Reporter suspended for racist remarks

Tallahassee Democrat political writer and columnist Bill Cotterell was suspended for replying to an e-mail in which he referred to Arabs squatting “around the camel-dung fire” and putting “their bottoms in the air five times a day.” Cotterell, whose journalism career has spanned more than 20 years, was replying to an angered readers’ e-mail of a political cartoon that asked, “What would Mohammed drive?” and portrayed a Middle Eastern-looking man driving a Ryder truck with a nuclear bomb in the back.

Cotterell was suspended Friday for a week without pay.

Wetherell chosen to lead Florida State

T.K. Wetherell was officially chosen to lead Florida State University last week. Wetherell succeeds Talbot “Sandy” D’Alemberte, who resigned the post in October. Look for a full story in the Friday’s paper.


N.C. Senator set for presidential run

North Carolina Sen.John Edwards announced his bid for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination. Edwards’ announcement for the Democratic nomination adds on to the long list of presidential hopefuls.

Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts and Virginia Gov. Howard Dean have announced their candidacies with a possibility of Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota running as well.

Many believe that for Edwards, a trial lawyer, inexperience in politics may hinder him from winning the 2004 Democratic presidential ticket.

Screener caught sleeping, fired

A baggage screener was fired after falling asleep while on duty at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. The employee, who was not identified, was found asleep at a concourse exit lane by another airport employee some time between 5:30 and 6 a.m.

The incident prompted officials to evacuate several concourses and re-screen baggage. He is the first employee in the Transportation Security Administration to be fired. There are 50,000 screeners in the nation’s airports.

All of the baggage going through the airports have to be screened, up from the 5 percent required before the September 11 attacks.

— compiled by Marlon A. Walker and DeAnna Carpenter.