And now the most compelling two minutes in television, the latest from the wartime grapevine.
Yasser Arafat may be holed up in his shattered Ramallah compound and his supporters keep asking how he can be expected to communicate under the circumstances. But he had no trouble dispatching a message of condolence to the British expressing what he called his "deep sadness" on the death of the Queen Mother. In cables to Queen Elizabeth and Prime Minister Blair, Arafat offered "our sincere sympathies in the name of the Palestinian people, its leadership and in my name personally."
A conspiracy theory that claims that no airplane crashed into the Pentagon on Sept. 11, which has been kicking around the Internet for some time, now has been set forth in a new book. The book, by French author Thierry Meyssan and so far published only in France, is called Leffroyable Imposture, which, loosely translated means, The Terrifying Fraud. Its subtitle means No Airplane Crashed into the Pentagon. It relies heavily on photographs of the aftermath the attack on the Pentagon, which do not show a damaged airplane. Rescue and recovery workers who visited the site, including FEMA director Joe Allbaugh, however, have described seeing horribly burned bodies of crash victims still strapped in their airplane seats in the wrecked fuselage inside the building.
Rep. Sen. Gordon Smith of Oregon is in political hot water, and stands accused of a "demeaning statement" that "smacked of racism." The accusation comes from the chairman of the Oregon Democratic Party's black caucus, Robert Williams. He was offended by what Senator Smith said about an endorsement the Senator received from a black Democrat in the Oregon State Senate. What Smith said was, "It's very meaningful to have African Americans support me because I view them as God's children, too."
Two U.S. border patrol agents, who reported serious shortcomings in the INS' ability to police the U.S.-Canadian border have been recommended for suspensions and demotions, according to Rep. Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa. Grassley says the agency's move against agents Mark Hall and Robert Lindemann violates the Whistleblower Protection Act. He said in a letter to INS commissioner James Ziglar that he was "shocked and angry" about it. The Washington Times reports that the agency moved against the two agents because they violated an agency rule by talking to the press.