And we're back. Some events since the beginning of July, when I took a breather from daily blogging.
--The Russians convicted the female punk band Pussy Riot of hooliganism (what a great word). Apparently beating and killing journalists to stop unfavorable coverage of those in power isn't a problem, but singing in the wrong place must be stopped. I think Putin is the world's biggest shmuck, edging Robert Mugabe. The Financial Times says the trial of the band should worry even investors. As one member of the band said in her closing statement, "This trial is highly typical and speaks volumes. The current government will have occasion to feel shame and embarrassment because of it for a long time to come. At each stage it has embodied a travesty of justice. As it turned out, our performance, at first a small and somewhat absurd act, snowballed into an enormous catastrophe. This would obviously not happen in a healthy society. Russia, as a state, has long resembled an organism sick to the core."
--The son of a senior Communist Party official in China was involved in a deadly crash in his Ferrari, perhaps whilst engaging in sex games. I am not sure this is what Marx and Lenin had in mind. More here about the Party's image.
--In the Navy's continuing Command Sweepstakes, the skipper of the USS Pittsburgh was hurled overboard after a just a week in command. Apparently the officer, who is married with a family, had gotten his 23-year-old girlfriend pregnant and then tried to end the affair by pretending to be dead. Also a helicopter squadron commander got the heave-ho, making 16 for the year.
--The former inspector general of the Air Force's 31st Fighter Wing in Italy was charged with sexual assault. Must be something in the water: A major in the 173rd Airborne, which also is based in Italy, apparently went down the same road with a female PFC.
--Wired's "Danger Room" had a thoughtful piece on Strator, which, according to the article, used its role as an information provider to tout an intelligence product in which it had a financial interest.
--McDonald's is opening some vegetarian-only outlets in India. I'd love to try the McSpicy Paneer. But in the long run I think I'd prefer a pizza Domino's sells in India, the "pizza keema do piazza," with spiced lamb.
Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military for the Washington Post from 2000 through 2008.