The first anniversary of 9/11. The buildup to the removal of Saddam (with the ever out-front Democrats deciding to take their lead from the United Nations). Other things have been happening. Among them:
The Navy finally has rectified a grave wrong - sort of. Commander Bob Stumpf, head of the Blue Angels, was ruined by politicians and satraps as a consequence of the 1991 Tailhook Convention where some pilots got drunk and did dumb things with women. He was not one of them - as confirmed by at least four inquiries. Yet, in a feminist hour, because he was there, the Navy denied him promotion to captain and effectively forced him out of the Navy six years ago. Now, while paradoxically declaring it committed "no error" in thwarting his advancement, the Navy has acknowledged "an injustice" and retroactively promoted Stumpf to captain. Stumpf terms the decision "bittersweet." The denial, which ruined Stumpf's career, was driven by a malign feminism - and was wrong.
Things play out in the sex abuse scandals in the Catholic Church. Other American denominations are experiencing their own self-inflicted problems. The Episcopalians have a new archbishop of Canterbury, who has made a career of excoriating the West. A self-styled authority on the just war, he says an American invasion of Iraq would be "immoral and illegal." And a panel of worldwide Anglican bishops has found itself unable to agree on "a single pattern of holy living" for homosexuals. The bishop of Pennsylvania has defrocked a minister who says the Episcopal Church has become too liberal on issues such as same-sex marriages.
And the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has an official who has echoed traditional wacky sentiments of the way-left World Council of Churches. In connection with a March meeting of the WCC in Boston, Stated Clerk Clifton Kirkpatrick lamented the "strange silence" of American churches "as so much of the world's Christian communities have been plunged into a new era of violence, conflict and injustice." He lamented an America, "with its unchallenged wealth and power," that "feels free" to "initiate a new phase of military imperialism under the guise of the 'War on Terrorism,' whose true aim is to advance the interests of the United States around the world."
In southern Africa, the stupefying racist hostility plods on. South Africa's government still refuses to disseminate AIDS drugs because the regime regards such drugs as part of a white plot to exterminate blacks. Similarly in Zambia, where the regime will not disseminate American and Western-grown genetically altered foods - notably corn - because President Levy Mwanawasa regards them as "intrinsically dangerous" and "poison" for his starving people. In Zimbabwe, Communist President Robert Mugabe has driven off the land the white farmers who have made his country the breadbasket of southern Africa. Mugabe is now imposing famine in his country on a scale perhaps unmatched since Stalin starved 17 million in the genocide of the Kulaks.
The Democrats are learning that opposition to gun ownership can have negative electoral consequences. Virginia's Governor Mark Warner loved it up with gun-owners last year, and neutralized gun-owners' general hostility to Democrats. Now Fran Ulmer, campaigning to become Alaska's first female governor, is shopping for something smaller than her .44 Magnum to carry in her purse. And Democrats Bill Richardson (New Mexico) and Jean Carnahan (Missouri) are campaigning for statewide offices as lovers of guns.
'Sfunny. England has stopped arresting most private users of marijuana. As The New York Times reports from London: "Britain, which has one of the highest rates of cannabis use in Europe, said today that it was relaxing its laws on marijuana smoking, keeping the practice theoretically illegal but making private use in discreet amounts no longer subject to arrest." Yet, in at least one of its dominions, Bermuda, the official attitude toward marijuana is entirely different. An April ad by the National Drug Commission in Bermuda's Royal Gazette graphically describes marijuana's horrific effects and says, "It'll Mess You Up."
Windy environmentalists tend to think wind-power is the way to go. Maybe you've seen farms of huge wind turbines in California and northern Michigan, etc. But evidently there are limits. Proposals to build offshore wind farms in Nantucket Sound - the purest realm of purest leftism - are generating heated opposition from NIMBY lefties adamantly against, within their view, the ocular pollution wind farms would mean.
Oh, and here's a question: Now that the environmental extremists have killed drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, how does it promote American energy independence now that companies desperate to keep oil flowing to the United States are beginning to drill for oil on Russia's Sakhalin Island?
After an uptick, 9/11 didn't affect military recruitment one way or the other: That's the consequence a year later. And the trend in military registration, the federally mandated registration of 18-year-old males, is down. President Bush has appealed hard for voluntary service - with only limited results. So maybe it's time to fall back and regroup - and go with one year of compulsory service for all of the nation's young - male and female. It would work miracles for the nation's soul, and might help rescue the young from the sloth toward which they are sliding, particularly males.