Jewish World Review June 11, 2003 / 11 Sivan, 5763

Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby
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Consumer Reports

Musings, random and otherwise

http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | If Surgeon General Richard Carmona gets his way, the nearly one in four American adults who smoke will be deprived of a right that even a prisoner of war is entitled to.

Carmona told Congress this week he favors a ban on all tobacco products. ''I see no need for any tobacco products in society,'' he said, as if the lack of ''need'' is a good reason to prohibit a product that millions of Americans peacefully enjoy.

But you don't have to be a smoker to recognize that for some people, the need to smoke can at times be acute - so acute that access to tobacco rises to the level of a human right. An exaggeration? Here is Article 26 of the Geneva Convention, which sets the standard for the treatment of POWs: ''Sufficient drinking water shall be supplied to prisoners of war. The use of tobacco shall be permitted.''

As if the mass graves containing the remains of so many Iraqi men and women weren't horrific enough, now comes word of a grave filled with children.

''This is different from other mass graves discovered since the fall of Saddam,'' the Kurdish newspaper Taakhi reported, ''because it contains the remains of 200 child victims of the repression of the Kurdish uprising in 1991.'' Found among the corpses were dolls; the little girls who owned them must have been clutching them when they died.

Each of those children, like each of the other victims whose remains have been found in mass graves, deserves a decent reburial in an individual grave. Thousands of people will have to labor for weeks to dig those graves, and US and British occupation authorities should waste no time handing out shovels to the most appropriate gravediggers: the 30,000 or so Iraqis who used to belong to the Ba'ath Party elite. There is no better way to begin the de-Ba'athification of Iraq than by making those who sustained Saddam's regime confront the enormity of what their collaboration made possible.

''There is significant evidence that moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages may reduce the risk of heart disease.'' That is a perfectly true statement of medical fact. But a winemaker that printed those words on its labels would be prosecuted by the US government, which bars any mention of health benefits on alcoholic products.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute, a Washington think-tank that supports free speech and free markets, plans to challenge the government's ban in court. Here's hoping it prevails. After all, it shouldn't be illegal for a manufacturer to tell the truth. Not if the First Amendment means what it says.

Another day, another University of Massachusetts poll purporting to show that Bay State voters would rather plug the Commonwealth's fiscal hole with higher taxes than with lower spending. By my count, this is the third UMass poll on tax hikes vs. spending cuts this year, and according to Thursday's story in the Globe, 47 percent of respondents now want their taxes to go up while only 29 percent want the state budget to go down.

I'd be more inclined to trust these numbers if they came from a poll sponsored by an institution that didn't have a vested interest in higher government spending. Considering that 46 percent of Bay State voters wanted to eliminate the state income tax entirely in November, I'm skeptical that a similar percentage is now ready for heavier taxes.

According to a report just issued by the scrupulously nonpartisan Massachusetts Institute for a New Commonwealth, state residents list ''the amount of taxes an average family has to pay'' as one of the five worst things about life in this state. Those findings are borne out by the Tax Foundation, which reports that Massachusetts has the fifth-highest per-capita tax burden in the country. ''Taxachusetts'' isn't just a nickname. It's reality.

It was a dark road and a drizzly night, and the pedestrian crossing the street in the middle of the block came thisclose to getting hit by my car as I made my way in the gloom. Why? Because he was dressed in black from head to toe, and I couldn't see him until the last minute.

''Wear white at night'' was one of the pedestrian-safety rules diligently impressed on the kids at the Ohio elementary school I attended. Like others I recall (''Walk on the left facing traffic,'' ''Never dart between parked cars''), it was emblazoned on classroom posters the American Automobile Association used to publish each year. Don't grade schools teach these rules any more?

More than 5,500 pedestrians - one-seventh of them children - are killed on American roads every year; another 80,000 are injured. Most of the fatalities occur at night, and there's no telling how many could be prevented with a simple change of wardrobe. OK, wearing white at night may be uncool. Getting run over by a car is definitely worse.

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Jeff Jacoby is a Boston Globe columnist. Comment by clicking here.

