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Romney and Edwards: Blood Pomade Brothers

| Tue Jul. 17, 2007 11:59 AM EDT

Oh, Mitt Romney, you hypocritical jerk. When John Edwards spent $400 on a haircut, how could you not know that every politician — including you — has embarrassing financial expenditures on his or her public record? Why couldn't you just let the man take the heat from others, instead of saying:

You know I think John Edwards was right. There are two Americas. There is the America where people pay $400 for a haircut and then there is everybody else.

You had to sit in your (multi-million dollar) glass house and throw stones. Today, Politico digs up the fact that you spent $300 on a service that calls itself "a mobile beauty team for hair, makeup and men's grooming and spa services."

Let's be real, Mitt. John Edwards is a perfectly tanned, perfectly coiffed, picture-book politician. You are a perfectly tanned, perfectly coiffed, picture-book politician. Did you honestly think the press wouldn't figure out that you both paid good money to get that way?

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Swimmer Shivers to Call Attention to Global Warming

| Tue Jul. 17, 2007 11:53 AM EDT

British swimmer Lewis Gordon Pugh, a.k.a. the "Ice Bear", has become the first human to set a long-distance swimming record at the North Pole. He undertook the excruciatingly painful stunt to highlight the threat of climate change. For more, go to Blue Marble...

Swimmer Sets Cold Water Record to Highlight Climate Change

| Tue Jul. 17, 2007 10:58 AM EDT

First, let this be said: Lewis Gordon Pugh may be crazy. Known as the "Ice Bear", the record-setting swimmer has repeatedly subjected his body to the extremes of human endurance in lakes and oceans the world over. He holds long-distance swimming records for the Atlantic, the Indian, the Pacific, and the Arctic. According to his Wikipedia entry, he shares with the nine-banded armadillo the ability to regulate his internal body temperature at will. It was this particular skill that was on display last Sunday when he became the first human to undertake a long distance swim at the North Pole. For 18 minutes and 50 seconds, Pugh splashed through waters that have thawed to a pleasant 28.7 degrees Fahrenheit. "The water was absolutely black," he told the BBC. "It was like jumping into a dark black hole. It was frightening. The pain was immediate and felt like my body was on fire. I was in excruciating pain." What fun! So, why did he do it? To highlight climate change. The location of Pugh's swim was, until recently, a block of ice. But as global temperatures have risen, much of the polar ice cap has melted. As Pugh explained to Britain's ITV, he finished his swim with mixed emotions. "I am obviously ecstatic to have succeeded, but this swim is a triumph and a tragedy—a triumph that I could swim in such ferocious conditions, but a tragedy that its possible to swim at the North Pole."

Morning Political Trivia for July 17

| Tue Jul. 17, 2007 10:40 AM EDT

Today's question comes courtesy of CQ Politics. Knock it dead:

How many women represented New Hampshire in congress before Carol Shea-Porter, who was elected last year?

I'll update this post later today with the answer and the results of our contest here (morning trivia keeps our DC reporting skills sharp). If you have a question, submit it to mojotrivia@gmail.com. If it's good, we'll use it and credit you on the blog. Please let us know if you got it from another source.

Guesses in the comments section as always. Thanks!

Update

Commenter Nicholas Beaudrot writes: "The obvious guess is zero." It's also the obvious answer, which no one in the DC bureau guessed. They were all thrown off by reporter Laura Rozen's contention that Jeanne Shaheen once represented New Hampshire in congress. (Ms. Shaheen was actually the governor of the Granite State.) Congratulations to Mr. Beaudrot — we'll try again tomorrow.

— Nick Baumann

New NIE on Terrorist Threats to the US Homeland

| Tue Jul. 17, 2007 9:17 AM EDT

Coming at 10am from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, a new National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on terrorist threats against the US homeland. I previewed some of what will be released here last week:

--Concern that Al Qaeda is getting more comfortable in "ungoverned spaces" of Pakistan, due to various factors, including a recent agreement by the Pakistani authorities with tribal leaders to leave Islamic militants in Waziristan alone. Intelligence community seeing more signs Al Qaeda is regrouping, able to train, and communicate in Pakistan ...
--Expect a new National Intelligence Estimate on terrorist threats to the homeland (this is not yet officially out ...), which [ODNI intel chief Thomas] Fingar rated the greatest threat to US national security. Al Qaida remains the greatest threat to the country. US intel community is increasingly concerned about Al Qaeda-linked militants in Pakistan using Europe, and in particular the UK, as a gateway to target the US homeland. Thwarted airplane plot last summer "very sophisticated" and of the type that concerns them, with its mix of UK and Pakistani-based terrorists working together on a plot to target the US. ...

We'll post and analyze the report when it's out. But for starters, go read Peter Bergen and Paul Cruickshank on how the Iraq war has increased the terrorism threat sevenfold worldwide.

Update: Here's the report (.pdf).

