Debit Card Fee Blame Game

And now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Times Are a Changin'

American-born terror leader Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed Friday, was once celebrated by the American media as a moderate.

In a period of two months after 9/11, The New York Times said al-Awlaki -- quote -- "is held up as a new generation of Muslim leader capable of merging East and West."

The Washington Post did a video profile of al-Awlaki and hosted him in an online question and answer session with readers.

The Baltimore Sun hailed al-Awlaki as a man who -- quote -- "bridges the two worlds."

NPR called al-Awlaki a prayer leader and asked him to comment on Usama bin laden.

In today's stories by those organizations, only The Washington Post noted Awlaki was once regarded as a moderate.

The Blame Game

Bank of America and Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin are playing the blame game when it comes to the bank's new $5 debit card usage fee.

The bank says the move is because of the so-called "Durbin amendment" -- that's a provision of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law that set limits on the fees banks can charge retailers for swiping their cards.

Durbin says -- quote -- "it seems that old habits die hard for Bank of America. It's overt, unfair and I hope their customers have the final say."

Prize Fighter

And finally, the U.N. is debating whether to award a $3 million science prize in honor of Equatorial Guinea's President Teodoro Obiang Nguema.

The African and Arab delegates passed the resolution over Western opposition, while staying at an $800 million resort the tiny African country built as part of what is called a "charm offensive." For perspective, that amount is 20 times the money allocated for the country's education in this year's budget.

The Associated Press notes that if the prize is created -- quote -- "a man whose regime is accused of gross human rights violations will be associated with an organization whose stated mission is the promotion of peace and human rights through cultural dialogue."