'Need For a Full and Complete Congressional Investigation'

And now some fresh pickings from the wartime grapevine:

Inflammatory Charges Made in March
Not long ago Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney made headlines by telling a left-wing radio network she suspected the Bush administration knew in advance about the Sept. 11 attacks — and failed to warn the public because the ensuing construction and defense contracts would create business opportunities for his father and other friends. Now the Atlanta Journal-Constitution says she seems to feel vindicated by reports that intelligence briefers issued broad warnings about hijacking threats. In a statement, McKinney said the new information "points out the critical need for a full and complete congressional investigation." She went on to say that, "If committed and patriotic people had not been pushing for disclosure...(the)...revelations would have been hidden by the White House." When McKinney first made the accusations in March, fellow Georgia Democrat Sen. Zell Miller chastised her. Notified yesterday of her latest press release, Miller said, "It was a loony statement last month, and it is still a loony statement today."

Red, White and Blue Roadblock?
In an interview with the BBC, Dan Rather said the patriotism that swept the United States after Sept. 11 stopped the media from asking difficult questions of America's leaders — himself included. Rather said, "now it is that fear that keeps journalists from asking the toughest of the tough questions...and...I am humbled to say, I do not except myself from this criticism."  The veteran anchor says, "there was a time in South Africa that people put flaming tires around people's necks if they dissented.  And in some ways the fear is that you will be necklaced here, you will have a flaming tire of lack of patriotism put around your neck." Rather calls rampant pro-American sentiment a form of self-censorship and he worries that, in his words, "patriotism run amok will trample the very values that the country seeks to defend."

Flushing Out The Flesh
You might wonder what would possess a municipality to get in the flesh trade — but in the case of Oceanside, Calif., city leaders say they had to buy a strip club to shut down the business. The city council has approved spending $1.5 million to purchase the all-nude Playgirl Club. The deal ends Oceanside's 10-year struggle to shut down the club. The city wants to clean up the old red light district, and officials hope the shutdown will make the area more attractive to developers.

Scientists Stuck in Their Labs
And finally, in the midst of a historic visit from former President Jimmy Carter, Cuban officials are blasting the United States for what they call "an attack on science and Cuban scientists." Cuban officials claim two Cuban cancer researchers have been rejected for U.S. visas needed to attend a scientific conference in Florida. The researchers are studying vaccines and antibodies against cancer and wanted to attend the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. The flap comes on the heels of concerns from administration officials that researchers in Cuba could potentially have the capacity to develop biological weapons.