Friday, August 29, 2008

Media Piles on LPGA

As was to be expected, once the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) announced its new requirements that all Tour players be proficient in English, the media erupted in protest. A representative attack came from FoxSports' Mark Kriegel, who wrote,
Lawyers can debate whether the LPGA's edict is unconstitutional. But I know this much: It's un-American. It represents a potential assault on the idea of merit, and an insult, not just to golfers, but to all athletes. Eleven years after Tiger Woods won his first major, the golf establishment still reveals its exclusionary heart with alarming regularity. Somewhere, Hootie Johnson is beaming with pride.

I have news for Mr. Kriegel, if he cares to get outside of his little media cocoon. Go to Japan, Mr. Kriegel and try communicating in English on the Japan Pro Golf Tour. Or try communicating in English on the Korean pro golf tour, or the Japan Pro Baseball League. You might find that *gasp* you need to be able to speak the local language. If those leagues require members to be able to speak the local language, what is so wrong about an American league requiring its members to speak the local language?

Now we both know that superstars who are recruited by foreign leagues are provided with translators, but there is a subtle difference. When a star is recruited to go play overseas, it is usually the foreign league who recruits the player. However, the LPGA is in fact an American tour. No one if forcing the foreign players to come and play on said tour. If they do not or cannot speak English, then they can go back and play in their respective countries' tours.

However, any country has the right to enforce a local language requirement. Trying to say that the US tours are not allowed to do that because "As for that gem — the American tour bit — the fact is it's not so American, and hasn't been for a while." is simply untrue. The LPGA is an American tour. American owned, American run and American sponsored. As are the NFL, the NBA and Major League Baseball. All of these leagues are the American pro sports leagues. They are not based in France, or Korea or anywhere else. They are in the United States- ownership is in the United States and therefore it is irrelevant whether the players are or are not. If players wish to participate on the tour, then it is up to them to meet the Tour's requirements.

Mr. Kriegel and his ilk would have us believe that it is OK for Korea to force all players on the Korean golf tours to speak Korean, but it is somehow not OK for United States sports leagues to have a similar requirement. There is this little thing called national sovereignty, Mr. Kriegel. You probably do not understand the concept, but this is the United States. Not Korea. And our national language is English. Therefore, it seems entirely logical that a US sports tour would want its members to be able to communicate with the sponsors. If we were in Korea, I would expect players to be able to communicate in Korean. But we are not- we are in the United States.

If I were send a word of advice to the media, I would recommend they worry more about their own profession's lack of accountability, lack of objectivity and plummeting ratings than I would be about the LPGA's attempt to help their members communicate to the (mostly American) sponsors.


Republican Presidential candiadte John McCain selected Alaska governor Sarah Palin as his running mate today. According to the announcement sent out by the McCain campaign,
Governor Palin is a tough executive who has demonstrated during her time in office that she is ready to be president. She has brought Republicans and Democrats together within her Administration and has a record of delivering on the change and reform that we need in Washington.

Governor Palin has challenged the influence of the big oil companies while fighting for the development of new energy resources. She leads a state that matters to every one of us -- Alaska has significant energy resources and she has been a leader in the fight to make America energy independent.

In Alaska, Governor Palin challenged a corrupt system and passed a landmark ethics reform bill. She has actually used her veto and cut budgetary spending. She put a stop to the "bridge to nowhere" that would have cost taxpayers $400 million dollars.

As the head of Alaska's National Guard and as the mother of a soldier herself, Governor Palin understands what it takes to lead our nation and she understands the importance of supporting our troops.

I think this is an excellent choice on many levels. First, Governor Palin has the executive experience that both Biden and Obama (and McCain himself, to be honest) so conspicuously lack. Secondly, as the youngest member of either ticket, she is able to challenge Obama's youth-based celebrity (she was herself a beauty contestant in her younger days). And she, like McCain, is a maverick- she has consistently fought the special interests and corruption in her own party and defeated several Establishment candidates to win her current position. She is someone who can bring a voice of reason to the energy debate, as she is Governor of the state with American's largest oil reserves. Finally, as a working mom, she can connect to women on a level that neither Biden nor Obama can, and McCain's choice shows once again that he is the real agent for change and is willing to take risks- in short, as Pajamas Media's Jennifer Rubin so aptly put it "he thinks he can win".

