And now the most fascinating two minutes in television, the latest from the political grapevine:
Did Party Officials Mislead the Voters?
While Democrats in New Jersey are fighting in court to get Sen. Robert Torricelli's name removed from the ballot, they are taking the exact opposite position in a House race in Hawaii. Seventy-four-year-old incumbent Democrat Patsy Mink died over the weekend after party officials had repeatedly said she was recovering. The seriousness of her condition did not emerge until after the deadline had passed for any change to the ballot. Now that she's dead, party leaders are saying she should stay on the ballot and are urging people to vote for her. If she wins, the governor, a Democrat, could appoint someone to fill out her current term, and there would then be a special election in which that person would be the incumbent.
Ridding New Jersey of All Liabilities?
Even as he is trying to get his state's senior Senator off the ballot, New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey is also trying to get rid of another potential liability -- the state's poet laureate. His name is Amiri Baraka, formerly Leroi Jones, a Muslim, a Leninist and the author of a poem written after Sept. 11, 2001, called "Somebody Blew Up America." It consists of a long litany of anti-American comments, and, at the end, suggests that the Israeli government knew in advance of the Sept. 11 attacks, that hundreds of Jews stayed away from the World Trade Center that day and that Ariel Sharon canceled a visit to the United States that week. Those charges have long since been discredited, but Baraka says he won't resign, and that the governor was “stampeded into asking him to.”
To Quote or Not to Quote
In her performance at that Democratic fund-raiser in Los Angeles over the weekend, Barbra Streisand included what she said was a quote from Shakespeare, which said in part, "Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword.…" Imagine, she said, that was said more than 400 years ago. But the quote is a hoax that has been flying across the Internet since last year and was never said nor written by Shakespeare, or by Julius Caesar, to whom it has also been attributed. A Streisand aide said she would post an acknowledgement of the error on her Web site.