Mayor’s Scare Tactics?

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Mayors have to solve a lot of problems and admittedly, Las Vegas has some unusual ones. But no one can beat Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman (search) for bold ideas. Asked about the problem of graffiti, Goodman said people who deface his state's freeways should be harshly punished, saying, "Maybe you put them on TV and cut off a thumb. That might be the right thing to do."

He also suggested that whippings and canings should make a comeback as a disciplinary means for children. When asked if he was joking, Goodman responded, "I'm dead serious" and went on to say, "You've got to teach them a lesson." But not without proper procedure of course: first, he conceded, kids would be entitled to a trial.

The Faith Factor

Former President Jimmy Carter (search) criticized his own party yesterday, saying Democrats spend way too much time debating the issue of abortion. Carter said he condemns all abortions, saying, "I've never been convinced... that Jesus Christ would approve of abortions." As for why Democrats lost the last election, Carter said that party leaders had failed to connect with "deeply religious people in this country."

Flubbed the Facts

The Vermont Democratic Party slammed Republican Governor Jim Douglas (search) for hiring a Washington lobbying firm with close ties to embattled Congressman Tom DeLay (search) and President Bush, demanding an explanation for what it called a culture of corruption.

But the Vermont Democrats got a little ahead of themselves — the Republican governor had hired an entirely different firm — in fact, the same one used by the former Democratic governor of the state. The firm has no ties to either DeLay or Bush, but has worked with many Democrats, including the governors of Pennsylvania, Washington and Maine.

The executive director of Vermont's Democratic Party has since issued a statement acknowledging the mistake and offering an apology.

Pants Off!

The North Korean government is telling women to ditch the pants. A women's magazine reports that North Korean females are being encouraged to wear traditional garments to keep alive their cultural traditions. The magazine says adhering to the native Korean dress style is "a very important political issue,” especially at a time when "…the U.S. imperialists are maneuvering to spread the rotten bourgeois lifestyle inside North Korea (search)." Who knew women's pants were such a potent political weapon?

Mystery Holiday?

People in Russia are celebrating a new national holiday today, one that many of them don't understand. In an effort to promote patriotism and unity in what remains of the former Soviet empire, Russian President Vladimir Putin (search) has declared today the "Day of People's Unity,” which is intended to commemorate Moscow's liberation from Polish invaders... in 1612! State-run television aired stories explaining the meaning of the holiday. In spite of that, more than half the Russians asked in a poll could not say why they were getting the day off. But no one was complaining.

— FOX News' Aaron Bruns contributed to this report

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