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November 18, 2005



PAUL GIGOT: Winners and losers, picks and pans. Tony or Tacky, our way of calling attention to the best and the worst of the week. The government has started to implement its new prescription drug program for the elderly, which is not only expensive but virtually impossible to understand. Rob, who gets the tacky here?

ROB POLLOCK: Tacky obviously to the White House and to the Congressional Republicans for not only pandering for senior votes but doing so incompetently. I mean, look, this drug benefit has a design that only a politician could love or understand, which is to say that instead of doing the sensible thing -- which is to give people help with very high drug costs -- what they did is gave people some help with first dollar drug costs, then the help disappears for awhile, then they get more help again later. Nobody understands why that so-called donut hole is there.

Well the reason it's there is because politicians like to give money to people who don't really need it. They think there's votes in that. And let's hope that the unpopularity of this benefit is something of a lesson to the Republican Party, and a very expensive lesson. But hopefully they've learned that.

PAUL GIGOT: And Republicans are still walking around wondering why they don't get any political credit for this. Okay, Rob, thanks.

Those multi-million dollar bridges up in Alaska -- now so widely known as the bridges to nowhere -- may not be built after all. Congress has shown some spine ... sort of, Bret?

BRET STEPHENS: Yeah, sort of. I guess this is a tony to the Republicans in Congress for at least having a sense of shame about these bridges. One bridge was going to be almost as long as the Golden Gate, to connect the town of eight thousand people to an island of 50 people. And this was supposed to be worth 250 million. There was a second bridge.

What I love about this story is that when the senator from Alaska, Ted Stephens, was trying to defend these bridges, he said that if Alaska is going to be treated differently from other states he would resign. Well I say, Senator Stephens, now's your chance.

PAUL GIGOT: Okay. Thanks, Bret. And finally, there is the case of the teenaged girl forced to stand beside a busy road, holding a sign saying, "I don't do my homework and I act up in school, so my parents are preparing me for my future. Will work for food." Dan, tony or tacky?

DAN HENNINGER: Well we'll find out. Guess who got into trouble with this one? I mean, this young woman was getting C's and D's in school. She was in constant trouble, so her mother decided to create this sign and make her stand on the corner. Now let's stipulate, Mom stood with her on the corner. A motorist drove by, reported it to the police, they came by, put an end to it, and the woman was immediately condemned for psychologically killing her daughter.

Well, as a serious point, teachers -- and even teachers' unions in schools -- come in for a lot of criticism these days. But if you talk to teachers, they will tell you, you know what one of their biggest problems is? Parents who don't hold up their side of the bargain with their children these days. So this woman has decided to do it, and almost overnight the girl's attendance became perfect and her grades started to turn upward. So I would say an A plus tony to Mrs. Henderson for taking ownership of her child.

PAUL GIGOT: Her daughter will end up going far. Thanks, Dan. That's it for this edition of THE JOURNAL EDITORIAL REPORT. Thank you from all of us. We'll be back next week, and we hope you'll join us then.