And now the most absorbing two minutes in television, the latest from the political grapevine:
Remarks For Breakfast
Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean (search) now says he, ‘misspoke’…the other night when he told the AFL-CIO (search) he does not favor raising the retirement age. He said, ‘I have never favored social security at age 70, nor do I favor one of 68.’ Dean acknowledged that he had urged raising the retirement age back in 1995 when the country was in a deficit. But he says it's not necessary. In fact, though, as recently as June, Dean said on Meet the Press that he would, ‘entertain’ the idea of raising the retirement age to 68. The Washington Times reports, meanwhile, that Dean's budget-balancing in Vermont, much cited by the news media, left the state with, ‘one of the highest per capita tax burdens in the country.’
Sharp Media Criticism
Democratic presidential candidate and Black activist Al Sharpton…who according to the most recent national poll would get 3 percent of the democratic vote…is now blaming what he calls ‘blatant racial insensitivity in the coverage of this race so far.’ He says the media have not taken his presidential campaign seriously because reporters and editors are, ‘automatically dismissive of anything that is not like them, which is white males.’
Aide and Comfort?
Richard Riordan (search) may now be saying he was pleasantly surprised at Arnold Schwarzenegger's (search) decision to run for governor of California, but that's not how a Riordan aide described his first reaction. The adviser says the former L.A. Mayor, who'd been considered a possible candidate himself, had spoken with Schwarzenegger as recently as hours before the actor's announcement, but Schwarzenneger gave no inkling of his intention to run. As for his reaction, the aide told the L.A. Times…‘this is what it feels like to be mugged.’
A German scholar now says a misinterpretation of the Koran (search) has led Muslims to believe eternal orgasms and doe-eyed virgins await them in the afterlife. In fact, Christoph Luxenberg says, what the Koran promises in the afterlife is, ‘white raisins’ of ‘crystal clarity.’ The problem, he says, is that the Koran is read as being in Arabic. So Luxenberg read the Koran as being in Syriac…the language spoken in Syria at the time the Koran was first written.
— FOX News' Michael Levine contributed to this report