The incident involving a Chinese jet and an American surveillance plane came very close to being a disaster for the world. If our people had crashed into the sea, would we have held the Chinese responsible? Nobody really wants to answer that question, but it must be pondered.

China is priming its citizens with anti-American rhetoric, and they are pumped up because they won this diplomatic chess game. As for America, we don't need to thump the Chinese right now. We're far for powerful than that country and far more prosperous, but we do need to prepare, and that is the subject of a brief Talking Points memo.

The television news ratings for the China standoff were pretty low across the board and that surprised most of us working the story. But, apparently, millions of Americans simply were not all that interested. The death of John Kennedy, Jr., got much higher ratings.

In Washington, one big thing has happened. That very expensive missile shield President Bush wants to build is now a lock. After seeing how the Chinese behaved in this incident, we need a shield.

Remember what would we have done if the American plane crew had been killed?

I believe many Americans will forget about this incident quickly, but it is worth remembering. It is a reminder that we still live in a dangerous world, and America needs to be strong and alert. We are getting soft with our computers, TVs, and leisure diversions. We have it made compared to the Chinese people who have next to nothing. We were lucky this time, but now we know where the dragon lives, and that it is still full of fire.

And that's a memo.

Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

Our pal Janet Reno is emerging from seclusion in south Florida. She will be the commencement speaker at the University of California at Berkeley next month. Perfect.

The university citing her, "liberal and progressive policies," which I guess include covering up criminal investigations. Ms. Reno is also believed to be negotiating with Random House for a book.

So now Ms. Reno and I have something in common. I will be giving the commencement address at my alma mater, Maris College, on May 19. I bet you what I say will be a tad bit different than what Ms. Reno says. If not, could be ridiculous.

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