Four items that caught my attention recently…1) The New York DMV has told ex-cop Arno Herwerth he has to return his “getosama” vanity plates, because someone found them offensive. Who, and why? The phrase is not lewd, obscene, derogatory, or patently offensive to anyone but Osama Bin Laden. Has he issued an objection via Al Jazeera?2) If the new allegations about Sen. Larry Craig are false, why isn’t he suing the Idaho Statesman and the men who claim to have had gay sex with him?3) Mike Jacobson e-mails:

It seems that about once an hour or so for the last few weeks I have been hearing the same attack ad from the state Republican party against Jay Nixon. We are about a year from the election and I have not heard that he is officially running for anything. Up to the primary you would expect to hear from the other Democrats running against him, and only after that would you expect ads from the Republican candidate or party. Color me puzzled.

You’re not the only one, Mike. This is going to be an ugly, brutal battle between Governor Matt Blunt and Attorney General Jay Nixon in 2008, but why the GOP has jumped on Nixon so early is beyond me. Most people aren’t even paying attention to the presidential race yet, and won’t lift an eye in the direction of the gubernatorial race until next summer at the earliest.
What do the Republicans have to gain with the early Nixon-bashing? Perhaps they believe that the first one to go negative gets to claim the position — like a passenger calling shotgun on a long trip — and hold it until everyone notices. There is certainly no love lost between these two rivals, but this seems awfully premature to me. 4) Massachusetts legislator Jay Kaufman filed a bill last week that would ban spanking, even in your home. When an interviewer asked Kaufman if he spanked his own children, the lawmaker replied, “None of your damn business.” So it’s nobody’s business if you use corporal punishment at home, but it’s the government’s business if other parents use it in theirs? I’m not a spanking advocate, and have never laid a hand on my daughter, but Kaufman’s attitude has set a new standard for hypocrisy.While we’re on the subject, I’m tired of people complaining that “things have gotten so bad that you can’t even spank your own kid anymore.” At least once a month, someone brings this up, always out of context, claiming that someone gently patted their child on the butt a single time in a Wal-Mart and the cops swooped in and took the child away. Not true, never happened. There is no state in the US that has banned spanking, and Kaufman’s bill has no chance of becoming the first. There are, however, laws that protect children from abuse, which is a whole other category. A little corporal punishment is one thing, but beating a child is quite another.