A Sex Offender on the Jubilee Barge!

Article excerpt

Byline: Tunku Varadarajan

Hands Off Estonia

Paul Krugman, a Nobel economist, has been taken to the woodshed by the president of Estonia. Stung by a recent New York Times blog post in which Krugman disparaged the economic policies of the tiny but plucky Baltic nation, Toomas Hendrik Ilves hit back on his Twitter account: "Let's write about something we know nothing about & be smug, overbearing and patronizing: after all, they're just wogs." Not content with that rather harsh riposte, President Ilves--who was raised in the U.S.--tweeted a follow-up that was impressively ad hominem: "Guess a Nobel in trade means you can pontificate on fiscal matters and declare my country a 'wasteland.' Must be a Princeton vs Columbia thing." (Krugman is a professor at Princeton; Ilves has a bachelor's degree in psychology from Columbia. He tweets at @IlvesToomas.)

Sikh Transit Gloria Mundi

Britain's tabloids went up in a great, collective yowl the day after a flotilla of boats bobbed down the Thames when it was learned that one of the guests on the queen's own jubilee barge was a convicted sex offender. Harbinder Singh Rana, a Sikh community leader, was on board--standing just feet away from Her Madge--as a guest of Charles, a prince with a distinctly multicultural bent. Rana, who served time in jail in the 1980s for passing himself off as a doctor in order to perform intrusive examinations on a series of women, had been vetted and cleared by the queen's security team. "I was given an invitation, and I attended," he told the Daily Mirror.

Measure for Measure

The phrase "unrepresentative air-quality information" ought, by rights, to be regarded as soporific bureaucratese. It is, in fact, part of a Chinese rallying cry against the American Embassy in Beijing, which monitors ambient smog through an air sensor and posts the reliably insalubrious results on Twitter. Chinese officials, choking over this exposure of Beijing's bad air, have dismissed the embassy's information as not merely "unrepresentative," but as being in violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. …