- The Washington Times - Friday, July 2, 2004

Nobles: Thunder the Labrador, for a priceless retrieval.

On Tuesday evening, an awful Amber Alert went out into southern Indiana. Daisy Smith, a toddling blond 2-year-old, had disappeared from her Bethlehem home, near the Ohio River. She had been last seen with another toddler of sorts: Thunder, a 1-year-old black Labrador.

Search teams went out, but no one could find Daisy. Almost 100 area residents dropped everything to look for her through the night. As Mike Hutsell, an assistant sports editor with the Evening News of Jeffersonville, Ind., wrote: “Tuesday was marked by selfless acts of hundreds from all stops of the local area … jumping into their vehicles in the middle of a weeknight just hoping they could do something, anything, that would bring a young girl back home.” Mr. Hutsell himself joined the search. The searchers did not know that Thunder was keeping a close watch on Daisy.

The next morning, Daisy was found by conservation officer Andy Crozier. He followed the tracks of the two along the river. Daisy was sitting scant feet from the water, and Thunder was at her side. When Mr. Crozier approached, Thunder rose to protect her. Authorities had to calm the Labrador down before they could bring Daisy home.

The locals who joined in the all-night search for Daisy showed the best sort of citizenship, but Thunder kept Daisy safe through the sleepless night. Thunder’s guardianship was a large part of the reason Daisy was retrieved. As a colleague of Mr. Crozier said, “This girl has a guardian angel.”

For the love of a Labrador and the guardianship of a lion, Thunder is the Noble of the week.

Knaves: Former President Jimmy Carter, for using the funeral of a child to launch a fusillade against the Bush administration.

On June 23, 13-year-old Mattie Stepanek, an inspirational poet and voice of muscular dystrophy sufferers, died of that disease. During his tragically short life, Mattie had corresponded with Mr. Carter. On Tuesday, Mr. Carter gave the eulogy at Mattie’s funeral.

Mr. Carter decided that the funeral was a fitting place to castigate Mr. Bush for his policies in Iraq. As the Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto noted, Mr. Carter recalled that Mattie had “burst into uncontrollable sobs and grief” upon hearing news of the Iraq invasion, and then recited from a letter that Mattie had sent him criticizing the war.

Mr. Carter has long transgressed the tradition that White House predecessors do not publicly criticize the current president. He accepted the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, even though the Nobel committee meant the award as an explicit slap at the Bush administration. In March of this year, he told the Independent of London that the war in Iraq was “Based on lies and misinterpretations from London and Washington.”

There is no reason — there can be no excuse — for a political execration during a child’s eulogy. For shocking sacrilege, Mr. Carter is the knave of the week.

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