Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Soul Debts

Yesterday, I was grateful to receive another card from my soldier in Iraq. He writes of many things in each greeting, but a consistent theme is his fear of a John Kerry win in the Presidential election. He has a good deal of company among his colleagues in the U.S. military in this particular apprehension.

Every time I write him, I tell him not to worry, that the country is not about to hand over our safety and security to the likes of “Cut-And-Run Kerry.” I hope I’m right, because the consequences of a Kerry win are too dreadful to contemplate.

It’s a tiny snapshot of a soldier’s life, my soldier’s monthly letter. Sometimes he tells me he is writing by flashlight at 2:00 AM. This time, he reports that the daily temperature is down to 120 degrees, from a high of 140 degrees in August. I imagine the uniform, the boots, the gear these troops must wear and carry in such heat, and I’m humbled that men and women I’ve never met would willingly, even gladly, suffer such hardship on my behalf.

Always, he thanks me. He thanks me for the packages, for the prayers, for the support. This soldier I have never met, who risks his life every moment to keep himself between the terrorists and America, thanks me. And his thanks bring me to tears, because there is no possible way for me to ever adequately thank him back.

They had a memorial service on 9/11, he writes, and he was glad. It helps them to remember why they are fighting. I must tell him, next letter, that I believe it’s likely that part of the reason there has not yet been a second 9/11 is because our military is keeping the terrorists rather busy in their own region.

Yesterday, it was 5:30 PM and he wrote that he and his unit were “going on patrol.” In closing, he asked me to “keep the prayers coming.” Immediately I complied, as I felt a cold chill shoot through me. Going on patrol, into God knows what peril. And he probably does this every day. I just happened to find out about it yesterday.

I’ve never met this man, or his guys, but I love them and I owe them. Every American owes them, whether they realize it or not. It’s a soul debt all civilian Americans must carry, this state of being beholden to our troops, and it can never be repaid. This is one debt that can only be acknowledged, remembered, and respected.

But I do have my monthly statement of what I owe. It comes in the form of a thank-you card, in an envelope postmarked Iraq, written in the hand of a hero.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Supporting Our Troops

I don’t understand people who say, “Sure, I support the troops, BUT…” Laura Ingraham calls these people the “butt monkeys.” I agree with her.

You either support the troops, or you don’t. If you support them, you speak up on their behalf. You tell people that you are grateful to them, that you remain in awe of their bravery, dedication, and patriotism. You might write letters and e-mails to encourage them, or send care packages of favorite items from home, as do the Soldiers’ Angels . If you truly support the troops, you understand that we Americans can never repay their many very difficult sacrifices on our behalf.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t agree with the politics of the war in Iraq. The fact remains, the best and bravest of our young people are fighting and dying to protect us at home from the onslaught of the radical Islamist terrorists. That’s what we need to remember. They deserve our full support. We should speak out for them as we would our own children. Our military is entitled to far better treatment than the constant bad-mouthing of their efforts that permeates the airwaves of Old Media.

There was no greater offense to our troops than the blathering of the senior windbag from Massachusetts, Sen. Ted Kennedy. To advance his warped agenda, the morale of our troops becomes his burnt offering on the altar of party politics. I don’t think he deserves the protection of our military, but he gets it anyway. The troops don’t discriminate for idiots. They do their jobs for all of us, regardless of our worthiness. Because of them, Kennedy gets to bellow and sputter about the “quagmire” they’re in. Thanks, Senator, you’re a big help—to the terrorists. How encouraging must it be for the terrorists to listen to Kennedy’s drivel! If I were a terrorist, I’d be able to hunker down for at least another month on the strength of Teddy’s disgraceful naysaying. It's tantamount to cheerleading the enemy.

We hear many references to “free speech” when this topic comes up. Yes, we all have the Constitutional right, as Americans, to speak our minds, freely and without censure. Are enough of us aware of what a blessing we have in our homeland? How many other countries have this unfettered right to mouth off at will, regardless of the stupidity of our words?

With rights come responsibilities, always. Yes, we have the right to free speech. How we apply it, with regard to the troops, says everything about our sense of responsibility. We can serve our own agendas with single-minded purpose and complete disregard for consequences to others. Or, we can think of those who are in harm’s way to defend our lives and our rights, and speak in support of their valiant work.

