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USA Still "a Light to the Rest of the World"?

Sarah Palin responds with an 8-minute video statement to the criticism that has been leveled at her after the Arizona shooting. She claims:

Our exceptional nation, so vibrant with ideas and the passionate exchange and debate of ideas, is a light to the rest of the world.

Is the US still a light to "the rest of the world" or is that just arrogant and self-congratulatory wishful thinking?

Comedian Lewis Black addressed this boasting of American exceptionalism/superiority/etc. in 2008.


Related post on Atlantic Review:
Arizona Shooting Victim Was a 9/11 Baby

Endnote: Interesting statistic quoted in the Washington Post:

According to the Brady Campaign, an advocacy group, "more Americans were killed with guns in the 18-year period between 1979 and 1997 (651,697) than were killed in battle in all wars since 1775 (650,858)."

Fellow citizens are a bigger threat to Americans than the world is? Okay, not really comparable, but still interesting.

Antibürokratieteam presents NY Times bias.

Norway Wins the Olympics

With the Winter Olympics now behind us, countries are seeking to evaluate how they fared. In the US, there is plenty of self accolades for the record haul of 37 medals. In Russia, the poor performance of the Federation has led to the resignation of the head of the national team and remarkably brusque comments from Medvedev. And while Canada did not win the overall medal count, gold medals in hockey and curling leave our northern neighbors with plenty to be happy about.

But the real winner of the Olympics is Norway. On a per capita basis, no other country earned as many medals as this small Nordic country. And it is not just Norway. Nine of the top ten per capita medal winners are European countries with populations smaller than 10 million inhabitants. The following chart shows the top 26 medal winners ranked on a per capita basis. (HT: Mark Warren)



What explains the dominance of European countries in the Olympics? History, climate, and geography certainly play a role. David Brooks suggests it also has to do with social capital and natural toughness. I personally wonder if sports are an emphasized expression of national sovereignty in Europe because other forms of national identity, such as currency and foreign policy, are increasingly transnational in scope. Some dedicated federalists in the European Union are pushing for an EU Olympic team, at least according to this web page. But I suspect the likelihood of that ever happening is close to zero.

Nancy Pelosi Does Not Like Folks with "Impeach Bush"-T-Shirts on "Her" Sidewalk

Large parts of the so-called Democratic "base" are angry with their Congressmen and women over the "failure to end the war in Iraq." Now, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi complains to reporters about protestors:

I had, for five months, people sitting outside my home, going into my garden in San Francisco, angering neighbors, hanging their clothes from trees, building all kinds of things -- Buddhas? I don't know what they were -- couches, sofas, chairs, permanent living facilities on my front sidewalk. (...)

If they were poor and they were sleeping on my sidewalk, they would be arrested for loitering, but because they have 'Impeach Bush' across their chest, it's the First Amendment.

This is so funny. And sad! Quotes are taken from the Washington Post.  Chris Jones at Redstate considers it "the funniest thing I've ever heard." Well, I would not got that far. I might be living in the supposedly humorless Germany, but I have heard funnier things.

JustOneMinute (via TMV) comments on this as well and quotes an article in the SF Chronicle about changing attitudes on homelessness in San Francisco, America's most liberal/progressive city and Nancy Pelosi's hometown. JustOneMinute concludes: "What's the old saying - a conservative is a liberal who has been thrown up on by reality?"

Hey, Nancy Pelosi was very supportive of Cindy Sheehan, when she camped close to Bush's ranch in Crawford... Now Pelosi and Sheehan seem to have different opinions about each other's tactics (camping and funding the Iraq war). According to an August article in the SF Chronicle Sheehan announced her intention to run against Pelosi in her SF district.

ENDNOTE: To balance the above criticism of the top Democrat in Congress, I would like to give big kudos to Senator Barack Obama for not wearing the American Flag pin like all (?) other ambitious politicians.

I like his reasoning that the pin has become a substitute for "true patriotism" and that he prefers to "try to tell the American people what I believe will make this country great, and hopefully that will be a testament to my patriotism." In Europe, especially in Germany, flags are not as prominently displayed as in the US. Very very few politicians wear (tiny) pins with the flag of their country.  

The Volokh Conspiracy does not buy Obama's explanation and assumes that the American people are like a wife, who expects her husband to constantly say "I love you!" Therefore presidential candidates need to walk around with the US flag in order to win elections. How sad. And it is even sadder that many US media outlets write so much about Obama's 'missing' flag pin. FAIR concludes: "Trivia again distracts media from issues voters care about."