A Peace Activist is Charged with Assault in London

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Joint Defense

The top editors at The New York Times and Los Angeles Times published a joint article last weekend defending their decision to expose the administration's secret monitoring of terrorist financing networks — despite the government's request to hold off on the story.

But editors of The Washington Post and Wall Street Journal, both of which also ran the story, refused to sign on to the defense. Post Executive Editor Len Downie, tells Editor & Publisher his paper published well after the other three, and he didn't want to be lumped in with the group.

And Journal Managing Editor Paul Steiger, says he turned down a request to contribute to the op-ed because he wasn't asked not to run the story, adding, "If the government asks you not to publish, I would consider that very carefully"

Senate Support

Democratic Senators Joe Biden, Barbara Boxer, and Ken Salazar have announced plans to campaign for their Connecticut colleague Joe Lieberman — who is fighting off a stiff challenge in the state's Democratic primary. But Senator John Kerry says he's staying neutral in the race between Lieberman and liberal challenger Ned Lamont, adding that he'll support whoever wins next month's election.

Kerry's aides explain that the senator generally stays out of contested Democratic primaries, but the Boston Globe points out that, just last month, Kerry endorsed Virginia's Jim Webb over Harris Miller in the Senate primary, raising money, recording an automated phone message, and appearing at Webb's side at a pre-election rally.

Savage Send-Off

Ken Lay's death by heart attack "wasn't good enough" for the former Enron CEO who cheated employees and stockholders out of millions — according to Washington Post writer Henry Allen — who says he feels "cheated" that Lay evaded torture in prison.

On the front page of the style section, Allen complains that "none of [Lay's] victims will be able to contemplate ... that he might be spending long nights locked in a cell with a panting tattooed monster," or "gibbering with anguish as fire-eyed psychopaths stare at him for unblinking hours while they sharpen spoons into jailhouse stilettos."

He adds that Lay's death has left his victims with a "frustrated craving for revenge."

A Lover and a Fighter

A peace activist from New Zealand is being charged with assault in London — after he put a budding rock star in a coma in a fight over his victim's girlfriend. Christiaan Briggs spent three weeks in Iraq with the Truth Justice Peace Human Shield Action group in 2003, but London Police say Briggs got violent after he was caught hitting on British singer Billy Leeson's girlfriend.

The New Zealand Herald reports Briggs allegedly fled the scene after his sucker punch caused Leeson to hit his head on the ground. Leeson remains in critical condition, and Briggs, a former Green party candidate for parliament, faces up to five years in prison.

—FOX News Channel's Aaron Bruns contributed to this report.