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Tony & Tacky
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September 9, 2005



PAUL GIGOT: Winners and losers, Picks and Pans, Tony or Tacky. Our way of calling attention to the best and the worst of the week. Steve Moore has one more note on the aftermath of Katrina, involving the New Orleans Saints, who have been a beloved big league team in a small city willing to overlook the team's mediocrity. Steve?

STEPHEN MOORE: Paul, I call this "When the Saints Go Marching Out." What New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson has decided is that after years of trying to move the Saints out of New Orleans, this is the opportunity to do so, and so he's capitalizing on Katrina. Now, the NFL shares some fault here, too, because the NFL basically has given him an open door to do this. This is the NFL that prides itself on its civic responsibility with the United Way ads and so on.

Now we're all for profit-making. We believe in the profit motive. But here's a situation where what the owner is saying is well look, nobody's going to the games in New Orleans. Well gee, I wonder why? This is a team, as you know, Paul, that has been one of the most woeful political franchises in the history of professional sports. If you put a winner on the field people will go back to those games. It's important for New Orleans that the franchise stay. So I give my Tacky to Tom Benson and the NFL, not just for taking advantage of Katrina, but also for putting such a dreadful football team on the field for the last 20 years.

PAUL GIGOT: Here here, Steve. Dan Henninger wants to reserve judgment for now, but he's making bets on what kind of awards he'll be giving for the behavior of politicians in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Dan?

DAN HENNINGER: Well we all certainly want New Orleans to rise again. But the question is whether it will be able to do it with 10 thousand tacky politicians hanging on its back? Why does one say this? This weekend we are commemorating the anniversary of September 11th, and most of that will be done at Ground Zero in lower Manhattan? What's down there? A great big hole in the ground. It's been sitting there for years. Nothing has risen from it.

Louisiana has a very similar culture to New York's, and the question is whether the politicians down there will finally step up to the plate and do something on behalf of the public good rather than their own good. A year from now we'll be celebrating the first anniversary of Katrina, and we'll revisit their performance then.

PAUL GIGOT: Okay Dan, thanks. And finally, for a complete change of subjects, Shakespeare -- slightly adapted, and performed where you probably would not expect it. Kim observed a major cultural change in Afghanistan.

KIM STRASSEL: Yeah, you know, there was a time when Kabul was a center of art and culture. And that all changed during those years of war there, and especially under the Taliban, which not only outlawed theater but, as people remember, one of the most enduring images of that reign was of them blowing up those statues in Bamiyan. So it is truly something that, 27 years after the last time it was performed, Shakespeare has returned to Afghanistan. The British Counsel sponsored a production of Love's Labors Lost, and it has been adapted to local language, local culture, been playing to packed audiences, and has been such a success that the director is actually thinking of taking it on the road. So this is a Tony to all the people in that production, all the people who attended, but most of all, to all the international forces who went into Afghanistan, liberated it, and made it possible for us to have Shakespeare there again in the first place.

PAUL GIGOT: Maybe and teach some of the Europeans and Americans there a little Shakespeare. All right, thanks Kim.

That's it for this edition of the Journal Editorial Report. Thank you from all of us. We'll be back next week, and we hope you'll join us then.