updated 5/9/2005 9:08:03 PM ET 2005-05-10T01:08:03

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Domestic politics — Exactly how long we have been dancing along the tightrope, insisting that politics and religion are separate, except sometimes when we don't want them to be, unless somebody makes a stink about it, or somebody makes a stink about somebody making a stink..The President has distanced himself from the religious aspect.  But while he was techincally in mid-air, somewhere between Russia and the Nation of Georgia, the President jumped into the filibister fray, anew.  In a written statement, he noted that four years ago today he had nominated Justice Priscilla Owen and Judge Terry Boyle to posts on Federal appeals courts, and urged the Senate to vote on them....It was all "thanks" and "I'm glad your here," from the pulpit of the East Waynesville Baptist Church in North Carolina yesterday — far different than the story we told you about on Friday.  Nine members of the church — including one of the deacons — say they were voted out by the Pastor because they didn't vote the way he told them to in last fall's Presidential election.  And, the man at the center of the controversy, Pastor Chan Chandler, tried to strike a conciliatory tone yesterday, inviting all members of the congregation — including those who were apparently expelled, and those who left in protest — to attend a business meeting tomorrow, claiming "this should all be cleared up by the end of the week."  But Chandler did not offer any apologies, and in a written statement, he again denied that any one had been expelled from the church for partisan reasons.

Iraq — It has been a long time since what were, in retrospect, almost comforting accusations that the U.S. media wasn't reporting "the good news" from Iraq .  There hasn't been much lately.  The successful elections begat only political stalemate with the occasional comic relief — like today's news that the Prime Minister's nominee for Human Rights Minister found out about his candidacy in a TV news report.  And car bombs continue unabated.  There were at least three more today, with two Iraqi policemen and four civilians reported dead.  American forces have begun a new push to abate the un-abated.    

Girls stabbed to death — It is eight decades later...And yet a missing child, just as spring finally comes to Chicago, can send chills there that nothing off the lake can match. It was 81 years ago this month that Bobby Franks disappeared.  Days later his body would turn up in a culvert — the murder victim of the infamous Leopold and Loeb.  And tonight — 50 miles to the north — there is again a nightmare, just as spring finally comes to Chicago.  Two little girls — eight and nine years old, respectively — first missing, have now been discovered in a park stabbed to the death , in the town of Zion Illinois.

eBay Auctions rising — Nearly fifty years ago, the immortal humorists Bob and Ray once aired a mock interview of an advertising man whose job it was to find unusual new locations for billboards.  With the public ignoring conventional advertising, his bright idea was to buy up the soles of business executives' shoes, for when they put their feet up on their desk.  The percentage of Bob and Ray satire that has now become fact is up to at least 25 percent.  Four words:

Runaway Bride rap sheet — Jennifer Wilbanks is still our number one story on the Countdown.  When she ran away, maybe we should've just...let her . That story that she's done this before has come up again.  The New York Post quoting an unnamed woman who says she wound up marrying a guy Wilbanks dumped eight years ago — while they were engaged — by phone. This is the same rumor phoned in to a Georgia tip line last week.  Inadvertently run by the Associated Press, then retracted, which authorities said they could not confirm.  There is also her record for shop-lifting.  Puts those airport pictures of her wearing that rug in a whole new context.  Three times, it proves, she was arrested in Hall County, for shop-lifting, between 1996 and 1998 — the largest of her takes, $1,740 worth of merchandise from a mall in her native Gainesville, Georgia.  The prosecutor?  The woman now serving as Ms. Wilbanks attorney.  But of course, she isn't the only one about whom there are still lingering questions.  As we mentioned Friday, there is the apparently still a fiancee, John Mason.  He, we were advised, was once a rowdy guy.  But while re-dedicating himself to his faith, he declared himself “born again virgin."


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