Much of the news just washes over me, eliciting no great reaction other than "huh, interesting". But some of the stories get me thinking...
"On the Indian side, a call by the state's leader, Farrooq Abdullah, son of Kashmir's first leader, has called for more powers, but was dismissed by India, which argued that once one state wanted its own prime minister and supreme court, others would follow."
Why is it that national governments seem to consider their own perpetuation (as opposed to, say, the perpetuation of the lives of the people in their charge) as the highest good? I see no grand problems with a balkanized India, which is the scenario that the current Indian government considers its worst nightmare.
Chomsky in one of his rare lucid moments said that the problem with smaller governments is that they're much easier for corporations to control. I'm no great fan of corporate control; but between a freaky-deaky Hindu nationalist govermnent that has half its citizens living in medieval squalor while it's twitching for excuses to start a nuclear war with Pakistan, the combined balkanization and Walmartization of India looks like a dream in comparison.
"What is likely is that within a generation, the [Anglican] priesthood will be largely female, mostly unpaid and part-time, and playing a role somewhere between therapist and community activist. Their moral authority will come from serving others instead of cosy sessions in Downing Street and Buckingham Palace."
Hopefully this will have the behoovy effect of rolling back the CoE's role of being a "sexual regulation society" (as Alan Watts put it) for pasty old men in satin robes. On the one hand, I've heard it said that the special role of the CoE in UK government could be said to weaken the potential role of the other religions in the UK. On the other hand, so what? Better the devil you know.
"When this government [in the UK] says it can focus on only one or two big problems at a time - schools but not universities, education but not rail - what it means is that Mr Blair and his office can only do that much. The rail fiasco is in part a price paid for presidentialism, and Downing St's destructive pretensions to micro-management."
I think that the governmental model which best epitomizes a grand bureaucracy collectively acting with less intelligence than any one of its members is not the model headed by a president (since at least presidents have cabinets), but the model headed by a Pharaoh. (Or substitute the title of any other inbred semi-divine absolute monarch.)