Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Short List - August 2, 2011

  • Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak will stand trial in Cairo this week on charges of graft and ordering the killings of 900 protesters as part of the popular uprising the deposed Mubarak.  It is the first time in memory that a deposed dictator will face the charges brought against him by the people, and one has to remember that Mubarak was encouraged several times during the demonstrations to leave Egypt.

  • The government crackdown in Syria continues unabated with reports that 125 have died in the violence, but the continued violence is drawing increasing scrutiny internationally.

  • Libyan rebels are rounding up pro-Qaddafi infiltrators in their midst, following the killing of the rebel military commander.

  • Cuba's National Assembly, the nominal governing body of the Carribean nation, has approved a series of economic and governmental reforms that will begin to open up the Cuban economy to its own citizens.  The reforms were already approved at the Communist Party Congress earlier this year.  I've been reading a biography of Che Guevara, which coincided with Anthony Bourdain's trip to Cuba and it is so interesting how close Cuba got to a truly communist state, but also how unrewarding that has been for the country.
  • The deal is almost done, as the negotiated debt ceiling deal heads to the Senate today with a vote expected at noon.  In a bright spot of the day, Rep. Gabbie Giffords returned to the chamber for the first time since January.  She voted in favor the the debt ceiling deal, but that seemed like a side note.  With the passage of the deal in the Senate largely a forgone conclusion, the analysis has begun.  The Washington Post Editorial page considers the debt reduction super committee.  Will Wilkinson reminds us that the deal cuts very little in the grand scheme of things, which makes this editor think this is clearly a can kick.  Some have said the middle won, but this editor thinks no one won, least of all the American public.  There were missed opportunities and staunch intransigence which bodes poorly for the nation's future.  In the immortal words of Kurt Vonnegut, so it goes.

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