ABC News' The Note: First Source for Political News

Kerry legal adviser and former co-chair of the Michigan Democratic Party Butch Hollowell was cited for "allegedly picking up a prostitute," reports the Detroit Free Press. Hollowell says he was simply trying to help the woman. LINK

"Hollowell is temporarily stepping down from his legal position in the Kerry campaign until the matter is resolved. 'I look forward to returning as soon as I'm cleared which I trust will be very soon,'' he said."

The Detroit News got this from Kerry Michigan spokesman Rodell Mollineau: "We are still collecting information and have no further comment at this time . . . " LINK

AP has the story too. LINK

"Rapidly rising crude oil prices are threatening the nation's economic recovery, taxing Michigan businesses and sparking fears that consumers may soon have to pay more for everything from soccer balls to lipstick," reports the Detroit News. LINK

The Raleigh News & Observer 's Lynn Bonner writes about North Carolina the perceptions of competitiveness. LINK

New Mexican fourth- and eighth-grade students showed improvements in language arts and math, according to test scores released yesterday. LINK

"Despite the improved test scores for fourth- and eighth-graders, Garcia said she expects more schools to be placed in corrective action when her department announces new school ratings. That's because low scores from subgroups, such as ethnic groups, can hurt the rating of a whole school under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, Garcia said."

The Albuquerque Journal describes yesterday's courthouse dedication ceremony as a "Petefest." Even Antonin Scalia showed up for the naming of the federal courthouse in Albuquerque after Senator Domenici. LINK

A Wheeling, WV, man is getting national attention after he was asked to leave a July 31 rally for President Bush for wearing a John Kerry t-shirt. John Prather attended a Kerry-Edwards rally in Wheeling later that evening and wasn't bothered when he wore his George Bush t-shirt. The 38-year-old mathematics professor at Ohio University Eastern in St. Clairsville says when he showed up at the Bush rally in Kerry-gear, he was first asked to turn the shirt inside out but then security personnel said he couldn't enter at all. LINK

The politics of Iraq:

The Washington Post 's Rajiv Chandrasekaran writes that the pressure is rising in Najaf as interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi on Thursday declared a "final call" for Shiite Muslim cleric Moqtada Sadr to agree to Iraqi government conditions for peace in Najaf. Sadr has urged his followers to hand over the keys to the shrine to Shiite leaders, but refused to disband his militia. LINK

This morning on "Good Morning America," ABC News' Mike von Fremd said Sadr is reported to be trying to intervene on behalf of the freelance American journalist, Micah Garen, who was taken hostage by terrorists in Iraq. Sadr is reported to have asked them not to kill Garen.

The Los Angeles Times reports the CIA plans on issuing a saving-face report projecting what Saddam Hussein's weapons capabilities could have been if the United States didn't take military action in Iraq. LINK

Prison abuse scandal:

The Washington Post 's Josh White and Tom Ricks report that sources say an Army investigation into the role played by military intelligence in the Abu Ghraib prison scandal has concluded that leadership failures, not a small band of soldiers behaving inappropriately, helped cause the scandal. LINK

The politics of labor:

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