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Politicians under fire — It's not supposed to be fireworks season yet in the Capitol.  But the bottle-rockets and the M-80's are going off in two directions: Tom DeLay might wind up Boltin' and John Bolton gets Delayed...Four of the five Republicans on the House Ethics Committee announced this afternoon that they were ready to — but for a big price.  Committee Chair Doc Hastings said he and his fellow GOP members were "prepared to vote at the earliest opportunity to empanel an investigations subcommittee to review various allegations concerning travel and other allegations," by Tom DeLay.   This comes after months in which the Committee had been paralyzed by Democrats, protesting committee rules changes they claimed the Republicans had rammed through to protect DeLay.  The investigation is not a certainty.  DeLay is now engaged in controversies on at least three fronts…The political pendulum, meanwhile, swings back slightly the other way today, on Washington's other big controversy.  The White House is standing behind its nominee for U.N. Ambassador.  Yesterday, in a shocker that was almost buried under the massive weight of the coverage of the new Pope, two Republicans on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee decided the Democrats were right — that the vote on until next month — a further investigation of his conduct could be completed.

Pope's first day — Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington D.C. perhaps hit the ecclesiastical nail on the head...When it comes to the in this country, and in Europe, is a church to give people only what they need?  Or is it also supposed to give them some of what they want?  Polling already took place today on Pope Benedict the XVI.  Approximately 61 percent of American Catholics told Gallup they think he'll do more to unite the church than divide it, Asked if... "On difficult moral questions... are you more likely to follow the teachings of Pope Benedict or your own conscience," Three-quarters of the flock answered that they would follow their own conscience…. As for Benedict himself, criticisms upon his election were that he had contributed to divisions between Catholics and other Christian faiths and that he might choose doctrine, over practicality, every time.  By a quirk of scheduling, the former Cardinal Ratzinger had already been .  In it, the new Pope managed to address all of those complaints.

9-1-1 neglect — The comedy sketches about calling 9-1-1 and getting voicemail or being left waiting so long that the only advantage is that you die of old age instead of in a crime of violence are looking less and less funny tonight.  Once again, somebody in imminent trouble calls the police emergency number — and is literally told "." Fortunately, she is alive today — and suing.  This was the end of the story.  Last Monday in western New Jersey, about 20 miles East of Allentown, Pennsylvania.  Police, surrounding the car containing Erica Turner, her baby daughter, and her ex-boyfriend Almutah Saunders.  He had allegedly showed up at her family home in Irvington, and kidnapped her and the child, at gunpoint, shot her father in the leg and led police in a chase across New Jersey.  Four hours of negotiations followed before Saunders let his hostages go — unharmed.  Another three-and-a-half hours later, Saunders finally gave himself up.  But the victim, Ms. Turner, had called police about threats from Saunders eleven times a week earlier.  That was when Saunders had first shown up at her house, and began pounding on her door.  When, at one point, she asked if an officer was on the way, a 9-1-1 operator told her, "No — we have other jobs."  After the 11th call, a policeman was dispatched, by which time Mr. Saunders was long gone.

New food pyramid — Whatever happened to the Yellow-Orange-Red Terror Threat system?  It's been re-born as the .  That's the bad news.  The good is that you can apparently eat slightly more than the government said you should, as of, say, this time yesterday.  The Centers for Disease Control now says that among the nation's leading causes of preventable death, being overweight is no longer being listed as second.  Its estimate has dropped from 400,000 obesity deaths year, to about 112,000.  How could they have gotten it that wrong?  Improvements in treating heart disease and increased exercise.  The CDC also saying that while obesity is still lethal, people who are modestly overweight have a lower risk of death than those of normal weight.  Pass the potato chips.

Vegetable oil cars — It's hard to say exactly how old the phrase "as fast as greased lightning" actually is.  We do know there's a news story in the Boston Herald of January 15th, 1833, which includes the sentence, "He spoke as quick as greased lightning."  So, it's at least 172 years old.  But not until now could it be meant, almost literally.  Forget that gas-electric hybrid car.  Don't try to buy one of Jay Leno's Stanley Steamers.  High gas prices are pushing drivers to get creative and now, instead of draining your wallet at the gas station or running on empty, there is another option. With a diesel engine and quick conversion, you can just .