New unreleased e-mails from top administration officials show that the idea of firing all 93 U.S. attorneys was raised by White House adviser Karl Rove in early January 2005, indicating Rove was more involved in the plan than the White House previously acknowledged.  
 
The e-mails also show that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales discussed the idea of firing the attorneys en masse weeks before he was confirmed as attorney general.  
 
The e-mails directly contradict White House assertions that the notion originated with recently departed White House counsel Harriet Miers, and was her idea alone.  
 
Two independent sources in a position to know have described the contents of the e-mail exchange, which could be released as early as Friday. They put Rove at the epicenter of the imbroglio and raise questions about Gonzales' explanations of the matter.
Alien visitors to planet Earth are boycotting genetically modified (GM) crops, claims a leading scientist.  
 
Buck Uranus, chief astronomer for the William H Carpenter Foundation in Nevada, believes the extraterrestrials are refusing to create crop circles in GM maize, wheat and other cereals because of fears of possible side-effects.
Via Discovering Biology in a Digital World, a hilarious demonstration of speech recognition in Microsoft Windows Vista:  
 
We’re gonna do a little perl script using the Windows Vista software recognition to show you how easy it is.
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The "Mona Lisa" of baseball memorabilia, an almost mint condition 1909 Honus Wagner tobacco card, arrived in Los Angeles on Tuesday in the company of an armed guard but without its new owner, a mysterious Southern California collector who shelled out most of a record $2.35 million for it.  
 
The tiny scrap of colored cardboard, barely 2½ inches tall and not quite 2 inches wide, made an auspicious arrival at a Dodger Stadium news conference, carried to the podium in a formidable-looking black valise by a grim-faced, equally formidable-looking armed guard.  
 
Seems the reason it's so valuable is that unlike other players, Wagner objected to his likeness being used to sell tobacco to kids. Thus, Wagner's cards were withdrawn almost immediately.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Declaring the global warming debate over, an international team of scientists urged the world's nations on Tuesday to act now to keep climate change from becoming a catastrophe.  
 
The international community needs to take stronger steps to cut the pace of global warming, adapt to the climate changes that have already taken place and ensure development can be sustained throughout the process, the scientists said in a report released at the United Nations.  
 
"We make the argument that it is essential that we get started now: not next year, not next decade, but now," said John Holdren, a professor of environmental policy at Harvard University and member of the scientific panel that crafted the report.  
 
This report is a logical next step after the February 2 release of a much-heralded document by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in Paris, which stated that global warming is real and human activities caused much of it over the past half-century.  
 
The earlier report was prohibited from making policy recommendations; the current one, funded by the non-profit U.N. Foundation and Sigma Xi scientific society, centers on just such recommendations.
NEW YORK (AP) -- The Rev. Al Sharpton is a descendant of a slave owned by relatives of the late Sen. Strom Thurmond -- a discovery the civil rights activist called "shocking" on Sunday.  
 
Sharpton learned of his connection to Thurmond, once a prominent defender of segregation, last week through the Daily News, which asked genealogists to trace his roots.
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- While Mitt Romney condemns polygamy and its prior practice by his Mormon church, the Republican presidential candidate's great-grandfather had five wives and at least one of his great-great grandfathers had 12.  
 
Polygamy was not just a historical footnote, but a prominent element in the family tree of the former Massachusetts governor now seeking to become the first Mormon president.  
 
Romney's great-grandfather, Miles Park Romney, married his fifth wife in 1897. That was more than six years after Mormon leaders banned polygamy and more than three decades after a federal law barred the practice.  
 
Romney's great-grandmother, Hannah Hood Hill, was the daughter of polygamists. She wrote vividly in her autobiography about how she ''used to walk the floor and shed tears of sorrow'' over her own husband's multiple marriages.  
 
