For four decades, the United States officially branded Nelson Mandela a terrorist because of his association with the African National Congress in the fight to end apartheid in South Africa.

No more. As a present for Mandela’s upcoming 90th birthday on July 17, Congress voted this past week to remove his name from the U.S. terrorist list, and President Bush signed the bill. This means the stately Mandela, the first democratically elected president of South Africa, now is free to enter the United States without getting special clearance by the State department.

There was no partisanship on this issue, with even Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice calling the terrorist label "embarrassing."


Most of the state attorneys general across the country have signed on to support a federal "shield law," which would make it harder for judges to order journalists to reveal confidential sources or face jail and fines for contempt.

So far, 42 state AGs have endorsed a shield law bill, which passed the House in October. The Senate companion cleared the Senate Judiciary committee the same month, but hasn’t budged since. The full Senate is supposed to finally consider the measure Tuesday (July 8), but even supporters aren’t holding their collective breath.


Mindful of the floods that have coursed through the Midwest, prospective used car buyers might be wise to check out the vehicle on a new Web site that keeps track of cars that have suffered water or other severe damage.

The new site — — was created by the National Insurance Crime Bureau, which allows users to check five vehicles per day, using their vehicle identification numbers.


Women military veterans earn more than their civilian counterparts, but they also worked more hours each week. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that women vets earned an average $32,217 in 2005, the latest year for which data is available. Civilian women averaged $27,272.

A higher percentage of female vets (84 percent) were more likely to work 35 hours or more a week, compared to 77 percent of civilian women.

The Census report said military education and work experience apparently translate into higher paying civilian jobs.

The differential does not exist with male veterans.




"Skinny kid. All beat up of course, physically. But quite thin. They weren’t feeding him very well in Hanoi. He’s done very well at the dinner table in Washington." Retired Air Force Gen. Merrill McPeak, adviser to Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama, comparing GOP hopeful John McCain’s physical condition in 1974 after 51/2 years as a prisoner of war to his shape now.


E-mail Lisa Hoffman at hoffmanl(at)