And now the most interesting two minutes in television, the latest from the wartime grapevine:
Making More Enemies?
The recent behavior of the German government under Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder may have alienated it from the United States, Britain and much of the rest of Europe, but it now appears that Shroeder has infuriated a key member of his Cabinet as well. The Times of London reports that the Schroeder government over the weekend leaked details of a plan to put U.N. troops on the ground in Baghdad to the German magazine der Spiegel. The problem was that Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer knew nothing of the plan and was outraged when he heard about it. As head of the Green Party, Fischer is a key part of Schroeder's fragile coalition government, which The Times of London now describes as "on the verge of collapse."
It's a Long Road to Iraq
A group of 50 anti-war activists were granted visas today to enter Iraq where they plan to act as human shields against a possible U.S.-led attack. One of them, John Rosse, told Reuters in Ankara, Turkey, "I am an American human shield...I ask American troops not to come....they are here to kill, murder, devastate the civilian population of Iraq. That is not an American thing to do." The group is traveling across Turkey in a convoy expected to pass into Iraq through Syria. Turkey, however, deported one of the group's organizers, a former U.S. Marine named Ken Nichols who tried to get into Turkey using a passport that claimed he was a "citizen of the world."
Suit Over Rhyme
A federal judge has refused to dismiss a lawsuit against Southwest Airlines filed by two passengers who said they were offended when a flight attendant said, "Eenie, meenie, minie, moe, pick a seat, we gotta go." The reason for the suit is that the two passengers are black and there was a time when that rhyme, in full, contained the n-word, though now that has been dropped in favor of the word "tiger." Nonetheless, Judge Kathryn Vratil, while dismissing the two women's claims of physical and emotional distress, decided the suit should go forward because "the phrase eenie, meenie minie, moe could reasonably be viewed as objectively racist and offensive."
Peter or the Wolf?
Bill Clinton, Mikhail Gorbachev and Sophia Loren have signed up for speaking parts in a new remake of Sergei Prokofiev's classic piece for children Peter and the Wolf. It's not clear yet which man will be Peter and which the wolf, but the wolf may be the better part since this version of the story will be told from point of view of a wolf whose habitat is being spoiled by urbanization.