A Change of the Times?

The latest from the Political Grapevine:

A Change of the Times?

The New York Times, in news stories, now regularly refers to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth as having made, "unsubstantiated" charges about John Kerry's war record.

The Times never reached such a conclusion when Terry McAuliffe and Michael Moore accused President Bush of going AWOL or being a military deserter during the Vietnam era.

But the different treatment of the two stories might be explained by the attitude of a top Times editor toward the Swift Boat vets story. Deputy National Editor Alison Mitchell told Editor and Publisher magazine, "I'm not sure that in an era of no-cable television we would even have looked into it."

Vet for Truth Says John Deserved a Medal

Speaking of Vietnam Veterans for Truth, one of them, Larry Clayton Lee, says that when John Kerry led three swift boats, including Lee's, into fire from the Viet Cong in February 1969, Kerry deserved a medal, though Lee says he would have preferred Kerry got a bronze rather than a silver star.

But Lee says that since discussing incidents he didn't see first-hand with fellow group members, he now questions Kerry's other medals. Meanwhile, John O'Neill, the co-author of "Unfit for Command" who says Kerry lied about entering Cambodia in late 1968, said this week his own boat was never within about 50 miles of the Cambodian border.

But, on audiotape, O'Neill can be heard telling then-President Richard Nixon in 1971, "I was in Cambodia, sir. I worked along the border."

Convention Already Came and Went?

In the September issue of Harper's magazine, now on newsstands, editor Lewis Lapham writes as if the Republican convention already happened, and he provides this account of it: "[President Bush] was trundled into New York City this August … The speeches in Madison Square Garden affirmed the great truths now routinely preached from the pulpits of Fox News and the Wall Street Journal ... and while listening to the hollow rattle of the rhetorical brass and tin, I remembered the question that Hofstadter didn't stay to answer. How did a set of ideas both archaic and bizarre make its way into the center ring of the American political circus?"

Detention Deserved?

A Sophomore at Central Cabarrus High School in Concord, North Carolina, has been hit with a three-day detention for violating school policy. What did 15-year-old Ashley Mignosa do?

Well, she hugged a friend on school property. And the school's handbook specifically states, "In order to insure the proper conduct between individuals ... there will be no 'body' contact between individuals beyond the holding of hands." Mignosa calls that, "ridiculous." No comment from the school.

FOX News' Michael Levine contributed to this report