This is the first time a journalist who’s been murdered is someone I’ve actually met. I was a guest on Fernando Batul’s radio show when I was last in Puerto Princesa City. He seemed a nice enough person. From what I saw during his radio show, he didn’t seem particularly different from other hard-hitting radio hosts. Now he’s dead.
Good news: a bill exempting those who earn 125,000 pesos a year or below from income tax is closer to being approved. In his column, John Mangun suggests that all isn’t peachy keen in the economic front, though. Besides which, as Punzi points out, it’s increasingly obvious that despite working hard, people aren’t getting what they deserve as compensation for their efforts.
Connie Veneracion explains what’s wrong with the compromise deals the PCGG wants with the Marcoses.
Overseas, Netindia reports a controversy involving contending claims as to which Filipino was really the first to climb Everest. The Nation of Thailand points to round two in the Thaksin drama. After having beaten a strategic retreat, Thaksin’s now attempting a comeback. As Thepchai Yong’s opinion column explains,
So the question is whether Thaksin will improve things or make them worse with his comeback.
For Thai Rak Thai, its leader’s sudden political re-entry was definitely a boon to its rank and file, who have been badly demoralised by the changing political tide. The party is facing the possibility of dissolution after a sub-committee of the Election Commission found some of its top officials to be involved in bribing small parties to contest the April 2 election. Thaksin himself is facing a lawsuit in the Administrative Court that threatens to strip him of the premiership for alleged dereliction of duty.
But it’s the pending election that was probably a major factor in prompting Thaksin to end his break. Without their leader actively at the helm, Thai Rak Thai was obviously as disoriented as the government itself. The prolonged political stalemate that was already causing rumblings within the party threatened to intensify factional conflicts that might result in mass defections.
So it’s fairly easy to see the reasons for Thaksin’s latest political flip-flop. Salvaging Thai Rak Thai’s sagging image and saving it from a possible disintegration was at the top of his agenda. The party also badly needs him to lead the charge into the next election.
But for the public at large, Thaksin’s return signals a protracted deadlock. Lest he forget, the political anarchy in the country now is entirely Thaksin’s doing. His six-week political hiatus only compounded it.
Thaksin’s resumption of the premiership will not in any way dispel the charges of conflict of interest, abuse of power and interference with independent bodies that have been levelled against him and which were the reasons for him being rejected by large sections of society. His party’s continuing support for the embattled election commissioners also lends weight to the accusation that they are working hand-in-glove.
If the election date as proposed by the Election Commission holds, it means that the current caretaker government with Thaksin at the helm will continue to hold power for another five months. And that means another five months of political uncertainty.
Thaksin’s political juggling only proves that his style of CEO leadership has been a big failure and his Thai Rak Thai is anything but a political institution. Even top level Cabinet members, including his second in command, often cited as his possible political heirs, were helpless without their commander-in-chief around.
Sounds familiar. As does the paper’s editorial calling for an end to the revolving-door and heavily politicized policies towards the Fourth Army of the Thai military.
A reader pointed out a tar baby controversy in America, concerning the new White House spokesman (and former Fox News anchor) Tony Snow. What’s wrong with using the term tar baby? This cartoon tells it all:
Actually, that’s a parody cartoon. What really happened is explained by Dr. Marc Lamont Hill: the context of the statement and why it has been found objectionable by so many, though he suggests Snow was a victim of a culture that doesn’t consider the feelings of others. PERRspectives graphically demonstrates why “tar baby” is objectionable.Ã‚Â Sea Change adds that the statement is more likely a slip, and focusing too much on it ignores other acts of racism that deserve attention. Then again, prying1 says it’s all much ado about nothing -another case of political correctness run amuck.
I’m inclined to agree with Lamont, if only because the tar baby story itself is a kind of age reference: only Filipinos of my generation know the story, just as American whites of Snow’s generation may know it without realizing how it’s viewed as a racist image or epithet by non-whites. The speed at which things can change is actually best demonstrated by my generation: I think we were the last to think nothing of being taught to sing “Yankee Doodle” in school, and read about Abraham Lincoln in classes.
The Suburban Ecstasies writes a hard-hitting critique of what he considers the reverse-racism of other conservatives, such as the one I most like to dislike, Michelle Malkin: he say’s she’s on the warpath on allegedly racist statements made against her, but really, she’s only being selective about the facts. And just for the hell of it, Click Mo Mukha Mo on a Filipina pornstar running for governor of Nevada makes a good companion story.
And there’s the sudden death of the most insanely popular gossip blog (at least for a few weeks: it was certainly causing mental -well, okay, emotional- anguish among the glitterati).