And now the most absorbing two minutes in television, the latest from the political grapevine.
The latest numbers show that the richest 5 percent of American taxpayers are paying more than 55 percent of the nation's income taxes, while the poorest 50 percent pay only 4 percent. And the data, from 1999, showed that taxpayers with incomes as low as $60,000 a year could end up in the top 5 percent. That's because of the increasing number of two-income families in which tax rates are based on the adjusted gross income of both partners. Scott Hodge, executive director of the nonpartisan Tax Foundation, told the Associated Press that while the Bush tax cuts will keep high-income taxpayers from paying an even larger share, the overall trend toward fewer and fewer people paying a larger and larger share of taxes will continue.
That French book that claims the Pentagon was not hit by a hijacked airliner on Sept. 11, but instead by a truck bombing or missile strike, has become a bestseller in France. The book, whose title, translated, means September 11th, the Frightening Fraud, is the top seller on the French Amazon.com web site, and is headed into a second printing. Written by left-wing author Thierry Meyssan, the book claims that no picture of the damaged Pentagon shows any evidence of an crashed aircraft. It has been refuted by several photographs, and by numerous eyewitnesses who saw the plane hit the building.
A southern California man, who has failed so far to collect on his damage claims after his dog was attacked by a cat in a public library, has added a new allegation to his lawsuit. The man, Richard Espinosa, who is suing the city of Escondido, now claims that the attack on his dog was a hate crime. He says the city is liable for the attack on his dog, because the cat was in the library where it was considered an unofficial mascot. He says the attack not only terrified him but triggered panic attacks from which he still suffers.
And from the world of American education comes the story of 10-year-old Hallie Whatley of Leesburg, Fla., who has been suspended for a day and kicked off the school safety patrol. Her offense, according to officials at Webster Elementary School, was threatening to kill a fellow student. And how did she do that? She and a friend were playing a game called "Civil War," and Hallie pointed a weapon at her. And the weapon? An oak leaf, held in her hand.