Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
Saddam Hussein may be on trial for his life, but says he already knows how he wants to die if he loses. The Washington Times reports that Saddam says that if he's to be executed, "I prefer it to be by firing squad. I am commander in chief." Saddam tells his attorneys that he's "fighting against U.S. tyranny on behalf of Iraqis, Arabs, all the people of the world," adding that the U.S., "tried in Iraq and failed badly, so by standing against Bush we are protecting other countries and regions of the world." He also predicted a quick exit for American troops, saying, "The Americans with their allies will fly out of Iraq very soon, and their puppets will leave even before the Americans."
Despite threats of budget cuts and layoffs after the economic devastation of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco decided to go ahead with a planned renovation of her offices at the State Capitol. The Baton Rouge Advocate reports the new Swedish granite countertops, walnut paneling and frosted laminated glass will cost the state more than $550,000.
Blanco's chief of staff admits he's concerned about the perception of fixing up their office space while slashing spending statewide, but says the governor decided to go ahead with the project over fears that terminating the contracts — granted just days before Hurricane Katrina — could lead to a successful lawsuit against the state.
Blogs Go Big Time
For proof of how much clout online web logs have within the Democratic Party, look no further than popular left-wing blog Daily Kos — which has secured Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid to speak at its annual Las Vegas convention. Kos himself, 34-year-old political consultant Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, says the involvement of the "moderate-to-conservative" Democrat is proof that his blog is not about ideology.
But Kos recently told Washington Monthly that the current Democratic infrastructure in Washington has "run the Democratic Party and the progressive movement into the ground, by valuing compromise over confrontation." Kos also generated controversy in 2004, when he wrote he felt nothing over the brutal deaths of four contractors in Fallujah, calling them mercenaries, and writing, "Screw them."
Preaching vs. Practicing
The city of Los Angeles spends half a million dollars a year to promote the quality of its tap water, but that hasn't stopped city officials from spending nearly $90,000 in taxpayer money on commercially bottled water over the last two years. The biggest offender? The Department of Water and Power, which supplies the city's water and pays to promote it.
A department spokesman says some of the water may have been distributed to neighborhoods when water service was interrupted. But the L.A. Times reports the department has about 25,000 bottles of its own water on hand for emergencies at any given time.
— FOX News' Aaron Bruns contributed to this report