Let's hear it for empires - or so we will hear at an intriguing book forum Tuesday at the American Enterprise Institute, as economist Deepak Lal has written "In Praise of Empires: Globalization and Order."
Lal argues that empires have played a decisive role throughout history in providing the political stability essential to economic and social progress.
"If the U.S. public does not recognize the imperial burden that history has thrust upon it, or is unwilling to bear it, the world will continue to muddle along as it has for the past century - with hesitant advances, punctuated by various alarms and by periods of backsliding in the wholly beneficial processes of globalization," he says.
"Perhaps, if the United States is unwilling to shoulder the imperial burden of maintaining the global pax, we will have to wait for one or the other of the emerging imperial states - China and India - to do so in the future."
DEALING WITH BUSH
"We've also got the baby boom generation coming along. Those people born in 1946 and after. President Bush was born in 1946. He's part of the problem."
- Vice President Dick Cheney, at a town hall meeting this week on strengthening Social Security
Don't look now, but that's red ink pouring into the blue states.
The National Taxpayers Union Foundation is preparing to release its 108th Congress BillTally study, which computes a "net annual agenda" for each member based on his or her individual sponsorship or co-sponsorship of pending legislation.
Except this year, the tax-watchdog group compared legislative sponsorships to the results of the 2004 presidential election, finding that representatives from blue states, whose electoral votes went for Democrat Sen. John Kerry, advocated more than twice as much spending ($368 billion) as those representing red states ($173 billion), which favored President Bush.
Senators from blue states sought nearly three times as much spending as those from red states - $158 billion to $55 billion.
Congress, by resolution, salutes World War II veterans in recognizing this weekend's 60th anniversary of Victory in Europe (V-E) Day:
"Whereas on May 7, 1945, at Gen. Dwight Eisenhower's headquarters in Reims, France, a representative of the German High Command signed the document of surrender, unconditionally surrendering all air, land and sea forces to the Allies on May 8, ending the war in Europe;
"Whereas V-E Day was a day for which millions had worked and fought and prayed and died during that terrible war;
"Whereas this day marked the end of six years of misery, suffering, courage and endurance across the world;
"Resolved, that the House of Representatives . . . joins with a grateful nation in expressing respect and appreciation to the men and women who served in the European theater during World War II, and remembers and pays tribute to those Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice and gave their life for their country."
CLINTON vs. ALLEN?
Who along Pennsylvania Avenue isn't talking about a surprising National Journal survey of political insiders that gives Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Republican Sen. George Allen the best chances of capturing their respective parties' presidential nominations in 2008?
"The strong showing of Allen, a first-term senator from Virginia and former governor, is something of a surprise because he barely registers in public opinion polls that put former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Sen. John McCain at the front of the prospective GOP pack," the Journal notes.
Eighty-five Republican insiders surveyed - members of Congress among them - think Allen, a former Virginia governor and son of the late Washington Redskins coach George Allen, has a better chance of appealing to GOP primary voters than either McCain of Arizona, Giuliani, or Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee.
As for Democrats, Clinton was the "runaway" choice of the 90 Democratic insiders asked to predict their party's nominee. Virginia Gov. Mark Warner also made an impressive showing, finishing third behind 2004 vice-presidential nominee John Edwards, a former senator from North Carolina.
With new archaeological surveys and excavations unearthing finds of biblical proportions practically daily in Jordan, it was only fitting that the Jordanian Embassy in Washington played host Monday evening to retired U.S. naval aviator and commanding officer Andrew C.A. Jampoler, author of the intriguing new book, "Sailors in the Holy Land: The 1848 American Expedition to the Dead Sea and the Search for Sodom and Gomorrah."
As Jampoler told the audience, the dangerous and even deadly expedition, led by the devout naval Lt. William Lynch, was the U.S. Navy's first - and last - to the storied salt lake of the Old Testament.
And for good reason. Before Lt. Lynch's ship even reached the Mediterranean, he and several of his men were afflicted with full-blown smallpox. Only after a month's quarantine in Spain's Balearic Islands could the Americans finally enlist a team of camels - yes, camels - to haul their two specially made small boats across the desert to the Sea of Galilee, where they would run the rushing Jordan rapids, then plumb the depths of the Dead Sea.
How this previously little-known scientific and religious expedition got past murderous desert tribes is a story in and of itself, Jampoler said. The Americans would face further hardship and disease before completing the amazing expedition -- their ship returning home to Hampton Roads, Va., filled with scientific measurements, evidence and, oddly enough, a pair of stocky red dairy cows Lt. Lynch purchased from the "royal breed of Damascus."
"I'm not sure what became of these two cows," said Jampoler, suggesting that today's herd of dairy cows in Norfolk probably contains "Syrian genes."
"Show me a young NASCAR fan, and I'll show you a future hunter and shooter."
So says the National Shooting Sports Foundation, impressed that demographic surveys continue to reveal an "amazing crossover between these interests."
The foundation says NASCAR racing fans are far more likely to hunt and shoot than average Americans, "and when they're not hollering for their favorite drivers on race days, many spend their free time with guns and game."