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"Vegas: The Charleston of the West."

Time reporter Mark Halperin on the political celebrities spotted at the Bellagio in advance of the Nevada caucuses Jan. 19. "Spotted in the hotel's restaurant Sensi having dinner alone: Barack and Michelle Obama. Across the way: Mary Matalin and James Carville. Striding through the lobby: William Jefferson Clinton." Source: Time.com

State Bills Target Sofa Store Faults

Bills introduced in the legislature in the opening days of the 2008 session are expected to address concerns raised in the aftermath of last year's Sofa Super Store blaze that took the lives of nine Charleston firefighters. The first would require buildings with trussed roofs to have a plaque outside recognizing that point. Some have suggested that firefighters would have fought the fire differently had they considered the dangers of a trussed roof caving in.

Other bills introduced in both the House and the Senate target the lack of sprinklers in the building, offering a tax credit to businesses who voluntarily install sprinklers. The legislation is a push back to other calls for mandatory sprinklers that are seen by House and Senate leaders as a step too far.

"When dealing with costly endeavors like this, it is better for government to use market-based incentives instead of passing on costly mandates that would do little and could possibly put people out of business," says House Speaker Bobby Harrell. —Greg Hambrick

Ravenel To Be Sentenced Jan. 28

Thomas Ravenel will learn Jan. 28 whether his cooperation with federal agents has paid off as he's sentenced for handing out cocaine to his friends. Ravenel was indicted last June along with his accused drug dealer, who will also be sentenced on Jan. 28. He eventually resigned his position as state treasurer but has so far avoided jail time. Defense lawyers have requested probation, but it'll depend on what information Ravenel has provided to investigators. Ravenel could face up to four years in prison, based on sentencing guidelines. Source: The State

"What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas."

Presidential candidate John Edwards on his four percent showing in Nevada's Jan. 19 caucus. Source: CNN

463

That's the number of pages apparently wasted in the 464-page Da Vinci Code, as the identity of Mona Lisa is revealed to be Mona Lisa del Giocondo — the woman long-identified as the subject on a plaque hanging beside the painting. Mystery solved by looking beside the art. Who knew? Source: The New York Times

Obama Opens North Charleston Campaign HQ

They're already on President Street downtown, but Barack Obama's campaign has added another local headquarters, at 4925 Lacross Road, Suite 112, in North Charleston. Clinton campaign offices are at 531 Savannah Hwy. and Edwards' campaign office is at 476 Meeting St.

"We'd tell them what to do with the pole."

That was a statement by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee on the ever-present debate over the Confederate flag, telling a South Carolina crowd that he wouldn't put up with anyone telling a state where to hang its flags. Source: WCBD

Iranophobia

Apparently the fear of Iran (or "Irano," though we're not sure what that means). Iranian officials accused President Bush of Iranophobia during his recent trip through the Middle East. Source: CNN

"Watching us go through things makes other people feel normal."

Kevin Federline on the head shaving, award show bombing, teen pregnancy, and late-night police standoff that have made Britney Spears and her clan more famous than any pop princess could dream of. No, Kevin. It doesn't make us feel normal. It makes us feel good about being normal. Source: People Magazine

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