Palin is solidly conservative. As governor, she reduced spending, exposed corruption and worked to make Alaska independent of federal money. She has a long record of fighting corruption and is not close to either of Alaka's corrupt Congressmen- Senator Stevens or Representative Young. She is also a hunter, a lifelong member of the NRA and she is a confirmed pro-life candidate- she chose to have her latest child even though doctors told her that the child had Downs Syndrome. Her oldest son is in the Army, and is preparing to deploy to Iraq.

The risk here is that Palin's experience is limited. Before being elected governor, she was a member of the city council and later mayor of Wasilla, a small town of only 5400 residents in Alaska. However, both her mayoral and her gubernatorial experience trump either Biden or Obama- neither has any executive experience at all. And she, like McCain, has a long record of reformism- in fact, her reformer credentials are even more solid than McCain's- she was never involved with the Keating Five.

In conclusion, Palin may be weak on the experience bit, having less than ten years in elected office. But she has executive experience as both a mayor and as a governor- no one else on either ticket can make that claim. And she is as much the outsider as McCain- in contrast to the Chicago machine politician Obama and the ultimate Washington insider Biden. And she also brings intangibles that neither Biden nor even Obama himself can- she is a woman, and with the Hillary supporters still unhappy with the way their candidate was treated, she may be able to siphon off some of the female support Obama desperately needs in order to win.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

LPGA to Members- Speak English!

The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) has figured out a basic truth that seems to have eluded our elected leaders (and much if not most of the American media)- if you want to work in the United States, you need to be able to speak English. According to a story posted today on Fox Sports, the LPGA is requiring all members who have been on the tour for at least two years to pass an English proficiency examination. If they do not, their membership will be suspended.

According to the story,written by Beth Ann Baldry of,
For the past several years, the LPGA has impressed upon its membership the importance of communicating effectively in English. As the game's dominance shifts to the East, the LPGA has strengthened its stance. Learning English no longer is a tour suggestion; it's a requirement.

At a mandatory South Korean player meeting Aug. 20 at the Safeway Classic, the tour informed its largest international contingent that beginning in 2009, all players who have been on tour for two years must pass an oral evaluation of their English skills. Failure would result in a suspended membership.

However, the best quote in the story comes toward the end, when the writer quotes Kate Peters, who is the executive director of the LPGA State Farm Classic tournament. She said upon hearing the news,
"This is an American tour. It is important for sponsors to be able to interact with players and have a positive experience."

Imagine that. If you want to participate in an American-hosted event, you need to be able to communicate in English. If the LPGA can understand that basic fact, why is it so difficult for our politicians and our media? The United States of America is a country built on the English language, and with a core of English- based institutions.

When I visit Japan (which I do on a fairly regular basis) I do not expect Japanese officials, or my Japanese friends to speak to me in English. When I go to the store, I certainly do not expect to ask for help from the clerks in English. And if I visit the local government offices, i don't expect to see English documents. I am in Japan- the language is Japanese.

The same is true of my visits to Mexico. While Mexico is not one of my favorite places to visit (the corrupt 'police' and government place it fairly low on my list of Places To See), I do not expect to speak English in Mexico, nor do I expect to be addressed in that language. They speak Spanish- a debased form of Spanish to be true, but still Spanish.

So why do we bend over backward in this county to allow foreigners to speak any language that suits them in their dealings with officialdom? Why do we offer ballots in languages other than English? why do i see signs in Spanish when i visit the Department of Motor Vehicles? This is absurd. If you are a foreigner to the United States, it behooves you to l;earn English if you want to get by in our society. If you cannot or will not learn the language, then do not expect much sympathy from me- you can always go back to your home country. No one is forcing you to be in this country.

My wife came from Japan. When we first met, her English was essentially non-existent. However, she has worked hard and now is working as a registered nurse in a US hospital- a position that requires a very high degree of English competency. The United States used to operate this way as a matter of course- foreigners needed to learn our language and culture. That is common sense.

The LPGA is to be commended for their courageous and entirely commonsensical stance on the matter of English competency. I can only hope that before the United States joins other cultures on the landfill of history that our elected leaders and our Press comes to the same realization as the leadership of the LPGA. If you wish to live/work/study in the United States of America, then you need to speak English. Period.

UPDATE: I actually scooped the awesome Michelle Malkin on this story? Cool!

Monday, August 25, 2008

USA Today Targets McCain in Hillary Article

Just in time for the Democratic Convention in Denver this week, is the national press doing their best once again to tilt the playing field in favor of Senator Barack Obama? It would seem that that is indeed the case.

