Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
A Sweeping Change in the U.S. Labor Movement
The executive board of the Service Employees International Union (search), the nation's largest labor union, has given its organization, "full and final" approval to abandon the AFL-CIO (search) — a move that could lead to the dismantling of the AFL-CIO. The SEIU board says, "the debates of the past ten years ... have made clear that there is a fundamental and apparently irreconcilable disagreement about how to rebuild workers' strength."
Specifically, the SEIU says its "first priority" is bringing workers back to organized labor, while the AFL-CIO is focused on changing the political climate. So, the SEIU says, "we should respectfully accept our differences and pursue the strategy we believe will work."
U.S. ‘Ill-Placed To Comment’?
Iran (search) is condemning the U.S. State Department for questioning the fairness of its upcoming presidential elections — slated for Friday — insisting, "the Americans are only speaking out of resentment" and the U.S. is "ill-placed to comment, given that it supports dictators." Iran's Foreign Ministry says the U.S. will be "shamed" when it sees how many Iranians come out to vote, adding, "We see a lot of life and excitement surrounding the election and the candidates."
Meanwhile, the actor Sean Penn (search), who’s in Iran to cover the elections for the San Francisco Chronicle, had his video camera briefly seized by Iranian authorities.
Blair is Back
A student achievement committee in Chantilly, Virginia, holds an annual ceremony to give scholarship awards to minority students it feels have excelled. For example, 11 years ago, the Pyramid Minority Student Achievement Committee presented an award to Jayson Blair (search) — but that was before he was caught plagiarizing and fabricating stories in The New York Times (search).
But this year, they invited Blair back to be master of ceremonies, and announce the winners. His mother, a member of the group's board, says the committee: "want[s] Jayson to know that he's still one of their own. He made it to the top, and, even though he fell, they want him to know we're still proud of him."
Last year Massachusetts Democratic Senator Edward Kennedy (search) bought the ocean side summer home once owned by his late brother, former president John F. Kennedy and since then he has welcomed many in the family to the cottage in Hyannis Port.
But it turns out Kennedy charged family members rent to stay there. New financial records, quoted by The Boston Herald, show that Kennedy earned between $50,000 and $100,000 dollars in rent last year. Kennedy aides say the cottage can often become crowded with family members during the summer.
— FOX News' Michael Levine contributed to this report