On Sunday, O.J. Simpson was charged with six felonies: two counts each of robbery with a deadly weapon and assault with a deadly weapon, as well as one count of conspiracy to commit burglary and burglary with a firearm. Las Vegas police say that Simpson broke into a hotel room with five other men to steal sports memorabilia that Simpson claims was stolen from him. Simpson, found liable for the deaths of his ex-wife Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman in a 1997 civil suit, is being held without bail.
Ten years ago, in the judgment for that civil suit, a court ordered Simpson to pay $38 million to the Goldman family. He has only paid $10,000 thus far, as most of his assets (an NFL pension, property) are protected from seizure by various state laws. The beleaguered Goldman family has had to content themselves with this state of affairs, living with the grief of a lost son, while Simpson traipses about the country playing golf, signing autographs, and writing a book hypothesizing how he would have killed his victims.
In response to Simpson’s arrest last week, Ron Goldman’s father Fred told the New York Times that “He deserves whatever he gets.” Considering that Simpson has yet to face any real penalty for the murders of two people, Goldman is right that, at this late stage, any punishment is better than nothing. But reversing Goldman’s statement, that Simpson ought to get what he deserves, is at this point nigh impossible. If that were the case, Simpson would long ago have paid his first and last visit to the San Quentin State Prison gas chamber.
Yesterday, China gave official notice of its postponement of the next session of the six-party talks to disarm North Korea. They were scheduled to begin tomorrow in Beijing.
The Chinese did not give a reason for their last-minute change in plans, but observers assume it was because the North Koreans said they would not participate. Given Pyongyang’s unprecedented cooperation with Washington during the last several months, their change of posture was unexpected.
South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency cites sources indicating that China is in fact the cause of the trouble. The Chinese said they would provide heavy fuel oil to North Korea before the end of last month in accordance with the nuclear deal they brokered in February, but they only made the first of the planned deliveries this Sunday.
The most interesting thing about Hillary Clinton’s rollout of her health care plan yesterday was not the substance of the plan—which is not much different from what John Edwards and Barack Obama have offered—but the cautious and defensive tone she and her campaign have taken toward it. Clinton constantly repeated, during the rollout, that this idea was different from the “HillaryCare” proposal of 1993. “This is not government-run,” she told a cheering audience, “there will be no new bureaucracy.”
The chief reason for Hillary’s circumspection, of course, is her leading role in the Democrats’ last health care debacle. In one respect it actually seems like she is probably over-reading the importance of that line on her resume—how many voters really remember the ‘93 debacle or think of it as a great shadow over Hillary Clinton? This seems like a Washington cliché that has taken on a life of its own.
In another respect, her caution is absurd and misleading. The notion that an entirely new scheme of nationalized health insurance regulation will involve “no new bureaucracy” is risible. The idea that the new public insurance options to be part of the menu on Hillary’s plan won’t expand government-run coverage is ludicrous.
It has been three months since Hamas took power in Gaza, and what a short, strange trip it’s been. In the beginning, Hamas spokesmen assuaged the consciences of credulous op-ed page editors everywhere with submissions that promised an enlightened, progressive Islamist government. One spokesman wrote in the New York Times that “Our sole focus is Palestinian rights and good governance.” He also said in a Washington Post op-ed that Hamas’s ambitions in Gaza are actually western ambitions: “self-determination, modernity . . . and freedom for civil society to evolve.” Another wrote, in the Los Angeles Times, that “Gaza will be calm and under the rule of law—a place where all journalists, foreigners, and guests of the Palestinian people will be treated with dignity.” (At the time he offered no word on how many yoga studios and organic food stands would be opened.)
The English-language spokesmen for Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups have long since mastered the democratic political lexicon, and the number of westerners eager to be taken in by such clichés has always been high. But now that Hamas has been in power for a quarter-year, it has an actual political track record to observe. And this record shows that Hamas, in defiance of the fervent wishes and predictions of its western apologists, has behaved exactly as many of us predicted at the beginning of the summer: In ideology, ambition, and style of governance, Hamas has come to resemble most closely its major regional patron, Iran.
As Gordon Chang points out on these pages, there is ongoing speculation on what Israeli aircraft targeted in the early hours of September 6, when they entered Syrian air space, flew all the way to the Syrian-Iraqi-Turkish border, and dropped a load of heavy bombs (perhaps aided by special ground forces who were safely helicoptered in and out of the area). Whether it’s a nuclear facility run jointly by Iran and North Korea, or a missile base, or an arms shipment for Hizballah, or a Russian-made modern air defense system, one thing is clear from all the reports: the Syrian military still cannot tell the difference between an Israeli F-15 and a seagull.