Case in point is an article in the USAToday online edition headlined Poll: More than half of Clinton backers still not sold on Obama. However, once the story passes it's purported main point of listing the challenges faced by Obama in uniting a Democratic Party thoroughly fractured by the rough campaign season, the story manages to include points that are designed to be negative for the Republican candidate, Arizona Senator John McCain.

the writer, one Susan Page, admits that many Clinton supporters are ambivalent at best about Obama, and also does include the fact that many Americans have concerns over Obama's lack of experience, but she then includes several points that are unhelpful to McCain, writing,
A majority say his policies as president would mostly benefit the wealthy. Four in 10 worry McCain is too old to be president — he'll turn 72 on Friday — and 66% say they're concerned he'll pursue President Bush's course. That includes 64% of independents and 35% of Republicans.

McCain also gets more blame for the campaign's negative tone. Nearly half of respondents, 48%, say McCain has attacked Obama unfairly, compared with 30% who say Obama has unfairly attacked McCain.

I wonder what the polls would say if the mainstream media- yes, this includes you, Miss Page- had actually covered the campaigns from an objective point of view? if the media had not relentlessly written misleading stories on the economy (hint- it isn't as bad as they would like us to think) and on McCain's supposedly negative campaigning.

Is it negative to point out one's rivals flaws, faux pases and mis-steps? Is it negative to point out one's rival's many mis-statements and apparent lack of knowledge? And I notice that the real negative comments from the Obama campaign about McCain somehow seem to be entirely acceptable to the MSM. His age, his 28-year old marital affairs and his wealth seem to be acceptable targets, yet any comparable comments about Obama seem to be unacceptable. How is this possible?

in any event, we already know that the mainstream media are in the tank for Obama. this article, though innocuous on the surface, is merely one more shot from a media that desperately wants to prove it can get its man into the White House after failing to give the past two elections to their favored candidates.

Cross-posted on NewsBusters

Thursday, August 21, 2008

My New Automotive Drool-Inducer the awesome Chevrolet Corvette ZR1. Now, if I only had an extra hundred thousand dollars lying around (and if only I could persuade Mrs. Gankomon to let me spend said cash on this gorgeous piece of engineering...)

Somehow I don't think driving this speed demon will persuade too many people to support Heath Shuler's plan to bring back the 55-mph speed limit. It might persuade more folks to jump on the bandwagon for Donald Sensing's suggestion for higher speed limits, however.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Case for Speed

House of Representatives member Heath Shuler (D- N.C.) is agitating for the return of the 55-mph speed limit. I remember that infamous speed limit- no one followed it and all it did was to irritate drivers. In other words, it was about as successful as Jimmy Carter's plan to wear more sweaters instead of actually developing American energy reserves. However, according to Donald Sensing over at his blog Sense of Events, instead of decreasing the speed limit, now would actually be a good time to increase it- he suggests at least 100 miles an hour or more on the freeways.

To illustrate his idea, Sensing compares the time necessary to take a trip from Nashville to Memphis both by air and by car. He finds that,
Nashville to Memphis, 200 ground miles, flying Northwest Airlines flt. 457. Depart Nashville (BNA) at 0612, arrive Memphis (MEM) at 0715. Cool, just an hour, right? Of course not. You must arrive at the airport no fewer than 90 minutes earlier than flight departure (they say two hours, but let's assume you check no baggage). And you have to drive to the airport, call that 30 minutes. So you leave home at 0412. Three hours later you arrive at the Memphis airport and have to spend another 30 minutes, minimum, getting to your place of business for the day. Use more time if you checked baggage.

So you spend 3 1/2 hours getting to your destination in Memphis from your Nashville home.

If you drive, Google Maps says it would take 3 1/2 hours just to drive from BNA to MEM. Of course, you wouldn't start from BNA or end at MEM, so shave a half-hour. Still, many business travelers would consider the extra half-hour spent flying to be worth it, especially if they can use the down time to work.

So let's raise the speed limit to 100 mph. Using the same route, BNA - MEM, uses 205 interstate miles. Some of this is too congested to permit high-speed driving, probably about 20 miles. Heck, to make it easy let's say 25 miles. So you cover 180 miles in 1 hour, 48 minutes and the other 25 miles in as many minutes. That leaves 16 miscellaneous miles left, which might take you another 25 minutes. Total time, 2 hours, 38 minutes. You save, basically, an hour.

