updated 5/27/2005 8:13:38 PM ET 2005-05-28T00:13:38

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Cloture clash — U.N. Ambassador Designate John Bolton is still just "Ambassador Designate" today.  If you thought Senator George Voinovich of Ohio was nearly crying yesterday, what about today?   He — and nominee Bolton — and Majority Leader Frist, and Minority Leader Reid, are all going to have to wait until after the Memorial Day break to get an up-or-down vote.  Democrats demanded more classified information from the Bush Administration about Bolton's record — stuff Bolton's staff was permitted to see.  At about 6 p.m. this evening, Republicans tried to cut off debate and force an immediate vote — the "cloture" process.  If all 55 Republicans had supported it, they needed five Democrats to join them.  They only got three.   As a result, we get no cloture, no vote on Bolton and no spirit of compromise.

Arnold under fire — It was all so much fun...The thrill of grabbing a sitting politician by his lapels and flinging him out of office...The excitement of literally dozens of candidates — from the genuine politicians to the artificially-enhanced porn stars — bidding to succeed him...Yes — the California Governor's Recall Election of 2003.  It was all a lot of fun, until somebody got hurt.  And that somebody — was Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.  Fast-forward to 2005: There are mass protests against you.  Thousands of nurses, teachers, other state employees — 10,000 of them picketing the Capitol in Sacramento and 6,000 more in Pershing Square in Los Angeles.  Their complaint?  Schwarzenegger is demanding that California's $6 billion budget shortfall be closed, one way or the other, by the legislature, by the 15th of next month, or he'll just start slicing jobs.  Opinion polls show Schwarzenegger's approval rate at 40 percent.  And yesterday, he slapped around state legislators, who voted themselves a 12 percent pay raise.  But what really put the Arnold-blowback on the map was Warren Beatty.  He gave the commencement speech at UC Berkeley's School of Public Policy, and accused Schwarzenegger of having "a reactionary right wing agenda," of "bullying labor and the little guy," and said it was time to define a "Schwarzenegger Republican — a Schwarzenegger Republican is a Bush Republican who says he's a Schwarzenegger Republican."

Cross burning investigations — If there were ever a symbol from our country's past that need not be resuscitated, it roared back to life last night in Durham, North Carolina.  There may be no emblem so loaded with offense, so closely tied to violent racial tensions and best left to a painful past.  Three large crosses were burned at separate locations in Durham, last night — all within an hour and a half.  And as if to leave no doubt about their meaning, orange flyers with Ku Klux Klan sayings were found at one of those locations.  The first reported cross burning came at 9:19 p.m. outside St. Luke's Episcopal Church.  The next came at a pile of dirt near a construction site.  The last was found at an open field where the fliers were left.  While investigators believe that none of these sites were specific  targets — all three were in highly visible areas.  The crosses, seven feet tall and made out of 2 x 4s, were wrapped in burlap and doused with kerosene.

Child porn victim speaks — As it stands now, Matthew Alan Mancuso is scheduled to be released from prison in January, 2017.  He is a convicted child pornographer.  But detectives in Orange County, Florida, believe they have testimony from a new witness, who could send Mancuso to jail for the rest of his life — for child rape.  The witness, is the child — his own adopted daughter.  This sad story may yet have a happy ending.  Bob Kealing of the NBC station in Orlando, WESH-TV, reports .

Know it alls — H.L. Mencken wrote about the backlash against intellectualism in this culture.  Benjamin Franklin was supposed to be worried about it.  Maybe our descendants — the ones who can still reed — will look back one day and say the point at which it really went to hell in a hand-basket was the printing of the first bumper sticker that read "My kid can beat up your honor student."  This week, the newest crop of know-it-alls, ascendant 31-year-old game show savant Ken Jennings, has lost "Jeopardy's: Ultimate Tournament of Champions."  Last night was the third and final day of the contest with a $2 million at stake.The final answer: "The names of these two original Mercury astronauts who orbited Earth in May 1962 and May 1963 are also occupations."  The correct question: "Who are Scott Carpenter and Gordon Cooper."  Jennings wrote "Go Brad."


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