Finland is a curious blend of statist socialism and national independence. Its politics do not always fit easily into American thinking. No one would call the small country a socially conservative nation. Religious belief is weak, and vices such as illegitimacy, alcoholism, and pornography are shockingly more prevalent than in its cousins — Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Iceland.
The grim litany of gang murders, tortures, and outright butchery by drug cartel members in Mexico has rendered the region near the international border almost untenable, and the latest discovery of 145 bodies in mass graves near San Fernando has precipitated a crisis in the logistics of dealing with death. The Houston Chronicle reported on Friday that the Mexican morgues were overwhelmed, and 70 of the bodies had been moved to Mexico City on Thursday.
China is the United States' biggest creditor and our second largest (behind Canada) trade partner. Official public meetings in Beijing and Washington between leaders of the two countries tend to give the appearance that, except for some minor disagreements, U.S.-PRC relations are all sweetness and light.
Most Americans — blessed with an inimitable Constitution written by men of great character and wisdom who understood the profound importance of human liberty — take freedom of expression for granted. So it sometimes surprises them to learn that their notion of free speech and free press is exceptional in the world.