06/09/03: A growing rift with Europe
05/27/03: Preferences, racial and otherwise
05/23/03: The bottom line for teachers unions
05/12/03: Castro's cheerleaders
05/08/03: In 'enlightened' New England, it hurts to give
05/06/03: Help the living before the dead
04/25/03: The search for the 'smoking gun'
04/21/03: Trading truth for access?
04/14/03: Kerry's abortion litmus test
04/11/03: Meanwhile, in Cuba, the tyranny goes on
04/07/03: Explaining the war to a six-year-old
03/31/03: Empowering a terroristocracy in the name of 'peace'?
03/27/03: America the liberator
03/10/03: THE UNITED NATIONS, RIP
03/10/03: Changing the definition of marriage
03/07/03: Liberate Iraq -- even with unclean hands
03/03/03: Why talk radio tilts right
02/21/03: A boost for Saddam
02/10/03: On outing Kerry
02/06/03: The neverending voyage
02/03/03: This hasn't been a 'rush to war'
01/31/03: Killing the terror regimes
01/29/03: How not to win the war
01/24/03: The UN's moral irrelevance
01/22/03: Musings, random and otherwise
01/17/03: The Sharpton hypocrisy
01/13/03: The fig leaf of 'diversity'
01/10/03: Israeli restraint makes terrorism more likely
01/02/03: The double standard on political hate speech
12/30/02: Good for the spirit, good for the body
12/23/02: The college president who owes a greater duty to a fugitive serial killer than the public or to the law
12/20/02: The death penalty by the numbers
12/16/02: Yes, Virginia, there is (still) a liberal media bias
12/03/02: On the brink of regime change --- in Iran
11/27/02: Light's victory over darkness
11/25/02: A 'Republican' lesson from a Democratic convention
11/22/02: The slippery senator
11/18/02: The campus 'diversity' fraud
11/14/02: MURDER AT A KIBBUTZ
11/01/02: Saddam's shop of horrors
10/24/02: Musings, random and otherwise
10/17/02: Jimma's ignoble prize
10/14/02: New Jersey's bigot laureate
10/11/02: Today it is libs who are most likely to demand the silencing of speech they disapprove of
10/04/02: Learning English from Day 1
09/30/02: The world will follow us to war
09/27/02: The face of antisemitism
09/20/02: Starving time in Zimbabwe
09/14/02: Against moral confusion / 9-12-2002
09/03/02: With 'eternal friends' like these
08/30/02: Enriching survivors was a costly mistake
08/26/02: John Kerry's absent passion
08/23/02: Bonnie, get your gun
08/19/02: A screenwriter's remorse
07/29/02: The real abortion extremists
07/26/02: Another round of Kemp-Roth
07/19/02: Jews among Arabs, Arabs among Jews
07/15/02: Musings, random and otherwise
07/12/02: The new civil rights champions
07/03/02: Riding the rails
07/01/02: The prerequisite to peace
06/24/02: Frisking AlGore
06/17/02: Offense, not defense, is the key to homeland security
06/14/02: Looking at the horror
06/07/02: The cost of a death-penalty moratorium
06/03/02: Executing 'children,' and other death-penalty myths
05/29/02: A real threat?
05/24/02: The message in Arafat's headdress
05/20/02: (Mis)playing the popularity card
05/10/02: Outspoken, Muslim -- and moderate
05/10/02: The heroes in Castro's jails
05/06/02: The disappearing history term paper
05/03/02: Musings, random and otherwise
04/29/02: The canary in Europe's mine
04/15/02: Powell's crazy mission
04/12/02: The slavery reparations hustle
04/08/02: Peace at any price = war
03/26/02: Decency matters most, Caleb
03/22/02: The U.S. embargo and Cuba's future
03/19/02: The keepers of Cuba's conscience
03/15/02: A walk in Havana
02/26/02: Buchanan's lament
02/12/02: What 'peace' means to Arafat
02/08/02: STEVEN EMERSON AND THE NPR BLACKLIST
02/05/02: Antismoking: Who pays?
02/01/02: Turn the Saudis
01/25/02: Making MLK cry
01/21/02: Ted to tax cut: Drop dead
01/18/02: Musings random and otherwise
01/14/02: An ultimatum to Saudi Arabia
01/11/02: Friendship, Saudi-style
01/07/02: Shakedown at Harvard
