Balance Sheet



Choice Chance. A Wisconsin court upholds Milwaukee's school-voucher program. (See "Champion of Choice," Oct.) At least 1,000 poor children can get a real education. And in Oregon, the Educational Choice Initiative qualifies for the November ballot. (See Trends, Jul.) The other NEA heads for cover. About time.

Uncowed. To counter antibiotech hysteria, the Food and Drug Administration comments favorably on a substance still under review. BST, the bovine growth hormone, is safe for humans and cattle. The Journal of the American Medical Association, supporting the FDA's unprecedented move, lambastes biotech opponents who "play on the health and safety fears of the public to further their own ends." Take that, Jeremy Rifkin.

Colorful Language. Rep. Pete Stark (D–Calif.) calls Health and Human Services Secretary Louis Sullivan "a disgrace to his race" because Sullivan opposes national health insurance. Sullivan angrily informs a gathering of black journalists: "I am not a 'good Negro.'…This is a time for independent thinking for blacks and for all minorities." ABC's Brit Hume reports Stark once tried to join the Congressional Black Caucus; he probably shouldn't reapply.

Bash Brothers. Chrysler ads shamelessly bash the Japanese. But the company's business operations are much less xenophobic: It will equip a Chrysler-Mitsubishi assembly plant in Illinois with Japanese metal presses that could have been bought from American manufacturers. A Chrysler spokesman tells the New York Times: "We prefer to buy American, but we're not afraid to buy the equipment we need to do the job." Are you listening, Dick Gephardt?


Unpaid Dividend. Saudi Arabia may be the next South Korea. Whether diplomats or cruise missiles solve the near-term crisis, once Saddam goes bye-bye, a non-Arab military presence will be expected to maintain stability in the region. Europe and Japan ought to pick up most of the tab. Odds are they won't.

Tainted Saint. Some of Nelson Mandela's luster wears off. As he (and the venerable ANC) refuses to renounce violence, Xhosas and Zulus slaughter one another. A dumbfounded Western press blames Chief Buthelezi's Inkatha because they "accommodate" apartheid. President de Klerk and Mandela alone won't dismantle the system; they must invite the Zulus and others to the table.

War Correspondence. A California drug-policy panel calls for the legalization of marijuana and decriminalization of other drugs, but Atty. Gen. John Van de Kamp (not even a candidate this fall) blocks publication of the panel's annual report. An official in Van de Kamp's office says the panel shouldn't make recommendations to the legislature. One panelist will use his own money to publish the comments.

Fuel Gouge. Who's hated more: Saddam Hussein or Exxon? Listen up, folks: OPEC nearly doubled oil prices the week before Iraq invaded Kuwait. President Bush wisely left strategic reserves untapped. Gas prices rose to reflect replacement costs and uncertainty. Counting inflation, crude oil and gasoline are half their late-'70s price. Thickheaded pundits forget that we've had an energy policy all along: It's called deregulation. Supply and demand have relegated gas lines to the history books.