John McCaslin

No less than 196 copies of the New Yorker magazine issue that featured presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle Obama, in a not-so-flattering light were fetching rather high bids on the eBay auction block Monday, with one framed cover alone advertised at a "buy now" price of $500.

Some copies of the controversial issue were fetching $50, $60, and $70, particularly "never read" or opened magazines. On typical ad reads:

"July 21, 2008 New Yorker Magazine — Barack Obama in a Muslim outfit and Michelle Obama with a gun and afro on the cover of The New Yorker. It also shows the American flag burning in the fireplace. This is sure to be a classic, collector's issue.

"This copy is straight from the store and in mint brand new condition, which means that this copy of the magazine does not have the address label. Will be packed in a padded envelope and shipped the day you purchase."


When it comes to distributing Bruce Springsteen tickets, we're not sure who's in more hot water: the taxpayer-subsidized New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority or New Jersey Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg.

"The New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority shouldn't be in the business of supporting any political campaign. Senator Lautenberg's request for 40 VIP tickets to next Sunday's Bruce Springsteen concert at Giants' stadium smacks of politics as usual," New Jersey Republican State Committee Chairman Tom Wilson said Monday in response to an article in the Bergen (N.J.) Record.

He said if the sports authority is giving the New Jersey Democrat, who is running for re-election, "40 prime seats to feed his campaign warchest, then I want 40 prime seats to offer to the average citizen at face value."

In a statement sent to Inside the Beltway on Monday, Mr. Lautenberg said: "Despite the fact that the sports authority agreed to sell us a block of tickets to Sunday's Bruce Springsteen concert, the Lautenberg for Senate campaign is rescinding its order for tickets to the upcoming concert.

"The campaign is also asking the sports authority to re-examine its practice of reserving tickets, in order to ensure that its tickets are available to all New Jersey residents, not just to VIPs."


The bottom of the printed invitation to Tuesday evening's book party reads: "Polar bears and baby seals may have been harmed to produce this invitation."

Not to worry. People who know Iain Murray, senior fellow at Washington's Competitive Enterprise Institute, realize he would never harm a baby seal, nor is he so stupid to ever tangle with a polar bear.

John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

Be the first to read John McCaslin's column. Sign up today and receive delivered each morning to your inbox.