National Pride. As economists detected a slight uptick in growth indicators at a pace The New York Times described as “sluggish, if not dismal” (which is the first time I have seen "dismal" used to describe a hopeful trend), ABC News was reporting that the sharp new, Ralph Lauren-designed, red-white-and-blue American Olympic uniforms were “made in China.” Perhaps there’s a connection. The U.S. Olympic Committee responded: "We're proud of our partnership with Ralph Lauren, an iconic American company." Perhaps American manufacturers can get a piece of the knock-off business. The Bris. A regional German court’s decision that circumcision of young boys “amounted to grievous bodily harm” has united Jewish and Muslim organizations as no political negotiations have been able to do. The groups, however, took no stance on female circumcision, which is practiced widely in parts of Africa and the Middle East.
Communication. When former Irish Republican Army commander Martin McGuinnes shook hands with Queen Elizabeth, whose family he had once plotted to assassinate, he gave her a Gaelic blessing, "Slán agus beannacht." Neither McGuinnes nor the queen speaks Gaelic.
Maturity. It’s only July and already the presidential campaign rhetoric is racing to the bottom, with the Romney and Obama teams squabbling over whether the former left Bain Capital in 1999 or 2002. Ostensibly it has to do with job-outsourcing (see above), but it’s really about petty personal shots most of us left on the playground. I’ve got to believe even Romney remembers the year he left Bain.