Family Relation

In the summer of 1990, I was 16 years old and working as an intern on Capitol Hill. As one might expect of a high school student who spends his summer vacation interning for a senator--rather than, say, working as a camp counselor or hanging out at the beach--I had a somewhat inflated view of my importance. I came to work early and stayed late, certain my presence was vital to the smooth running of government. But about halfway through the summer, I put in for a day off. My boss, probably thinking I was going to do something fun, eagerly granted it. Little did she know.

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Relatively Political

This week, Ethan Axelrod, son of Barack Obama's consigliere David Axelrod, started a new job as editor of the Huffington Post's Denver section. While his connection to the White House certainly couldn't have hurt the 22-year-old's job prospects, it probably won't help him much in his new position--he's been filing on local issues, including Colorado's environment and the University of Colorado's ranking on the list of best party schools. It makes you wonder, which other political figures have relatives in journalism?

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Dawn of the Revolt

May 23rd: Tehran's Azadi Indoor Stadium, 20 days before the election. The press had difficulty getting in the gates. "All full," the guards kept telling us. And full it was, overflowing in fact, for a Mir Hossein Mousavi campaign rally. Mousavi wasn't even there. Instead, the rally featured former President Mohammad Khatami and Mousavi's wife, Zahra Rahnavard, and the eager crowd numbered more than 20,000. I couldn't make my way to the VIP section, and I didn't want to.

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Obama's Cousin

Ed Kilgore is managing editor of The Democratic Strategist, a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute, and a frequent contributor to a variety of political journals. The exotic family background of the 44th President of the United States was so endlessly discussed during the 2008 campaign that it’s sometimes easy to take it for granted, until something like this happens in a meeting with African leaders during the G-8 summit: "[Deputy National Security Advisor] Froman recounted that the president shared that when his father, Barack Obama Sr., came to the United States from Kenya, Ken

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As someone who was born and raised in D.C., I can't say I have much affection for Marion Barry, but I can't deny that, like any political rascal, he possessed a certain charisma and larger-than-life quality. Even his lowest moment--getting busted smoking crack in a hotel room with a woman who was not his wife--was, for all its seediness, undeniably operatic, not to mention (thanks to the FBI's surveillance camera) cinematic . So, while I'm not surprised that Barry continues to run afoul of the law, I am a bit taken aback by just how petty and, frankly, mundane his recent troubles have been.

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Last month, I reported that Bob Woodward is at work on a new book about the Obama administration, which has been a cause of concern at the White House. At the time, sources told me that Woodward would likely focus his efforts on Obama's foreign policy, and the high-level debates that play out inside the West Wing. A favorite parlor game in Washington is guessing the identities of Woodward's (many) anonymous sources. This time around, speculation is that Woodward will turn to national security adviser Jim Jones, whom Woodward forged a relationship with.

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Recall that Tim Geithner decided to rent out his five-bedroom Tudor in the New York suburbs earlier this year after finding no takers at $1.635 million--or, later, the reduced price of $1.575 million. Well, now it looks like FDIC chairman Sheila Bair is in the same boat. According to the Journal, Bair just took her five bedroom colonial in Amherst, Mass. off the market after being unable to sell it for $695,000, down from the initial list price of $795,000 in April. The story continues: Ms. Bair, and her husband, Scott P. Cooper, paid $355,000 for the house in 2002.

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Now We Know

Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America By John Earl Haynes, Harvey Klehr, and Alexander Vassiliev (Yale University Press, 637 pp., $35) If one were trying to define the lowest point in the long and venerable tradition of American anti-communism, surely it came in 2003, with the publication of Ann Coulter's Treason.

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Sister Act

Among the 28 people Obama appointed to the President's Commission on White House Fellows (which basically functions as the program's selection committee) is, from the White House Press Office's announcement: Maya Soetoro-Ng, PhD. has taught and developed Humanities curriculum in public and private schools in New York and Hawaii for fifteen years.  She also taught Multicultural Education and Educational Theory at the University of Hawaii's College of Education. In 2007 and 2008, she campaigned across more than a dozen states for her brother, President Barack Obama.

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Long Knives For Jim Jones

Pungent line from a tough Fox News web story about the national security advisor's job performance: One NSC staff member claimed that Jones is so forgetful that at times he appears to have Alzheimer's disease. I'd be more skeptical about Obama insiders supposedly giving Fox material like that if there wasn't so much other anti-Jones stuff swirling around. See also Tom Ricks, who hears murmurs that Robert Gates might be in line to succeed Jones. (I find that really hard to believe, and a Gates spokesman denies it to Ricks with gusto.

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