The latest pickings from the Political Grapevine:
The Obama-Biden transition team has launched a new feature on its Web site called "Open for Questions" which is designed to be an open forum for users to ask policy and issue questions. However, it is subject to what amounts to censorship by other users because the more votes an entry gets the higher it moves on the overall list. But some questions are being downplayed by Obama supporters who are trying to remove the entries entirely.
Postings concerning Democratic Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich are being flagged as "inappropriate" by some users — leading the questions to be removed from the main list. Only by searching key words such as "Blagojevich" can one find those questions.
"Is Barack Obama aware of any communications in the last six weeks between Rod Blagojevich or anyone representing Rod Blagojevich and any of Obama's top aides?" asks Phil from Pennsylvania. But the text underneath that posting reads, "This submission was removed because people believe it is inappropriate."
Another flagged entry reads, "Why are reasoned questions about Blagojevich being flagged as inappropriate and voted down? I would personally like to hear more from our president-elect about the state of politics in his home state."
Ready for Prime Time?
New York Congressman Gary Ackerman is the first prominent Democrat to publicly question Caroline Kennedy's credentials to replace Hillary Clinton in the Senate.
The New York Post reports Ackerman says Kennedy is no more qualified to hold public office than singer-actress Jennifer Lopez.
"I don't know what Caroline Kennedy's qualifications are. Except that she has name recognition, but so does J-Lo. I wouldn't make J-Lo the senator unless she proved she had great qualifications, but we haven't seen them yet."
Old Glory, New Problem
A legal clerk who works at Philadelphia’s Criminal Justice Center never imagined the miniature American flag taped to his computer would become a problem. But Ralph Silvestro tells the Philadelphia Daily News that even though no one complained about the flag, he has been told it is inappropriate for the workplace and must be removed.
It seems his new boss wants to keep the front counter looking clean and uniform. But Silvestro has worn a uniform while serving in the Navy and Air Force Reserve and did not miss the irony saying, "I served this country for 12 years. I could have died for this flag, but I can't hang it up. What's up with that? I just don't understand."
One year after Rupert Murdoch — whose NewsCorp owns this channel — purchased The Wall Street Journal amid howls from many in and out of the news business, one of the sharpest critics appears to change his mind.
James Ottaway Junior — whose family owned 6.2% of the company's controlling shares — originally called Murdoch's proposal a "poison pill offer" and that he "couldn't live with the shame of having sold Dow Jones to Murdoch."
But now Ottaway says Murdoch has not sought to control the editorial page and has impressed him by expanding the paper's size and boosting magazine subscriptions.
He tells the Daily Beast Web site, "I think he's done a much better job than I thought he would...Things that I spoke about publicly that I feared Murdoch would do, that would be bad for the Dow Jones and for the Wall Street Journal, have just not happened. Yet, anyway."
— FOX News Channel's Zachary Kenworthy contributed to this report.