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Briefs (right)

Cheney Sees ‘Shameless’ Revisionism On War

By Elisabeth Bumiller

Vice President Dick Cheney stepped up the White House attacks on critics of the Iraq war on Monday, declaring that senators who say Americans were sent into battle based on a lie are engaging in “revisionism of the most corrupt and shameless variety.”

In remarks delivered at the American Enterprise Institute, Cheney briefly said he considered debate over the war healthy, and he echoed President Bush’s recent praise of Rep. John P. Murtha, the Pennsylvania Democrat who has called for an early withdrawal of American troops from Iraq, as “a good man, a Marine, a patriot.”

But the vice president quickly made clear that after a week of criticism of Bush on Capitol Hill, the White House would not relent in its campaign against critics of the war and of the faulty intelligence that led up to it. Cheney decided last week, as the war debate was intensifying, to make his speech for maximum impact on an otherwise quiet Monday, the first day that Congress was out of town on recess and while Bush was traveling back to Washington from a trip to Asia.

Google to Help Library of Congress
Digitization Project

By Katie Hafner

The Library of Congress on Tuesday will announce a $3-million gift from Google to help the library begin building a World Digital Library, a project that aims to digitize and place on the Web significant primary materials from national libraries and other institutions across the globe.

James H. Billington, the librarian of Congress, said the World Digital Library will be modeled after the library’s American Memory Project, started in 1994, which has been digitizing and placing on the Web millions of historical artifacts, including the manuscripts of Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson, the Gettysburg Address, and Civil War photographs.

One of the first agreements is with the National Library of Egypt, for digitizing documents of Islamic science from the 10th century. Billington said he hoped the project would eventually cover China, the rest of East Asia, Indian and South Asia and the Islamic world, stretching from Indonesia to Africa.

Senate’s Tax Bill Includes
Incentives for Charity

By Lynnley Browning

The tax bill passed by the Senate last week includes several provisions to encourage giving to charities and could lead to a significant increase in donations.

The bill would add tax breaks for people who make small charitable contributions and for those who want to donate directly from their individual retirement accounts.

The Senate measure would have to be reconciled with the tax bill under consideration in the House, which does not have any substantial provisions on charitable giving.

Under the Senate bill, people who do not itemize deductions on their federal tax returns would for the first time be able to deduct the amount they gave if it exceeded certain thresholds. The minimum would be $210 for individuals and $410 for married couples.

Taxpayers currently must itemize, instead of taking the standard deduction, if they want a tax break for their gifts.

The provision would last for two years and could increase charitable giving by $1 billion a year at little cost to the government, said Patrick Lester, director of public policy for the United Way of America, the nation’s largest charitable organization.