Thursday, July 8, 2004

Think about it

During a question-and-answer session at the Council Bluffs Public Library in Iowa, first lady Laura Bush was asked whether she’s seen Michael Moore‘s so-called documentary, “Fahrenheit 9/11,” which is highly critical of her husband’s administration.

Mrs. Bush: What do you think?

Reporter: I think that you haven’t.

Mrs. Bush: I think that would be right.

Bill to frame

Amount of cash President Bush left this week at a lemonade stand in Raleigh, N.C.: $10.

Southern appeal

Dismayed by “deepening divisions” in America and specifically the South, a dozen prominent white Southerners — historians and academics alike in cahoots with former President Jimmy Carter — have set out to retake the country.

“Of course, other good books dissecting the Bush regime have appeared, but ours will be the first critique of the government coming out of the South’s white liberal tradition, a segment usually lost in the overwhelming tide of the region’s conservatives,” Mildred Inge Wakefield, publicist for “Where We Stand: Voices of Southern Dissent,” tells this column.

The launch of this 12-essay anthology — penned by “not just another bunch of New York liberals,” with the foreword by Mr. Carter — takes place Monday at the National Press Club in Washington.

Among the essayists: John Egerton, author of “The Americanization of Dixie: The Southernization of America”; Dan T. Carter, past president of the Southern Historical Foundation and author of “From George Wallace to Newt Gingrich: Race in the Conservative Counterrevolution, 1963-1994”; and Washington resident Leslie W. Dunbar, director of the Southern Regional Council during the turmoil of the 1960s, who remains closely involved with the cause of Southern democracy (he most recently authored “The Shame of Southern Politics”).

“The modern Republican ideology requires belief in American supremacy — of our power, privilege, morality, of our right, independent of the claims of criticisms of other governments and peoples,” Mr. Dunbar writes.

“The white Southern-led current Republican Party espouses similar unilateralism. It is the old South’s ideology of white supremacy, now writ large and become Republican USA supremacy.”

Man and woman

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Tennessee Republican, will join hands Monday with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Congress of Racial Equality as the Senate begins debate on the Federal Marriage Amendment, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

“Our efforts to let the people decide the future of marriage in America preceded this [2004] election and will continue so long as activists strive to overcome public opinion by striking down our marriage laws in court,” says Matt Daniels, president of the Alliance for Marriage.

He says most Americans think homosexuals “have a right to live as they choose. But they don’t believe they have a right to redefine marriage for our entire society.”

Modern slavery

Congress yesterday took a closer look at human trafficking and slavery — its forms today ranging from forced prostitution and child soldiering to involuntary servitude and sweatshop labor.

The latest State Department “Trafficking in Persons” report identifies up to 800,000 modern-day slaves transported across international borders every year. As many as 17,500 of those are brought into the United States.

Human slavery is the third most lucrative form of trafficking, behind drugs and guns.

Hero preservation

As of yesterday, the official military personnel files of 56 million U.S. veterans who served the nation since 1885 will be permanently preserved in the National Archives after a signing ceremony with John W. Carlin, archivist of the United States.

Preserving the files is considered crucial for not only veterans and their families, but genealogists, biographers and historians.

Euro fawning

“Stirring talent combines with common touch.”

— Headline of this week’s Financial Times of London surrounding John Kerry‘s choice of John Edwards as his running mate.

• John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or

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