I was a teenager during the Vietnam War. I hated the very idea of that war, for reasons that any young person would recognize. Did I support the troops? I hope so. It didn’t matter that I didn’t like the war; our guys were over there. At school, I got the name of a soldier to write to in Vietnam. We exchanged letters regularly for six months, and then his letters stopped coming.

I never had the courage to try to find out what happened to him. But if I ever visit the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C., I know I’ll look for his name. And if I find it, I know I’ll cry.

Support our troops. What they are giving us, in time, in duty, and in blood, we can never repay.

Friday, September 24, 2004

The Ladies' Man

I heard that one of the ubiquitous election polls this week noted that President Bush is pulling ahead of John Kerry with women voters.

People seem to be shocked, shocked that Bush could possibly pull ahead in this prized electoral demographic, a treasured Democrat stronghold. Kerry is the candidate of the pro-choicers, always a winning theme with the majority of politically (and sexually) active female voters. This sudden trend towards conservative country by the XX chromosome crowd seems stunning, on the surface.

But in fact, it’s not at all surprising that the President is showing a lead among women. Women have a natural proclivity for strong men, men who take a stand and are not afraid to defend it. Women are hardwired to love feeling protected, and they love it even better when they feel their children and families are protected.

John Kerry worries us. He says he’ll “respond” to an attack on the U.S. Does that mean we must wait for another 9/11, or perhaps an American version of Beslan—maybe in our own children’s school? No wife or mother will respond well to that prospect. We want to feel confident that the next president will take care of the terrorism business before it takes care of us or our loved ones.

(And besides, Kerry changes his mind way too often. Almost daily. Doesn’t traditional wisdom tell us that’s a woman’s prerogative?)

A man who says what he thinks, acts on what he says, and sticks by his word regardless of how tough the challenges become is going to be a difficult leader to resist during a global War on Terror. In George W. Bush, American women have discovered such a man.

What makes him even more attractive is, he doesn’t seem to care if we women prefer him or not. He’s going to do what he thinks is right no matter who does or doesn’t vote for him.

In my book, that’s one irresistible guy.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

The Unattainable

John Kerry is learning the hard way that money has its limitations.

Regardless of his personal wealth, he can’t purchase the silence of the Swift Boat Veterans For Truth . Their bestselling book and their website continue to do damage to Kerry, the extent of which will remain unknown until Election Day. However, Kerry will continue to slander and vilify these brave men who sacrificed so much for their country. Apparently, only John Kerry’s sacrifices in Vietnam count, at least to him.

Kerry’s money can’t prevent glimmers of good news of America’s progress in Iraq from breaking through via the ever-growing blogosphere. One doesn’t have to hunt very far online to find rational, well-researched support for the war from extremely intelligent, educated, logical, articulate sources. The next time you log onto “Google,” plug in the names Hugh Hewitt, Victor Davis Hanson, or Mark Steyn, to name just three of my favorite websites. Do a bit of reading and you’ll see why John Kerry, founder of Vietnam Veterans Against the War, is a man lost in the ghosts of an obsolete past.

His material riches can’t protect Kerry, or the U.S., from this conflict. The War on Terror will be long, as President Bush warned us it would be when we undertook this fight. War is bloody, it is painful, it is costly, it is difficult, it is tragic—and it is necessary to ensure our safety and survival. Money can’t change that fact.

Last winter, John Kerry fell off his snowboard and blamed a Secret Service agent. Big of him, wasn't it? Today, we heard him give a back-handed slap to our nation’s guest, the Iraqi Prime Minister Allawi, who was here to thank America for helping his country. Allawi addressed Congress to say that we are achieving our objectives, that Iraq is growing stronger against the terrorists. Kerry labeled that sincere act of gratitude and hope as nothing more than a political maneuver.

How gracious of you, John. You really did our nation proud with that snide, insulting remark. I’m embarrassed for you, since you don’t have the sense to be.

Keep in mind, Teresa Heinz Kerry spouts off at reporters to “shove it” and calls critics of her husband “scumbags.” Such elegant elocution for a prospective First Lady!

Money can buy so many things. John Kerry may have multiple mansions, a fleet of “family” SUVs, windsurfing, skiing, and snowboarding equipment, and as many trips to France as he pleases. But as his behavior and that of his wife proclaim, there’s one thing for sure money can’t buy.

