Good soldiers: First, we’d like to state for the record, lest anyone believe otherwise, that Bites is pro-troops. It’s just the pro-Armageddon thing we’re having trouble with.

We make this distinction in the wake of a March 26 “Action Alert” from Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR), which took The Associated Press (AP), CNN and our very own Sacramento Bee to task for the “anti-journalistic” practice of using “pro-troops” to mean “pro-war.” Our local paper of record was criticized for assuming that, as FAIR put it, “only those who back the Bush administration are friendly toward those in the military.” See for more info.

To be, um, fair to our friends at the Bee, AP, CNN and every other organization that takes part in such semantic smoke screens, they’re just following rules that will keep them from going the way of Peter Arnett. Still, FAIR’s idea that they should do otherwise is refreshingly 20th-century.

Unconditional love: Conveniently enough, California Republican assemblymen were perpetuating the same myth last week, during a media rampage in which they demonized their Democratic counterparts for daring to disagree with them over the wording of a pro-troops proclamation.

The ultimate bone of contention was Republicans’ insistence on wording by Assemblyman George Plescia, R-La Jolla, which offered the Legislature’s “unqualified support of our Commander In Chief George Bush.”

Bites has no problem expressing support for the troops, just not for the mindless idiot who’s putting them in harm’s way. Sure, Republicans can argue that George W. Bush’s assumed role as commander in chief outweighs his real status as a chickenhawk on a rampage, but the sad fact is that our troops are laying down their lives while King George lines the pockets of his Texas cronies.

As it turns out, our troops can rest easy now knowing they have the support of California legislators (even if our commander in chief doesn’t). What good this symbolic gesture actually will do for them remains to be seen. And the rest of us can rest easy knowing that the whole debate provided one more platform for a handful of pro-death, pro-war, pro-troop Republicans to assert that anyone who dares to be anti-war in 2003 is, by definition, also anti-American.

Paint it black: We’re not sure, but it’s a pretty safe bet that the “Take a Block and Make It Black” anti-war protest set for Friday, April 4, is not being sponsored by Clear Channel. Organized by Sacramento Area Black Caucus’ Faye Kennedy in conjunction with numerous other “individuals and organizations of African descent,” the rally is set to take place at Florin Road and Franklin Boulevard on Friday from 4:30 p.m. to sunset. Local leaders also will hold a “community speakout” the evening before at the Oak Park Community Center. The Friday event will coincide with the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination.

Frogs and Goose: It was only a matter of time before a local establishment keyed in to our national fascination with renaming all things French. Although we’ve come to expect such juvenile displays from the boys inside the Beltway, Bites was taken aback when a printed receipt from the Fox & Goose included an order of freedom toast. To tell the truth, Bites was never all that keen on the smug Jerry Lewis-loving infidels who helped embroil us in another little quagmire called Vietnam, but at least they learned something from it. Also, it’s hard to reconcile all this flippancy with the gravity of since-retired Fox & Goose owner Bill Dalton, who sat with us a couple days after 9/11 and spoke of the memories the event brought back from an English childhood spent listening for German air raids. What worries me, he said at the time, is that this is just the start of it, and things are going to get much worse.