Liberal Magazine Takes the Democrats to Task Over Iraq

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Democrats Illiterate?

Just as Democratic congressional leaders are confronting President Bush on Iraq as never before, a top editor at the liberal New Republi c magazine says they are illiterate on the issue.

Senior editor Lawrence Kaplan cites an article by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman — and presidential candidate — Joe Biden — where the senator asserted that U.S. and Iraqi troops pacified the city of Tal Afar — then left. Kaplan reports that not only have the troops not left the city, their numbers have recently increased.

Also cited was Congressman John Murtha's suggestion that it would be easy for American forces to redeploy from Iraq to Okinawa — which is 5,000 miles away.

And House Intelligence Committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes's ignorance of whether Sunni or Shia populate the ranks of Al Qaeda.

Kaplan also mentions that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wants a "new strategy" limiting U.S. forces to the training of Iraqis and counter-terror operations so as to reduce the "combat footprint" — the very strategy in fact tried and discarded under former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

Hot Water?

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama may be in deepening into hot water with his colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus.

The Hill newspaper reports the Illinois senator has for more than a year snubbed a request from the Caucus to hold a fundraiser for its political action committee — even though his chief rival for the nomination — Hillary Clinton — has already done so.

The report says Obama's campaign maintains he intends to host a fundraising event — but hasn't so far because of scheduling problems. Some in the Caucus say Obama has missed the chance to make an important gesture to members who represent about 40 million people in 26 states — and hold great influence among African American voters.

Last month Obama also spurned a planned debate co-sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus Political Education and Leadership Institute and FOX News.

"Bad Example"

Just moments after he apologized for setting a bad example by speeding and not wearing his seat belt — New Jersey Governor John Corzine yesterday got out of the hospital he's been in since his high-speed SUV crash — and left in a motorcade that reportedly exceeded the posted speed limits by as much 15 miles per hour.

Media reports say motorists traveling along Interstate 295 clocked the vehicles at 70 miles per hour in zones posted 55 and 65. They report no one in the convoy was using emergency lights. Corzine sustained multiple fractures April 12 when his SUV reached speeds up to 91 miles per hour and clipped a guardrail.

Handle with Care

Those new compact fluorescent light bulbs may help save the planet and save you money on your energy bills — but that's only as long as you don't break one. The CFL's contain a level of mercury that can be dangerous if exposed.

The Financial Post reports that one woman in Ellsworth, Maine is looking at a cleanup bill of more than $2,000 — after breaking a bulb during installation in her daughter's bedroom. Her insurance company won't cover the cleanup costs because mercury is a pollutant. CFL supporters say that they can save you about $180 a year in power bills. But at that rate, it will take the woman 11 years to recoup her $2,000 cleanup costs.

—FOX News Channel's Martin Hill contributed to this report.