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

Tough Times

More trouble for The New York Times. The paper has suspended Pulitzer Prize winner Rick Bragg (search) for writing a story based on reporting conducted by a freelance reporter.

The beautifully written piece concerned the hard times of Gulf Coast oystermen. Bragg describes the cobalt waters, the oysterman pushing through the shell-packed sands; it gives one an almost lyrical feel for the seaman's trade. Only one problem: Bragg had visited the site for only two hours, and had spoken to none of the people quoted in the piece. 

Selling His Story

Meanwhile, disgraced and dismissed Times-man Jayson Blair (search) reportedly has circulated a proposal for a book based on his career as a fast-rising plagiarist.

The reporter, who faked stories about the D.C. sniper case, ironically compares himself to D.C. sniper suspect Lee Malvo and describes, "how the frustrations of black men in this world can explode, crescendo into a huge rage that can manifest itself in some odd and sometimes unclear ways."

The working title of the tome: Burning Down My Master's House.

Tough Times

More trouble for The New York Times. The paper has suspended Pulitzer Prize winner Rick Bragg for writing a story based on reporting conducted by a freelance reporter.

The beautifully written piece concerned the hard times of Gulf Coast oystermen. Bragg describes the cobalt waters, the oysterman pushing through the shell-packed sands; it gives one an almost lyrical feel for the seaman's trade. Only one problem: Bragg had visited the site for only two hours, and had spoken to none of the people quoted in the piece. 

Selling His Story

Meanwhile, disgraced and dismissed Timesman Jayson Blair reportedly has circulated a proposal for a book based on his career as a fast-rising plagiarist. The reporter, who faked stories about the D.C. sniper case, ironically compares himself to D.C. sniper suspect Lee Malvo and describes, "how the frustrations of black men in this world can explode, crescendo into a huge rage that can manifest itself in some odd and sometimes unclear ways."

The working title of the tome:  "Burning Down My Master's House."

House Calls

Speaking of houses, visiting dignitaries from Asia recently traveled to New York, Atlanta, Minneapolis, LA, Seattle and Reno as part of a junket sponsored by the U.S. State Department.

While in Reno, visitors from six of the nations inspected the Moonlight Bunny Ranch a brothel whose employees have adopted such names as "Air Force Amy," "Carressa Kisses" and "Sexy Deanna."

A State Department official pronounced the walk-through an "unofficial" adventure. Another administration official, described as having quote "knowledge of the trip" assured one and all that nothing untoward happened.

The local paper, the Nevada Appeal, called the visit a "bonus"  for visitors.

They want U.S.

And the government of France wants to woo you with a 15-minute promotional film  produced by the Paris tourism board.

It features glorious scenes of Paris at night, along with pictures of sun-kissed countrysides set to romantic music. The video, titled "Let's Fall in Love Again," provides shocking evidence that the French don't understand us.