by Inlander Staff Back in Dixie -- Could it be that the self-righteous suits and stars of country music are out of step with their fans? It kind of looks that way, now that the Dixie Chicks are back on the road after Natalie Maines' poor choice of words during a concert in England just before Gulf War II started. Apparently, most fans are willing to forgive the Chicks -- even if their fellow singers seemed to want to back over them with their Dodges.
But according to the Associated Press, a lone protester showed up outside the band's sold-out show in Orlando, Fla., last week. Six others milled around trying to sell their tickets. But country radio apparently won't let the brouhaha die down, as the AP reported earlier this week that two DJs at a Colorado Springs station were suspended by their bosses for violating the station's no-Dixie Chicks policy.
Top Gun -- If something bothered you about the president's victory speech turning into a publicity stunt but you couldn't put your finger on why, leave it to the New York Times' Paul Krugman, who recently pointed out why presidents shouldn't wear flight suits. "The Constitution declares the president commander in chief of the armed forces to make it clear that civilians, not the military, hold ultimate authority. That's why American presidents traditionally make a point of avoiding military affectations. Dwight Eisenhower was a victorious general and John Kennedy a genuine war hero, but while in office neither wore anything that resembled military garb."
Much was made of the fact that the speech delayed by a day the landing of the USS Abraham Lincoln after it set the mark for the Navy's longest deployment in 30 years. That's the least of the inconvenience those troops will likely experience in Bush's wake, however, as a controversial feature of his budget aims to cut benefits for military personnel to the tune of about $29 million over the next 10 years.
Give It Back -- The Gray Panthers, a 20,000-member strong group that aims to clean up corporate fraud, issued an ultimatum recently to politicians who have taken tainted money. Specifically, in a full-page ad in a recent edition of Roll Call, a newspaper read by Capitol Hill insiders, the Panthers singled out nine members of Congress, including Washington state's own Doc Hastings, for taking contributions from WorldCom, now called MCI. The Panthers say the politicians in question should return those campaign contributions.
"WorldCom can change its name, but not the facts -- $11 billion in fraud. Nine members of Congress took WorldCom PAC money while their state pensioners lost $503 million," reads the ad. "Why isn't Congress prosecuting corporate criminals, instead of accepting their 'dirty money?' "