Odds -n- ends

Some misc. links of interest:

— There are some troubling developments on the earmark reform front – especially in the Senate. Robert Bluey has the details on how Democrats in the Senate are trying their best to water down the bill to the point that it’s essentially meaningless. Not exactly shocking, considering who their leader is.

— Fred Thompson’s fundraising efforts fell short of the expectations of many, as Mike Allen at The Politico reports. However, don’t despair, Fred fans, as a source close to the Thompson camp puts things in context (emphais theirs):

(1) In his first exploratory month, Thompson raised well over $3 million – more than 10x what Giuliani did in his first month and about 3x McCain. Here’s the initial exploratory month (from the time they started taking money) for GOP candidates…

· Giuliani – total raised in first month (Nov. 15-Dec. 15): $258,660
· McCain – total raised in first month (Nov. 14-Dec. 14): $1,130,351
· Romney – raised more money in his first month, but largely because he organized his big-dollar donors ahead of time to give himself a bit splash and he “loaned his committee at least $850,000 weeks before filing his statement of candidacy on Jan. 3“.

(2) Under FEC rules, you are not allowed to raise funds “in excess of what could reasonably be expected to be used for exploratory activities”. Thompson has raised an appropriate amount for an exploratory phase. Note, however…

· One month ago, the DNC attacked Thompson (in the Politico) for potentially raising more money than he’d need for the exploratory period and said they’d “argue aggressively” against him. The DNC rolled out that hit piece at Daily Kos claiming that Thompson was “Raising Funds Beyond What You Need To “Explore”” and the liberal activist outlet CREW said Thompson “appears to have raised far more money than necessary…”

· After being attacked for raising “too much” money, Thompson is now being attacked for not spending his entire Exploratory focus on raising money.

(3) So far we’ve utilized no direct mail or telephone fundraising, and we have a burn rate below 20% – far below the other candidates.

Some food for thought, anyway. Just remember, though: The goal had been to raise $5 mil.

— Bad news, via MSNBC’s First Read:

NBC News, MSNBC, MSNBC.com and the New York Times today announced a new partnership, collaborating on national political coverage for the 2008 election. Reporting, articles and video from the organizations will be posted on each others’ Web sites.

Great. This means that election coverage will be slanted even more to the left than what it already is. Sigh.

— Several House Democrats will be introducing a resolution tomorrow calling on the House Judiciary Committee to begin impeachment proceedings against Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

–Iraq’s soccer captain, fresh off the Asia Cup victory, wants America to leave Iraq, and wishes the US had never invaded Iraq (an expression not unfamiliar to Iraqi soccer players, as you may recall). In any event, it was an odd statement to make, considering what used to routinely happen to Iraqi soccer players who didn’t perform well under Hussein’s rule. I’m glad to see that for at least one day, Iraq was unified, but I didn’t get weepy over it, because I figured eventually we’d hear about at least one player’s hatred of the US’ ‘occupying’ of Iraq.

— Not a good sign: Republican Senator Ted Stevens’ home was searched today by the IRS and FBI, as part of an ongoing public corruption investigation.

— McDonald’s has taken the high road and dropped raunchy rapper “Twista” from its summer concert series. Good for them.

— The family of slain Ron Goldman has obtained the rights to his murderer OJ Simpson’s book “If I Did It”:

MIAMI (Reuters) – Rights to O.J. Simpson’s hypothetical book “If I Did It” passed to relatives of murder victim Ron Goldman on Monday as a federal judge approved their settlement with a court-appointed bankruptcy trustee.

Lawyers for the Goldmans said they would seek to capitalize on the book by arranging new publishing, film or TV deals to help satisfy a $33.5 million wrongful death judgment won by the family against Simpson in 1997.

The book was billed as a hypothetical account of how the former football star could have carried out the 1994 slayings of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Goldman.

The News Corp.-owned publishing house, HarperCollins, scrapped the book in November before its planned release amid a torrent of public outrage.

— The WaPo’s Dan Froomkin seems almost disappointed that Britain’s new Prime Minister Gordon Brown didn’t distance himself from the President today during a joint press conference at Camp David. Give him time, Dan. He’s not going to do it while he’s here, anyway.

— Here’s a new way to fight gang violence: symphonies. Only on the left coast, folks. Only on the left coast.

— Ever heard of a “vegansexual”? I haven’t, either, but you’ll definitely know who they are and what they’re ‘about’ after reading this bizarro story. (Thanks to ST reader Sev)

Tue AM Update: Meant to add this one to last night’s links, too – make sure to check out Gary Gross’ slamalama against Moveon.org and other far lefties for targeting FoxNews’ advertisers. He’s fired up, as we all should be.

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