There was an interesting news story released today that the Palestinians chose a new cabinet for their government. Of the 24 new cabinet members, almost half have PhD's and a number have masters degrees. All of the people were chosen for their expertise in the fields in which they will advise. Few were politicians of any sort, and 17 were complete newcomers. The big news is that, "The method [of choosing the cabinet] stood in stark contrast to the formation of Cabinets in the Arafat era, when he would choose the ministers based on loyalty."
(See the AP article, identically reported on FoxNews.com or if you don't want to be deluged with pop-ups, CNN.com.)
I want you to notice that this article is on both mainstream news sites. The quote above indicates very promising signs of progress in the Middle East. In fact, (and I'm no lover of things Arab, believe me!) this is significantly better than the way our current cabinet was composed. President Bush chose his cabinet almost solely based on loyalty and virtually not at all on subject matter expertise. Yes, most or all of his cabinet are well-educated, bright people. But is his Health & Human Services Secretary a doctor? Was his Education Secretary a teacher? Granted, his Attorney General is actually a lawyer, but it turns out that so was almost every other cabinet member. What they all have in common is long ties to President Bush and the inability to say "no". Where's Colin Powell? Where are the people who dared to have a differing position? What does it say about our president that the Palestinian cabinet is more advanced and independent than the American cabinet?