And now the most telling two minutes in television, the latest from the wartime grapevine.
France, which a new poll shows disapproves strongly of U.S. policy in the Mideast, has now been the scene of roughly 360 crimes against Jews and Jewish institutions this month alone. This from the French Interior Ministry, which says 70 people have been questioned and 16 charged in connection with the incidents. The ministry said 60 percent of the cases involved anti-Jewish graffiti, but there have also been a dozen arson attempts aimed at synagogues and gravesites. Authorities say the suspects are usually young, chiefly Arab youths from North Africa.
A new Fox News Opinion Dynamics poll taken this week while Secretary of State Powell was in the Mideast indicates Americans want even more engagement in the region. Only 18 percent thought U.S. efforts were "about right," while 48 percent thought they were not forceful enough and 13 percent thought they were too forceful. Sixty-five percent, by the way, think Yasser Arafat is a terrorist, and a total of 62 percent think it very or somewhat likely he's stalling on peace to allow Arab countries to develop weapons of mass destruction. As for Saudi Arabia, 63 percent think it's not a friend of the United States.
A White House inventory has found that the federal government now owns more cars and trucks than Hertz rent-a-car company does. The AP reports that the federal fleet now contains 602,626 vehicles, one for every three federal employees — 100,000 more than Hertz. And the Energy Department has more vehicles than workers — 16,351 cars and trucks for 15,600 full-time employees. The department says that's misleading because outside contractors sometimes use the cars.
And prestigious Stanford University stands accused of discrimination for its decision against Ron Brown, an African-American assistant coach at Nebraska, to be Stanford's new head football coach. But the issue is not Brown's race. It's his religion. He's a staunch Christian. He was interviewed for the job in January, but according to the Daily Nebraskan student paper, "It soon became apparent his religious views, among other things, were incompatible with Stanford's liberal student body and active gay community." That story was based on an interview with Stanford's assistant athletic director.