Money for the People Goes to One Person

And now the most telling two minutes in television, the latest from the wartime grapevine:

Pocketing a Little Spending Money?
Yasser Arafat, whose wife and daughter live in Paris and Switzerland, has found himself in need of money to support them. So, according to the Kuwaiti daily newspaper Al-Watan, he simply took $5.1 million in aid money intended for the Palestinian people and put it in his personal bank account. The newspaper said it based its report on documents it received from sources in the Cairo, Egypt, branch of an Arab bank, which showed the money transfer.

Toxic Dumpers
The Army Corps of Engineers has been caught dumping 200,000 tons of toxic sludge into the Potomac River every year. A House subcommittee says the EPA has continued to allow it, even though it violates both the clean water and endangered species acts. Now The Washington Times, which originally uncovered the dumping, has turned up an EPA document, which argues that the sludge "actually protects fish" by forcing them to flee the poison sludge and thereby avoid areas where fishermen might catch them.

Mayflower Not on the Agenda
The Washington Post reported today that President Bush would be the star of a fund-raising event tonight at Washington's Mayflower hotel, where big drug companies would be among those paying $250,000 apiece for what the Post called "red-carpet treatment." The story went on to suggest a connection between the fund-raiser and the prescription drug plan the republicans are backing in Congress — a plan drug companies support. The problem is that President Bush is not attending any fund-raising event at the Mayflower Hotel. And the Republican Party says there is no fund-raising event — or event for contributors — at the hotel.

Cream, Sugar and Regulations
Residents of Berkeley, Calif., may be able to vote this fall on whether to make sure everyone in town can drink politically correct coffee. A ballot initiative, offered by Berkeley lawyer Rick Young, would require that all brewed coffee sold in town would be organic, shade-grown and fair-trade certified. That means no pesticides, beans grown under a forest canopy, for which the farmer received a fair price. Young has 3,000 signatures on his ballot petition. Only 2,044 are required. If it's approved, selling an unauthorized cup of coffee could cost you six months in the pokey.