And now the most engrossing two minutes in television, the latest from the wartime grapevine:
Charges, Then Changes
Belgian courts (search) have become a haven for lawsuits against world leaders under a Belgian law allowing anyone from anywhere in the world to sue the likes of President Bush or Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld (search). But two days after its own foreign minister was sued, the Belgian government has now decided to change the law by limiting the power of Belgian courts to hear cases against Belgians. Belgian Foreign Minister Louis Michel was sued for authorizing a sale of weapons to Nepal, which an opposition party said would surely use the weapons in human rights abuses. But Michel tells a German newspaper the amendment is not for his benefit. Instead, he says, it's intended to end "rash and annoying complaints that wrongly target figures" from other countries.
Democratic Delaware Sen. Joseph Biden (search) may be adding his name to the nine-member field of Democratic presidential candidates. Roll Call says a group of former Biden aides has begun to assemble the infrastructure of a presidential campaign. Biden says that if he runs for president, he is keeping his distance from pricey consultants and pollsters because "I don't need anybody to tell me what my message is." Biden ran for president 16 years ago, but the campaign crumbled after accusations of plagiarism and resume inflation.
New Zealand's government has been trying to combat global warming and meet its environmental commitments. And so the government has launched a new agriculture body to conduct extensive research on ways to reduce the greenhouse gases that cause global warming. And how does the government plan on paying for all this research? Well, by putting a tax on flatulent farm animals. After all, the Agence France-Presse says, natural emissions from flatulent cows, sheep, deer and goats account for about half of New Zealand's greenhouse gases.
Better Late Than Never?
In a book I published 32 years ago called Death and the Mines, I wrote of a coal miner's rally in West Virginia that then Secretary of State Jay Rockefeller had attended but contributed only $5 to the miner's cause, an amount I said some of them considered insultingly small. I had long since forgotten the whole thing, but Rockefeller, now Sen. Rockefeller, reminded me of it in a good-natured way when he was here for FOX News Sunday yesterday. He explained that the reason he pitched in only five bucks was that the miners were charging admission, and that's what they were charging, so that's what he gave. I am happy to amend the record, all these years later, to reflect that.