We always look forward to opening the latest issue of Mother Jones magazine, and the September/October features don't disappoint. Among the stories listed on the cover: "Straight Today, Gay Tomorrow," "W's Loyal Losers," "Senator Al Franken?" and finally an eye-opening exclusive on a 2008 presidential candidate's "Secret Prayer Pals."
"For 15 years," we go on to read, the presidential aspirant "has been part of a secretive religious group that seeks to bring Jesus back to Capitol Hill." A U.S. senator, the White House hopeful "has been an active participant in conservative Bible study and prayer circles that are part of a secretive Capitol Hill group known as the Fellowship."
The senator's "collaborations with right-wingers such as Senator Sam Brownback, Kansas Republican, and former Senator Rick Santorum, Pennsylvania Republican, grow in part from that connection," reveals the report, recalling regular meetings over one eight-year period beginning in 1993 "with a Christian 'cell' whose members included Susan Baker, wife of Bush consigliere James Baker; Joanne Kemp, wife of conservative icon Jack Kemp; Eileen Bakke, wife of Dennis Bakke, a leader in the anti-union Christian management movement; and Grace Nelson, the wife of Senator Bill Nelson, a conservative Florida Democrat."
As Mother Jones describes it, the presidential candidate's almost "invisible" group "was part of a Fellowship (or 'the Family'), a network of sex-segregated cells of political, business, and military leaders dedicated to 'spiritual war' on behalf of Christ."
The 2008 candidate: Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Democrat.
That was Sen. Bernard Sanders, Vermont independent, denouncing the Fox News Channel yesterday for ratcheting "up its war rhetoric agitating for confrontation with Iran."
Mr. Sanders scheduled a noon conference call alongside Brave New Films director Robert Greenwald, both of whom accuse Fox of being "the dangerous echo chamber of [a Republican] administration that has lost all credibility with the American people."
Mr. Greenwald is the brains behind "Fox Attacks: Iran," an online video campaign.
You say 'potahto'
If you ask Elaine Donnelly, president of the independent Center for Military Readiness (CMR), August is the best month for releasing bad news and sweeping it under the rug because members of Congress are out of town.
Such is the case, she says, with the release of a "long-overdue" Rand Corp. report on women serving in or near direct ground combat, a report that she labels "one of the most deceptive and irresponsible documents the Pentagon has released in years."
Congress had called on the Pentagon to produce the report about women and combat, and have it ready by March 2006. Instead of tackling the project in-house, it was passed to the Rand Corp.
"Authors of the RAND Report resorted to setting up 'straw man' arguments that would be laughable if they were not so serious," the CMR president now states.
"For example, the report makes much of a nonexistent word 'colocate,' which supposedly has a meaning different from the word 'collocate,' a genuine word that still exists in the Defense Department's 'collocation rule.' This is the silliest debate since 'potato' vs. 'potahto,' and someone needs to call it off."
Frederick "Fred" Booker Noe III, great-grandson of spirit-legend Jim Beam, will arrive in Washington's Adams Morgan tomorrow to toast the end of summer and the beginning of September — National Bourbon Heritage Month.
Mr. Noe also will take the opportunity to unveil the new Jim Beam bottle when visiting Bourbon, a watering hole on 18th Street Northwest.
Alive to roast
We learned yesterday that ABC News anchor Bob Woodruff, who was seriously injured by a roadside bomb while reporting from Iraq, will be the guest of honor at the 19th annual Roast for Spina Bifida on Oct. 29 in Washington.
Organizers tell us that a who's who of news media and political leaders will "roast" Mr. Woodruff, while raising funds to further the fight against spina bifida, the most common, permanently disabling birth defect in the United States.
The annual roast was founded in 1989 by Judy Woodruff (no relation) and Al Hunt, whose 25-year-old son, Jeffrey Hunt, was born with spina bifida.