Good Lord: Faith-Based Rhetoric Visiting a Baptist church in St. Louis, John Kerry criticized "our present national leadership" by quoting James, 2:14: "What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds?" (It's secular counterpart: where's the compassion in "compassionate conservatism"?) The Bush camp shot back that Kerry's comment "was beyond the bounds of acceptable discourse and a sad exploitation of scripture for a political attack." Typical Bushie response: attack the messenger to distract from the message. They're doing it to Richard Clarke (to little avail, it seems). They did it to Paul O'Neill. But the protest rings hollow: from an administration that continues to politicize the deaths of 9/11 victims (both in the current commission hearings and in the Bush campaign commercial that features a flag-shrouded body at the WTC site) and that injects fundamentalist religious ideology into nearly every facet of domestic and foreign policy, they're really saying "Democrats have no place quoting the bible. That's our turf." I'm no fan of anybody trotting out biblical passages for political gain, but, in this case, Kerry seems to have a point: Put up, or shut up, Bush.

Frist Twist: Sen. Majority Leader Bill Frist, who made headlines last week by accusing Richard Clarke of perjury over supposedly contradictory 9/11 testimony (he later admitted he had no personal knowledge of the testimony), says he's appalled that Clarke would try to profit from such a book. "I am... troubled that someone would sell a book, trading on their...service as a government insider with access to our nation’s most valuable intelligence, in order to profit from the suffering that this nation endured on September 11, 2001." As Counterspin Central points out, Frist did the same damn thing. Check out Frist's book When Every Moment Counts: What You Need to Know About Bioterrorism From the Senate's Only Doctor. Also: A Talking Points Memo reader asks: "I can't help wondering who at the White House reviewed Clarke's book and cleared it for publication? And where will they be working next week?"

Free press in Iraq: US soldiers shut down a Baghdad Shiite newspaper, citing that it printed lies that incite violence. Thousands protested outside the chained-shut offices of the paper, chanting "No, no, America!" and "Where is democracy now?" Also: With a dozen American troops killed in Iraq last week, the US death toll is at 591.

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