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Is President Obama Turning a Blind Eye to the Pasts of Some Economic Advisers?

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Turning a Blind Eye?

Some members of the president's newly-minted Economic Recovery Advisory Board have questionable economic pasts. The Washington Times reports the panel includes a billionaire whose failed bank pioneered the subprime mortgage market, a union executive who took the Fifth Amendment in a federal probe, and the head of the American branch of Swiss UBS investment bank, which is now at the center of a federal tax evasion probe.

The report says 11 of the 16 board members donated or raised money for Democrats in the last election. They gave or gathered $1.2 million to President Obama's campaign.

On the Mend

Mr. Obama apparently is trying to make up for his perceived snub of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown Tuesday. The president was criticized for canceling a formal joint press conference and for returning a bust of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill that had been in the Oval Office for nearly seven years.

Wednesday, the president released an unusually detailed statement about two new gifts given to him by Brown, and where they are displayed in the White House. The president was given a pen holder carved from the timbers of a British warship and a first edition biography of Winston Churchill.

The War Next Door

Civilians ran a greater risk of being killed in the Mexican border city of Juarez last year than in Baghdad and its surrounding province. A Cybercast News study of State Department statistics reveals the per capita rate of civilian killings in Juarez, drug cartel hotbed, was nearly 3.5 times greater than in Baghdad Province.

An estimated 1,800 civilians were killed in Juarez last year; that equaled one in every 889 residents. Baghdad's per capita death rate was one in every 3,040 residents.

One For the Books

And finally, the Chicago Tribune reports its offices have been inundated with book title suggestions since news broke that disgraced former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich had signed a six-figure book deal. The Tribune whittled down the suggestions to a "Top 10" list that plays heavily on Blagojevich's hairstyle and alleged use of profanity in FBI wiretaps.

It includes, "God Is My Comb Pilot," "Doctor Strange Gov — or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the F-Bomb," "Rod and the Giant Impeach" — and "They Paid Me a (Bleeping) Bucket of Cash to Write this (Bleeping) Book."

— FOX News Channel's Zachary Kenworthy contributed to this report.

Bret Baier currently serves as anchor of Fox News Channel's "Special Report with Bret Baier" (weeknights 6-7PM/ET), the top-rated cable news program in its timeslot. Based in Washington, D.C., he joined the network in 1998 as the first reporter in the Atlanta bureau. Click here for more information on Bret Baier