Talking Points: Will the Standoff Hurt Bush?

It is day six of the Chinese captivity story, and that's the subject of this evening's Talking Points memo.

OK. China has made its point. It doesn't like the American surveillance of its coastlines. We got it. Now international law dictates that China hand over the 24 Americans they are holding.

What is missing in all the rhetoric is that China is illegally holding our people. The emergency landing was a Mayday, an international distress situation, life or death. It was not an international intentional violation of Chinese airspace.

And the collision of the two planes took place over international waters. A good lawyer might even win a case against the Chinese for causing the incident, since the Chinese plane was much faster than the American plane and, thus, much more likely to have hit the slower plane.

There will come a point in this controversy where President Bush will be damaged if the service people can't get out of there. President Carter's standing was ruined by the Iranians holding our people.

Mr. Bush knows this but is wise to give diplomacy a chance. By all accounts, our military people are being treated well. So there is some room for patience. But not a lot of room.

The question is what strategy should Mr. Bush be using? In just a few moments, four experts will give us four different scenarios for your consideration.

Talking Points believes that behind the scenes, Mr. Bush should be telling the Chinese ambassador in Washington that commerce will be damaged between China and America if the situation doesn't conclude soon. No need to go public with this. The president should make it very clear in private that trade with China will be restrained if the Chinese do not obey international law.

Again, they have no right to continue holding our people.

As for us, well, I'm boycotting Chinese goods myself, as I stated last night. If all 300-million Americans did that, there would be some big, big trouble in the land of the Asian tiger.

And that's the memo.

Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

Time now for the Most Ridiculous Item of the Day.

The state of New Jersey has issued new guidelines for its judges in the form of a memo. It tells what the judges what they can and can't do ethically speaking.

Under title A-6, television and radio programs, the Jersey guidelines state: "A superior court judge may participate in a five-minute one-on-one interview on the concept of drug court on Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor. Hey, we're not kidding. All right.

We are pleased the state of New Jersey has written us into the record and look forward to hearing from you judges out there. Now it's not ridiculous when we call you, so be nice.