And now the most intriguing two minutes in television, the latest from the wartime grapevine:
A new survey puts U.S. investor confidence at the lowest point ever, down to 29 percent from 60 percent last month. The poll, done by the Gallup organization for the investment firm UBS Warburg, found 81 percent of those asked said they planned to vote in next week's election. Perhaps surprisingly, though, 50 percent said they planned to vote Republican, while 45 percent said they would vote Democratic. Seventy-eight percent said a candidate's position on the war with Iraq would be extremely or very important in their vote, with 75 percent saying the same about the economy.
The New York Times reported at one point early last Thursday after the arrest of sniper suspects John Muhammad and John Lee Malvo that police wanted to question the men about possible connections to "skinhead militia groups," a claim that has never appeared anywhere else and has now disappeared from the Times own online archive. The Miami Herald spoke of the two suspects, a black Muslim and his illegal alien friend, as "an all-American' veteran of the Gulf War, and a teenage companion." And the AP, in a weekend look at Muhammad's possible motive, spoke of him as "born to loss," and said of his life, "Where hope retreated, defiance and rage rushed into the void."
Forced from Faculty
Michael Bellesiles, the history professor who claimed his research had showed that firearms were rare in early America, has been forced to resign from the faculty at Emory University in Atlanta. Bellesiles' assertions, in a book titled Arming America, The Origins of a National Gun Culture, won Columbia University's prestigious Bancroft Prize and was highly praised by gun control proponents. After questions arose about the authenticity of the research, a report by three outside scholars concluded the book showed "evidence of falsification" and "egregious misrepresentation."
Editor Keeps Track of George's Gaffes
And Jacob Weisberg, editor of the online journal Slate, has made a successful cottage industry out of cataloging the verbal gaffes of President Bush. He has produced two books of so-called George W. Bushisms, and he keeps a running list in Slate. The latest entry quotes the president from Friday on the death of Sen. Paul Wellstone expressing "condolences on the loss of the Senate." The transcript, however, shows this to be the translation of comments made by the president's visitor that day, Chinese President Jiang Zemin. Slate later added a correction.