And now the most intriguing two minutes in television, the latest from the political grapevine:
Who Should Think Twice?
Hours before the Iowa caucuses were set to begin tonight, volunteers for presidential candidate Howard Dean were handing out flyers in at least three major Iowa cities, insisting John Kerry, not Dean, is truly the unelectable candidate and urging Iowans to "think twice before wasting your vote."
Among the reasons: "As Washington's most eligible bachelor, Kerry's second wife of choice was a Republican heiress who happened to be among the 500 richest Americans." In fact, Kerry's second wife, Teresa Heinz (search), is a long-time liberal activist. In addition, the flyers warn, "[Ralph] Nader is disaffected with Kerry, and would likely run if Kerry got the nomination." No one has been able to determine where this assertion comes from.
Soon after taking office President Bush nominated Judge Charles Pickering (search) to the Federal Appeals Court, but Pickering was blocked by Democrats who used a filibuster, a procedural tactic preventing him from receiving an up-or-down vote.
President Bush last week installed Pickering into the Federal Appeals Court while Congress was in recess.
Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (search) is denouncing the President for exploiting a "procedural tactic." Daschle, quoted by the Wall Street Journal Online, says President Bush is trying to "pack the courts with right-wing ideologues."
Promises of a Public Editor
Three months ago the New York Times announced it was hiring its first ombudsman -- or as the Times calls him, public editor -- promising that "he will be given unfettered opportunity" to raise questions about Times coverage and to write about them in the paper.
But, according to ombudsman Daniel Okrent, Times staffers are having a hard time with it and "are almost always unhappy" with him. In addition, department heads -- whom Okrent emails to address reader complaints -- are telling him, "Stop sending me so many damn e-mails!"
Perhaps tellingly, the Times has now added a disclaimer to Okrent's columns, saying, "The public editor serves as the readers' representatives. His opinions and conclusions are his own."
Detention ain't what it used to be... it's now called -- "alternative instruction." Students are no longer being assigned essays, they are being told to write "extended constructed responses." Students don't learn subtraction, they learn "modeling efficient subtraction strategies." And those trailers outside overcrowded schools ... they're now called "learning cottages."
It's all part of a new set of educational jargon known as 'EduSpeak' or 'Teacherese,' which, according to the Washington Post, teachers believe will inspire students. But, according to at least one parent, educators use it because, "it gives them power over us mere 'lay' [people].
— FOX News' Michael Levine contributed to this report