Whatever the motives behind it, the land-for-peace initiative floated by Saudi Arabia strikes a note of reason in the ever-escalating violence of the Middle East. Since September 2000 over 1,074 Palestinians and 375 Jews have been killed in rounds of provocation and counterprovocation.
About every two hours a young person in the U.S. between the ages of 15 and 24 dies of suicide. It wasn’t always this way. The suicide rate for young white males tripled between 1950 and 1994, and it doubled in that period for white females. Though the figures have dropped slightly since then, the rate remains high. In 1999, about 4,000 young people killed themselves.
A judging scandal at the Olympic ice-skating rink may have seemed to many little more than an entertaining diversion in a season of terrorism and recession. But there was an important moral issue behind the story of alleged collusion.
An accountant—so goes the joke—is someone who solves financial problems you didn’t know you had in a way you don’t understand. Doubtless the accountant jokes have gotten a lot nastier with news that the world’s largest accounting firm, Arthur Andersen, indulged in some unusually lax methods on behalf of the Enron corporation, apparently to retain lucrative consulting fees.
For months the American flag has been showing up on cars, porches, football helmets and basketball uniforms. The display has made us wonder about the meaning of this unprecedented—for this generation—expression of patriotism. It is, of course, a display of solidarity with the victims of the terrorist attacks and with the firefighters and police officers who tried to rescue them.
President Hassan Rouhani of Iran had his brother hand deliver a check for $400,000 last month to Tehran’s only Jewish hospital with the message that “our government intends to unite all ethnic groups and religions, so we decided to assist you.” In September Rouhani’s administration had issued a Rosh Hashanah greeting to Jews around the world. Though some question Rouhani’s motives, his behavior is a refreshing contrast to that of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is a Holocaust denier (New York Times, February 6).