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Issue: "Attacking the future now," Feb. 22, 2003
north korea: un-moved
Mohamed ElBaradei is one busy man, thanks to simultaneous weapons lawbreaking on the part of Iraq and North Korea. The International Atomic Energy Agency chief held off reporting on Iraq long enough to declare North Korea in possession of a nuclear program that violates United Nations rules. He said North Korea is only a "month or two" away from producing enough plutonium to make nuclear weapons. At the same time, Defense Intelligence Agency director Vice Adm. Lowell Jacoby told Congress that North Korea has an untested ballistic missile capable of delivering those weapons to the western United States. "Untested" means its flight path might not be true. But don't breathe easy, Californians. What's already tested is the inability of UN negotiators to force dictators to give up their arms. That is why the Pentagon quietly put U.S. bombers on alert in the Pacific last week. "We are dealing with an unpredictable regime and a regime that seems to be moving along a ladder of escalation," said Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz. He said the United States wants "to make sure that North Korea doesn't do anything adventurous or dangerous of a military kind."
greenspan's red light?
Told you so, crowed liberal newspaper editorials after Fed chairman Alan Greenspan publicly raised doubts about the need for President Bush's tax-relief and economic-stimulus plan. In his semi-annual state-of-the-economy testimony to Congress, Mr. Greenspan said he was concerned about rising deficits and said any tax cuts ought to be "paid for" elsewhere in the budget. Democrats spun the comments ("the kiss of death" for tax relief) as furiously as Mr. Greenspan backpedaled in day two of his Capitol Hill testimony. "We've been talking about taxes all along. Nobody has mentioned spending," he protested on a day of triumphant newspaper headlines-"Greenspan advises putting tax cuts on hold" (USA Today), "Greenspan Throws Cold Water on Bush Arguments for Tax Cut" (The New York Times), and "Good for Mr. Greenspan" (The Washington Post). Lost in most of the coverage was the Fed chairman's warnings about Congress's reluctance to "constrain spending," and his endorsement of ending the double tax on dividends. When his turn came, House Financial Services Committee ranking Democrat Barney Frank told Mr. Greenspan: "I'm disappointed."
duct and cover
After the White House declared a "Code Orange" terrorism threat level on Feb. 12-the highest state of alert since 9/11-The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times the next day all carried front-page images of Humvees equipped with anti-aircraft missiles guarding the nation's capital. The high alert should stay in effect for weeks. Federal officials struggled with how to warn the public without provoking panic. They settled on advising a three-day supply of food and water, plus plastic sheeting and duct tape to mitigate a chemical- or biological-weapons attack. Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge recommended that delivery trucks be barred from underground parking garages. Hoteliers are supposed to inspect all cars, and office tower managers should guard their doors and monitor their heating and air-conditioning ducts.
the estrada straddle
Tom Daschle-busted down last fall from Senate majority leader to Senate minority leader-put on display the skills that likely led to the demotion: obstructionism. Sen. Daschle (D-S.D.) maintained enough of a grip on his caucus to block a Senate vote on President Bush's nomination of Miguel Estrada to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Democrats demanded release of legal memos Mr. Estrada wrote while working in the Clinton Justice Department-and they threatened to filibuster the nomination until they get their hands on them. The White House didn't budge, and backed its position by releasing a letter from all seven living former solicitors general (three of whom served President Clinton) opposing release of the documents to protect "confidentiality and integrity of internal deliberations." Meantime, Republicans work behind the scenes to pick off six more Democrats (they had only three last week) to force a vote that would end the stalling tactic.
playing through
Martha Burk is preparing her troops for noisy protests at the men-only Master's at Augusta National in April. LPGA superstar Annika Sorenstam's "protest" will be on the fairways of the Colonial in May: She will tee off with men in a PGA event, the first time since Babe Didrikson Zaharias (1945) that a woman has competed at the PGA level. Ms. Sorenstam over the past two years has won more tournaments than the undisputed best golfer in the game, Tiger Woods, who says it is "great" that she is playing: "But-this is the 'but' part-it will only be great for women's golf if she plays well. I think if she goes out there and puts up two high scores ... it's going to be more detrimental than it's going to be any good." There is no talk of WNBA players breaking into the NBA, but the greatest basketball player, Michael Jordan, is breaking out of the sport-for the third time, but this time for good. One last hurrah came just a few days before his 40th birthday. Mr. Jordan scored 20 points during the NBA All-Star game and topped Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for most points in the event's history: "It felt good just being out there." The legend is expected to wrap up this year as quietly as possible, avoiding long goodbyes and flattering tributes.

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