And now the most telling two minutes in television, the latest from the wartime grapevine:
Terrorists Taken Into Custody?
Coalition forces in Iraq have captured the first known members of Al Qaeda there, that according to a U.S. army commander in northern Iraq. Col. Joe Anderson -- whose brigade controls the northern city of Mosul -- says three Iraqi members of Al Qaeda are now in custody and since "all the facts" have lined up they have been transferred to Baghdad for further interrogation.
However, the commander gives no further details, and Pentagon officials say they have not yet seen any reports of -- "card-carrying" Al Qaeda members being captured.
Complaints continue that this is a jobless recovery, but a new survey of companies nationwide shows that 42 percent of them plan to increase their number of employees over the next 12 months. According to the survey, conducted by Net Future Institute Research (search) and quoted in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, only 17 percent of companies plan a decrease in their number of employees.
Meanwhile, reporting on another economic indicator, USA Today says -- "Holiday buying starts hot, Sales up 5% from '02, tracking for best season in 5 years." An Associated Press report says -- "Holiday Shopping Starts with a Bang." But The New York Times says: -- "Early Sales Appear Modest as Holiday Season Begins."
Did You Trek Your Facts?
As part of an effort to spread "peace quotations" around the world, anti-war activists are pushing Abraham Lincoln's declaration that -- "There's no honorable way to kill, no gentle way to destroy. There's nothing good in war except its ending." Thing is, according to the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, Lincoln never said that. In fact, the quote comes from a character playing Lincoln in an episode of Star Trek (search).
Covert Cop Work?
A former New Jersey State Police lieutenant says he and another high-ranking state police official took part in a three-year, covert operation, starting in 1999, to discredit then-governor Christie Whitman (search) and boost the candidacy of Democrat Jim McGreevey (search), who was elected governor in 2001 after Whitman left to become head of the Environmental Protection Agency (search).
Vincent Bellaran tells the New Jersey Star Ledger that he and a lieutenant colonel dug up confidential state police records for then-state Sen. John Lynch, a McGreevey mentor who would then use the information in legislative hearings to make the police, under Whitman's administration, look unorganized and racist. Eventually, Bellaran says, he was leaking information straight to the media. Lynch, however, denies any such conspiracy.
— FOX News' Michael Levine contributed to this report
With more than 35 years of journalism experience to draw from, Brit Hume currently serves as a senior political analyst for FOX News Channel (FNC) and contributes to all major political coverage. Hume also is regular panelist on FOX's weekly public affairs program, "FOX News Sunday" on Sundays at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. ET. Click here for more information on Brit Hume.