And now the most enthralling two minutes in television, the latest from the political grapevine:
Choose Your Prescription Plan
Unusual behavior by Vermont Senator James Jeffords, the onetime Republican who gave control of the Senate to the Democrats when he switched to Independent, has left some Republicans wondering. During Senate floor action last week on prescription drug benefits for the elderly, there were three bills under consideration — a Democratic plan, a Republican plan and a third plan with sponsors from both parties plus Jeffords himself. Roll Call reports that Jeffords told one of the Republican co-sponsors of that third bill that he would not support the Democratic plan. Then he turned around and voted for it, and claimed falsely afterward, that he had merely voted "present." An aide said Jeffords may have been "trying too hard to bring folks together."
Hillary "Hit the Ceiling?"
Meanwhile, Senator Hillary Clinton is reported to have "hit the ceiling" last week over what she considers a double-cross by her fellow New York Democrat, Sen. Chuck Schumer. At issue is the Democratic primary for governor between Andrew Cuomo and New York State Treasurer Carl McCall. Last week, Schumer endorsed McCall, who is the first African-American ever to hold statewide office. The New York Post reports that Senator Clinton, who has declared herself neutral in the race, "blew her top" privately, at what she considered a cynical effort by Schumer to curry favor with the state's black voters.
Anything for a "Compelling" Story?
The cover of Esquire magazine this month promotes an article by "Wil S. Hylton at Mazar-i-Sharif" in Afghanistan. The article is a profile by Hylton of an Air Force man who fought in that country, but the problem is that Wil Hylton was never in Afghanistan. When freelancer Robert Pelton, who was, e-mailed Esquire to complain about what he called "lying," Hylton fired back "blank off you little pansy." A spokesman for Esquire told the Post that the word "at" may have been "misapplied," saying it was used "to convey that this was a compelling and immediate story."
A Freudian Fiesta?
A task force at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has recommended a new academic program in sexuality studies in an effort to promote understanding and tolerance of the gay community. The classes would deal with issues of sexual identity, sexual ambiguity and role of sex in society, politics and religion. Supporters compare the proposed studies program to women's studies or African-American studies. But conservative students say it's inappropriate for a public university to spend taxpayer money on gay and lesbian programs.