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Get Well

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Eleanor Mondale's husband, Chan Poling, says his wife has emerged from brain cancer surgery at the Mayo Clinic "with flying colors, joking and engaging all who are around her in conversation."

The daughter of former Vice President Walter Mondale announced on her WCCO radio show in Minneapolis last week that doctors had discovered a new brain tumor. In 2005, a cancerous baseball-size brain tumor virtually disappeared with chemotherapy and radiation.

"The checkup found the little dastardly thing was growing back, and now we're going to chop its head off and go on with life," said a confident Mrs. Mondale, a close friend of former President Bill Clinton.

Barack and Condi?

It's time for Sen. Barack Obama's longtime minister, friend and adviser — the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago — to eat his words.

Ronald Kessler, the best-selling author and Washington correspondent for, has retrieved a transcript of a 2006 sermon Mr. Wright delivered at our own Howard University, during which he stated:

"Racism is how this country was founded and how this country is still run. No black man will ever be considered for president, no matter how hard you run, Jesse Jackson, and no black woman can ever be considered for anything outside what she can give with her body."

'Not torture'

CIA employees received a rare Saturday memo from agency director Michael V. Hayden after President Bush announced in his weekly radio address that he had vetoed the broad 2008 intelligence authorization bill prohibiting interrogation methods not authorized or condoned by the U.S. Army Field Manual.

"Although we share the duty of defending America ... the U.S. Army and CIA clearly have different missions, different capabilities and therefore different procedures," wrote Gen. Hayden in the memo we obtained.

"CIA's program, a tightly controlled and carefully administered national option that goes beyond the Army Field Manual, has been a lawful and effective response to the national security demands that terrorism imposes. It will continue to be so as we work within the boundaries established by our nation's laws."

Gen. Hayden was critical, at the same time, of recent public commentary that implied "only two outcomes are possible — a blanket application of the Army Field Manual or the legalization of torture."

He counters that the CIA's methods of interrogating "the most dangerous international terrorists" are "fully consistent with the Geneva Convention and current U.S. law, and are most certainly not torture."

Rising popularity

It's certainly worth noting that receipts of the various committees of the Democratic Party increased significantly in 2007 and 2008, while contributions to Republican committees declined.

But even more telling, perhaps, is that for the first time since the Federal Election Commission began compiling party contribution summaries in 1985, Democratic committees have raised more money than Republicans.

During the 13-month period from Jan. 1, 2007 through Jan. 31, 2008, the three national committees of the Democratic Party — the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee — raised just over $191 million, an 85 percent increase over the first 13 months of the 2004 election cycle.

Republican Party committees raised some $186 million during the same period, an 18 percent decrease from 2004 totals.

Sing it, Peter

Sinatra on the Hudson?

Well, not quite. But Peter Mirijanian's 8th annual bash for his leading D.C. public relations firm continued "the Rat Pack" tradition at the recently opened Hudson Restaurant and Lounge on M Street in Northwest.

The Joker's Wild swing band was back for an encore performance, and the impeccably dressed Mr. Mirijanian quipped, "I know you're not here to hear me, unfortunately, but you will have no choice later in the evening after ... I reluctantly but graciously join the band in full voice."

As the image of a black-and-white concert featuring Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and Dean Martin flickered on the video screens above the bar, Mr. Mirijanian's myriad clients, friends and members of the Fourth Estate lingered late into the evening — despite his turn at the mike.

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