Latest news of note:

  • The Telegraph: Britain asked to prepare strikes against terror bases in Somalia
  • MSNBC: Excite@Home told to end service
  • Net gently weeps for Beatle Harrison
  • Japan royal birth stirs talk of return to Empress
  • NY Times: U.S. bombs strike 3 villages and reportedly kill scores

      “Civilized countries talk about human rights and then they bomb us,” said a village elder, Muhammad Tahir. “Give my message to the Pentagon: This is our village. This is our only place for living.”

      The Pentagon has not made an attempt to account for the deaths of civilians, save to say that it regrets any unintended deaths. No national government, health service or rescue force exists in Afghanistan. There are very few functioning hospitals. Survivors in isolated villages are cut off from communication with the outside world. They bury their dead as quickly as possible.

  • Tribunal comparison taints courts-martial, military lawyers say
  • NY Times: 25 Israelis killed by suicde attacks
  • NY Times: (AP) Afghan villagers say 200 killed
  • NY Times: Ashcroft and Leahy battle over expanding police powers
  • MSNBC: An ‘Unapologetic’ Ashcroft: Tough and unrepentant, the attorney general defends the nationwide dragnet, and puts terrorists on notice

      On the use of military tribunals to try terrorists:

      The president should have the right to protect innocent American lives by trying alien war criminals with military commissions … [Trying them in regular courts means] having to give them Miranda rights, giving them a flamboyant defense attorney at public expense, developing “Osama TV” or a public trial used to propagandize to the world, a trial in which … our sources would be unnecessarily identified in the midst of a war or conflict, where the courthouse becomes a terrorist target, where members of the jury become terrorist targets. This is a tool that the president should have in the arsenal of democracy designed to thwart and to counter the terrorist war on the United States.

  • LA Times: A Worthy Cause, for Heaven’s Sake – An op-ed piece that questions the disgusting behavior of the folks behind the Trinity Broadcasting Network.
      I learned from The Times’ Hot Property column on Sunday that Costa Mesa-based televangelists Jan and Paul Crouch have purchased a $5-million “palatial estate” with nine bathrooms, a climate-controlled wine cellar, an elevator, six-car garage and tennis court.

      I quote now from the story: “Jan Crouch had been wanting a bigger yard for her dogs, sources said.” . . .

      Speaking of deep pockets, the Crouches were unavailable when I rang. A receptionist referred me to their attorney in Washington, D.C.

      Colby May claims we had it wrong. The Crouches didn’t buy the $5-million house, the ministry did. And the Crouches don’t intend to move into it, May insists. It’s for use by overseas guests who visit the ministry.

      Oh. I didn’t realize there were no hotels in Orange County.

      May couldn’t explain why Hot Property was told that Jan Crouch wanted more room for her dogs. But regardless of who ends up in the $5-million Glory Be compound, I asked May if the Crouches might like to get involved with the L.A. Times Holiday Campaign.

      Sure thing, he said. Just get them an application form.

      I explained that there was no form. All they have to do is write us a check and send it along.

      This seemed to confuse him.

      “We’re going to send you money?” he asked.

      Yeah, I said. To help needy children.

      May had thought I was asking if the Trinity ministry would like to receive funds from the Holiday Campaign, not give to it.

      God almighty, they’ve got one-track minds.

      I suggested that if they’re buying $5-million houses, they don’t need any more money.

      “We always need money,” he said, to teach “the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

      I refuse to believe that Jan and Paul Crouch would pass up a chance to do the Lord’s work by sending a check to the L.A. Times Family Fund. From their own Web site–where “Holy Land Anointing Oil” is available in the online gift shop ($4.99, while it lasts)–comes this quote from Jesus: “I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he shall be saved. . . .”

      The Crouches’ loyal followers might also consider helping a neighbor this year. Any money they send to Trinity could end up paying the air-conditioning bill on the climate-controlled wine cellar while local food pantries go begging.