Step back, think carefully


Joseph Lieberman — independent senator and Iraq war supporter — is probably not someone the Democrats feel like taking advice from. But in an op-ed piece this week, he urged his colleagues in Congress “to step back and think carefully about what to do next.”

The contradiction of atheism


One of my best friends grew up in the Mormon Church. I asked Steve recently what he thought of Mitt Romney’s statement that. “we need to have a person of faith lead this country.” Steve, unlike Romney, isn’t an orthodox Mormon, but he’s a very thoughtful person, who knows more about religion that just about anyone I know.

Furthermore, Steve takes his own religious beliefs with the utmost seriousness. So his views on this matter were of great interest to me.

Targeting big tobacco


Raleigh News & Observer

R.J. Reynolds’ new Camel No. 9s arrived this month in a black package trimmed in fuchsia, the slim cigarettes stamped with a tiny pink dromedary. The No. 9s are, according to the floral advertising, “light and luscious,” and full-size packs are handed out free to women at bars.

“They’re cute,” said Samantha Brown, a 20-year-old North Carolina State University junior. “And they’re lighter. They are. It’s like smoking air.”

Revisiting evolution


A Tennessee lawmaker proposes to use the legislative process to get an answer to the question of whether the universe was created by a “Supreme Being.”

Under the measure, introduced by Republican state Sen. Raymond Finney, the answer would come from state Education Commissioner Lana Seivers “in report form” no later than Jan. 15, 2008.

A first-hand look at the attempt to kill Dick Cheney


Karen Schaler, a reporter for ABC15, KNXV-TV in Phoenix, is in Afghanistan covering the Arizona National Guard’s 285th Apache Helicopter Unit. She was at the U.S. military base in Bagram, Afghanistan Tuesday when a suicide bomber targeting Vice President Dick Cheney attacked the front gate. Cheney was unharmed, but up to 23 people were killed.

Schaler was working in a building about a 1 1/2 minute walk from the blast site. Here is her first-person account:

Bush launches fundraising drive

Returning to campaign mode, President Bush on Monday began his fundraising drive to help Republicans regain the power they lost less than four months ago.

“My political agenda is this: more Republican governors, take back control of the House and the Senate and make sure we keep the White House in 2008,” Bush told cheering donors at a private reception for the Republican Governors Association.

The annual event raised a record $10.4 million for GOP gubernatorial candidates.

Juror dismissed in Libby trial

After the judge dismissed one of its members, the jury finished a fourth day of deliberations Monday without a verdict in the perjury trial of former White House aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby.

Most of the morning was consumed by deciding what to do about an art historian on the jury who saw or read something over the weekend about the trial. After interviewing her in private along with lawyers in the case, U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton ruled that “what she had exposure to obviously disqualifies her.”

Failed attempt to kill Cheney leaves 23 dead


A suicide bomber attacked the entrance to the main U.S. military base in Afghanistan on Tuesday during a visit by Vice President Dick Cheney, killing up to 23 people and wounding 20. Cheney was unhurt in the attack, which was claimed by the Taliban and was the closest that militants have come to a top U.S. official visiting Afghanistan. At least one U.S. soldier, an American contractor and a South Korean soldier were among the dead, NATO said.

Bush’s purge


Congress clearly didn’t take much notice of an obscure provision the Bush administration slipped into the USA Patriot Act last year. But now it seems clear that the measure is being used to conduct a political purge of U.S. attorneys’ offices.

So far, at least eight are known to have been forced out by the Justice Department, and there may be others. The departures were facilitated by a provision that allows the president to appoint interim U.S. attorneys for an indefinite period without the usual Senate confirmation.