And now the most compelling two minutes in television, the latest from the wartime grapevine:
The British Arab newspaper Al-Sharq Al-Awsat says former Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Saeed Al-Sahhaf (search) -- dubbed "Baghdad Bob" and "the Iraqi Misinformation Minister" -- is trying to surrender to U.S. forces, but they won't take him because he's not one of their "55 Most Wanted" in Saddam's regime. There is, though, someone who does want him, the new Arab TV network Al-Arabiya based in Dubai. The network's supervisor is quoted in the New York Post as saying he wants Al-Sahhaf to join the team as a political analyst because the network wants to "benefit from the experience of Mr. Al-Sahhaf and his analysis of the current situation and the future of Iraq."
British Prime Minister Tony Blair (search) was lectured in front of cameras by Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday after the two met in private to mend strained relations. London's Daily Telegraph says Putin publicly dismissed Blair's assertion that the war in Iraq had been won, saying, "Perhaps Saddam is still hiding somewhere underground, sitting on cases of weapons of mass destruction, preparing to blow the whole thing up and kill hundred of thousands of people." Putin also publicly told Blair it is unacceptable if "decisions are being made by just one member of the international community and with other members being required just to subscribe to those decisions."
A writer for the San Antonio Express-News says she was "shocked" to read a story in The New York Times over the weekend about a Texas woman whose son was lost in battle in Iraq. It seems Macarena Hernandez had written the same story in a suspiciously similar way a week earlier. Take, for example, her description of how "the single mother, a teacher's aide, points to the pinstriped couches, the tennis bracelet still in its red velvet case and the Martha Stewart patio furniture, all gifts from her first born and only son." The New York Times story, written by reporter Jayson Blair, said the mother "points proudly to the pinstriped couches, the tennis bracelet in its red case and the Martha Stewart furniture out on the patio." A New York Times spokeswoman says they are "looking into it."
Democratic presidential candidate and Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry (search), who was attacked by both Republicans and Democrats for saying, "What we need now is not just a regime change in Saddam Hussein and Iraq, but we need a regime change in the United States," is now saying the remark was meant to be nothing more than a comedic "quip" specifically commenting on the presidential election. The Boston Globe quotes Kerry, a Vietnam Navy veteran, as saying, "When I fought in Vietnam and fought for my country, I didn't give up my right to make quips and to participate in the debate."