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Today's Most Important Story

Wednesday, 20 February 2002 12:00 AM

Unless something major happens, the most important news item of the day – the one news item that could have the greatest possible impact on the future of this country – is a court case styled Zelman v. Simmons-Harris.

Arguments in Zelman v. Simmons-Harris are being held before the U.S. Supreme Court today. There are some poor people who are making the trip to Washington to be there when this momentous event happens. They're making the trip from Cleveland.

The issue here is a school voucher program in Cleveland. It's working. Working well. Parents of children in failed Cleveland government schools are using the $2,250 voucher to send their children to private schools, where they are doing so much better.

Some of the private schools are run by churches. Oops … that's supposed to be bad.

The principle opponents of the school voucher program are – and you won't be surprised here – the teachers unions. The National Education Association and the United Federation of Teachers.

They are using the old "separation of church and state" argument to try to kill off the voucher programs. The argument seems to go like this.

The government returns school taxes to parents who decide they don't want their children to attend failed government schools. The parents then have the right to make their own independent choices as to where their kids will go to school. Charter school, private school, private tutoring … whatever.

Some parents make the private and independent choice to use the voucher to send their kids to schools operated by churches. This, the teachers unions say, violates the Constitution.

Isn't it odd that these teachers unions are so eager to use the Constitution to protect them from competition in the educational marketplace, but so reluctant to teach the story of that Constitution in class?

Anyway … much more on this later. Suffice it to say that these teachers unions are in court for one reason, and one reason only. They don't want competition.

They want the government to force parents to consume their flawed product. Give consumers free choice, and competition enters the picture.

Every single day you can go to virtually any newspaper in the U.S. and find a story about some business asking the government to put restraints on its competition. Today it's the teachers unions up to bat.

It looks like Mike Tyson will be given a license to box from the D.C. Boxing Commission. The vote was 3-0 to grant the violent sexual predator the first step in being OK'd. The fight could happen on June 8 at Washington's MCI Center.

Look … if they're going to let Tyson fight, it might as well be in D.C. It's not as if they have any great respect for the law there anyway.

ABC News conducted a poll of over 1,000 Americans, asking them who was the greatest president. Overall, the winner was Abraham Lincoln followed by JFK and George W. Bush. Tied for fourth place were Ronald Reagan, FDR, and Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton?

But the most interesting aspect of the poll was that among blacks, the No. 1 spot for best president over the past 226 years was none other than Bill Clinton, followed by Lincoln.

It's very interesting to see that blacks in America think that Clinton did more for them than Abraham Lincoln. Let's see ... Lincoln freed their ancestors from the plantations and Clinton helped put them back on the government plantations ... and they think that is a great thing?

By the way, one person in the poll said that the greatest American president was Millard Fillmore. I want to meet that person.

Britons Shafiq Rasul and Asif Iqbal and Australian David Hicks are being unlawfully held "incommunicado," lawyers for their families say.

"We are asking that British citizens be treated with as much respect as Americans," said a lawyer for Rasul and Iqbal's families, Clive Stafford Smith.

Yeah, that's right. The same rights as the Americans they were trying to kill. I still think a field trip to see those famously ferocious Cuban saltwater alligators might be in order. The alligators are hungry.

Tallahassee police said they spotted Carl Franklin with his pants down and his hands in front of him near a fence. They suspected he was going to urinate. When they approached him, he stuck the cigarette he was smoking in his pocket and ran. Putting a lit cigarette in your pants pocket is not a good idea.

"We prepare for a lot of stuff, but I'd never expected to see the man's pants on fire,'' the arresting officer said. "His pocket was outlined in red and it was clearly smoldering."

The uproar of Colin Powell's condom remarks has done more damage to the image of the Republican Party than any event of the past five years.

I used to think that communism presented the greatest threat to freedom. Then I started thinking the greatest threat came from those who hunger for security. Now I think the downfall may come from political correctness.

We can't take airport security seriously until ethnic profiling is not only permitted but encouraged.

Someone is suggesting a lamb drop in Afghanistan. Wait until the animal rights nutsos get wind of this one.

Speaking of animal rights ... did you know that far more mice and rats are bred for food for pet snakes than for medical research?

I'm still ticked that someone already has a book titled "Me and My Big Mouth." What a perfect title that would have been for my next one.

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Unless something major happens, the most important news item of the day - the one news item that could have the greatest possible impact on the future of this country - is a court case styled Zelman v. Simmons-Harris. Arguments in Zelman v. Simmons-Harris are being...
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2002-00-20
Wednesday, 20 February 2002 12:00 AM
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