- The Washington Times - Friday, August 29, 2008

MULLINGS

Rich Galen is returning to the blogosphere while continuing to serve as senior counselor to Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, a position he assumed in early June.

The one-time aide to Newt Gingrich and Dan Quayle told Inside the Beltway Thursday not to read anything into his return to writing the popular blog, Mullings.com, so far as Mrs. Hutchison’s remaining on John McCain‘s shortlist for vice president.

“Just because B follows A doesn’t mean B was caused by A,” he said. “I am amazed at how much I missed [blogging]. I’ve been doing it for 10 years.”

In fact, Mr. Galen was awaiting word from the Senate ethics office on whether he could still pen his column while working on Capitol Hill.



“I gave the ethics office one last chance,” he quipped.

His first column will appear Tuesday and he will post twice per week until picking up the pace as the November election nears.

NADER FACTOR

Independent presidential contender Ralph Nader remains on track to be on 45 state ballots by next month, a candidacy that could influence the outcome of the November election.

“It’s clear that Ralph Nader could again have a significant impact on the presidential race though in highly unpredictable ways,” according to Time/CNN pollsters. “In Nevada, Nader was the choice of 6 percent of respondents, and his presence flattened [Barack] Obama‘s lead into a 41 percent to 41 percent tie.

“Yet in New Mexico, where Nader polled at 8 percent, he drew votes almost equally from both major candidates, while in Pennsylvania he siphoned off significant support from [John] McCain; a three-way race there would give Obama 47 percent, McCain 38 percent and Nader 7 percent.”

A new Time/CNN poll shows Mr. Nader polling 8 percent in New Mexico, 7 percent in Colorado, 7 percent in Pennsylvania, and 6 percent in Nevada.

EYES ON GUSTAV

Whichever reporters were not in Denver for the Democratic National Convention were provided a media walk-through Thursday of St. Paul’s Xcel Energy Center, the venue for next week’s (barring a catastrophic Hurricane Gustav, which could slam into the Gulf Coast) Republican National Convention.

Approximately 45,000 delegates, alternate delegates, reporters and other guests are expected to attend the convention, which could be postponed a day or two, depending on the hurricane’s severity.

PACS UP

The number of federally registered political action committees, or PACs, is on the rise.

The Federal Election Commission says the number of PACs, many of them ideological and sponsored by corporations, unions, trade, industry and labor, rose from 4,234 to 4,292 during the first six months of the year.

FAR OUT

NASA’s newest observatory the Gamma-Ray Large Area Space Telescope, or GLAST, named for the late Enrico Fermi, the 20th-century physics pioneer has begun its mission of exploring the universe in high-energy gamma rays.

“Enrico Fermi was the first person to suggest how cosmic particles could be accelerated to high speeds,” said Paul Hertz, chief scientist for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “His theory provides the foundation for understanding the new phenomena his namesake telescope will discover.” Scientists expect Fermi will discover many new pulsars in our own galaxy, reveal powerful processes near massive black holes at the cores of thousands of active galaxies, and enable a search for signs of new physical laws.

In recent days, the instrument produced an all-sky image showing the glowing gas of the Milky Way, blinking pulsars and a flaring galaxy billions of light-years away.

John McCaslin can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin@washingtontimes.com.

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