Don’t Get on the Wrong Side of New York Governor Spitzer

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Police Surveillance

New York Democratic Governor Eliot Spitzer reportedly has targeted his chief political rival for unprecedented surveillance by the state police.

The New York Post reports Spitzer insists he authorized detailed record-keeping on Republican State Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno’s use of state troopers for travel and protection — after a complaint from the head of the state's conservative party.

But conservative party leader Michael Long denies ever making any complaint — and calls the Spitzer contention — "a bald-faced lie."

A senior state official familiar with the surveillance told the Post he believed the governor was trying to "set up" Bruno.

The monitoring by state police did lead to allegations that Bruno improperly flew to political events on a state-owned helicopter. Bruno says all his trips on the helicopter were for state business.

Hero Cabbie

The Scottish taxi driver who punched and kicked the two men inside the Jeep Cherokee that crashed into the terminal at the Glasgow Airport Saturday is being hailed as a hero — but he's just trying to get a break from police.

The Glasgow Daily Record reports that when Alex McIlveen returned to the airport Sunday he found a $60 parking ticket on his taxi — which he had jumped out of in order to take on the terrorists.

"I couldn't believe it when I discovered a parking ticket on my cab," he said. "Considering I got it while trying to save hundreds of people, I would hope it will be canceled."

Police also confiscated McIlveen's clothes — including some expensive athletic shoes. And doctors tell him that he kicked one of the terrorists so hard that he has damaged a tendon in his foot.

Corn In, Barley Out

Farmers are planting corn to be used for government-subsidized ethanol production at the expense of other crops — including barley — and that is driving up the cost of beer.

The agriculture department says growers in five of the country's largest barley-producing states have planted 22 percent less of it this year than last.

The Denver Post reports that has translated to a three percent climb in the cost of beer — with prices at restaurants and bars up about four percent. And experts say the price will increase more next year.

One Colorado brewmaster says his company's production costs have gone up as much as 15 percent this year.

Intolerable Habit

And intellectuals and media elites in France are ripping newly-elected president Nicolas Sarkozy for a practice they find unacceptable — jogging.

The Australian newspaper reports critics see Sarkozy's passion for running as un-French, right-wing and even a ploy to brainwash his citizens.

One celebrated philosopher begged Sarkozy to take up walking and abandon what he called his "undignified" pursuit.

A sports sociologist notes that French intellectuals have always held jogging in contempt and associated it with totalitarian regimes that emphasize physical fitness.

The editor of a sports magazine says — "Jogging is, of course, about performance and individualism, values that are traditionally ascribed to the right."

And a media critic claims Sarkozy uses what he calls "hypnotic" daily images of the president running as — "a major weapon of media manipulation."

—FOX News Channel's Martin Hill contributed to this report.

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