Even though the Russian leader is a villain, he is an interesting choice. Putin is causing America all kinds of grief, from sending nuclear material to Iran, to failing to support the attempted democracy in Iraq, to turning his own country into a semi-fascist state. The guy is real bad news.
But he is influencing world events. And Russia is becoming more powerful. Time magazine has been consistent in its choices for decades. As editor Richard Stengel put it, the "person of the year" doesn't have to be a good person.
Back in the 1930's, Hitler and Stalin were selected. So there's nothing wrong with Time selecting Putin, who beat out Al Gore for the title. General Petraeus came in fifth in the Time process.
Selecting Gore as "person of the year" would have meant some subscription cancellations in the political correctness of it all was even too much for Time. Mr. Gore's a polarizing figure, unfairly in some cases. He's done some very good work bringing the environment into focus.
But his blaming the USA mantra is tiresome and inaccurate. The entire world is to blame for pollution and irresponsible environmental behavior.
Now as "Talking Points" stated on Monday, General David Petraeus has pulled off an astounding feat in Iraq. And if that conflict turns around, the world will be a much safer place and the bad guys will be dealt a very nasty blow, including bad guy Putin.
It's clear the American media is playing down the improving Iraq situation because it doesn't help the Democrats. But fair-minded Americans know this is a vital situation and General Petraeus has done a magnificent job. Thus, he is "The Factor's" "person of the year."
As for Putin, he's a brutal guy, a KGB thug, who's no friend to freedom. But he is a factor in this world, no question about it. So Time has its "person of the year" and "The Factor" has ours. You can decide which perspective is more worthy.
Pinheads & Patriots
Actor Taye Diggs has been very generous to the people of New Orleans since Katrina. On Monday, the "Private Practice" actor went caroling, actually sang Christmas carols to lift people's spirits in the Big Easy.
Of course, New Orleans is not yet fully recovered from Katrina. So Mr. Diggs is a patriot for making that gesture.
On the pinhead front, 16-year-old Jamie Lynn Spears is pregnant. The sister of Britney says she is shocked. I bet.
Now most teens are pinheads in some ways. But here the blame falls primarily on the parents of the girl, who obviously have little control over her or even over Britney Spears. Look at the way she behaves.
And by the way, the mother, Lynne Spears, has reportedly already sold pictures of the upcoming baby of her 16-year-old for a million bucks. Incredible pinhead.