describe themselves as conservative or very conservative, the Project for Excellence in Journalism finds just 8 percent of reporters, editors and producers from major radio and television networks, daily newspapers, news wires and online sources give themselves those labels — contrasting with 32 percent in such positions terming themselves liberal or very liberal. (2) A Zogby Interactive poll finds 48 percent of the populace getting their news from the Internet, 29 percent from television, 11 percent from radio, and just 10 percent from newspapers.

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And books? People aren’t reading many of them either. A Wall Street Journal news story about relentlessly declining retail book sales says the book industry faces “unmitigated gloom.”

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Ross Mackenzie

Ross Mackenzie lives with his wife and Labrador retriever in the woods west of Richmond, Virginia. They have two grown sons, both Naval officers.

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