Post purchase. Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos shocked the media world Monday when he announced he had purchased The Washington Post for $250 million. Although media watchers knew the longtime, family-owned paper was in financial trouble, no one had any clue Bezos was interested in buying it. Bezos, who helped pioneer the advance of digital media, joins other wealthy businessmen, including Warren Buffett, in a renewed interest in owning newspapers. Everyone now wants to know where his political allegiance lies and whether it will have any effect on the newsroom. He’s given money to both Democrats and Republicans in the past, but friends describe him as a libertarian. He and his wife gave $2.5 million to help pass the same-sex marriage referendum in Washington state.
Terror threat. American and British officials pulled diplomatic staff out of Yemen today after intercepting conversations between al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri and others in the Islamist terror group. Although United States officials remain tight-lipped on the content of the conversations, media reports claim a large number of militants have arrived in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa in recent days to prepare for a large-scale attack. Some are describing the plot as the most serious since the 9/11 attack. The Yemeni pull-out follows the closure of 20 U.S. embassies and consulates in the Middle East and North Africa on Sunday. While preparing for the threat, military officials are still on offense: A drone strike in Yemen earlier today reportedly killed four al-Qaeda operatives.
Friends of the court. Lawyers for the Family Research Council (FRC) filed an amicus brief today on behalf of 85 lawmakers in a public prayer case pending before the U.S. Supreme Court. The case, Town of Greece v. Galloway, pits a small New York town’s longstanding tradition of prayer before public meetings against two women who say the practice is unconstitutional. The Supreme Court agreed earlier this summer to hear the case. If the court sides with the city, which FRC attorney Ken Klukowski expects, it will be “the most significant religious liberty victory” in 50 years. “Given that the court has looked approvingly to legislative prayer dating to the founding, it is likely that the court will not only affirm prayer but significantly strengthen the religious liberty rights of Americans in public life and the public square,” said Klukowski, who also serves as director of the FRC’s Center for Religious Liberty.
Land battle, gun battle. A Pennsylvania man angry over a town’s attempt to evict him from his property opened fire at a local board meeting Monday night, killing three and wounding several others before bystanders tackled and subdued him. Rockne Newell, a resident of Ross Township, about 70 miles north of Philadelphia, had an 18-year fight with officials over his property, which the local board declared an eyesore. When he entered the meeting Monday, Newell allegedly yelled, “They stole my land! They stole my land!”
Presidential stent. Former President George W. Bush underwent surgery at a Dallas hospital today to have a stent put in a blocked artery near his heart. Doctors discovered the blockage during his regular physical on Monday. A spokesman said Bush expects to return to his normal schedule on Thursday.