Sensing also examines the other delays built into air travel these days- the TSA security checks, the baggage-checks, the check-in lines and of course the waiting in the plane on the runway. Since airlines over-schedule, the odds of a true on-time departure are extremely low) and the airlines and the FAA manipulate things so that even if the plane officially makes an 'on-time' departure, you still won't be in the ari anywhere near your scheduled departure time.

I find a lot of sense in what Mr. Sensing suggests. For foreign trips, of course, air travel remains the only real alternative, as sea travel is too slow. However, for much domestic travel, driving actually is quicker, and less stressful than air. And if the speed limits were raised, the time involved would drop as well. Read the whole thing and see what you think- I like the idea. Not that there is much chance of our elected officials implementing it, but we proved with the 55-mile speed limit that if we push long enough, even Congress might eventually pay some attention...

Hat tip to Glenn Reynolds.

Friday, August 15, 2008

An Important Birthday

Napoleon Bonaparte, French general, Emperor and master military genius, was born on this day in 1867. Why is this important? Because it was Bonaparte's imperialist dreams that caused the French-English wars between the 1790s and the Waterloo campaign of 1815, led to Britain's Royal Navy becoming the world's premier fighting force and set up the beginnings of the European order that was finally overthrown in 1918.

Napoleon was born on the island of Corsica, but entered the French army at a young age and rose rapidly, becoming a general at age 20. When France was plunged into the darkness of the French Revolution, it was Bonaparte who, with the support of the Army, eventually took control of the French government, being named First Consul in 1799 in what can only be called a coup de etat. After consolidating his power, he declared himself Emperor.

As a side note, it was Bonaparte's expedition to Egypt in 1798 that resulted in the discovery of one of the most important artifacts of all time- the Rosetta Stone. A stone that has the same text written in hieroglyphs, Demotic script and Greek, it was this that finally provided the key for cracking the Egyptian hieroglyphic writing system.

Once he had firm control of France, Bonaparte attacked and conquered virtually ever nation in Europe save for England alone (though Scotland and Ireland also remained unconquered it was mostly due to English naval power, not through any efforts of their own). English naval commanders, such as George Rodney, Sir John Jervis and of course Horatio Nelson created new tactics for the Royal Navy and the superior seamanship of the British, coupled with their new tactics, forced the French from the seas, thus effectively frustrating Napoleon's plans for invading his most resolute foe. The Royal Navy's need for men in their ships and their practice of impressing (forcibly taking men for use in their Navy from neutral ships) also led to the War of 1812 between the US and Great Britain- a war that while it led to some fantastic single-ship victories, was a disastrous one for the United States.

Unlike later tyrants such as Stalin, Mao and Hitler, Napoleon did make many positive contributions to French society, laying the seeds for the modern French nation in his policies. Although his foreign policy ended in disaster for France, his domestic achievements included centralizing the French government departments, setting up a system of higher education, creating a law code, a central ban and road and sewer systems. He also made some positive contributions to Europe as a whole. By reorganizing the old Holy Roman empire, he laid the foundations for the later emergence of the state of Germany, and his Napoleonic Code is part of many modern civil codes, including in the US state of Louisiana.

Historically, Napoleon is one of the few tyrants who probably could not have been stopped by an early response to his aggression, as his victories depended on his mastery of tactics and strategy- not on numbers or on technology. However, the sturdy resolve of the British Empire to oppose Napoleon did eventually lead to his ultimate defeat, as Britain kept resistance going for over twenty years, despite losing virtually every land engagement.

Napoleon was a man of mixed heritage- he was not entirely bad for the world, as he did have some positive effects. However, the balance of his reign led to death, destruction and a constant state of war for over twenty years, thus he must be placed in the same category as all other would-be conquerers. The moral is that when a State or a leader looks high, there is a long way to fall, if the objects of that desire have the will to protect themselves.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

More on Alternative Power

I wrote a few weeks ago on Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens' bold plan to make the United States independent of foreign oil via wind power. On Sunday, Dr. Robert Zubrin of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies wrote a response to Pickens on Pajamas Media.

While Dr. Zubrin gave credit to Pickens for at least trying to develop alternative energy sources, he states that pickens' plan of using wind power to free up compressed natural gas for automobile power is not a long-term solution to the American energy crisis. Writes Dr. Zubrin,
So hats off to Mr. Pickens. That said, the plan he is advancing for dealing with the crisis — build windmills to release natural gas from electricity generation so it can be used to power compressed natural gas (CNG)-driven cars, displacing gasoline in the process — is technically flawed and needs to be revised.

