And now some fresh pickings from the political grapevine.

The Milken Institute has issued a fresh estimate of the number of jobs killed by the Sept. 11 attacks. It says the assault will wipe out more than a million and a half jobs this year – mainly in the travel and tourism industry. The institute says 248,000 people already have suffered attack-related job losses. New York ranks first in job loss – the number could hit 150,000 jobs this year. The study predicts the city won't bounce back economically until 2004.

And Anthony Ouellette was just trying to buy his daughter some baby food, only to have a New Hampshire grocery store tell him they wouldn't take his money. The Portsmouth Herald reports Ouellette was trying to pay in good old-fashioned change, but he didn't want to inconvenience the clerk. So he sat in the car and rolled all his coins before going to buy milk, baby food and a newspaper. However, the cashier informed him that the store refused to take rolled coins, so she started counting out his money. But a supervisor stopped her – saying rolled change wasn't acceptable no matter what, even if it was being opened in front of them. The supervisor says the store has been refusing rolled change out of anthrax concerns! So Ouellette left, without buying anything, and headed to a grocery store – Super Shaw's – with a coin-sorter. But because of the cost associated with changing the money, the 27-year-old was only able to buy two jars of baby food for his daughter instead of three. But the manager of the Super Shaw's says they would've accepted his coins – even if “somebody came in with a wheelbarrow full of nickels and dimes and pennies.” Ouellette works three jobs to support his wife, and two children – and he says when you have kids, you have to 'penny-pinch.'

Meanwhile, members of Congress don't have just terrorism on their minds these days. In fact, it seems at least one is worried about mind control. Ohio Democrat Dennis Kucinich has introduced a bill that directs the president to ban space weapons because the terms weapon and weapons systems mean a device capable of many things..including "mood management, or mind  control of such persons or populations."