Romney's great-great grandfather, Parley Pratt, an apostle in the church, had 12 wives. In an 1852 sermon, Parley Pratt's brother and fellow apostle, Orson Pratt, became the first church official to publicly proclaim and defend polygamy as a direct revelation from God.  
 
Romney's father, former Michigan Gov. George Romney, was born in Chihuahua, Mexico, where Mormons fled in the 1800s to escape religious persecution and U.S. laws forbidding polygamy. He and his family did not return to the United States until 1912, more than two decades after the church issued ''The Manifesto'' banning polygamy.
WASHINGTON - Federal prosecutors counted immigration violations, marriage fraud and drug trafficking among anti-terror cases in the four years after 9/11 even though no evidence linked them to terror activity, a Justice Department audit said Tuesday.  
 
Overall, nearly all of the terrorism-related statistics on investigations, referrals and cases examined by department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine were either diminished or inflated. Only two of 26 sets of department data reported between 2001 and 2005 were accurate, the audit found.
Two days after graduating from high school last June, Jonathan Pope left his home in Miamisburg, Ohio, to join a traveling magazine sales crew, thinking he would get to “talk to people, party at night and see the country.”  
 
Over the next six months, he and about 20 other crew members crossed 10 states, peddling subscriptions door to door, 10 to 14 hours a day, six days a week. Sleeping three to a room in cheap motels, lowest seller on the floor, they survived some days on less than $10 in food money while their earnings were kept “on the books” for later payment.  
 
By then, Mr. Pope said, he had seen several friends severely beaten by managers, he and several other crew members were regularly smoking methamphetamine with prostitutes living down the motel hallway, and there were warrants out for his arrest in five states for selling subscriptions without a permit.  
 
“I knew I was either going to be dead, disappeared or I don’t know what,” Mr. Pope said.  
 
A shocking exposé.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - More than 100 corporate heads, international organizations and experts set out a plan on Tuesday to cut greenhouse gas emissions, calling on governments to act urgently against global warming.  
 
"Failing to act now would lead to far higher economic and environmental costs and greater risk of irreversible impacts," the Global Roundtable on Climate Change warned in a statement, announcing their first major agreement since they began talks in 2004.  
 
The group, which includes executives from a range of industries including air transport, energy, and technology, called on governments to set targets for greenhouse gases and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.  
 
The agreement urged governments to place a price on the carbon emissions released by power plants, factories and other sectors to discourage emissions.  
 
"Of course, addressing climate change involves risks and costs. But much greater is the risk of failing to act," said Alain Belda, chairman and CEO of the world's top aluminum producer Alcoa, who signed the pact.  
 
The group includes General Electric, Ford Motor Co., Toyota Motor North America, investment bank Goldman Sachs, and Wal-Mart among its major corporations.
WASHINGTON, Feb. 19 — A picture taking shape from hours of testimony and reams of documents in the trial of I. Lewis Libby Jr. shatters any notion that the White House was operating as a model of cohesion throughout President Bush’s first term.  
 
The trial against Mr. Libby has centered on a narrow case of perjury, with days of sparring between the defense and prosecution lawyers over the numbing details of three-year-old conversations between White House officials and journalists. But a close reading of the testimony and evidence in the case is more revelatory, bringing into bolder relief a portrait of a vice president with free rein to operate inside the White House as he saw fit in order to debunk the charges of a critic of the war in Iraq.  
 
The evidence in the trial shows Vice President Dick Cheney and Mr. Libby, his former chief of staff, countermanding and even occasionally misleading colleagues at the highest levels of Mr. Bush’s inner circle as the two pursued their own goal of clearing the vice president’s name in connection with flawed intelligence used in the case for war.  
 
The testimony in the trial, which is heading for final arguments as early as Tuesday, calls into question whether Mr. Cheney, known as a consummate inside player, operated as effectively as his reputation would hold. For all of his machinations, Mr. Cheney’s efforts sometimes faltered as he tried, with the help of Mr. Libby, to push back against critics during a crucial period in the early summer of 2003, when Mr. Bush’s initial case for war was beginning to fall apart. In some of their efforts, Mr. Cheney and his agent, Mr. Libby, appeared even maladroit in the art of news management.  
 
