Michelle Cottle

Bossy B!+@#s

Over the years, I've run across enough of these studies and witnessed enough real-life examples (both in politics and back when I worked for one of these high-end management consultants) to buy the idea that both men and women still hold plenty of knee-jerk biases against female leaders. Alas, I can't think of any way this situation will improve substantially until there are simply so many gals in positions of authority that people get used to seeing them there and stop thinking of them (if only subconsciously) as odd.

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Apologies if someone has already asked this, but do we think it annoys Team Thompson that good ol' Fred isn't included in the eight headshots of political big dogs that regularly appear at the top of ABC's The Note? (Specifically, it's Must Reads.) POTUS contenders Obama, McCain, Hillary, Romney, Rudy, and Edwards are all there, along with Speaker Pelosi and our lame-duck president. But no Fred.  I suppose the Thompson campaign could claim to be pleased about this, citing it as proof that they're not part of the political establishment.

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USA Today has one of those news-of-the-weird stories about the family of a Kentucky snake-handling victim that's suing a local hospital for failing to provide their loved one with adequate care following a divinely inspired run-in with a rattler. As the paper tells it: About a year ago, Linda Long was attending the East London Holiness Church in London, Ky.

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Meow!

In today's Times, David Brooks spends his entire column denouncing and deconstructing what he sees as a hideous, partisan "calumny" against Ronald Reagan—namely, the suggestion that the Gipper's launching his 1980 presidential campaign in Philadelphia, Miss., with a speech invoking states' rights was somehow an appeal to racists.

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There’s a piece in today’s WaPo about the growing outrage over ticket prices to some of today’s hot shows and concerts, a trend driven in part by ticket brokers gobbling up tickets and reselling them for up to 10 times the face value.   Drawing sharp criticism, and legal scrutiny, are the tech advances that enable resellers to buy huge blocks of tickets within minutes. In at least one lawsuit, filed by the ticket-selling goliath Ticketmaster, the courts moved to prevent a Pittsburgh-based tech firm from selling its ticket-buying software to resellers.

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There's a piece in today's WaPo business section poitning to one of the concrete costs of the widespread compulsion among U.S. Senators to run for president. It seems that, while Chris Dodd is out stumping, the Senate Banking Committee, of which he is chairman, is going nowhere fast. Despite there being plenty of issues it could be addressing--most notably the fallout from the current housing crunch--Dodd's committee is lagging far behind its House counterpart in both hearings held and legislation passed.

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Doing God's Work?

I hope Chuck Schumer* Grassley is treading verrrrry carefully in his current investigation into whether a half-dozen evangelical megaministers have been financing posh lifestyles with tax-exempt donations. Certainly I share the Senator's distaste for high-living preachers (can't Joyce Meyers think of any worthier way to spend $23,000 than on a marble-topped commode for her ministry's Fenton, Missouri, HQ?).

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A piece in today's WaPo about which Republican POTUS candidates are being supported by which second- and third-tier members of the Bush political dynasty contains a tidbit from George P. Bush that's downright pathetic. Asked why he decided to raise cash for Fred Thompson, Jeb's eldest son explained that good ol' Fred was the only candidate to call and ask for his vote. Is P. serious?

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The Fight Is Personal

The new Edwards TV spot, in which John cites Elizabeth's breast cancer as making the couple all the more committed to their White House run, will once again have some folks charging that the candidate is exploiting his wife's terminal illness for political gain.    Maybe. But this criticism seems to miss the fundamental nature of the Edwardses's relationship to politics. Whatever John's ego and ambition (and obviously a run for POTUS requires massive amounts of both), these people need politics. Not in the politics-defines-me way that Bill Clinton needs it.

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Jeri Rigged

No one thought Jeri Kehn could do it. Back in 2000, the dishy young Republican operative, then 33, had Washington wags atwitter over her high- profile quest to capture the famously footloose Fred Thompson. Divorced from his high school sweetheart in 1985, the senator and erstwhile actor, then 57, had become one of the hottest tickets in town. A deepdrawling, broad-shouldered six-and-half footer, Thompson had a devastating Southern charm, with a gilding of movie-star glamour.

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