Cash doesn’t buy class.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

An Absence of Valor

The Islamic terrorists did what they do best, two days in a row. They again beheaded innocent civilians who were bound, blindfolded and totally defenseless.

That’s quite a brave accomplishment. I can’t imagine how much courage it must take to slaughter unarmed prisoners who can’t see or touch you.

Since you’re such fierce, mighty warriors, tell me: Why do you hide in remote caves, dark rooms, and secret hideaways? Why do you cover your faces from identification? Why do you have to keep videotaping your atrocities? Do you need a record to prove to yourselves that yes, look at that, we really did it, guys, we butchered another American?

Please excuse so many questions from such an ignorant infidel. I’m having trouble following how these massacres are a great victory for you. You see, I’m accustomed to a much different type of warfare.

I’m used to seeing soldiers who stand and fight on open battlefields in the sunlight, fighters who look their enemies in the eye before they kill or fall.

You terrorists put on quite a blood-soaked show. Are we supposed to be frightened? If that was your aim, you’ve missed your mark with many Americans. Your brutality only proves to us that we are right to go after you, to root you out—to kill you now, before you kill us.

You’ve sickened us, you’ve outraged us, but you don’t scare us with your sub-human tactics. Your swaddled faces, your hidden rooms, your secret “army” all bear the mark of cowardice. If Allah is any god at all, he is more disgusted than any person could be at your mindless massacres.

Oh sure, you’re jihadists, ready to die for Allah. So why is it that you remain alive, deprived of paradise, always ready to murder again? I think I know why. It’s the same reason that shields your face in shadows and holds you in your hideaways.

You are unspeakable cowards. When your day comes to die, you will roar with fear like the inhuman beasts you truly are. The depth of your cruelty is directly proportional to your absence of valor.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

A Hard Stand

Although many fellow Americans agree with my position on the War on Terror, some people are somewhat disturbed by my hard line stance. These are friends, coworkers, and associates who think the United States should seek the more “sensitive war” that John Kerry referred to recently. After all, they point out to me, our traditional allies, France and Germany, are not with us in this endeavor. Russia may have new reason to change its mind in the wake of the Beslan horror, but until now, they did not support our military actions, either.

May I say upfront that those who protest my position are good people, often very dear to me. However, on this subject, I do not believe they could be more wrong.

I don’t believe it is possible for any American truly interested in the future of our country’s safety and our families’ well-being to give the slightest hoot what any other country on the globe has to say about the actions the U.S. takes to defend itself.

We are right to defend ourselves. And it is long past due the time we did exactly that. I would prefer it if American leaders stopped tippy-toeing around the “holy shrines” . Let our forces do their job. Allow them to win! Please, Major Media, spare me the sacred history of the “shrines.” If terrorists with intent to murder are holed up inside a "shrine," loaded with ammo and weapons, firing at American troops, how holy can the joint be? I’d be happy to see that "shrine" reduced to sandbox filler.

Oh, but then you’ll “be like them,” my friends gasp. I don’t think so. We’re not fighting the terrorists because they don’t go to church on Sunday. We’re fighting because they attacked our country and slaughtered thousands of innocent civilians . I’d prefer it if that didn’t happen again, thank you, and I support the full use of force to ensure that objective.

Oh, but “America has been wrong, too,” they chide me. No doubt, we have been. Does that mean I should sit quietly by, trying to “understand where they’re coming from,” and maybe watch my own children be murdered by Islamo-maniacs the next time? No, that's not an acceptable course of action to me, at least not in this lifetime.

“But what about Vietnam?” they ask me. Well, what about it? That was a different war, in a different time, with very different stakes. Unless I had a soldier fighting there, the Viet Cong weren’t coming after my loved ones. In the War on Terror, every American, old or young, civilian or soldier, is the target--merely because we exist.

I never used to discuss politics much. Voting was a matter of conscience, I believed, a personal matter. In fact, when asked, I wouldn’t divulge for whom I had voted. I used to answer that generations of American military had died to ensure my right to a secret ballot, and I was honoring them by staying silent.

That was before 9/11 . Every American was changed by 9/11, some more profoundly than others. For me, it opened my eyes to the dangers and the enemies surrounding us. Ii issued a clear call for each citizen’s proactivity as necessary to help keep our homeland safe.

Ever since that terrible day, I honor our country’s fallen heroes by speaking out against terrorism and in support of President Bush, who has proved himself worthy of leading the fight against its evil forces.

