Deputy Secretary of State Randall Tobias; Nine paratroopers from Fort Bragg's 82nd Airborne Division; Bob Etheridge, David Price and Brad Miller; ABC 11 anchor Steve Daniels | Heroes & Zeros | Indy Week

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Deputy Secretary of State Randall Tobias; Nine paratroopers from Fort Bragg's 82nd Airborne Division; Bob Etheridge, David Price and Brad Miller; ABC 11 anchor Steve Daniels

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Deputy Secretary of State Randall Tobias, who was a Duke University trustee for 13 years (including three as chairman), resigned Friday after his name turned up in a little black book of clients of a prominent D.C. escort service. As the Bush administration's former "AIDS czar," Tobias promoted abstinence and faithfulness in African and Caribbean countries and downplayed condoms as a way to curb the transmission of HIV. According to ABC News, Tobias said there was "no sex"—just massages. He says he recently switched to a service "with Central Americans" providing the massages.

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Nine paratroopers from Fort Bragg's 82nd Airborne Division were killed on April 23. Kevin Gaspers, Ryen King, Garret Knoll, Kenneth E. Locker Jr., Randell Marshall, William Clint Moore, Brice Pearson, Michael Rodriguez and Michael Vaughan were killed when two bomb-laden dump trucks exploded near their patrol base in Diyala province. It was the most deadly attack on American ground forces in more than 16 months and was the largest single loss for the division since the Vietnam War. The soldiers were carrying out the security crackdown to which President George W. Bush has committed an extra 30,000 troops, among them thousands from bases in North Carolina.

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The Triangle's three Democratic congressmen, Bob Etheridge, David Price and Brad Miller, voted yes last week for a measure that included a timetable for withdrawing American troops from Iraq as part of a $124 billion war spending bill. Under the measure, the United States would gauge the Iraqi government's progress in developing its own security forces, disarming militias and distributing oil revenues, and begin bringing troops home on Oct. 1. Sens. Elizabeth Dole and Richard Burr opposed the measure. President Bush planned to veto the bill, but the congressional effort places the issue before him in a way he can't ignore.

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Normally, reporters try to stay out of their stories; that's certainly what journalistic ethics demand. But ABC 11 anchor Steve Daniels couldn't resist testifying before the N.C. House education committee about Wake County school bus drivers using their cell phones while driving. In an Eyewitness News piece aired during the February "sweeps," when stations try to pump ratings to raise ad rates, Daniels showed undercover video of "driving while dialing." That raised the ire of House Democrat Ray Rapp, who introduced a bill making it illegal and imposing a possible $100 fine. Rapp called Daniels to testify, and the anchor extolled the virtues of his investigative reporting. Then Daniels did a story quoting his own testimony. What's next? Maybe Daniels can find out who stole those gas caps off 43 Wake school buses and testify about that.

Know about a local hero or zero? E-mail tips to heroesandzeros@indyweek.com.

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