Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
Who's the Boss?
A new book paints a picture of how influential Hillary Clinton was during her husband's presidency. "For Love of Politics," by Sally Bedell Smith contends Mrs. Clinton often overruled key advisers in matters such as personnel appointments and presidential speech language. In one incident — after President Clinton seemed to publicly waver on his commitment to his wife's universal health care proposal during an event in Boston in 1994 — Mrs. Clinton was outraged back at the White House.
"She picked up the phone," Smith writes, "and said to the operator, 'Get me the President.' Moments later, Bill came on the line. 'What the (expletive) are you doing up there?' she screamed. 'I want to see you as soon as you get back.'"
"Several hours later," the book says, "Bill arrived by helicopter and walked into the Diplomatic Reception Room, where an aide was waiting to escort him upstairs."
And Smith writes that former Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala says Mrs. Clinton pushed the president into signing welfare reform in 1996 — after vetoing two previous bills. "'Bill was anguished, but Hillary was not torn,' (Shalala) recalled. 'She was flat. She saw the political reality without the human dimension. If Hillary had opposed the bill, we would have gotten another veto.'"
The Army Corps of Engineers reports Iraqis are getting an average of 15 hours of electrical service/day nationwide — far above expectations. Many parts of Iraq had from four to six hours/day toward the end of the Saddam Hussein regime — although Baghdad had 22 to 24 hours then and has less now.
Meanwhile 28 new primary care clinics have opened in Iraq — 12 in Baghdad. The country's first new hospital since the 1980's will be completed in Basra next summer.
And one indication of the major reduction in violence can be found at what is believed to be the world's largest cemetery — in Najaf. McClatchy newspapers report workers there say business is off by about a third in the past six months.
A six-year-old Brooklyn girl is facing a $300 fine — for doing something almost all kids do at one time or another — drawing on her front step with chalk. The Brooklyn Paper reports a neighbor complained about Natalie Shea's artwork — and the city sent her parents a letter demanding that the "graffiti" be removed or else.
It turns out that a child's chalk drawing can be classified as graffiti under a 2005 law — but only if it is without the consent of the property owner — in this case the girl's parents. A spokesman with the New York police says if the chalk can be washed away — the drawings are not technically graffiti — but still could be classified as criminal mischief.
And Tuesday we told you about outrage from the left after liberal radio talk show host Randi Rhodes was injured outside her Manhattan apartment in what was first reported as a mugging.
One of Rhodes' colleagues — Jon Elliott — blamed conservatives for the attack. But then Rhodes' lawyer said she just fell down while walking her dog.
Tuesday night Elliott said — "I shouldn't have speculated based on hearsay that Randi Rhodes had been mugged and that it may have been an attack from a right wing hate machine. I apologize for jumping to conclusions based on an emotional reaction."
— FOX News Channel's Martin Hill contributed to this report.