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Jewish World Review Nov. 15, 2001 / 29 Mar-Cheshvan, 5762

Tony Snow

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Musings -- THE war on terror continues to produce a bumper crop of panic stories. Here are three of my recent favorites. Mitchell Fink of the New York Daily News reports that CNN Founder Ted Turner has produced a video slated for broadcast at the end of the world. The farewell features a recording of "Nearer, My G-d to Thee" and a picture of a rippling American flag. CNN employees have been ordered to keep the tape under wraps until the world ends.

Livingston County Michigan officials have taken swift and decisive action against anthrax. They have banned powdered donuts from government buildings after sugar from one of the tasties appeared on a cafeteria floor ... prompting a 911 call from a frightened worker. In the interests of restoring public order, the county also may put the kabosh on sugar substitutes and coffee creamers. And finally, there's a false internet rumor that seven women have died from inhaling anthrax-laced perfume. The good news is that it's still safe to smell good.

New York voters struck a mighty blow last week for political correctness. They agreed to amend their 244-year-old state constitution. They're going to strike all references to "man" and insert the word, "human," instead replace "fireman" with "firefighter" and attach a feminine pronoun to the words "he" and "him."

No doubt, voters thought they were aiding the cause of equality, but in truth, they were making fools of themselves. If you trace the words involved back to their roots, you'll find that the Empire State has just taken a great leap backward.

The word, man, derives from old Germanic roots -- referring to all people. The term was gender neutral. In contrast, the word, human, it has Latin roots, and it originally made the rounds as a description of traits befitting the male of the species. As it turns out, then, the linguistic swap not only makes the New York Constitution sound artificial, stilted and clumsy. It also gives women the heave-ho. Ah, feminism!

Thomas L. Morris called an emergency operator early on the morning of October twenty first. He complained of shortness of breath, adding "I feel like I might just pass out and stuff if I stand up too long, so I'm just chillin'."

Morris worked at a Washington, D.C. post office, and suggested, "I might have been exposed to anthrax." He gave the name of his insurer, said his doctor had told him he probably just had the flu, reported that his supervisors said powder at the facility had tested negative for anthrax -- and closed the conversation with a polite thank-you. That night, he died.

One feels a heartbreaking helplessness listening to his 911 tape. His doctor, colleagues, supervisors and family all tried to do the right thing, but he fell victim to sheer bad luck. Health care officials, stunned by his death, later made changes that could save others from bio-terror. So as his wife weeps, the rest of us ought to say: G-d bless you, Thomas Morris, and thank you.

Usama bin Laden has issued a couple more diatribes -- this time, adding the United Nations to his list of targets. I suppose it should have frightened or alarmed us, but I found the whole thing an annoyance and a bore. No doubt the man is serious about slaughtering innocents, but for what?

A bin Laden paradise is a normal person's nightmare -- a planet soaked in blood and ruled by despots, a place that despises life and worships death. bin Laden's going to lose because he wants not heaven on earth, but hell and because his delusional universe bears so little resemblance to the one in which the rest of us live. Each sunrise and sunset refutes bin Ladenism; so do all the little blessings that come our way each day. Remember that the next time you feel a pang of fear.

The man will lose because he's deeply nuts and because 5 billion other people know it.

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