And now the most interesting two minutes in television, the latest from the wartime grapevine.
The widely watched "Battleground Poll," produced by the bipartisan polling team of Democrat Celinda Lake and Republican Ed Goeas is back for the election year and has some surprising results. The No. 1 issue, it found, is not terrorism and defense – only 15 percent put that first – but the economy, which 28 percent said was the No. 1 problem facing their part of the country. That might sound like bad news for President Bush but the poll also found 67 percent approved the way he's handling the economy. And by 38 percent to 29 percent, more people thought the Republicans could do a better job of dealing with the economy than the Democrats.
It was just a one sentence resolution passed by the Democratic National Committee at its winter meeting, but gay and lesbian organizations are calling it "historic and precedent setting." The resolution said, "Social Security would be strengthened if same-sex partners were treated equally." The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force says same-sex survivors in gay relationships lose about $100 million a year in Social Security Benefits, which the group says is why such programs "need to be broadened to include access for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender families." The group says the Democratic National Committee is now committed to that goal.
Students at Iowa State University are being taught by a professor who thinks more American Indians were killed during the settlement of this country than there are people living here now. Devery Fairbanks, professor of Native American Studies said this week that "A lot of people don't know there was a holocaust right here in America." According to the Des Moines Register, Fairbanks said that about 400 million American Indians were killed in this country, whose present population is about 280 million. The Register, by the way, published this assertion without questioning it.
The government-controlled <I>People's Daily of Beijing reports that Palestinian Leader Yasser Arafat is calling on China for help in the deteriorating situation in the Mideast. The newspaper says Arafat has written to Chinese President Jiang Zemin, saying that Israeli military actions in Palestinian areas have crossed “all red lines leaving a situation in danger of spinning out of control.” Arafat asked the Chinese to use their influence to help salvage the peace process.