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Afternoon News Roundup

Bhutto Update Christopher Hitchens submits his obit for Benazir Bhutto. He does not spare criticism of the dark parts of her personal life (including the corruption charges and her “gilded exile in Dubai”) and openly criticizes her public record (namely, … Read More

By / December 27, 2007

Bhutto Update Christopher Hitchens submits his obit for Benazir Bhutto. He does not spare criticism of the dark parts of her personal life (including the corruption charges and her “gilded exile in Dubai”) and openly criticizes her public record (namely, her support of the Taliban during her tenure as Prime Minister). Hitchens, however, charitably interprets her recent streak of liberal and pro-democratic rhetoric as sincere and calls her death “a disaster” for Pakistan. Belgrade's Bluster From today’s terror in Pakistan to a site of hellish violence in the ‘90s: the Balkans. Serbia’s Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica condemned the United States and the European Union for not opposing (and, in fact, expressing willingness to recognize) a move by Kosovo to declare its independence as a nation-state. Serbia’s Parliament passed a resolution (220 to 14) promising to halt their integration into the European Union and cut off diplomatic ties with Western countries if they recognize Kosovo's independence. Economic Turmoil Continues Housing prices continue to decline in the United States. According to the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller year-over-year index, prices fell 1.4% in October when compared to September’s numbers and the October composite home index number is down 6.1% from a year ago. And internal estimates from Citigroup, Merrill Lynch, and JPMorgan/Chase regarding how much debt they will have to write-off in this current quarter rose to $33 billion. For a bit of unflinching analysis on this bloodbath check out these brief submissions from Richard Posner and Gary Becker. Awwww-Shucks' Self-Help Awwww-Shucks Huckabee’s still getting paid for his work on the lecture circuit. He's accepting gifts (that’s a shocker) of up to $25,000 (unless you’re a church and then he gives your money to his own church) for speeches that he gives on “health and fitness” topics. But, of course, when he gives speeches he is IN NO WAY advertising the fact that he’s running for President of the United States. After all, that would be unethical/illegal. So just insert your lame joke about Chuck Norris here and comment in a grave tone of voice about those coastal elites attempting to denigrate another good man of the cloth. New Year’s Eve Plans What are you doing for New Year’s Eve? Nino and Ruth are doing dinner, as always. Interview with Robert Hass Robert Hass interviewed in the Wall Street Journal. Hass won the 2007 National Book Award for his collection of poetry, Time and Materials. American Taibbi-ism An American arch-bishop of snark (face it: making Pope jokes at that point was ballsy… now, if only he could have written FUNNY Pope jokes) and all-around asshole, Matt Taibbi is interviewed in the LA Weekly about his new book Smells Like Dead Elephants. But Matt, Mr. Cynicism, exactly what the hell is this? Take Two, Call Me In the Morning Back to Hitchens: after a long day of assassination coverage, a worthy proposal for how to start the night and spite some jihadis (of course, it involves booze): “my… axiom about the relationship between martinis and female breasts. One is too few. Three is too many. Two seems somehow superbly right.”

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