I take a hard stand in support of America’s defense, and I don’t waste a thought on which foreigners may object. As for fellow Americans, especially those close to me, I don’t mind if they are upset by my opinions. I much prefer that people I care about be slightly annoyed rather than totally annihilated.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Lighting a Candle

This week, the terrorists’ highly-favored car bombing technique was again applied to murder Iraqi civilians who wished to serve their country by joining the new national police force.

The terrorists, insistently termed “insurgents” by Major Media, are racking up quite a body count among the native Iraqis. Courageous Iraqi men, citizens who yearn for an independent homeland, continue to attempt to join the police force. But the terrorists do what they do best to ensure that such an ambitious reach for free statehood will be destroyed, and the brave young Iraqi men continue to die trying.

Critics who claim that American presence in Iraq is causing all the suffering simply aren’t paying attention.

It would be easy to allow the bad news to pull us down into depression. But there is some good news. I’m weary of finding the good news on page A24, if at all. So I thought I’d mention a foundation called Operation Iraqi Children .

Founded by actor Gary Sinise and“Seabiscuit” author Laura Hillenbrand , the organization sends donations of school supplies to Iraqi schools. To hear of such a worthy endeavor amidst so much death and destruction is a breath of fresh air, a ray of sunshine penetrating the fog of war.

When approached by a discouraged volunteer one day, who bemoaned the fact that she couldn’t help enough poor children, Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta very wisely advised the woman, “If you can help only one child, then help that one child.”

It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. Operation Iraqi Children helps to light young lives in Iraq through the opportunity of education, provided with caring and compassion. The children who benefit from this wonderful effort will grow into Iraqi citizens who understand the difference between disagreement and destruction and who would like their own children to attend school undisturbed.

When that day arrives, “insurgents” beware.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Completely Bogus Story -- CBS

It appears that reporters looking for answers from Dan Rather or CBS News on the memo fiasco have a lifetime hobby.

Dan and Co. have dug in their heels on the current flap over the Bush National Guard memos at CBS. Under mounting evidence that the documents are phony, CBS clings to its crumbling cliff by interviewing an 86-year-old retired secretary who declares that she didn't type them, but "the information in those is correct."

"It is notable that she confirms the content of the documents, which was the primary focus of our story in the first place," said CBS News spokeswoman Sandra Genelius.

Excuse me? This is a major news organization? It's now defending itself with sentiment and opinion rather than facts and documentation to validate stories. Radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt is calling for Congressional hearings on the grounds that "Memogate" constitutes tampering with a presidential election. In a perfect world, that would indeed happen.

All questions currently being put to Dan Rather or the CBS network are met with stubborn stonewalling. I have never heard so many contorted ways of dancing around questions without answering. Of course, a direct answer would screw him either way. There are only two possible scenarios. Either Rather was duped, or he's lying. Neither alternative is attractive to a "news legend." Hence, all his responses boil down to "These documents are authentic because I say so." Nice try, Dan, but we're not all that stupid.

Can you imagine the CBS suits, including Old Man Dan, actually having to sit down and answer questions if indeed the Congressional hearings come to pass? I would pay admission to watch that show. The news anchorman who brings down presidencies, brought down by his own deviousness and arrogance--it would be quite a trip on the Karma train.

Stay tuned...

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Body Count

For those Americans who might be debating their presidential vote for the November election, it may help to review the chronology of attacks perpetrated upon Americans by radical Arab Islamists in order to retrace the path that led us to Iraq.

Let’s start on April 18, 1983. What, over 20 years ago, you ask? Sadly, yes, Americans were already dying in the radical Islamic war against us, although we were asleep at the switch and didn’t realize the evil that was bearing down upon us and seeking our destruction.

On April 18, 1983, the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, was bombed, killing all 63 occupants of the building, including 17 Americans. On October 23, 1983, over 240 U.S. Marines were murdered in their barracks in Beirut by a truck bomb at 6:22 on Sunday morning.

Move ahead to December 1988. Pan Am Flight 103, over Lockerbie, Scotland, was blown to fragments by a terrorist bomb. The death toll was every person on the plane, 259 innocent people, plus eleven innocents on the ground.

In February, 1993, the terrorists got ambitious and tried to blow up the World Trade Center in New York. They miscalculated their logistics and had to settle for a disappointing toll of six people dead.

