One of my favorite episodes of Cheers includes a bit where Sam, desperately trying to prevent Norm from hearing something, loudly clangs the little bell that hangs over the bar -- when everyone stares, he fumblingly claims that it is 'Bell Day.' Later, Sam and Norm have a furious argument, and Coach finally steps in to break it up, barking at them: "You're making a mockery out of Bell Day!"
I realize that many people are probably already gone for the week, but let's give it a try anyway. Ask me anything you want -- Obama transition, national politics, state and local politics, next year's Boston city elections, anything I've written lately, public policy, criminal justice, rumor, gossip, anything you want.
I recently pointed out that Barack Obama named two high-level White House staffers who went to gals-only colleges in Massachusetts: Communications Director Ellen Moran (Wheaton) and Deputy Chief of Staff Mona Sutphen (Mount Holyoke).
We can now add Desiree Rogers, who will be White House Social Secretary -- and who graduated from Wellesley, before going on to get her MBA from Harvard.
Tomorrow, Barack Obama is expected to announce that (Boston-born) Peter R. Orszog will be his director of the Office of Management and Budget. This is a cabinet-level position, and, if I'm not mistaken, makes Orszog the first post-Baby Boom Cabinet member.
Interestingly, the current OMB director, Jim Nussle, was the first Cabinet director born in the 1960s, according to my rudimentary research.
Chris Faraone reports from City Hall that council president Maureen Feeney has cancelled today's planned 3:00 meetingto discuss the Chuck Turner situation. The meeting may be held at some other time in the future.
Feeney was unclear about the reason for the change, at one point seeming to blame the media for overblowing the event, and at another point suggesting that the meeting was cancelled at Turner's request.
Bay State native Ellen Moran was named today as communications director for the Obama White House -- which we know is a very important job because we saw Toby Ziegler doing it on The West Wing. Moran was born in Amherst and went to Wheaton College; according to what I could dig up quickly, it appears that she graduated in Spring '88, and Wheaton began accepting boys (ick!) that Fall, so we can fairly say that she attended a Massachusetts all-women's college.
--If you haven't yet heard, Chuck Turner was reportedly arrested this morning in DianneScam. I suspect many of you had taken him in the office pool. But who's next?
--I want to make it perfectly clear that I have no inside information, have never heard a bad word about her, and am making no accusation or allegation; I'm just saying that if I was a gambling man, my money would be on Goria Fox.
In this week's issue of the Boston Phoenix, I have a lengthy feature about the new mosque (technically the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center) being built in Lower Roxbury. It has finally opened for daily prayers, but that is not the end of the 20-year saga of getting it built; the facility is still far from complete.
As I'm sure you know, this entire state is abuzz over one topic: the battle for new leadership of the state Republican Party. With state party chair Peter Torkildsen choosing not to seek another two years, and Lew Evangelidis trying to replace Brad Jones as House Minority Leader, you can just sense people all over the Bay State asking themselves: "Really? There's a state Republican Party?"
--Marc Ambinder of the Atlantic suggests that if John Kerry does not get to be Secretary of State -- and it keeps looking more and more like it's HRC -- he still might get Interior.
--Sorry, Timmy: It looks like Obama will name the country's first black Attorney General, but it's not Deval Patrick.
--Reports have Peter Orszag to head the Office of Management & Budget, which makes two Phillips Exeter grads (along with White House Counsel Greg Craig), against one Massachusetts prep product (Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett went to Northfield Mount Herman in Gill).
It now appears true that Fred Thompson really does want to be chair of the Republican National Committee; Thompson obviously doesn't expect to do any actual work, so the quickly-travelling rumor is that Thompson plans to run as a team with Chuck Yob, long-time political kingpin in Michigan, with Thompson taking a more ceremonial "general chair" title, and Yob actually running the operation.
So far we have:
Rahm Emanuel, chief of staff;
David Axelrod, senior advisor;
Ronald Klain, VP chief of staff.
Maybe it's just because I'm Jewish, but am I the only one noticing that Obama and Biden are not so much assembling staff, as gathering a minian?
Continuing a trend I've been tracking and writing about for some time, women made slight gains in reaching elected office in the '08 election -- by virtue of more women elected as Democrats, but fewer as Republicans.
Here in Massachusetts, there will again be 12 women in the state senate (although not the exact same 12 as before) -- all Democrats.
Apparently you're nobody if you're not mentioned as a possible chair of the Republican National Committee. I've been talking a lot about SC party chair Katon Dawson, who I put on my "25 Scariest Conservatives" list, but there are about 800 other rumored candidates -- not to mention that the existing chair, Mike Duncan, wants to stay on.
After two years as state party chair, Peter Torkildsen has looked around at the condition of the MassGOP and decided: My work here is done!
The former congressman seems to have decided that he cannot commit to two more years of this humiliating farce, and has thus announced that he will not seek re-election as party chair. From his press release: