'View From A Wide Horizon'

And now some fresh pickings from the wartime grapevine...

'View From A Wide Horizon'

Rocker John Mellencamp (search) is blasting the -- "arrogant and thoughtless" terrorists who have endangered Americans and thrown the land into chaos. He's not talking Al Qaeda (search); he's talking about the Bush administration. The observation appears in an open letter that answers the burning question: What do John Mellencamp and his wife really think about geopolitics?

The musician says the president, "systematically lied to and manipulated [Americans] into backing the political 'hijacking' of Iraq," adding, "What have we gained but relentless media coverage of a fallen statue and some stolen oil fields -- the spoils of misadventure." So what, you ask, will lead us to the Promised Land? The answer: Mellencamp's music, which provides what he calls, "the view from a very wide horizon."

He also urges readers to take America back from, "political agendas, corporate greed and overall manipulation." The site guides activists of conscience to helpful links that enable them to buy Mellencamp albums, concert tickets, merchandise and other goods licensed by Columbia Records, a Division of the Sony Corporation.
Race Factor in POW Treatment?

Jesse Jackson (search) says race "clearly" played a factor in the military's decision to pay former POW Jessica Lynch (search) more than twice as much in disability benefits as former POW Shoshana Johnson (search).

Johnson -- an Army Specialist who soon will be discharged -- was captured with Pfc. Lynch and four others in March. Lynch was rescued after 11 days, but Johnson -- one rank above Lynch -- was held for twice as long.

And now Johnson -- the mother of a three-year-old girl -- is set to receive less in benefits than Lynch -- as much as $700 less per month. Jackson, quoted by The Washington Post, says, "there's an enormous contrast between how the military has handled these two cases."

Patent, Please?

Over the past seven months, since the war in Iraq got underway, the U.S. Patent Office has received 29 applications to trademark the cliche war phrase "shock and awe." The applications "run the whole gamut," to use another cliche.

What would you say to having "shock and awe" golf clubs? Or what would you think about "shock and awe" salsa? Or how 'bout this: "shock and awe" birth control devices? A Patent Office spokeswoman says -- "each [application] will be reviewed one by one on their own merit."