The News of The Day

Commentary By <b>Andy Rooney</b>

A weekly commentary by CBS News Correspondent Andy Rooney:

The first problem most of us face every morning is the newspaper. There's more good and important stories in it than we have time to read. What I do is look for stories that don't interest me so I can skip them. I love a newspaper story that doesn't interest me.

For instance, I don't get interested in baseball until the World Series. So, I don't read stories about spring training. That saves me time.

The NCAA college basketball tournament is big now.

I'm always suspicious of the academic standards of some little college that plays 32 basketball games and wins most of them every year.

You never see Harvard in the tournament.

It's hard to tell what's going on in Afghanistan. There aren't any really independent reports from newspaper or television correspondents at the front because they aren't allowed to go there. We depend on what Donald Rumsfeld tells us. Is he auditioning for another job? He's good on television - obviously loves it. He's not a reporter though - he's a salesman. He's selling our Government to us.

The official reports we get say how fiercely Taliban and al-Qaida solders are fighting. They're ready to die rather than surrender. The trouble with that is, it drags out the war and they could kill a lot of us before we kill them.

You might not think I'm qualified to give advice to the Army, but I saw 10,000 German soldiers surrender during World War II.

They surrendered because they knew they'd get decent treatment.

If the enemy in Afghanistan thought they were going to be treated humanely as prisoners of war, they'd surrender, too.

A lot of unpleasant stories: Israel, Palestine, sexual abuse by priests in the Catholic Church. I bet the Pope would change jobs with me these days.

When I read a story about Israel and Palestine, I always try to guess whether the reporter is Jewish or not. When I read a bad story about Catholic priests, I try to decide whether the reporter is Catholic, Protestant or atheist. You can usually tell.

David Letterman finally re-signed his contract with CBS. I like Letterman. They're going to pay him $31.5 million, though, and I don't like him that much. There must be nights he thinks about giving some of it back. I have nights like that myself.

I had my name in the paper this week - well, it wasn't actually IN the paper. You had to fill it in. I was 39 across in The New York Times crossword puzzle Monday.

Do they have to pay me to use my name like that?