Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
In Hot Water
Last week, NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies — one of the four bodies responsible for monitoring global temperatures used by the United Nations — announced last month was the hottest October on record. That was because the institute's maps showed a 10-degree increase across parts of Russia.
But Christopher Booker at the Telegraph newspaper writes that when some climate change skeptics took a closer look at the numbers "they made an astonishing discovery."
He says the blogs Watts Up With That? and Climate Audit found "figures from the previous month had simply been carried over and repeated two months running."
That means October's supposedly record-breaking temperatures were in fact recorded in September and the institute promptly revised the figures. A spokesman says the error occurred because the Russian figures were obtained from an outside source. He said the Goddard Institute does not have the resources to exercise proper quality control over the data.
The election of Barack Obama has set off a wave of congratulatory media coverage. So much so that Howard Kurtz at The Washington Post asks, "Are journalists fostering the notion that Obama is invincible?... Perhaps it was the announcement that NBC News is coming out with a DVD titled 'Yes We Can: The Barack Obama Story'... the Newsweek commemorative issue 'Obama's American Dream'... or the Time cover depicting Obama as FDR."
He points to other examples like New York Magazine calling Obama-ism a quote "kind of religion" as well as the Chicago Tribune declaring Michelle Obama is "poised to be the new Oprah and the next Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis — combined!"
And while Kurtz says, "There's nothing wrong with the country pulling together" he adds, "We seem to have crossed a cultural line into mythmaking."
Failure to Act
While Congress has done nothing to look into sweetheart deals provided by Countrywide Financial to Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd and Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, the Postal Service is starting a serious investigation of one of its own.
The service has hired an outside investigator to examine a deal between the mortgage giant and Postmaster General John Potter. It reportedly included a reduced interest rate and waived fees on Potter's $322,000 loan.
And much like Senators Dodd and Conrad, Potter says he was unaware of any preferential treatment.
But we reported earlier this month that Robert Feinberg, the former Countrywide loan officer who handled the VIP mortgages, says despite their denials, it was part of his job to make sure his clients were fully aware they were getting special deals.
Mexico City will begin handing out free impotence drugs to men aged 70 and older. The city's mayor Marcelo Ebrard says part of the reason is because sexuality "has a lot to do with quality of life and our happiness."
Mexico City's health secretary says the handouts of one or two Viagra, Levitra or Cialis pills will begin December 1. The doses will be distributed at three centers that specialize in sexual health for the elderly after the men take a medical examination. The initiative is apparently not open to tourists.
— FOX News Channel's Zachary Kenworthy contributed to this report.