And now the most illuminating two minutes in television, the  latest from Special Report's "Political Grapevine."

Overhead costs or overboard spending?

John McCain's political action committee, Straight Talk America, spent more than $1.1 million in the first six months of this year, but very little of it flowed to other political candidates, who are the normal beneficiaries of political action committees.

Instead, the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call reports much of the money went to pay salaries and expenses of a team of advisers and consultants, who were also active in McCain's presidential campaign.  Indeed, Roll Call said McCain's political action committee "spent more hard dollars on overhead costs than any other leadership PAC associated with a member of Congress."

Top McCain adviser John Weaver, for example, collected $15,000 a month.  That's more than all the money McCain contributed to other candidates put together.  McCain, of course, is considered a leading congressional advocate of campaign-finance reform.

Sparring over death penalty numbers

The United Nations panel on race is attacking the United States' record on racism and strongly hinting that this country should impose a moratorium on the death penalty.

The U.N. committee on the elimination of racial discrimination based in Geneva, Switzerland, noted what it called "a disturbing correlation between race, both of the victim and the defendant, and the imposition of the death penalty" in the U.S.

It said 54 percent of those on death row in the U.S. are from minority backgrounds, compared to 20 percent of the overall population.  The U.N. apparently did not try to determine what the percentage of minorities is within the criminal population.

The study is a prelude to that U.N. conference on racism to be held this month in South Africa, which the U.S. has threatened to boycott.

Reports the hunt is over

In Nitro, West Virginia, the police, whose headquarters was downstairs, didn't know what was happening elsewhere in the building.  Neither did the little kids whose daycare center was downstairs, or the senior citizens who ate in the cafeteria.

But the Nitro community center was home to a cloning laboratory where a former statute legislator named Mark Hunt spent nearly a half-million dollars on an effort to have his infant 10-month-old son, Andrew, who died after surgery for a heart defect, cloned.

But The Charleston Gazette, which broke the story, reports that Hunt abandoned the effort after the FDA got wind of it and started asking questions.

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