The Magazine

Dumb celebrities, Miller time, and more.

Feb 10, 2003, Vol. 8, No. 21
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But not all of the U.N.'s problems can be blamed on the alphabet or random rotations. As Charles Krauthammer noted in his Washington Post column last week, "Libya was elected [to the chairmanship of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights], by deliberate vote, by overwhelming vote--33 to 3. The seven commission members from the European Union, ever reliable in their cynicism, abstained. They will now welcome a one-party police state--which specializes in abduction, assassination, torture and detention without trial--to the chair of the United Nations' highest body charged with defending human rights."

Trying to put the best face possible on the Iran-Iraq disarmament ascendancy, U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq said, in essence, it's no big deal because the group has no agenda. He said that since the conference is "not exactly a body that has been meeting to deal with issues substantively for several years, the main worry is not about a procedural issue such as who is the chair; it's about what it can do."

Here's a better talking point: By the time May 12 rolls around, perhaps the presidency of the U.N. Conference on Disarmament will be entrusted to the capable hands of a diplomat representing a democratic, disarmed Iraq. Wouldn't that be fitting?

Berlusconi's Moment

The most moving political speech last week was arguably not the State of the Union but the answer given by Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi to a reporter's question at the White House on Thursday: "We will never forget that we owe our freedom--our freedom--our wealth to the United States of America. And our democracy. And we also will never forget there have been many American young lives that were lost and sacrifice themselves for us.

"So for us, the United States is not only our friend, but they are the guarantee of our democracy and our freedom. And I already has the opportunity to say this to President Bush. Every time I see the U.S. flag, I don't see the flag only representative of a country, but I see it as a symbol of democracy and of freedom."

Play Ball

Among the unsung benefits of finally having a Republican governor in Maryland: It increases the odds of Major League baseball's returning to the nation's capital. The leading foe of the idea is Peter "Asbestos" Angelos, the trial lawyer and Democratic campaign mega-donor who fears the competition would damage the profitability of his own (badly mismanaged) franchise, the Baltimore Orioles. But Maryland officialdom no longer lines up behind him.

At a Washington Post luncheon last month, the new governor, Bob Ehrlich, endorsed a D.C. franchise, saying, "There are five million people between Washington and Baltimore; the area can support two teams. This [Washington, the Maryland suburbs, and Northern Virginia] region deserves a team."

A partisan blow, yes. But one all baseball fans not named Angelos should applaud.