And now the most compelling two minutes in television, the latest from the wartime grapevine:
Inflamed the French
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has infuriated the French with the answer he gave to foreign reporters yesterday when asked about European resistance to military action against Iraq. Here's what he said: "You're thinking of Europe as Germany and France. I don't. I think that's old Europe. If you look at the entire NATO Europe today, the center of gravity is shifting to the east and there are a lot of new members." French Finance Minister Francis Mer pronounced himself "profoundly vexed" by the comments. Socialist Leader Martine Aubry said they "show once again a certain arrogance of the United States.'' And French ecology minister Roselyne Bachelot said, "You know what I feel like telling Mr. Rumsfeld." She then stopped and said the word would be too offensive to use.
The only conservative commentator on a California college newspaper has been fired after writing only seven columns. The paper is the <I>California Aggie, the student daily at the University of California at Davis. The editor of the paper gave columnist Igor Birman two reasons for his dismissal. One was "the dryness in your column's tone." The other, he said, was that the tone "seems to have a tendency to enrage members of the opposing causes." The editor, Fitzgerald Vo, insisted that "politics has nothing to do with it." Birman says he has a contract through the end of June and has filed a lawsuit.
Palestinian Authority Soccer Tournament
The Palestinian Authority is holding a soccer tournament in the West Bank town of Tulkarm. It is naming it after the suicide bomber who killed 29 people when he blew himself up in a hotel in Israel on Passover eve last year. His name was Abd Al-Baset Odeh, referred to by the Palestinians as a "Shahid," which means one who died for Allah. Each of the seven school teams in the tournament, by the way, will also be named for a Palestinian who carried out a suicide murder or otherwise attacked Israelis.
Now This Is Devotion!
And backers of Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut for president now have a way to show their support for Lieberman, and for the Jewish faith that has made his campaign historic. It's a red, white and blue “Lieberman for President” Yarmulke, which is the skullcap Jewish men wear as a symbol of devotion. You can get it from a Web site called JoeBeanie.com for a mere $12.95, which will go not to the Lieberman campaign, which has nothing to do with this, but to an enterprising fellow named Jason Erkes of Chicago.