Here are the two most important news stories of the day.
Condensed and combined to save you, the busy New Jersey resident, lots of time:
A smiling Paris Hilton walked out of a Los Angeles County jail early Tuesday, officially ending a bizarre, three-week stay that ignited furious debate over celebrity treatment in the jail system.
A grim and serious Christie Todd Whitman officially ended her three-year silence on the issue of the EPA report that declared the air at Ground Zero was safe to breathe. A silence that ignited furious debate over who was to blame for causing irreversable health problems to Ground Zero workers.
The 26-year-old celebutante was greeted by an enormous gathering of cameras and reporters upon leaving the all-women's facility in Lynwood about 15 minutes past midnight.
The 61-year-old former Governor was grilled by a “largely hostile House Judiciary subcommittee that she relied on sound scientific data when she told residents of Lower Manhattan that the air around Ground Zero was safe to breathe.” The Ex-EPA chief Christie Whitman was bombarded Monday with boos, hisses, and a host of accusations.
Hilton smiled and waved as she filed past deputies and the media, her blond hair pulled back in a braided ponytail. Hilton, who was wearing a sage jacket with white trim over a white shirt and skinny jeans, did not respond to reporters' questions.
Governor Whitman looked stern and emotionless as she fielded aggressive questions from members of Congress, her hair pulled back to reveal a lovely pair of pearl earrings and a matching pearl necklace.
She responded to the inquiry regarding the EPA false reports by declaring she is tired of the "innuendo and outright falsehoods” and “I have been called a liar and a criminal.” She did not seem to respond well to Congress members' questions.
During her stay at the Lynwood facility, Hilton was mostly confined to a solitary cell in the special needs unit away from the other 2,200 inmates.
During her testimony before Congress, Whitman stayed mostly at the table in front of the House Judiciary subcommittee looking sort of ticked off; you know the way some Repubs do when they’re being sanctimonious and holier-than-thou.
After spending only three days in jail, Hilton was released to home confinement by Sheriff Lee Baca for an unspecified medical condition that he later said was psychological.The following day, Hilton was called back into court and was ordered returned to jail, the judge saying he had not condoned her release. Hilton left the courtroom in tears calling for her mother and shouting, ''It's not right!''
After more than three years of silence, Whitman told the House subcommittee, "Let me be clear: There are indeed people to blame. They are the terrorists who attacked the United States, not the men and women at all levels of government who worked heroically to protect and defend this country.”
Yes, blame it on the terrorists. Aha! They must have been the ones to write the report that contained sound scientific data that told residents of Lower Manhattan that the air around Ground Zero was safe to breathe. So, it was not the EPA after all.
“I used to act dumb. It was an act. I am 26 years old, and that act is no longer cute,'' Hilton told ABC’s Barbara Walters. ''It is not who I am, nor do I want to be that person for the young girls who looked up to me.”
"I am disappointed at the misstatements, innuendo and outright falsehoods that have characterized the public discussion about the EPA in the aftermath of the terrorists' attacks," Whitman told Congress. "EPA's most extreme critics have alleged that I knowingly misled New Yorkers and the workers at Ground Zero about the safety risks associated with environmental contamination."
Hilton's stay in jail cost taxpayers $1,109.78 a day, more than 10 times the cost of housing inmates in the general population.
Whitman’s lies and this Administration’s incompetence in the days following 9/11 cost hundreds and hundred of workers and volunteers their good health.
Subcommittee chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), who represents Lower Manhattan, was among the most vociferous critics, accusing Whitman of reassuring the public when such reassurances were not justified.
"As a result of the actions by Whitman and others in the Bush administration', said Nadler, ‘our government has knowingly exposed thousands of American citizens unnecessarily to deadly hazardous materials.’
And so it goes.