And now the most absorbing two minutes in television, the latest from the political grapevine:
Causing the French to Squirm?
The British tabloid The Sun handed out a special edition today on the streets of Paris. The paper's front-page editorial called French President Jacques Chirac "a worm" and a disgrace for threatening to veto U.N.-sanctioned military action against Iraq: "British people feel Monsieur Chirac... is arrogantly strutting about trying to make France seem more important in the world than it really is." The paper also chided the French people for forgetting their past. "You were glad enough to welcome the Americans when Hitler ruled France, but now you sneer at the American people and their president... Are you not ashamed of your president?" Perhaps predictably, the French transport minister called the diatribe "disgusting." The culture minister dismissed it as "extremely discourteous, rather vulgar" and "pathetic." President Chirac kept his lips zipped.
Jesse Under Fire for Defending Dwain
The Reverend Jesse Jackson has come under fire this week for his defense of Dwain Kyles, the owner of Chicago's E-2 club — an establishment in which 21 were trampled to death last Sunday night. Jackson stands accused of conflicts on interest in the case. Now, Chicago Sun-Times columnist Michael Sneed adds a new wrinkle. He reports that when Jackson arrived at the club early Monday morning, he got out of his car, handed his keys to a high-ranking police officer and asked the lawman to have the car parked. The official looked over his shoulder to see if Jackson was talking to him, then turned and walked away.
New Weapons for Possible War
The U.S. military is ready to debut a new generation of high tech weapons, should war erupt in Iraq. But Time magazine reports that U.S. troops also plan to rely on a more common weapon — chickens. Worried that Saddam might blow up oil installations, and that the resulting pollution would clog up equipment used to detect chemical and nerve agents, Marine and army troops have developed plans to put caged chickens atop their Humvees. Small traces of poisonous gases or chemical agents would kill the birds, whose deaths would alert fighters to the need for putting on gas masks and protective outerwear. Warrant Officer Jeff French, a nuclear, biological and chemical officer for a Marine battalion in Kuwait, says "Using chickens may sound basic but it's still one of the best ways we have of detecting a chemical agent."