And now the most engaging two minutes in television, the latest from the political grapevine:
The Washington Post reported this morning that the Bush administration is "refining arguments for why it may be necessary to shift more of the tax load onto lower income workers." By midday, that story had elicited a statement from outgoing Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle that Republicans "have a secret plan to pay for tax cuts for the wealthiest by raising taxes on middle and lower income working families." The only problem, reports FOX News Senior White House Correspondent Jim Angle, is that the White House has no plan to raise taxes on anyone.
Will Stay in Iraq to Thwart an Attack
Chicago teacher Kathy Kelly and 16 other members of the group "Voices in the Wilderness" say they are not human shields, but that they will stay in Iraq in an effort to head off any attack by the United States and its allies. The 50-year-old Kelly, founder of the group, said, "We feel it is important to show solidarity with the people of Iraq. If this means we have to stay here during the bombing then it has to be done." Asked by the British newspaper the Independent why her group has failed to criticize Saddam Hussein and his notorious regime, she said, "There are plenty of channels for opinions about Saddam and the rulers of Iraq."
Back from Baghdad
Meanwhile, Sean Penn, the actor, has left Baghdad after telling a news conference he had been there “to personally record the human face of the Iraqi people so that their blood, along the with blood of American soldiers, would not be invisible on my own hands." You see, he explained, "I feel, both as an American and as a human being, the obligation to accept some level of personal accountability for the policies of my government."
The Hand That Fed Is Being Bit!
An environmental activist from Santa Barbara, Calif., is facing federal charges of illegally feeding animals and interfering with the park service. It seems that Rob Puddicombe, a bus driver, sailed an inflatable boat to several islands in the Santa Barbara Channel, where he fed vitamin K pellets to black rats. The problem was that the park service was trying to get rid of the rats, who are not native to the islands, and are a threat to several native species. The vitamin K was an antidote to the rat poison, the use of which Puddicombe likens to "ethnic cleansing."