Editor’s note: Night online editor Judy Carlock reviews the news of the week, with her own personal twist.
It just won’t do, throwing shoes at the U.S. commander in chief. The slapstick elements of President Bush’s encounter with a disgruntled shoe-throwing Iraqi of course elicit laughter. But this could have been serious.
The incident this week stuck a fork in this particular presidency. How can we say we’ve made Iraq safer, when even a press conference can’t be managed without an assault?
On Wednesday, the Citizen ran an analysis piece indicating the shoe-thrower has become an instant hero in the Arab world. But not everyone agreed. Sensibly, some Middle Easterners cringed at the behavior. A cathartic moment, to be sure. But stupid, rash and potentially damaging for Iraq’s emerging image.
Even if you think Bush a heel, he hasn’t been a loafer lately. Kudos to the president for taking a final swing through Iraq and Afghanistan. Troops there needed a boost.
If Iraqi unity takes the form of contempt for Bush, at least it’s unity. Contempt for America we can’t afford.
ANOTHER ‘W’: No matter what you think of Dubya, surely a Wildcat win against Gonzaga was a welcome way to start the week. The Zags were favored by 15.
But University of Arizona hoopsters apparently meant it when they said they embraced the role of underdog. They shone against then No. 4 Gonzaga, a Washington state college that shed its “Cinderella” image some time ago.
Interim coach Russ Pennell said afterward he accepts that he’ll never be head coach for the Cats. Arizona, a name-brand program, needs a name-brand coach. Such is the reality of recruiting, he said.
Still, it will be interesting to see how far he gets on merit alone. If UA keeps playing the way it did Sunday maybe people will know his name.
FISCAL FITNESS: The new presidential administration can’t take over too soon for some people.
In Arizona, the wait should be welcome.
Janet Napolitano is still governor – and as such still can influence the state budget.
No aspersions against legislators here. They and incoming Gov. Jan Brewer, now secretary of state, soon enough will have to face a situation where conservative ideology alone won’t balance the books.
Arizona simply must proceed as if revenues will rebound. That doesn’t mean waste. Of course we need real cuts. But we also need smoke, mirrors and creative bookkeeping just to meet our no-deficit mandate.
Otherwise, the dismal math demands that state governance cease immediately.
Nationally, the situation is much the same, allowed Arizona’s senior senator, John McCain, in a visit to the Citizen Tuesday.
Of course we’re just bailing out the boat. But what are the choices? Go under?
CASE CLOSED: The official announcement of closure in the slaying of 6-year-old Adam Walsh left me with the same questions his father, John Walsh, had.
Who could want to do this?
As it turns out, a drifter name of Ottis Toole – who has been dead 10 years, and who looked like everyone’s image of a child-snatching serial killer. “Stranger danger” may be overrated, a sociologist suggested. And certainly kids face hazards even in their own homes.
Still, kids do get abducted by strangers. And the Walsh case – and plenty of local cases, too – leave me with an even bigger mystery: How?
How does anyone get past seeing such a precious light snuffed out?
I can’t imagine. But a salute to Walsh and people like Tucson’s Gail Leland, who have somehow worked through grief by trying to help others. How do they do it? God knows.
CHILD PREVENTION: I’m sure plenty of drug addicts love their kids. But how many are equipped to deal with the multiple special needs of an extremely premature baby conceived by accident?
This is no hypothetical situation. Damaged children born to damaged parents do occasionally beat the odds. Stephanie Cruz stepped in to adopt her sister’s baby, who is now 17.
She was downtown this week pushing Project Prevention, which awards $300 to addicts or alcoholics who agree to one of several options for long-term birth control.
If you’ve seen the fallout firsthand you know: That’s a bargain.
Fallout from shoe incident
In much of the Middle East, residents sympathized with an Iraqi who hurled his shoes at President Bush Sunday.
Producer: JUDY CARLOCK/Tucson Citizen