And now the most absorbing two minutes in television, the latest from the political grapevine:
Predicting Another World War?
The eminent former CBS newsman Walter Cronkite thinks that if the United States takes military action against Iraq without the blessing of the United Nations, this country will risk "really setting forth World War III." Speaking at Texas A&M University over the weekend, Cronkite said, "Our only ally would probably be Great Britain. That is not good enough." Cronkite also complained that the press has not been allowed to cover recent wars by going with the soldiers, as it was once allowed to do. And he said the fact that fewer than half of registered voters went to the polls in recent elections means that, "We don't have a democracy. We have an oligarchy."
Top Republican strategists in Washington still think Norm Coleman has a good chance of winning that Minnesota Senate seat, in part because they believe 74-year-old Walter Mondale, who has not held elective office in 22 years is vulnerable in debate. No one thinks Mondale will accept the Coleman challenge to a series of five debates, but GOP strategists think it could hurt him even more if he did not agree to at least one in the few days remaining. Meanwhile, in New Jersey, another replacement Senate candidate Frank Lautenberg has agreed to only one debate and has insisted that it include four minor party candidates in addition to him and Republican nominee Douglas Forrester.
Do Political Journalists Vote?
The Washingtonian, a popular local magazine here in the nation's capitol, took a look at voter registration rolls to see if the journalists who comment on politics actually vote. The answer appears to be: not that often. New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, Time Magazine pundit Margaret Carlson and CNN anchor Judy Woodruff, all skipped most elections since 1994. The same for NBC's Chris Mathews and CNN's Wolf Blitzer. The magazine also found of the 15 journalists it checked, only two were registered Republican.
Three Prisoners Return Home
Three Afghan prisoners released after a year's detention by the United States at Guantanamo have arrived home and, according to the Washington Post, say they were treated well. One of them, elderly Hajji Faiz Muhammad, said, "We were not tortured...We were not unhappy. The Americans treated me well, but they were not Muslims, so I didn't like them."