While others on the White House team were primarily concerned about Mr. Bush, the evidence has shown that Mr. Libby had a more acute concern about his own boss. Unbeknownst to their colleagues, according to testimony, the two carried out a covert public relations campaign to defend not only the case for war but also Mr. Cheney’s connection to the flawed intelligence.  
 
In doing so, they used some of the most sensitive and classified intelligence data available, information others on Mr. Bush’s team was not yet prepared to put to use in a public fight against a war critic.
The word “scrotum” does not often appear in polite conversation. Or children’s literature, for that matter.  
 
Yet there it is on the first page of “The Higher Power of Lucky,” by Susan Patron, this year’s winner of the Newbery Medal, the most prestigious award in children’s literature. The book’s heroine, a scrappy 10-year-old orphan named Lucky Trimble, hears the word through a hole in a wall when another character says he saw a rattlesnake bite his dog, Roy, on the scrotum.  
 
“Scrotum sounded to Lucky like something green that comes up when you have the flu and cough too much,” the book continues. “It sounded medical and secret, but also important.”  
 
The inclusion of the word has shocked some school librarians, who have pledged to ban the book from elementary schools, and reopened the debate over what constitutes acceptable content in children’s books. The controversy was first reported by Publishers Weekly, a trade magazine.
Republican presidential candidate John McCain (news, bio, voting record) said Monday the war in Iraq has been mismanaged for years and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld will be remembered as one of the worst in history.  
 
"We are paying a very heavy price for the mismanagement — that's the kindest word I can give you — of Donald Rumsfeld, of this war," the Arizona senator told an overflow crowd of more than 800 at a retirement community near Hilton Head Island, S.C. "The price is very, very heavy and I regret it enormously."  
 
McCain, the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, complained that Rumsfeld never put enough troops on the ground to succeed in Iraq.  
 
"I think that Donald Rumsfeld will go down in history as one of the worst secretaries of defense in history," McCain said to applause.  
 
The comments were in sharp contrast to McCain's statement when Rumsfeld resigned in November, and failed to address the reality that President Bush is the commander in chief.  
 
"While Secretary Rumsfeld and I have had our differences, he deserves Americans' respect and gratitude for his many years of public service," McCain said last year when Rumsfeld stepped down.  
 
Pity McCain did not see fit to tell the truth back when it could have actually helped.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr fled Iraq for Iran ahead of a security crackdown in Baghdad and the arrival of 21,500 U.S. troops sent by President Bush to quell sectarian violence, a senior U.S. official said Tuesday.  
 
Al-Sadr left his Baghdad stronghold some weeks ago, the official said, and is believed to be in Tehran, where he has family. The official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss U.S. monitoring activities, said fractures in al-Sadr's political and militia operations may be part of the reason for his departure. The move is not believed to be permanent, the official said.  
 
Word of al-Sadr's departure coincides with an announcement that Iraq will close its borders with Iran and Syria for 72 hours as part of the drive to end the violence that has threatened to divide the capital along sectarian lines.  
 
The U.S. official said it is not clear how firmly the radical Shiite cleric is controlling his organization and the associated Mahdi Army militia from exile.  
 
Interesting timing for a leak...
Iraq War veteran Christopher Carbone said he wouldn't mind a decrease in his medical benefits if it meant that additional federal dollars would be used for armored Humvees on the battlefield.  
 
But Carbone, a survivor of an improvised explosive device attack in Iraq in October 2005, couldn't help being a little jarred when he learned the Bush administration planned to cut funding for veterans' health care by 2 percent in 2009 in order to balance the federal budget by 2012.  
 
"It's kind of surprising," Carbone, 28, of North Haledon, said Monday. "It's one of those things that you always expect to be taken care of after everything you do."