Ross Mackenzie

Things comforting and curious on the landscape during the past several weeks. . .

A panel of the Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has provided good news for the good guys in the War on Terror. It has found that military tribunals are just fine for terrorist combatants held abroad in time of war. They do not have rights of access to U.S. civilian courts.

Wrote Judge Raymond Randolph for the 2-1 majority: "Precedent in this court and the Supreme Court holds that the Constitution does not confer rights on aliens without property or presence within the United States." Makes sense. But will the Supremes, known to live in a world of increasingly bizarre contradiction, agree with the D.C. Circuit panel that enemy combatants have no rights under the U.S. Constitution?

Way-left radio network Air America, conceived three years ago as an antidote to phenomenally successful conservative talk radio, has escaped extinction in the nick of time. Investment mogul Stephen Green has ponied up to buy the network for a fire-sale price. With an audience never more than one-tenth that of Rush Limbaugh's alone, Air America will limp along - albeit without its top funnyman, Al Franken. He has decided to seek employment in the U.S. Senate, where the ever-so-serious solons daily outdo themselves providing fodder for Jay Leno and Saturday Night Live.

And speaking of radio, XM and Sirius have agreed to merge into a single satellite-radio company, the only one in the business - i.e., a monopoly. Meaning the two competitors will have high hurdles to clear in convincing regulators at the Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission that consumers would benefit from a merged monopoly company charging unregulated monopoly prices. Yet maybe the media market is changing so rapidly that only a merged company has any chance to survive.

Apparently to demonstrate how sexually transmitted diseases are spread, a speaker visiting Montgomery County (Maryland) high-school sex-ed classes encouraged about 100 students to share the same piece of chewing gum. Parents, health officials, and students didn't think a whole lot of the exercise. Said one 15-year-old sophomore: "It was fine for me, because my best friend and me did it first. But it was kind of gross for everyone else." The speaker will have plenty of time to chew on the consequent disinvitation to follow-up appearances.

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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