And now the most engrossing two minutes in television, the latest from the wartime grapevine:
A letter signed by French Ambassador Jean-David Levitte (search) is on its way to the White House and Congress accusing some in the Bush administration of intentionally spreading a series of false stories tying the French government to Saddam Hussein's regime. French anger at the stories started in September when The New York Times said France and Germany, vocal opponents of the war in Iraq, had sold nuclear-weapon parts to Iraq. And it came to a head last week, when The Washington Times said the French government had given French passports (search) to some members of the former Iraqi regime so they could flee into Europe. The letter delivered today calls the stories an "organized campaign of disinformation" from within the Bush administration. One French official tells The Washington Post the White House is trying to "destroy the image of France." A senior White House official, however, calls the charges, "utter nonsense."
Raines Admits Race Played a Role
The executive editor of The New York Times, Howell Raines, has admitted race did play a role in promoting ex-reporter Jayson Blair (search) despite Blair's record of plagiarism, deception and personal problems. The Times itself reports that Raines told his staff at a closed-door meeting that he believes in "aggressively providing hiring and career opportunities for minorities" and that he, "as a white man from Alabama, with those convictions, gave [Blair] one chance too many." Meanwhile, The New York Daily News says Blair has hired an agent, to search for book and TV deals that The Daily News says could net Blair nearly a half-million dollars.
So What Was JFK Really Like?
And remember the book we told you about earlier this week saying President Clinton apparently wasn't the first president to have a dalliance with a White House intern -- that John F. Kennedy had also? Well, Mr. Kennedy's intern-lover has apparently now come forward, identifying herself as Marion Fahnestock of New York, who now works at Manhattan's Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church. So what first-hand insight into JFK does she have to offer? She told The New York Daily News, "I think the world knows what he was like."
At many colleges, students after graduation throw their mortarboards into the air, at the Naval Academy they throw their hats, and at University of Arizona they throw tortillas. But the Arizona Daily Wildcat is saying the school's president is trying to put a stop to the tradition, for two reasons: First, because it is "disrespectful to many of our Hispanic and American Indian community members," and second, because he doesn't want a replay of last year, when no guest was invited to speak at graduation for fear whoever spoke might be hit in the head with a tortilla.