Let's check out some political stories we found Below the Fold:

With Friends Like These

Hollywood is speaking out again on the subject of human dignity. More than 160 artists and intellectuals have signed a declaration called "To the Conscience of the World." It demands that the U.S. government be nice to Fidel Castro (search), who celebrated May Day this year by throwing nearly 80 people in jail for up to 28 years for the crime of criticizing him.

The letter says: "At this very moment, a strong campaign of destabilization against a Latin American nation has been unleashed.  The harassment against Cuba could serve as a pretext for an invasion."

This, incidentally, echoes comments Fidel made himself on May Day.

Among the signatories: actor Danny Glover and singer Harry Belafonte, who last was seen calling Colin Powell an Uncle Tom for supporting president Bush. This raises the interesting question of what label best describes one who kisses up to Fidel Castro.

Flag Flap

The Montpelier, Vermont City Council voted last week to celebrate victory in Operation Iraqi Freedom (search) by removing American flags from the city's downtown. The council adopted the measure by a five-to-one margin, egged on by two members who feared someone might assume the flags conveyed support for the war.

Montpelier Mayor Chuck Karparis vetoed the resolution, arguing: "Having it up right now is the right thing to do." The council will have another chance to lower the flag at its May 14 meeting.