Dean of the White House Press Corps Speaks Out

And now the most telling two minutes in television, the latest from the wartime grapevine:

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Still Dean of White House Press Corps?
Helen Thomas, the veteran former wire service correspondent still regarded by many as the dean of the White House press corps, says President Bush "is the worst president ever. He is the worst president in American history." She made the comments at a journalism awards banquet in California. Thomas has long been considered hostile to Republican administrations, but none of them, including this one, has been willing to dislodge her from her front-row center seat in the White House briefing room. This despite the fact that she no longer works for UPI, having left the wire service to become a columnist for the Hearst Newspapers.

French Resistance
If you're wondering why French politicians seem so eager to resist the United States on Iraq these days, the answer may be that it's what the French public wants. AFP, the French Wire Service, says a magazine poll due out tomorrow will show that 79 percent of the French public believes that France should use its veto in the U.N. Security Council to block a U.S. resolution authorizing force against Iraq. If you're wondering why the French public feels that way, consider this: When Hans Blix reported to the United Nations on Monday that Iraq had not "come to a genuine acceptance, not even today, of the disarmament which was demanded of it," that quote became the main news cited by the Associated Press and Reuters and most other news agencies. But France's AFP never mentioned it, publishing instead an account under the headline saying Iraq had "largely cooperated" with the United Nations.

Insists on Animals Having Toys?
European Commission officials in Brussels are indignantly denying that they have ordered British pig farmers to provide toys to keep their animals happy. The Times of London is quoting British Agriculture officials as saying that an order from Brussels to give pigs "environmental enrichment" in the form of "manipulable materials" means United Kingdom farmers must provide toys for pigs, such as footballs and basketballs that they can forage with their noses. Farmers who fail to do so were warned they could face fines up to a couple of thousand dollars or even jail. But EU officials say no toys are needed only things like straw and hay or sawdust to keep the pigs from chewing each other's tails.