And now the most engrossing two minutes in television, the latest from the wartime grapevine:
Relatives of Iraqis murdered by Saddam Hussein's regime are having so much trouble tracking down their lost loved ones that they are now buying videotapes of people being tortured and killed by the former regime in hopes of seeing their relatives and finally knowing their fate. The BBC says most of the tapes, sold on the streets of Baghdad, date back to the Shia Muslim uprising during the 1991 Gulf War.
On Saturday, London's Guardian newspaper published a full retraction of an earlier report that Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz had said the war with Iraq was about oil. What Wolfowitz said was that because Iraq "floats on a sea of oil," it was less economically vulnerable than North Korea. But the Guardian's correction did not stop the Charleston, W.Va., Gazette from basing an entire editorial on the erroneous quote on Monday. The Gazette corrected itself this morning, but onetime Watergate figure John Dean, who has used the bogus quote to argue that President's Bush's conduct on Iraq was worse than Watergate, has yet to correct himself.
That so-called "Take Back America" conference of Democratic liberal activists here in Washington last week heard from nearly all the Democratic presidential candidates, but they are still buzzing over a speech by journalist Bill Moyers of PBS. The liberal journal The Nation quotes Moyers as telling the conference the Bush administration and its allies are "rightwing wrecking crews," part of an "unholy alliance between government and wealth," who are engaged in the "deliberate, intentional destruction of the United States of America." As for compassionate conservatism, Moyers said that's just an effort to make "the rape of America sound like a consensual date."
Reaction to Removing Reading
And the latest from the wonderful world of education is that the school board in Peterburg, Va., is facing a revolt from both parents and teachers outraged that the board wants to remove reading from the list of courses students in kindergarten through the fifth grade must pass to advance to the next grade. At a school board meeting last week, the Progress-Index newspaper reports, not one out of 100 people in the audience supported the proposal. The board's vice chairwoman argued that holding children back because they failed reading class is not helping students but instead is "penalizing" them.