According to Dr. Zubrin, the United States cannot replace the energy currently provided by natural gas unless wind power somehow can generate at least thirty times what it currently provides. This is extremely unlikely, as wind power is notoriously fickle and is entirely dependent on weather conditions to function at all. In addition, Dr. Zubrin states that at the united States' current rate of natural gas usage, there is approximately ten years' worth of supply. Thus it is not a reliable long-term solution.

Instead of natural gas and wind power, Dr. Zubrin recommends forcing automobile manufacturers to make all future vehicles flex-fuel capable. As Dr. Zubrin explains,
The key is for Congress to pass a bill, such as the current Open Fuel Standards Act (S.3303, HR.6559) requiring that all new cars sold in the U.S. be fully flex-fueled — that is, capable of running equally well on gasoline, ethanol, and methanol. Such technology is currently available and only adds about $100 to the cost of a car (in contrast to CNG capability, which adds about $2,000). The reason why establishing a full flex-fuel standard is the answer is that methanol — a very safe and practical liquid vehicle fuel — can be made from a vast array of feedstocks, including not only natural gas, but also coal, recycled urban trash, and any kind of biomass without exception.

Thus making automobiles flex-fuel capable would free Americans (and the rest of the world as well, as an American requirement for flex-fuel would probably carry over to the rest of the world) from having to rely on any single power source. Flex-fuel means that cars could be powered by methanol, gasoline and ethanol. This is especially important since methanol can be made from a variety of sources, including refuse. And Dr. Zubrin says that the United States has enough source material to last for centuries. He concludes,
By creating such a true free open-source fuel market, we can make it possible for every nation to contribute to the world’s fuel supply, breaking the monopoly power of the oil cartel, everywhere and forever.

This last is the money quote. Why are we paying countries that are dedicated to our eventual destruction? By cutting off the supply of oil money, we can reduce the Middle East to the position of irrevelevance it richly deserves. And we can finally free ourselves from energy dependence. I am not certain that this alone will work- I would recommend nuclear power plants to generate most of our domestic, non-transportation energy as well, but this is certainly a start. And anything that reduces the amount of money we pay to the unstable oil producing countries is a benefit. Faster, please.....

Hat tip to Glenn Reynolds.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Home-schooling IS Acceptable After All

Some readers may recall the February 28 decision by the Los Angeles Second District Court that essentially would have forced home-schooling parents to hodl a teaching credential in order to teach their own children. I wrote at the time that based on my reading of the law in question, the Court simply upheld the existing law. However, I also said that I believ that parents absolutely should have the right to teach their own children at home, provided they are competent adults.

Today, the same court that handed down the original decision reversed themselves, stating that California law did allow parents to home-school without the necessity of obtaining a teaching credential. And the story in the San Francisco Chronicle provides a startling insight into the mind of the teachers' union, stating,
"Parents do not have an unfettered right to dictate the terms of their children's education," a lawyer for the union said in written arguments. Unregulated, unsupervised homeschooling, the lawyer said, is an invitation to "educational anarchy."

Parents do not have an unfettered right to dictate the terms of their childrens's education? Really? And why should some 'teacher' have that right? Especially when I am well aware that in most areas of study, I hold higher certifications than virtually any public school teacher? This mindset by the union is shocking and one of the many reasons why my child(ren) will never be taught in a public school setting if I can avoid it.

This is good news, although I continue to think that the Court acted in a strict constructionist manner throughout- both upholding the original law, and subsequently interpreting it based on the Legislature's apparent wishes. In other words, they did their jobs, which is to interpret the law- not make the law. In his re-interpretation, Judge Walter Croskey wrote,
"Recent statutes indicate that the Legislature is aware that some parents in California homeschool their children by declaring their homes to be private schools," Justice H. Walter Croskey, author of the earlier ruling, wrote Friday.

Croskey said one of those laws, a 1998 measure exempting parents from fingerprinting requirements imposed on private school employees, indicated "a legislative approval of homeschooling." A 1991 law requires the state school superintendent to compile information on all private schools except those with five or fewer students, an exemption that was probably created for homeschools, Croskey said.

In a rare statement from the judiciary - which usually considers itself the ultimate authority on the meaning of the law - Croskey said the 1953 decision that applied compulsory education without exceptions has been effectively overruled in the real world.

