And now the most captivating two minutes in television, the latest from the political grapevine:
Considered for Person of the Year
The short list of those under consideration by Time Magazine to be its annual person of the year is out, and the president, like most presidents is on it. But also very much in the running, according to Time, are Usama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Yasser Arafat and Palestinian suicide bombers. Time awards the title, complete with cover story, to the "person (or persons) who most affected the news or our lives, for good or ill this year." Time Editor Jim Kelly told Reuters that the magazine took some heat last year for "wimping out" by choosing then New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani over Usama bin Laden. Kelly explains that, at the time the choice was made, it was not clear that bin Laden had survived the bombing in Afghanistan.
Opposes U.S. Military Action in Iraq
The City Council of Madison, Wisc., has put itself on record opposing U.S. military action in Iraq. The vote was 11 to 2, with one proponent saying the resolution would help children "see that government policy can be immoral, misguided and dead wrong" Madison joins Washington, D.C., Santa Cruz, Calif., and more than a dozen other cities in passing such a resolution. Not to mention the Locust Grove Neighborhood Association of Charlottesville, Va., which urged that peaceful means be used in dealing with Iraq. The president of the association's board of directors said the group was not trying to affect world politics, just going on the record.
Here He Goes Again...
Jim Jeffords, the Republican-turned Independent whose defection from the GOP to align himself with the Democrats gave that party control of the Senate, may be having second thoughts. Jeffords, whom the Democrats allowed to remain as chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, is about to lose that post, and the Washington Times quotes a senior Senate leadership source as saying Republican leaders have gotten feelers from Jeffords office about the possibility of his remaining an Independent, but this time lining up with the Republicans. GOP leaders are said to have rolled their eyes at the thought.
Pledged $100 Million to Fight AIDS in India
You might think that India would be grateful for the $100 million pledge Bill Gates has made to help fight AIDS , which affects an estimated 25 million people in that country. Apparently not. India's Human Resources Minister says Gates has "overdone it." Asked by the Times of India if he meant the money or his estimate of the number of AIDS victims, the minister replied, "both." The comments appear to reopen an earlier controversy in which the Indian Health Minister accused Gates and U.S. Ambassador to India Robert Blackwill of "spreading panic" by talking about dramatic increases in AIDS and HIV infection.