Top Ten Stuff 'n' Things - 7/16/07

| Tue Jul. 17, 2007 12:23 AM EDT

I know I said I didn't like reggae. But, I lied. Mostly I just don't like people who like reggae, especially people in San Francisco who like reggae. Take a shower! But, ensconced in my relatively tidy house, with running water and clean air that doesn't reek sourly of weed (I swear! It doesn't!) sometimes that loping dancehall beat hits the spot. Thus, the presence of four, count 'em, four reggae or kinda-reggae tracks on this week's Top Ten, plus the usual techno and stuff. Welcome to Jamrock:

mojo-photo-teganandsara2.jpg10. Tegan & Sara - "The Con" (from The Con, out 7/24 on Sire)
(iTunes link)
Not reggae, and not quite as instantly catchy as 2005's "Walking With a Ghost," the Canadian duo still bring infectious melodies to this slightly rockier single. Their lyrics are as obtuse as ever ("I'm capsized, staring on the edge of safe") but clearly impart the pain and confusion of a breakup.

mojo-cover-builttospill.jpg9. Built to Spill - "They Got Away" (single on Warner Bros.)
(mp3s just taken down from Stereogum here, but they promise a stream soon, or, wow, buy it on iTunes)
Hey whoa, remember this band? Ten years ago (!) they made Perfect From Now On, a near-masterpiece of epic, heartbreaking 7- and 8-minute songs reminiscent of Neil Young. Now they've put out a, er, one-off reggae single, but somehow it works. Don't worry, it's still in a minor key, with lead singer Doug Marsch lamenting "they got the things that they came for," before the band launches into an echoey instrumental dub.

mojo-photo-peoplepressplay.jpg8. People Press Play - "These Days" (from the self-titled album on Morr) (mp3 via Boule a Facettes)
This icy track from the Copenhagen quartet could fit on your mix tape with Air and Swayzak, but they're unapolagetically synthy, with glitchy percussion and bubbling bass owing more to Aphex Twin, and a theremin-reminiscent solo at the end. Plus I think I have that same Ikea stool from their publicity photo. Flüggi or whatever.

mojo-cover-justicecross.jpg7. Justice - "Genesis" (from on Ed Banger / Vice)
(mp3 via Hate Something Beautiful)
The first track on the French duo's new album makes explicit the hard-rock connection with what sounds like a Sabbath sample. But then it heads straight for techno-land, with acid squelches rising up in pitch until you can just imagine the hands-in-the-air cheers of the basement crowd.

mojo-photo-thepack.jpg6. The Pack - "Robocop" (from the forthcoming Based Boys)
(Stream at The Fader blog here)
This Bay Area rap crew had trouble getting their last video, "Vans," on MTV, seeing as it's about a trademarked shoe product; can somebody tell the Pack that their latest song title is shared with a movie that starred our freakin' Governator er, features a robotic cop?! Thankfully it makes sense: as The Fader points out, you can totally do the robot all day to the song's Kraftwerky beats.

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Vitter Watch: Senator Denies Ever Visiting New Orleans Establishment

| Mon Jul. 16, 2007 11:25 PM EDT

In his first public appearance since going into seclusion, Louisiana Sen. David Vitter faced the news media today and denied he had ever visited the establishment of the "Canal Street Madam," Jeanette Maier, who says Vitter paid $300 an hour for services. Vitter, with his wife Wendy by his side, said again--as he said in 2004--that he had no relationship with a prostitute named Wendy or with any New Orleans prostitute. His only explanation for why Maier said he was a client and why there are alleged photos of him and Wendy Cortez was that his admission of guilt in the DC Madam scandal "has encouraged some long-time political enemies...to spread falsehoods."

UN's Ban Ki-moon To Press Bush on Climate Change

| Mon Jul. 16, 2007 8:01 PM EDT

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said on Monday he would press President Bush over climate change when they meet in Washington on Tuesday, Reuters reports. "On climate change, I'm encouraged by a high level of expectations as well as representation on that special high level meeting on Sept. 24," Ban said, referring to a conference on the environment that he has called for September on the sidelines of the annual UN General Assembly. "I would like to discuss this matter with President Bush and would expect President Bush and the American administration will be represented at the highest possible level." JULIA WHITTY

Karl Rove's Reefer Madness-Induced Memory Loss

| Mon Jul. 16, 2007 6:26 PM EDT
reefer_madness.gif

Karl Rove's game sure has improved since he was a young Republican on the make in the early 1970s. The New York Times recently found a letter written by Rove in the Nixon archives in which the 22-year-old Capitol Hill aide outlines his ideas to recruit kids for a sexy-sounding group called "New Federalism Advocates." His big idea: midnight showings of John Wayne movies and Reefer Madness. Like many a former fan of the cult antidrug flick, Rove now pleads memory loss. "God, this is 1973!" he told the Times. "You work the math. I don't remember it all."

Rove also said he's not surprised his old letter was found, explaining, "When you send something to a White House person, it tends to be collected and remain." Yeah, unless that White House person happens to be "Dude, Where's My Email?" Rove.

Karl Rove's Reefer Madness-Induced Memory Loss

| Mon Jul. 16, 2007 6:24 PM EDT
reefer_madness.gif

Karl Rove's game sure has improved since he was a young Republican on the make in the early 1970s. The New York Times recently found a letter written by Rove in the Nixon archives in which the 22-year-old Capitol Hill aide outlines his ideas to recruit kids for a sexy-sounding group called "New Federalism Advocates." His big idea: midnight showings of John Wayne movies and Reefer Madness. Like many a former fan of the cult antidrug flick, Rove now pleads memory loss. "God, this is 1973!" he told the Times. "You work the math. I don't remember it all."

Rove also said he's not surprised his old letter was found, explaining, "When you send something to a White House person, it tends to be collected and remain." Yeah, unless that White House person happens to be "Dude, Where's My Email?" Rove.