And now the most engrossing two minutes in television, the latest from the wartime grapevine:
A new FOX News poll done Tuesday and Wednesday shows the president's job approval rating down slightly to 63 percent, but still better than that weekend Gallup Poll that had him down to 58 percent. But it finds pessimism on the economy with 60 percent now saying it needs a big jolt. More people -- 42 to 38 percent -- say the new Bush economic plan would be unfair to them. But a majority supports every provision in it, except the elimination of the individual tax on dividends, and even that is backed by 47 percent with 37 percent opposed.
Offering Himself as Negotiator
Jimmy Carter, who brokered the last deal with North Korea over its nuclear weapons, a deal North Korea admits it has violated, thinks it's time to make another deal. Carter tells The New York Times the Bush administration should open direct talks with Pyongyang aimed at "a more comprehensive agreement." Carter tells The Times he would be willing to negotiate the deal. The story, by the way, never mentions that North Korea has violated the earlier Carter agreement and speaks of him simply as having "helped defuse a nuclear crisis in 1994."
Meanwhile the decibels are rising in the British press against the U.S. John LeCarre. The famous spy novelist writes in the Times of London that America has entered one of its periods of historical madness, “The worst I can remember, worse than McCarthyism, worse than the Bay of Pigs...potentially more disastrous than the Vietnam war." Referring to the administration as the "Bush Junta," Le Carre says, "The freedoms that have made America the envy of the world are being systematically eroded." LeCarre cites no specifics for that last charge, but the ACLU appears to agree with him. In a new report on what it calls a growing "surveillance monster," the group says a combination of new technology and looser restrictions since 9/11 "threatens to transform Big Brother from an oft-cited but remote threat into a very real part of American life." And the ACLU says the proliferation of video cameras, in both private and government hands, makes it nearly impossible to walk down the street without being recorded.