I applaud Judge Croskey for recognizing that while the original law does indeed make education compulsory, the Legislature has itself recognized that home-schooling exists and has made accommodations for those who wish to home-school their children. Too many judges have forgotten that subtle difference between the job description of a judge and that of a legislator. Hat tip to Michelle Malkin.

China's Moment of Glory

China is currently putting on the world's largest propaganda show over in Beijing, following in the footsteps of the Nazi Party's 1936 Olympics, and the many Soviet-era productions. Most, if not all, of the world's media and glitterati are convinced that this is China's coming-out party, that China will soon overtake the United States in all the important categories of world dominance. And, since China is an authoritarian, one-party state built on government oppression of its people, these same glitterati are falling all over them selves to become China's friends.

But how realistic is the assumption of China's someday dominance? According to former Beijing bureau chief John Pomfret, the answer is not very. Pomfret penned an opinion piece in the Washington Post on Sunday that itemized some of his doubts about China as a long-term colossus. Writes Pomfret in his introductory paragraph,
Nikita Khrushchev said the Soviet Union would bury us, but these days, everybody seems to think that China is the one wielding the shovel. The People's Republic is on the march -- economically, militarily, even ideologically. Economists expect its GDP to surpass America's by 2025; its submarine fleet is reportedly growing five times faster than Washington's; even its capitalist authoritarianism is called a real alternative to the West's liberal democracy. China, the drumbeat goes, is poised to become the 800-pound gorilla of the international system, ready to dominate the 21st century the way the United States dominated the 20th.

Except that it's not.

Pomfret lists some of the many areas in which China, far from dominating, is in fact far behind the West. These include demographics, the vaunted economy, the horrendous state of the environment and most of all the rigid government. Pomfret says that far from dominating the 21st century he way the United States dominated much of the Twentieth Century, China has some significant hurdles to overcome before it can really be considered a superpower. And the largest of these hurdles lies in China's inability to produce inventiveness- a problem that the United States does not have. Pomfret uses the recent release of 'Kung Fu Panda' to illustrate this issue. His money quote can be found in the conclusion of his opinion piece, where he writes,
But consider the case of the high-kicking panda who uses ancient Chinese teachings to turn himself into a kung fu warrior. That recent Hollywood smash broke Chinese box-office records -- and caused no end of hand-wringing among the country's glitterati. "The film's protagonist is China's national treasure, and all the elements are Chinese, but why didn't we make such a film?" Wu Jiang, president of the China National Peking Opera Company, told the official New China News Agency.

The content may be Chinese, but the irreverence and creativity of "Kung Fu Panda" are 100 percent American. That highlights another weakness in the argument about China's inevitable rise: The place remains an authoritarian state run by a party that limits the free flow of information, stifles ingenuity and doesn't understand how to self-correct. Blockbusters don't grow out of the barrel of a gun. Neither do superpowers in the age of globalization.

To me, this is very familiar. Remember the myth of Japanese superiority that was peddled by so many in the 1980s and 1990s? Remember how the United States was told ad infinitum in the pages of the Press that we must adopt Japanese methods in order to survive? This is not to say that there are certain aspects of Japanese business that could be leveraged by U.S. business. But Japan has been mired in recession (at least partly due to the incestuous relationship between government and business) for some time. Only recently has Japan been showing signs of recovering from the decade-long slowdown. I don't see too many articles in the papers these days on the superiority of Japanese business techniques. Instead, the Press is convinced that China is the new model we ought to emulate.

However, as Pomfret clearly shows, China has a long way to go before they really ought to be considered as a true equal to the United States. Militarily, they are certainly a country that bears close scrutiny, but economically, environmentally and demographically, China has some huge issues. And that is without even discussing the problems that the many differing ethnic and religious groups in China bring to the table.

So, I would certainly keep an eye on China- they are large, belligerent and convinced of their own superiority (let us not forget that China's name, in their own language translates to the Middle Kingdom- ie. the center of the world). But I would caution the Press, our politicians and our business class to remember that China, as every other country, has flaws and problems. Just because they are currently pulling out all the stops to convince the world they are Number One, does not mean that the reality matches the illusion. Until China has reached the stage where they remove the guns from the backs of their own citizens, I would count China as no more of a superpower than the old Soviet Union was. Communist regimes are all about promoting the style to naive reporters while hiding the grim substance of everyday life. And these Olympics, regardless of China's final medal count, are simply more of the same.

Hat tip to the crew over at Power Line.