It is said that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Left unaccountable to the United States for their evil actions, the terrorists would return.

On June 25, 1996, Islamic terrorists exploded a fuel truck at the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia at Building #131 in the housing complex. This eight story building mostly housed United States Air Force personnel from the 4404th Fighter Wing. In all, 19 U.S. servicemen and one Saudi were killed and 372 wounded .

Facing no consequences from the United States in the wake of these atrocities, Islamic terrorists grew bolder and stepped up the pace of their brutal attacks. In August 1998, terrorists bombed the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, resulting in 224 dead.

On October 12, 2000, the USS Cole was bombed in the water as it refueled in Yemen. Seventeen U.S. sailors died.

On September 11, 2001, the World Trade Center was again attacked in New York City, NY, this time by radical Arab Islamic terrorists hijacking jet airplanes. The Pentagon was attacked in similar fashion, and United Airlines Flight 93 went down in a Pennsylvania field because the courageous Americans onboard fought to defend their lives and country.

Nearly 3,000 innocent Americans were slaughtered in little more than an hour on 9/11.

The people of the United States were forced to realize that, although we had not sought war, war had long ago been declared upon us by hate-filled fanatics. War had been thrust upon us by Islamic fanatics both dangerous in their blind hatred and determined in their will to destroy us.

The beheadings of Daniel Pearl, Nick Berg, Paul Johnson showed us the evil, cowardly depths to which our enemy will sink.

And so, we fight. We fight to protect our homeland, our families and loved ones, our way of life, and our freedom. America began its stand in Afghanistan, with stunning success, in a battle that to date has cost 135 brave American lives. In Iraq, the tragic toll changes daily; today’s official tally was 1,018 of American’s courageous young people.

Using basic arithmetic, the above record tallies nearly 5,000 innocent American lives--men and women of the United States who have been slaughtered by the followers of radical Islam, all in the name of Allah. Being such religious folks, they would dearly love to see many millions more of us infidel Americans dead.

Americans are fully alert to the danger now, as a nation and a people. The U.S. military and its alliance of coalition forces is doing the hard work of ensuring that the butchering of Americans has become a much more difficult task for the Islamic killers.

Health care, jobs, the economy, certainly are all important issues facing us today. But if Denver or St. Louis or Milwaukee vanishes under a mushroom cloud, I doubt many of us will be debating Medicare benefits. If Chicago or New York or Los Angeles suffers a smallpox epidemic, not many Americans will be fretting about the quarterly job statistics.

There is no luxury of denying that we are in a fight for our survival against the Islamic murderers. It’s time to re-elect a strong leader, one who has proven he knows how to take the fight downtown on the terrorists’ turf.

This is real. This is war. Help defend America by voting for President Bush.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Footprints of 9/11

Yesterday, there were nearly a dozen New York City firefighters in the San Diego area, helping to rebuild houses destroyed by last October's wildfires. Their visit was organized by the New York Says Thank You Foundation, an organization that spends each 9/11 anniversary helping U.S. communities that have been struck by disaster.

It's New York's way of showing appreciation to their fellow countrymen for the outpouring of love and support that followed 9/11.

It's one of the reasons that the terrorists will never win.

The Islamo-Fascists don't "get" America. They hate, resent, and envy us. They delight in seeing any of us dead. But they don't understand us, and they never will.

Americans build, terrorists destroy. Americans liberate, terrorists enslave. Americans look ahead with hope to the future; terrorists look back in anger to the distant past.

There's a brilliant line in Shakespeare's Othello that reads, "The robbed that smiles steals something from the thief." The NYC firefighters who traveled 3,000 miles to learn how to swing hammers under the shimmering California sun have forged another unbreakable link onto the chain of American spirit, goodwill, and generosity. They show, yet again, how the American people can find a way to shed the light of joy and goodness on the blackness of hatred and evil.

They leave footprints in which no terrorist can follow.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Never Forget

Today is 9/11 again.

Three years ago today, Americans were forced to confront the reality that the world has changed. While we were rationalizing, apologizing, analyzing, and excusing terrorist attacks for decades, the Islamic fascists who would like to see all of us dead had been very busy advancing their objectives.

How is it that so many of our countrymen seem to have forgotten? The stirring words that have described 9/11 sound empty now, they've been said so many times. The attacks were brutal, catastrophic, tragic, and all the grim adjectives in between. The word we don't hear often enough is "evil." The attacks were pure evil, perpetrated against innocents by mass murderers who took delight in destroying so many of us.