01/04/02: More guns, more safety
01/02/02: Smears and slanders from the Left
12/28/01: Congress gives to others -- and itself
12/24/01: The littlest peacemakers
12/20/01: How to condemn terror
12/18/01: Greenland once was
12/14/01: Parents who never said ''no''
12/11/01: Wit and (economic) wisdom
12/07/01: THE PALESTINIANS' MYTH
12/04/01: The war against Israel goes on
11/30/01: Tribunals, motorcycles -- and freedom
11/19/01: Friendship and the House of Saud
11/12/01: The Justice Department's unjust monopoly
11/09/01: Muslim, but not extremist
11/02/01: Too good for Oprah
10/29/01: Journalism and the 'neutrality fetish'
10/26/01: Derail these subsidies
10/22/01: Good and evil in the New York Times
10/15/01: Rush Limbaugh's ear
10/08/01: With allies like these
10/01/01: An unpardonable act
09/28/01: THE CENSORS ARE COMING! THE CENSORS ARE COMING!
09/25/01: Speaking out against terror
09/21/01: What the terrorists saw
09/17/01: Calling evil by its name
09/13/01: Our enemies mean what they say
09/04/01: The real bigots
08/31/01: Shrugging at genocide
08/28/01: Big Brother's privacy -- or ours?
08/24/01: The mufti's message of hate
08/21/01: Remembering the 'Wall of Shame'
08/16/01: If I were the editor ...
08/14/01: If I were the Transportation Czar ...
08/10/01: Import quotas 'steel' from us all
08/07/01: Is gay "marriage" a threat?
08/03/01: A colorblind nominee
07/27/01: Eminent-domain tortures
07/24/01: On protecting the flag ... and drivers ... and immigrants
07/20/01: Dying for better mileage
07/17/01: Why Americans would rather drive
07/13/01: Do these cabbies look like bigots?
07/10/01: 'Defeated in the bedroom'
07/06/01: Who's white? Who's Hispanic? Who cares?
07/02/01: Big(oted) man on campus
06/29/01: Still appeasing China's dictators
06/21/01: Cuban liberty: A test for Bush
06/19/01: The feeble 'arguments' against capital punishment
06/12/01: What energy crisis?
06/08/01: A jewel in the crown of self-government
05/31/01: The settlement myth
05/25/01: An award JFK would have liked
05/22/01: No Internet taxes? No problem
05/18/01: Heather has five mommies (and a daddy)
05/15/01: An execution, not a lynching
05/11/01: Losing the common tongue
05/08/01: Olympics 2008: Say no to Beijing
05/04/01: Do welfare mothers a kindness: Make them work
05/01/01: Another man's child
04/24/01: Sharon should have said no
04/02/01: The Inhumane Society
03/30/01: To have a friend, Caleb, be a friend
03/27/01: Is Chief Wahoo racist?
03/22/01: Ending the Clinton appeasement
03/20/01: They're coming for you
03/16/01: Kennedy v. Kennedy
03/13/01: We should see McVeigh die
03/09/01: The Taliban's wrecking job
03/07/01: The No. 1 reason to cut taxes
03/02/01: A Harvard candidate's silence on free speech
02/27/01: A lesson from Birmingham jail
02/20/01: How Jimmy Carter got his good name back
02/15/01: Cashing in on the presidency
02/09/01: The debt for slavery -- and for freedom
02/06/01: The reparations calculation
02/01/01: The freedom not to say 'amen'
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01/26/01: Good-bye, good riddance
01/23/01: When everything changed (mostly for the better)
01/19/01: The real zealots
01/16/01: Pardon Clinton?
01/11/01: The fanaticism of Linda Chavez
01/09/01: When Jerusalem was divided
01/05/01 THEY NEVER FORGOT THEE, O JERUSALEM
12/29/00 Liberal hate speech, 2000
12/15/00Does the Constitution expect poor children be condemned to lousy government schools?
12/08/00 Powell is wrong man to run State Department
12/05/00 The 'MCAS' teens give each other
12/01/00 Turning his back on the Vietnamese -- again
11/23/00 Why were the Pilgrims thankful?
11/21/00 The fruit of this 'peace process' is war
11/13/00 Unleashing the lawyers
11/17/00 Gore's mark on history
40 reasons to say NO to Gore

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