Continuing a legacy of putting out a daily newspaper during every major conflict since the Civil War, Stars and Stripes, an independent daily distributed to U.S. military personnel and their families, is gearing up for another war.
A Stars and Stripes news bureau was established in Kuwait two months ago and the newspaper's reporters have been on the ground with the military for several weeks now, covering troop movements.
"Our mission is to report about the troops - for the troops and their family members," said Stars and Stripes publisher Thomas Kelsch.
Copies being distributed to troops in the Persian Gulf region are printed at the newspaper's European headquarters near Frankfurt, Germany, and shipped daily by air freight.
"We will deliver the paper to wherever a service member is assigned - at sea, manning a communication site, in (a) rear area logistical center, or manning a tank at the point of conflict," said Stars and Stripes general counsel Max Lederer.
"We were there during the Civil War. We were there serving the doughboys in Paris," Kelsch said. "As troops fought in the Korea and Vietnam wars, we were in the field with them ... If and when U.S. troops invade Iraq, we'll be there, too."
Turkey is certainly posing problems for President Bush.
And not just the country, which still won't allow U.S. troops onto its soil to stage an invasion of Iraq.
Rather, there's sad news to report about a turkey named Zach.
"Within three months of being pardoned by the president, Zach the turkey has died," says People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals' Bruce Friedrich, referring to one of two Thanksgiving turkeys ceremoniously spared the hatchet by Bush in November.
"The sole remaining turkey, Katie," he adds, "was all alone in a 10-by-10 (foot) shed with no way to keep warm, no mental stimulation, not enough straw to build a nest, and shivering in the cold."
So much for greener pastures promised by the president.
"A few years ago, one of the turkeys died the next day," says Friedrich. "On average, the turkeys have lived about six months, according to Mr. Brown."
That would be Todd Brown, manager of Frying Pan Park in Herndon, Va., where the White House turkeys were sent to roost. PETA says it's been working for the past month with the Bush White House to address Frying Pan's turkey problems. Now, Friedrich reports that the Virginia farm has agreed to:
1) Give Katie enough straw to build a nest. 2) Provide a bale of hay to perch atop. 3) Give her a heated barn in the winter. 4) Plant a tree for her to sit beneath. 5) Ensure that Katie gets enough exercise. 6) Put chickens in with her so she'll have some companionship. 7) Feed her a varied diet that she'll enjoy.
"We're delighted that Frying Pan Park has pledged to do all this for her," says Friedrich, adding that turkeys - for those who didn't know - "are more intelligent than cats and as intelligent as dogs."
Here in Washington, Rep. Terry Everett (R-Ala.) has been named the March 2003 Porker of the Month by Citizens Against Government Waste.
Everett had requested $200,000 for a National Peanut Festival arena for elderly and disabled citizens in Dothan, Ala. Wasn't he surprised when the House Appropriations Committee graciously added an additional $2,500 to the project.
Taxpayers across the country who want their money's worth can travel to Dothan on Oct. 31 "to exchange peanut and Spam recipes, as well as view country music performances, livestock, and ultimately the crowning of Miss National Peanut Festival," CAGW said.
REVERSE THE ROLES
We wrote last week that a Kentucky congressman is telling CBS President Leslie Moonves to cancel a new reality television series called "The Real Beverly Hillbillies."
Republican Rep. Harold Rogers says the proposed program, which moves a family from rural Appalachia to a Beverly Hills mansion and tapes their lives for a year, seeks to humiliate and exploit millions of rural Americans.
"Rather than attempting to get CBS to cancel the program ... the obvious response to this is to beat them at their own game," suggests New Jersey attorney Robert E. Martini, one of dozens of readers to weigh in.
"Think of it: CBS's aim is to make a laughing stock of these people as they live their 'hillbilly' lifestyle in the mansion by highlighting their inability to comprehend and acculturate into the lives of the rich and famous," he says.
"They are counting on this being entertaining and the bigger the disparity, the better," Martini says. "If the hillbilly family instead simply adapts to their newfound station in life with modesty and humility, but without any of the 'aw shucks' ... routine that is expected, by CBS anyway, they would quickly become incredibly boring as a TV spectacle."
"And they could do this at CBS's expense," the attorney adds. "Now that is something I would pay to see."
Writes Robert Catherwood: "In a reverse ... why don't they have a show entitled 'The Real Hollywood Elite,' where you take someone like, oh, say Alec Baldwin or Susan Sarandon, and make them live and work in a real job and community. Maybe they would get a clue as to what people who buy movie tickets have to do to support their unrealistic lifestyles."
WHAT'S YOUR FLAVOR?
It's not as easy as being Republican, Democrat or independent.
Americans are finding it increasingly difficult to align themselves with a political party, given the myriad messages, policies and platforms.
Enter William T. Endicott, a Harvard grad who for three decades worked for three congressmen, the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton administration as director of research and analysis in the White House Office of Political Affairs.
Now he's author of the new book An Insider's Guide to Political Jobs in Washington (John Wiley & Sons, $19.95) [buy book], which helps us identify our political stripes.
First, we have "liberal Democrats," who make up 10 percent of registered voters. This group is "consistently liberal" on economic, social and environmental issues.
Then there are "socially conservative Democrats," who make up 14 percent of registered voters.
"Think of them as latter-day New Dealers," writes Endicott, a group that holds conservative opinions on freedom of expression, homosexuality and immigrants but has strong ties to unions. More financially satisfied than other Democrats, they've been known to vote Republican. These were the Reagan Democrats.
Next is Bill Clinton's base, the "new Democrats," who make up 9 percent of registered voters. This bunch, three-quarters of whom almost always vote, have less compassion for the disadvantaged than other Democrats.
Finally, there is the "partisan poor" wing of the Democratic Party: racially mixed social-welfare loyalists who look to the government for solutions. They make up 10 percent of voters.
Republicans, similarly, "come in a variety of flavors," Endicott writes.
You've got the "staunch Conservatives," white male hard-liners, who make up 12 percent of registered voters. Ninety percent of this group always or nearly always vote.
Then we have "moderate Republicans," who are affluent centrists and generally pro-environmentalist. This group is less critical of Uncle Sam, makes up 12 percent of the voting bloc and is less loyal to the Republican Party.
"Populist Republicans," meanwhile, are often characterized as the Republicans' "poor cousins." This group makes up 10 percent of voters, and is highly religious and socially conservative. Members "would consider voting for a Democrat," Endicott notes.
Independents, finally, can't be dismissed as bystanders.
Eleven percent of U.S. voters are identified as "new-prosperity independents" - young to middle-aged Americans whose affluence, Internet savvy and investments "lead them to strongly endorse the status quo."
"Disaffecteds," or so-called disaffected voters, make up 10 percent of registered voters. This group is working-class and described as alienated, and votes less than any other group, except for "bystanders."
"Bystanders make up zero percent of registered voters," Endicott concludes, calling them "democracy's dropouts."