One of Barack Obama's Campaign Contributors Is Under the Microscope

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Fast Friends?

There is renewed scrutiny on the relationship between Illinois Democratic Senator and presidential candidate Barack Obama and Chicago government housing landlord Antoin Rezko.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that while tenants in government housing administered by Rezko endured five weeks of a brutal Chicago winter without heat in 1997 — Rezko was able to come up with a $1,000 contribution to Obama's state senate campaign.

Obama worked at a law firm that helped Rezko's company get more than $43 million in government funding to rehab 30 apartment buildings. But Rezko has been sued at least a dozen times for failing to heat those buildings.

Obama and Rezko have also been involved in two personal real estate deals — including one that Obama has apologized for and called a mistake.

Today the Obama campaign called the Sun-Times story "sensationalized and inaccurate" — and said the two had a "limited professional relationship."

Wipe Out

Singer Cheryl Crow — who confronted presidential adviser Karl Rove about global warming at the White House Correspondents dinner over the weekend — has proposed that one way to help save the planet is by limiting people to one square of toilet paper per visit to the bathroom.

One of her other ideas is what she calls a detachable dining sleeve — on a clothing line she has designed. The idea is to replace paper napkins. The removable shirtsleeve could be used to wipe one's mouth — or nose — and then replaced — with the dirty sleeve thrown in the wash.

Virginia Tech Discussion

A Catholic liberal arts college in Boston has fired an adjunct professor for pointing a marker at students and saying bang — then having another student do the same to him — in a discussion about the Virginia Tech shootings.

Nicholas Winset said he was making a point that an armed student could have stopped the violence. But Emmanuel College quickly fired him, saying it prohibits "any behavior or action which makes light of or mimics the terrible tragedy at Virginia Tech. Emmanuel College has clear standards of classroom and campus conduct, and does not in any way condone the use of discriminatory or obscene language."

The school had refused to explain how Winset's actions fit any of those criteria — until moments ago — when it issued a statement saying Winset used an "obscene epithet" during what it called "outrageous and disrespectful behavior."


The Congressional Hispanic Caucus is threatening to restrict funding for public television over an upcoming PBS documentary about World War II. Some Latino groups are upset that the documentary from award-winning producer Ken Burns does not include any Hispanics.

Last week PBS indicated the program would be reedited. But then Burns said he would not change the finished product — and would produce separate material instead. The chairman of the Hispanic Caucus — Democrat Joe Baca — told The Politico newspaper that the decision was "appalling" and an "insult."

The caucus passed a resolution vowing to accept nothing less than a revision to the original series — which is scheduled to debut in September. There has been no reaction since then from PBS.

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