"I enjoy being a plumber, and I'll still do that," Joe "the Plumber" Wurzelbacher told this columnist this week.
But did the unemployed Ohio pipefitter ever dream his life could change so drastically, simply by quizzing then-Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama about his tax policy?
"When I dream, they're big dreams, you know?" Mr. Wurzelbacher answered. "A little bass boat, maybe a four-wheeler, things like that. But I didn't dream about becoming a household name right now. I'm right up there with Ajax."
CIA Director Michael Hayden informed his staff Wednesday morning that "the intelligence community will have - until noon on January 20th - two sets of consumers."
"As we continue to serve the current administration, we are also in touch with President-elect Obama and his national security team," he wrote in a memo. "Through expanded access, greater than what he had in his briefings as a candidate or as a senator, he will see the full range of capabilities we deploy for the United States."
The CIA leadership was scheduled to meet Wednesday morning to discuss the transition, he said.
Mr. Hayden added before closing: "With every transition comes speculation about personnel changes across government. At this point, I would urge you to ignore it. I certainly have. Those privileged to lead this organization understand that they serve at the pleasure of the president."
THE 'H' NAME
Recognizing Barack Hussein Obama's White House victory on Tuesday, the Islamic Information Center in Washington pointed out that "even as this country has elected a president whose middle name is 'Hussein,' very few Americans have any idea as to the origin of that name, why it is important, or what it even means."
"Accordingly, it is incumbent for Muslims to explain the religion of Islam, and its key figures, to others," the center urged on Wednesday. "American Muslims, as a whole are the richest, most powerful Muslims in the world, and are thus in a unique position ... to think about the types of positive, peaceful and productive goals that might be accomplished if the country's Muslims were to come together, Inshallah.
"The [Koran] teaches that victory is in the hands of God - accordingly, let us all put ourselves in His hands and work towards a better future."
Now that Barack Obama is president-elect of the United States, everybody and their mothers will be writing to him seeking audiences, fundings and favors on virtually every topic and subject matter. And if one letter doesn't get his attention, more will be in the mail.
On Wednesday, for instance, Stephen Bassett of the Paradigm Research Group in Washington got a head start by notifying the president-elect's team to "be on alert for a large quantity of faxes and emails heading for the senatorial office of Barack Obama and later the Transition Office."
"Letters will begin arriving the second week of November after clearing security screening."
Mr. Bassett says what is notable about this particular correspondence is it will be calling on Mr. Obama to "demand and receive a full briefing from his military and intelligence heads regarding the extraterrestrial presence issue" and after that is accomplished become the first U.S. president to "formally acknowledge the extraterrestrial presence to the American people."
Plan on seeing Sarah Palin in Washington in early 2009 after all. The defeated Republican vice-presidential candidate, we're told, is a confirmed speaker for the Conservative Political Action Committee 2009 conference in February.
"It's obvious that she is the Reagan heir apparent, and so it is fitting that she follow in his footsteps," Republican activist and "Team Sarah" member LaDonna Hale Curzon said Wednesday. "At CPAC 1975, one speech initiated the conservative comeback. That speech was by Ronald Reagan. I would like to see Governor Palin do the same at CPAC 2009."
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