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December 3, 2004



PAUL GIGOT: Winners and losers, picks and pans. We call it Tony and Tacky. Our choices for the best and worst of the week.

We begin with Dan's choice. The story comes from South Bend, where the football coach was widely praised for teaching his athletes about integrity and the importance of academics, but got fired anyway. Dan, tony or tacky?

DAN HENNINGER: This is a tacky for sure. Notre Dame is doing badly here. You know, there are some interesting numbers beneath this Tyrone Willingham story, and it doesn't have to do with the 6-5-1 loss record or the pacing they took from Southern Cal. The graduation rate for Notre Dame's football players is 78 percent. That's both the black and the white players. They got killed by Southern Cal, whose graduation rate is 58 percent. For all Division 1 schools, the average graduation rate of the football players is 55 percent. Now, when the Notre Dame athletic director fired Mr. Willingham, he said, We've got to get back to the elite. He means, they've got to get back to where the 55 percent schools are, not the elite academic schools.

So the only way Notre Dame's going to be able to compete the way they used to with the 55 percent schools is if they lower the hurdle for entrance into Notre Dame. Everyone knows this. They've had this debate for a long time. And they're sending a terrible message to the rest of the students at that school by doing this.

PAUL GIGOT: I feel especially bad for the players, who lost a genuine role model Thanks, Dan.

Bret Stephens wants us to consider this. The Hezbollah, the people who brought us the bombing of the marine barracks in Beirut, dozens of terrorist attacks, and unbridled anti-Semitism, are being considered for a broadcast license in France. Bret, who gets the tacky here?

BRET STEPHENS: I think France gets the tacky here. You know, France does not even consider Hezbollah a terrorist organization, which means Hezbollah can raise funds in France. So I don't think it's a surprise that they're now having this absolutely ludicrous debate as to whether to give this television outfit a license or not. It's like giving Al Qaeda a television license.

France also runs the most pro-Arab foreign policy of any European country, and then they turn around and wonder why they have a higher incidence of anti-Semitic attacks than anywhere else in the world. So I think this is the chickens coming home to roost for them. A big tacky for France.

PAUL GIGOT: All right, thank you Bret.

And finally, Claudia Rosett wants to remind us that in the headlong rush to embrace Libya's Moammar Gadhafi as a reformed terrorist, we're allowing him to trample on the rights and freedoms of his people, including a man named Fathi Eljahmi, who has been brave enough to push for free speech and democracy in Libya. Claudia, what's this all about?

CLAUDIA ROSETT: Paul, there's great wisdom in President Bush's policy promoting democracy as the path to peace. But when you encourage democrats living under the world's worst tyrants to speak up, you'd better be there for them when they do. And in this case, a Libyan, Fathi Eljahmi, spoke up last March -- incredibly brave -- about the need for freedom in Libya, and was praised for this by President Bush, and was then immediately jailed for this by Moammar Gadhafi, and is still in prison today. A tacky, then, for President Bush, who has continued to court Gadhafi, but since Fathi Eljahmi's arrest has uttered not a word in his defense. Now it might be a good policy for France, but this is America. Leave no democrat behind.

PAUL GIGOT: I think the President would say, well, at least we got their nuclear program dismantled. But thank you for bringing that to our attention Claudia.

PAUL GIGOT: That's it for this edition of the Journal Editorial Report. Thank you from all of us. We hope you'll join us again next time.
PAUL GIGOT: I think President Bush might say that at least he got out of it was this Libyan exercise was a dismantled nuclear reactor, but thank you, Claudia, for bringing this democrat to our attention. Thank you, Claudia. That's it for this edition of THE JOURNAL EDITORIAL REPORT. Thank you from all of us. We hope you'll join us again next time.