Ross Mackenzie

A raft of items worthy of comment in the year's end news...

The quote of the year, surely, comes from a 19-year-old Spec. 4 with uncommon presence of mind - standing over the recently opened spider hole in Iraq. As another U.S. soldier was about to toss a grenade into the hole, a head appeared, preceded by raised hands. The head said, "I am Saddam Hussein, president of Iraq, and I am willing to negotiate." Responded the Spec. 4: "President Bush sends his regards."

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A Chesapeake jury convicted Lee Malvo in the Washington, D.C.-area sniper case. Now it is deciding whether to fry him, which he amply deserves. Those opposing the death penalty in his case, and John Muhammad's, are the same types suggesting Saddam Hussein does not, in fact, define precisely the sort of individual for whom death penalties are designed. John Hinckley, who tried to kill President Reagan, missed the death penalty by reason of insanity (or jurisprudential stupidity), and now is taking weekends under the supervision of his parents.

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Malvo is down, and the fey Saddam and the effete Michael Jackson (with seven counts of child molestation). What's up? The Dow. Two weeks ago it closed above 10,000 for the first time since May 2002. (The Dow initially broke above the 10,000 level in late March 1999.) The economy is hotting up, driving the Dow and other key stock averages skyward. Was anyone, after 9/11, predicting the economy and stock market would take to heart this quickly the cry heard that fateful day, "Let's roll!"?

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Howard Dean is taking some heavy incoming fire from others in the Democratic presidential pack. Joe Lieberman terms Dean "soft on defense and (in his tax policies) hard on the middle class." John Kerry, noting the contradictions in what flows from Dean's mouth, notes Dean said recently (a) "I never said Saddam was a danger to the United States - ever," yet in September 2002, on "Face the Nation" said (b) "There is no question that Saddam Hussein is a threat to the United States. The question is: Is he an immediate threat?"

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Ross Mackenzie

Ross Mackenzie lives with his wife and Labrador retriever in the woods west of Richmond, Virginia. They have two grown sons, both Naval officers.

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