In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

Vitter: ‘I didn’t do no Big Easy ho’s’

Sen. David Vitter on Monday denied having relationships with New Orleans prostitutes, a week after admitting links to a Washington escort service that federal prosecutors allege was a prostitution ring.

Vitter emerged from a week of seclusion by appearing at a news conference in suburban Metairie while holding hands with his wife, Wendy. He denied the New Orleans prostitution allegations and offered no indication that he would resign. He said he planned to fly Monday night to Washington to resume work in the Senate.

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Democrats plan all-nighter on Iraq

Republicans dismissed as political theater a Democratic plan for an all-night session of the Senate to debate President Bush’s military strategy in Iraq amid bipartisan proposals to redeploy U.S. troops.

The round-the-clock debate Tuesday night through Wednesday morning was intended as a way of pressuring Republican senators as well as Bush to act sooner rather than later on a change of course in Iraq.

“How many sleepless nights have our soldiers and their families had?” Sen. Dick Durbin, No. 2 in the Democratic leadership, said Monday.

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GOP voters: We don’t want any of ’em

And the leading Republican presidential candidate is … none of the above.

The latest Associated Press-Ipsos poll found that nearly a quarter of Republicans are unwilling to back top-tier hopefuls Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson, John McCain or Mitt Romney, and no one candidate has emerged as the clear front-runner among Christian evangelicals. Such dissatisfaction underscores the volatility of the 2008 GOP nomination fight.

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Massacre in Iraq

Dozens of Shiite villagers in the north were massacred by Sunni extremists, two officials said Tuesday, while a car bomb exploded across the street from the Iranian Embassy in the heart of Baghdad and killed four civilians.

Meanwhile, Shiite legislators loyal to anti-U.S. cleric Muqtada al-Sadr decided to end their five-week boycott of parliament, one of their leaders said. The Shiite protest along with a separate Sunni boycott had blocked work on key benchmark legislation demanded by the U.S.

Police Col. Ragheb Radhi al-Omairi said 29 members of a Shiite tribe were massacred overnight in Diyala province when dozens of suspected Sunni gunmen raided their village near Muqdadiyah, about 60 miles northeast of Baghdad. The dead included four women, al-Omairi said.

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A skewed look at America

“Are We Rome?” asks a new book, authored by an editor at Vanity Fair magazine. The subtitle is “The Fall of an Empire and the Fate of America.”

It seems, given the dour mood of the country, that this would be a good time to market such a book. And, indeed, as I check its sales clip on Amazon, it seems to be moving at a brisk pace that must please both author and publisher.

So, is America creaking and crumbling like a latter-day Rome?

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Freedom of speech takes a hit

The verdict is still out on whether the First Amendment has a strong voice of support among conservatives on the Supreme Court. Although Justice Samuel Alito says he is a staunch defender of free expression in both speech and print and that presumably includes the Internet, his recent end-of-the-term votes on two cases made it unclear just how staunch.

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Recurring debate on executive privilege

If history is a guide — and on this constantly recurring controversy it usually is — the so-called constitutional showdown under way between the White House and Capitol Hill over “executive privilege” will likely end with a convoluted compromise that decides little.

Every administration has at least one set-to with Congress over “executive privilege,” which the White House says prevents the Hill from compelling an administration official to testify.

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