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Forget the Veepstakes. Why not just go for everything?

“Yeah, yeah, he first has to win the presidency, but there’s lots of buzz about whom Sen. Barack Obama might pick for his top cabinet jobs,” writes Paul Bedard of U.S. News & World Report.

“Among them: Sen. Hillary Clinton as head of Health and Human Services. Her allies suggest she might be interested if the job were elevated to the top tier of agencies and if she were allowed to push health-care reform. Other names: Sen. John Kerry as secretary of state, former Sen. Tom Daschle as White House chief of staff, former Clinton Commerce Secretary William Daley to head Treasury, and exiting Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel at Defense. Obama associates insist that they are not studying the cabinet puzzle yet, but with the media and his supporters treating him like the president already, can naming a cabinet be far behind? As for his ongoing search for a vice presidential nominee, there is nothing new to add other than that supporters of New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson want his name in the mix.”

Days of yore

On this day in 1492, Italian explorer Christopher Columbus sailed out of the Spanish port of Palos in search of a route to China and beyond, his crews aboard the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria.

The event has long confused schoolchildren according to former teacher Richard Lederer, who has authored several books based on actual term paper bloopers from earnest pupils over the years. Keep in mind that Columbus, according to one young author, sailed forth on “the Nina, the Pina Colada and the Santa Fe.”

Meanwhile, Calvin Coolidge was sworn in as the 30th president of the United States on this day in 1923, one day after President Warren G. Harding died of a heart attack.

Is it a day to think of Ollie North? Maybe. The Iran-Contra congressional hearings ended Aug. 3, 1987, with none of the 29 witnesses tying President Reagan directly to the diversion of arms-sales profits to Nicaraguan rebels.

By the numbers

The Beijing Olympics are five days away. Political commentary may overwhelm sports. Be prepared.

1.3 billion: Number of people living in China.

16: Number of the world’s most-polluted cities that are in China.

20: Percentage of the world’s population living in China.

9.93 million: Number of barrels of oil China consumes in a day.

600 million: Number of cell phones in China.

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