Bachmann flack has unusual tie to Sarah Palin’s father

Mary Vought, spokeswoman to Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), has a special link to Chuck Heath, the father of GOP vice presidential running mate Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

At Colony Middle School in Wasilla, Alaska, Vought, 25, had Heath as a substitute teacher in the seventh and eighth grades. She boasts that he was the most popular substitute teacher in school because he tended to stray from strict textbook topics (imagine that — a maverick) and relay stories of moose tramplings and bear attacks. “When you got him as a sub you were really excited,” she said.

Vought recalled: “He was someone who our teacher never left lesson plans for. He taught us about wildlife and survival techniques (i.e., what happens if you get between Mamma Moose and her calf) and told great stories about his former class trips.”

Vought’s younger brother also had an interesting vantage point of the Palin family — while living in Wasilla he knew Bristol, Palin’s eldest, pregnant daughter.



Farewell to Viva Chuck Todd

Viva Chuck Todd, the fan site that follows the ins and outs of NBC Political Director Chuck Todd, is winding down. Expect a proper farewell within the coming week.

With the end of the election, site creator Paul Chamberlain has decided to shut it down in favor of his new fan site, Viva Rachel Maddow, in honor of the MSNBC host.

Chamberlain believes Todd’s fans deserve a proper exit strategy. This means a video and letter to the 60,000 people who have visited the site since the end of May, when he created it; the recipients of 100,000 Chuck-o-lite cards and the 350 members of the Viva Chuck Todd fan club.

“I’m walking away from the opportunity to monetize this,” said Chamberlain, a public relations executive who runs Cerebral Itch in San Diego and created the site on a whim. “The best television series walk away at the top.”

As part of the farewell, fans wrote in to share favorite Todd stories. In one instance, a mother sent a picture and explained that her 5-year-old daughter, Heidi, kisses the TV whenever Todd comes on. (Could there be a better, cuter —weirder — ringing endorsement?)

Todd wrote Chamberlain to thank him for the site and wish him well.


Political junkies, take heart: There’s a cure for post-election depression

Are you still tuning into MSNBC to hear the latest poll numbers? Have you awoken in the middle of the night shouting “Country First” or “Change We Can Believe In”?

If so, you may be suffering from a new phenomenon called post-election depression.

Take heart; there is a cure — and it’s not Cialis, Abreva or Abilify. Sports psychologist John F. Murray tells ITK that all political junkies who have been wrapped up in the presidential election for the past two years need to do what Super Bowl athletes or Olympic stars do after their big events: Take a break.

The Palm Beach, Fla.-based Murray helps top-caliber athletes come down from monumental events like Wimbledon tennis championships or Olympic gold-medal judo matches. His mantra is relaxation.

“Part of my relaxation session is to have clients go to their most relaxing place,” he said. “There has got to be a major recovery period, and some people de-stress in different ways. Some people go on vacation, some go hunting.”

Murray says junkies should take advantage of the upcoming holidays to unwind from the tense campaign season.

“You can’t completely shut down,” he says. “A little bit of exercise is a good thing, eating healthy is a good thing.”

The key is that you deal with the stress.

“If it’s unabated, [stress] can lead to disease,” Murray says. “There’s a lot of heart disease and there’s a lot of stress in this country.”

Warning: Do not heed this advice if you are pregnant. Do not hold ITK responsible for your physical well-being. Consult a physician if you feel dizzy during treatment. Relaxation may cause resentment towards your profession, colleagues and even family members.


Rep. Emanuel hits Top 5 on ‘Forward 50’ list

The Forward, the New York-based Jewish newspaper, released its annual “Forward 50” list Friday and Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), the newly named chief of staff to President-elect Barack Obama, ranked in the top five along with comedian Sarah Silverman. The paper touts Emanuel’s “take-no-prisoners” style and his former ballet dancing and declares him “one of the most talented political hands in Washington.”

At the bottom of the list are William Kristol (No. 42), editor of The Weekly Standard, to whom The Forward gives accolades for saying that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) should tap Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin for vice president, and comedian Jon Stewart (No. 47) for being “proudly if ambivalently Jewish.”


National Beer Wholesalers celebrate their beer

It’s time to celebrate, insists the National Beer Wholesalers Association, which hosted a lunch at the National Press Club and warehouse tour Friday to honor the 75th anniversary of the 21st Amendment.

“That landmark legislation — which Congress passed and the states ratified in 1933 — is best known for repealing Prohibition, but its most important legacy is today’s effective, state-based system of alcohol regulation,” said Rebecca Spicer, vice president of public affairs for the association.

On the tour, guests sampled some of the 13,000 labels of beer that distributors deliver nationwide.