And now some fresh pickings from the wartime grapevine.
The Chicago chapter of the National Organization for Women has backed off its call for the resignation of Chicago's cardinal after he clarified comments delivered earlier this week. Speaking in Vatican City on Tuesday, Francis Cardinal George tried to differentiate between priests who are serial pedophiles and those who have had a one-time dalliance with teenaged girls. According to the Chicago Tribune, he said there's a difference between someone who "preys on little children...in a serial fashion and someone who, perhaps under the influence of alcohol, engages in an action with a 17- or 16-year-old young woman who returns his affections." The vice president of the Chicago NOW chapter says since the cardinal effectively has apologized for his remarks, the feminist group no longer believes he needs to resign. Catherine Caporusso says chapter members still object to his comments — saying the hypothetical relationship he described still constitutes sexual abuse. The cardinal says he'd like to meet with NOW's local representatives to discuss their concerns. NOW expects that meeting to take place sometime in the future.
Meanwhile, political officials in Nevada have been fighting the Bush administration's plan to deposit nuclear waste at the Yucca Mountain site in the state. Even so, the state government has tried to cash in by selling license plates with the image of a nuclear blast. The plate is a fund-raiser designed to honor Nevada's atomic past. Proceeds would finance a museum and research center housing memorabilia from the test site, where the federal government detonated nuclear weapons — above and below ground — for 40 years. So far the DMV has more than 300 advance orders for the plate, although a spokesman has acknowledged some residents have had an emotional response to it. One Nevadan calls the plate an "abomination."
Meanwhile, former first lady Barbara Bush is correcting a Kansas paper that misquoted her. The Wichita Eagle has corrected a story claiming she said she'd had three different "breast" sizes during her life. It turns out she actually said "dress size." Mrs. Bush sent the paper a letter — noting she was "abreast" of the situation. She wrote that since she's a "bosom buddy" of two presidents, she had "much to laugh about" and concluded: "I just wanted to get this off my chest."
Finally, a Florida man has petitioned a court to change his name to "god," all lower-case letters. Charles Haffey is a veteran who says his former self died in Vietnam in 1968. Haffey says he's not the Supreme Being and "can't levitate you or anything." He says if the name "god" is already taken, he'll settle for the name "god on earth." A judge is considering the request.