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Justice Denied by Obama Administration?

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Justice Denied?

A lawsuit brought by the Bush administration against three members of the New Black Panther Party has been dropped by the Obama Justice Department. The move comes despite an eyewitness account and a YouTube video of the men seemingly attempting to scare away would-be voters on Election Day, in apparent violation of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

The civil complaint accused the men of coercion, making threats, intimidation and hurling racial slurs while at a Philadelphia polling station on November 4. Prosecutors say one of the men brandished a nightstick, which they called a deadly weapon.

Bartle Bull, a former 1960s civil rights lawyer and Election day poll watcher, said in an affidavit that it was: "The most blatant form of voter intimidation... they were positioned in a location that forced every voter to pass in close proximity to them. The weapon was openly displayed and brandished in plain sight of voters."

A Justice Department spokesman says officials obtained "an injunction that prohibits the defendant who brandished a weapon from doing so again. Claims were dismissed against the other defendants based on a careful assessment of the facts and the law."

Bright Idea

A proposal by House Minority Leader John Boehner is currently one of the most popular in the White House online suggestion box. In fact, the Politico newspaper reports that on Thursday night the Ohio congressman's idea was voted the No. 1 submission by users on the White House open government Web site.

The administration launched the online forum earlier this year. It allows everyday Americans to offer ideas for increasing transparency. So Boehner suggested the White House back a mandatory 72-hour period before Congress votes on any major spending bill: "If the administration chose to support such a review and follow through on its own promise to allow for five days of public comment on all bills before signing, it would represent a good first step toward greater transparency."

Long-Winded

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is celebrating the 10-year anniversary of his TV show with a four-day marathon edition. "Alo Presidente" normally airs on Sundays and provides Chavez with a platform to spread his socialist ideals. But this week's edition began Thursday with Chavez announcing: "'Alo Presidente' starts today and finishes this Sunday, we don't know at what time."

He began the show by giving sexual education tips to a group of teenagers and then talked about his weight problems.

He also read a letter from former Cuban President Fidel Castro which said: "Never has a revolutionary idea made use of the media so effectively."

— 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