And now the most telling two minutes in television, the latest from the wartime grapevine:
The U.S. government is about to start beaming direct-to-home satellite TV broadcasts into Iran in an effort to get around the jamming that has plagued other American radio and TV broadcasts into that country. The U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors (search), responsible for distributing U.S. government broadcasts like Voice of America around the world, says it will be sending "much-needed news and information to people inside Iran" over the next three months. The Persian-language broadcasts will be a cooperative effort by the Voice of America and Radio Farda, a Persian-language news and music station already in Iran.
Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean (search) has become the first Democratic presidential candidate to win a newspaper endorsement. The Caledonia Record in St. Johnsbury, Vt., circulation under 12,000, tells its local Democrats that if they "want to put their best partisan foot forward in Campaign '04, they should nominate" Dean as their candidate. Thing is, The Caledonia Record, even by its own admission, is a staunchly Republican newspaper. So then why back Dean? Well, the paper says Dean "has become a very serious candidate, and in our opinion, the most qualified for his party's presidential nomination."
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi (search) has now reluctantly apologized for his remark earlier today to a German member of the European parliament. Agence France-Presse says that when German Deputy Martin Schulz suggested Berlusconi was exporting his conflicts of interest to the rest of the European Union, Berlusconi told Schulz, "A producer is now shooting a film [in Italy] about the Nazi concentration camps. I propose you play the role of Capo," a Jewish prisoner turned into a Nazi guard.
Governor's Got It
Remember Amiri Baraka (search), the New Jersey poet laureate we told you about last October? He wrote a poem after Sept. 11 called "Somebody Blew Up America" suggesting the Israeli government knew about the terrorist attacks before they happened and directed Jews to stay away from the World Trade Center. At the time, New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey was trying to get rid of him, but Poet Laureate Amiri Baraka, who under state law cannot be fired, refused to resign. Well, nine months later, Gov. McGreevey has now figured out how to solve his problem. The Associated Press says he is going to strip the Nobel Laureate position from the state's budget, and abolish it once and for all.
— FOX News' Michael Levine contributed to this report