Never forget the cold deliberation and the fiendish glee of our enemies on that day. Never forget that the battle against Islamic fascists is still in its infancy. Never forget that, unless we kill them first, we are dead at their hands.

Those who rail against "Bush's war" have forgotten this hard fact. Afghanistan and Iraq are merely the first two of many battlefields the U.S. must face in the years ahead, if we are to survive as a nation and a people.

Yes, there is a terrible cost. So many of our brave men and women have died in this conflict. Yet I thank God this country still produces young people of the character and courage it takes to face death as they protect their families and homeland.

We Americans, lost in our lives of leisure and plenty, are noted for our short attention spans and quickly fading memories.

But today is the third anniversary of 9/11. Never forget that the fight is better waged in Fallujah than in Philadelphia.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Circus of the Day

Welcome to today's Major Media Circus--Imaginary Memos From the Left.

I happen to be enough of a fossil to have been typing in the early 1970s. There was no superscript function on any typewriter that I ever worked on, and I worked on plenty, both manual and electric.

If the CBS network thinks it can pass off that sorry excuse of a forgery on President Bush's National Guard documents, it will have to think again. And try to be a little more subtle and creative the next time you try to stuff garbage down the public's throat. In the words of the poet, "Less is more." Try to be less careless, less sloppy, less lazy, and certainly less arrogant.

Did you really think we were going to take your word for it? Have you honestly not figured out that both talk radio and the blogosphere are bursting with smart, savvy journalists, with millions of readers and listeners, who are not going swallow your trash anymore? Can you seriously be that dense, that unaware, that irrelevant?

It seems as though you are determined to lurch and stagger all the way to the November 2 finish line, flailing to prop up John Kerry with one lie after another. Will you always be shocked when the lies shatter under the laser beam scrutiny of new media? Or will you eventually get a clue that your tired tactics are doing more harm than good to your weakling candidate?

Time will tell. Meanwhile, those of us who are tuned in to the other side of the story will continue to enjoy a daily circus, courtesy of Old Media. I'd make popcorn and enjoy the show you're putting on, if only it didn't give me such heartburn and indigestion.

Memo to CBS: You blew it.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

A Killer By Any Other Name...

….is still a murderer.

In the case of the slaughtered schoolchildren in Beslan, Russia, the killers are known by any number of euphemistic names in Major Media. They are gently referred to as “Hostage-takers”…”Extremists”…”Attackers”…”Insurgents”…”Rebels”…”Separatists.” It seems that Old Media will go to any lengths to avoid telling the truth about what really happened in that school at the hands of yes, say it: Islamic Terrorists.

They are brutal, cold-blooded murderers. They are sick in their souls, if indeed they possess souls, and subhuman in their emotional and intellectual processes.

And these are the creatures with which John Kerry would have us wage “a more sensitive war.” Merciful God, please protect us from such a stupid leader at this critical time in our history.

I have a few names for these subhuman beings. Monster is not strong enough. Butcher? There’s truth to it. Honestly, I think perhaps we’ve reached a stage in history where we need a new word to describe a creature that would deliberately torture, stab, shoot, or blow up hundreds of innocent children.

In the mean while, the term “Islamic Terrorist” will suffice.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

What's News?

Okay, I realize that Hurricane Frances needed some air time. It burned eight-plus minutes on the CBS Evening News. The possible capture of an Iraqi kingpin captured about half that length of time, as did the Muslim terrorist attack on a Russian school that resulted in the brutal deaths of so many children.

There was gushing coverage of Bill Clinton's heart troubles and his upcoming surgery, then a terse mention of President Bush's "missing records" from the National Guard that "may not be found." (I waited in vain for the theme from "Jaws" to play).

As for the upcoming national election, and President Bush's double-digit lead in the latest polls--What? Hello? Did you say something? Election? What election?

Kerry? Who? JOHN Kerry? Do you mean the guy who's running for president? The guy whose military records are being investigated at this moment by the U.S. Navy? Oh, no, sorry. CBS didn't mention him at all tonight. It was as though I was back in that Alternate Universe for a half hour.

So please tell me, Major Media, what constitutes news these days? From the looks of things on the evening news, just those things you'd like me to know and nothing more.