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Pay Raises

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Not that either elected official is hurting when it comes to household income, but President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. each will be getting a substantial raise by leaping from Capitol Hill to the White House.

The rundown of salaries for the executive and legislative branches, as of Jan. 1, 2008:

President: $400,000

Vice president: $221,100

House speaker: $188,100

Senators/congressmen: $169,300

Actually, Mr. Biden and his wife, Jill, probably can use the extra dough. She's a teacher, after all, and he's spent most of his professional career in the Senate (Mr. Biden also teaches part time at the Widener University School of Law).

The couple's 2007 joint tax return lists a total income of $319,853, all but $66,546 (Mrs. Biden's teaching salary) earned by the senator.

Meanwhile, Mr. Obama and his wife, Michelle, have seen their incomes increase in 2007 to more than $4.2 million, much of it coming from book royalties.


President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration is such a big deal that even Elvis is making an appearance.

The Creative Coalition of artists and entertainers says Elvis Costello will be the featured musical guest at its Inaugural Ball on Tuesday, Jan. 20, one of several balls throughout the city.


A heavy lineup of Washington VIPs, including tribute speakers who need no introduction - Colin Powell, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Alexander Haig and Alan Greenspan - will join senators and congressmen, as well as administration, military and diplomatic officials Tuesday evening as Henry Kissinger is presented with the prestigous American Patriot Award.

The National Defense University Foundation's black-tie gala honoring the former secretary of state and Nobel Peace Prize laureate will take place at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, just blocks from the White House.

Past recipients of the award include Mr. Powell, former President George H. W. Bush, the now-deceased former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger; former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole; Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, Hawaii Democrat ; former astronaut and Ohio Democratic Sen. John Glenn; Sen. John W. Warner, Virginia Republican; Rep. Ike Skelton, Missouri Democrat; and Sen. Ted Stevens, Alaska Republican.


Perhaps the most eye-opening, scariest headline this week reads: "From Mumbai to Minneapolis, Why It Will Happen Here."

Douglas Hagmann, the author of the article published by Canada Free Press, is founder and director of the Pennsylvania-based Northeast Intelligence Network, which concentrates on battling and increasing public awareness of terrorism.

"Westerners in general, and Americans specifically have a serious case of memory deficit disorder," he writes. "This disorder will continue until the hallways of the Waldorf Astoria in New York, and the concourses at the Mall of America, for example, run with the blood of innocent men, women and children who have died because we have failed properly and unapologetically to deal with the threat of Islamic terrorism within this country."

Mr. Hagmann's hope is that "everyone takes a really deep, hard look at what happened last week in Mumbai, India, and at the terrorists who perpetrated the attack. And I hope this is done quickly, with a high degree of intellectual honesty and without the encumbrance of political correctness. The safety of every American, Canadian, Australian, and all Westerners, in fact depends on it, as does the security of our respective nations."


TV news anchors, or at least those working for the Tribune Media Co., have been given the green light to shed their stiff on-air suits and ties.

Reads a recent memo from Tribune innovation guru Lee Abrams: "What with the suits and ties? I'm not suggesting sloppy ... but business casual ... maybe even eccentric as the Crime expert could be in a Columbo styled rumpled sweater."

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