And now some fresh pickings from the wartime grapevine.
Witnesses say U.S. aircraft in southern Afghanistan have been scattering $100 bills tucked into white envelopes bearing a picture of President Bush. Some of the envelopes were picked up by the wind and fluttered to earth over the Pakistani border. The envelopes apparently have no other message. The drops began this week, and people were seen pushing and fighting with each other to get at the cash. Other recent leaflet drops depicted former Taliban spiritual leader Mullah Muhammad Omar as a dog held on a leash by Usama bin Laden.
An entrepreneur in Westchester County, New York, has created a storm of controversy by launching a line of dolls featuring leaders of Nazi Germany. The New York Daily News reports Mike Fosella says he made 50 dolls each in a likeness of Adolf Hitler and Josef Mengele, the concentration camp doctor. Fosella says the dolls don't glorify the Third Reich because they weren't mass-marketed – and are meant to be a sort of historical art form. But a spokesman for the Anti-Defamation League says many people – especially Holocaust survivors – could find the dolls offensive. The dolls are about a foot tall, and cost about $170. The current stock has sold out, and Fosella plans to continue the series with Nazi Gestapo Chief Heinrich Himmler and propagandist Joseph Goebbels. Fosella says most of his customers are World War II veterans and history professors. He says he screens his buyers and won't sell to anyone who seems like a skinhead or Hitler fanatic.
Former civil rights activist James Meredith says blacks and Hispanics hamper their economic prospects by talking slang. In a Black History Month lecture yesterday at San Antonio College, Meredith said Hispanics suffer because they tend to speak imperfect English. He asserts the same is true of blacks, of whom "99.9 percent speak black English, which is not proper English."