From Afghan “Primary” to the Atoms Family

Primary predate: With so many senators doing a drive-by lay-of-the-landing in Afghanistan, it’s beginning to look like the first primary of the 2004 presidential race. So where’s Al Gore? Would he have to shave for a better fit with post-Taliban fashion?

Plane speaking: If an airline pilot says he’s uncomfortable with paperwork and the deportment of a man of Middle Eastern descent who’s armed and says he’s with the Secret Service, and you’re about to board that American Airlines’ plane, who do you side with? Thought so.

Born (Suit) Free: The U.S. continues to reign, of course, as the world’s most litigious nation. No one is close. But not even in the U.S. has a court ruled that a person has a right not to be born — and a concomitant right to sue for being brought into this world.

But that’s what a French court ruled in the case of a boy who was born deaf, nearly blind and retarded. His mother said she would have aborted him had doctors correctly diagnosed her German measles when she was pregnant.

But tragedy and heartache do not excuse flawed law and perilous precedent. The French National Assembly has approved a bill overturning that decision. States the bill: “No one can sue for damages for the sole fact of their birth.”

Imagine having to actually codify that concept. Only — to date — in France.

Driven to extremes: How ironic — and unsettling — is it that Charles Bishop, the 15 year old who flew a plane into a Tampa skyscraper, had to get his grandmother to drive him to his flying lesson? And she had done so before, when he was 14.

Bishop was too young to be at the wheel of a car but old enough to be at the controls of a plane. Anyone want to revisit this logic?

Drawing conclusions: Please, no more Defense Department-doctored photos of a westernized Osama bin Laden as he might look on the lam. Is the generic geek look some sort of dead give-away? It makes it too easy for those too easily disposed to dismiss legitimate evidence, such as videos and hard drive information, as the devious work of American infidels. Save it for Comedy Central and Jay Leno’s “Where’s bin Laden been hidin’.”

Flag flap: Not everything that is run up a flagpole is salute-able. Case in point: the flap over the 19-foot bronze sculpture that ostensibly replicates the famous photo of the three New York firefighters raising the flag at the World Trade Center.

A major liberty was taken, it turns out, in moving between mediums, and it has nothing to do with artistic license. It has, however, everything to do with assuring and enshrining political correctness. Not even the trauma, tragedy and sanctity of Sept. 11 is immune from the PC police, because the photo depicts three white firefighters — members of a fire department that is 93 per cent white. It’s a sensitive issue. As a result, two of those firefighters have now morphed into a black and a Hispanic.

If the controversial sculpture hadn’t been based on an actual, historic photo, then no harm, no foul, no problem. In fact, had that been the case, why not show a black, a white and a Hispanic firefighter? It would symbolically honor all those who made the supreme sacrifice.

But there’s this famous photo of three white firefighters. It was these three, actual, New York firefighters who historically hoisted that flag. Not three demographically acceptable figures. What those firefighters did was symbolic; who they were wasn’t.

Atoms Family values: Is this a definition of obscene or what? India, which can’t quite feed itself and leads the world in the number of people who live on traffic islands, has a defense budget of $15.6 billion. Pakistan, smaller but no better off, prioritizes defense to the tune of $2.6 billion annually.

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