Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
Judicial Filibusters Aplenty?
Citing the Congressional Research Service as his authority, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and the liberal advocacy group People for the American Way have claimed that there have been at least 13 judicial filibusters over the past 56 years. But by the Congressional Research Service's definition of a filibuster, that's not true. It says a filibuster occurs when a vote to cut off debate fails, not merely when there's lengthy debate.
And by that standard, there has only been one judicial filibuster, in 1968 against Abe Fortas, whose nomination became enmeshed in scandal, and the first effort to cut off debate failed. He subsequently withdrew his nomination, which did not have majority support.
President Please Apologize?
The week after the president of St. Thomas University in St. Paul, Minnesota, condemned an on-campus speech by the firebrand conservative commentator Ann Coulter, even though he hadn't attended, the group that paid for her appearance is now calling on President Dennis Dease to apologize, not only for his comments, but for "rude students" in the audience.
The Young America's Foundation says a group of students took over the first row in the balcony, and erupted in applause and cheers at the mere mention of the name Bill Clinton. What's more, another student heckled Coulter after every single sentence. Dease said Coulter's speech, "vulgarizes our culture and goes against everything the University ... stands for," but he did not mention, if he even knew, that she was heckled.
Digging Into His Own Pocket
Washington Democratic Congressman Norm Dicks has now decided to pay out of his pocket for a five-day congressional trip to Miami in February, this as Democrats continue to hold House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's feet to the fire over his travels that they claim were paid for by lobbyists.
When Dicks first recorded his trip with the House clerk, he said it was paid for by the Spectrum Group, a Virginia-based lobbyist. But that violates House rules, which prohibit lobbyists from paying for Congressional travel. So last week, Dicks amended his first filing, changing the trip's sponsor to Raydon Corp., Spectrum's client. But then, Dicks realized Spectrum had still paid for his lodging and meals, so he decided to just pick up the whole tab himself. Dicks' office, quoted by Roll Call newspaper, insists Spectrum paid for that part of the trip, "without his knowledge."
Food for Thought
Marshall Junior High in Clovis, New Mexico, was locked down after someone saw a boy carrying what police thought could be a weapon. Armed officers were placed on nearby rooftops, local streets were closed off, and dozens of anxious parents fled to the school to pull their children out of harm's way. But it turned out the threatening item was a 30-inch burrito filled with steak, guacamole, lettuce, salsa and jalapenos, all wrapped inside tin foil and a white T-Shirt. The oversized burrito was for an assignment on product promotion.
— FOX News' Michael Levine contributed to this report