And now the most absorbing two minutes in television, the latest from the wartime grapevine.
For the first time in its history, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Los Angeles-based Jewish human rights organization, has issued a travel warning to its estimated 400,000 members. But it's not a warning against traveling to Israel or the Mideast. It's a warning to use “extreme caution” in traveling to France or Belgium. The center says those countries have experienced more than 400 hate crimes against Jews and Jewish institutions in the past 18 months. In Belgium, the center says, "many Jews no longer feel safe wearing the traditional skullcap in public."
That weekend telethon on state-owned Saudi Arabian TV did more than just raise money for Palestinian families. It also provided a forum for support of Palestinian terrorism. The Associated Press quotes local news sources as saying a 6-year-old Saudi boy responded to the telethon by walking into a donation center with a plastic gun over his shoulder and mock explosives strapped to him and making a symbolic donation of plastic explosives. A 26-year-old Saudi man donated his car, saying he hoped it would "reach the Palestinian areas so a Palestinian fighter could use it to blow up a military barracks and kill Israeli soldiers."
The Republican-backed legal challenge to the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill is about to get some help from an unlikely place: the Democratic party of the state of California. The Sacramento Bee reports that the party is about to file its own lawsuit against McCain-Feingold, claiming that while the law supposedly would allow the raising of soft money by state political parties, it would in fact make it harder to do that. That's because state party chairmen are automatically also officials of the national party, and the law bars the raising of soft money by national parties.
Remember that run-in that Rhode Island Democratic Congressman Patrick Kennedy had with an airport security guard in Los Angeles a couple of years ago? The guard claiming Kennedy had shoved her during an argument over his carry-on luggage. The Providence Journal reports the matter has been settled out of court, and quotes sources as saying that Kennedy, son of Ted Kennedy, paid the woman between $50,000 and $99,000.