Break a leg
OK, I'm headed for Indianapolis for the rest of the week - The Trio of Minuet opens this Saturday, and I want to be there for all the dress rehearsals, etc. I don't expect to be blogging much, although I would like to put together a post on how the opera came to be. But hopefully the break will give me some time to recharge a little... as of today I've been blogging for 3 months!

Pelted off the public stage
I haven't yet posted about the revelation of Bill Bennett's big blunder, but I guess that's because I regard it as an amusing anecdote a la Boccaccio more than anything else. What I mean is: I don't think I'm constitutionally capable to turning the tables and becoming the monster moralizer, even to ferret out hypocrisy (from all the bombast). Michael Kinsley is a little more zealous.

Suprisingly, I never posted on Rick Santorum's bizarre comments of a couple weeks back either, which, though apparently less career-threatening than Bennett's gambling gaffe, seem to me more dangerous and sinister.


The world's most destructive weapons
I was absolutely appalled by this report:

A specially trained Defense Department team, dispatched after a month of official indecision to survey a major Iraqi radioactive waste repository, today found the site heavily looted and said it was impossible to tell whether nuclear materials were missing.
It's incredible to me that, after justifying this war in terms of weapons of mass destruction - and specifically the threat that those weapons could fall into the hands of terrorists - the defense department had the gall to leave these facilities unguarded for a month. Is it possible they didn't even believe their own intelligence about the presence of radioactive materials? They obviously knew about the facility - it's the same location the Israelis bombed in 1981. What exactly does it mean, "official indecision"?

I've pretty much accepted the fact that weapons of mass destruction had little or nothing to do with this war. But couldn't we at least have secured this facility? Our failure to prevent looting was bad enough when it meant a total breakdown of the rule of law. But now there's the possibility that we've placed the world's most destructive weapons in the hands of terrorists. Talk about irony!

The black hole of Asia
This is reassuring. The Bush people have apparently given up on negotiating with the North Koreans, in favor of a policy of preventing exports of nuclear weapons and technology. The catch:

Mr Bush's approach is a major gamble — one that depends on superb intelligence about North Korea's efforts to sell its weapons. So far, though, the nuclear program has been what one American intelligence official calls "the black hole of Asia."

American officials have apparently been unable to find new facilities they believe North Korea is building - presumably underground - to produce highly enriched uranium, a technology obtained largely from Pakistan in a trade for missiles.

I'm not really surprised that they've given up on negotiating, considering they're not willing to give up anything the DPRK wants. But isn't this kind of a non-policy? We haven't exactly been shy about tracking North Korean weapons exports in the past, and they've still managed to make sales right under our noses. If we rely on the Japanese (who just sent up a spy satellite a couple weeks ago) and the South Koreans, won't that just lead to a cold war in East Asia?

MORE: Fred Kaplan tries to game the Bush administration.

Apologies for the lack of posts. It's been a busy time for me, trying to balance midterms, the upcoming opera, and ballooning responsibilities for the not quite Gary Hart campaign. And to make matters worse, the phone line has been out since the thunderstorm Wednesday night. Maybe it's time to get broadband...

The latest on the opera is this preview from the Indianapolis Star.

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