IN KEEPING with the spirit of Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and anything else y'all celebrate, I'm offering gift ideas and free advice for pols I've written about this year.


Because I'm just a giving kinda guy.

To President Bush: one heartfelt and, in my view, long-overdue buh-bye. Don't let any shoes hit you on the way out the door.

To President-elect Obama: jumbo packs of Nicorette and maximum-strength No-Doz. Looks like you're gonna need 'em. (But, listen, if sneaking an occasional cig helps you keep your cool, by all means sneak away.)

To Sarah Palin: a Celestron PowerSeeker telescope to better keep an eye on Russia from your house and also, too, return tickets to the national political stage. Please come back.

To Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich: a gift card, in whatever amount it takes, to State Street Barbers in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood to get a good bleepin' haircut. Please don't come back. Oh, and take the Missus with you.

To John McCain: a new job title, something like the Earl of Earmarks. I'm serious. You should be allowed to ride herd on Congress when it debates the upcoming zillion-dollar economic-stimulus bill to make sure it's free of congressional add-ons. This is no time for business as usual.

To Ed Rendell and Joe Biden: (and lately, surprisingly, Arlen Specter): new cell-phone ring tones of Danish singer/songwriter Tina Dico's "Watch Your Tongue." You guys need to be reminded not to shoot so often from the lip. (And, understand, normally I'd want you to say whatever pops into your head as often as you like, but, you know, 'tis the season of giving.) And for Specter, who recently felt it was fine to tell some ethnic jokes in public, a copy of "The Ultimate Polish Joke Book" - to be read in the privacy of your own home.

To our other senator, Bob Casey Jr.: a new pair of Nike Zoom Blur basketball shoes to help you be a blur, zoom along and hold your own in future presidential b-ball games. Keep ballin', Bobby.

To Mayor Nutter, who's asking the incoming Obama administration for $2.6 billion in projects for a program Nutter dubs HIRE (housing, infrastructure, revenue and energy): My wish is that you find the energy to raise the revenue for some infrastructure to help fix Philly's housing woes. Also, you'd probably appreciate a library or two, or 11.

To Bill DeWeese, former state House speaker and former Democratic majority leader, who was just elected House Democratic whip: Take that whip and use it on yourself. Forty lashes for allowing your caucus (on which a dozen face charges of stealing millions of tax dollars for political use) to operate like drunken, booty-driven pirates - for years, right under your nose.

To Tom Corbett, the swashbuckling GOP state attorney general who'd like to be governor: a stocking full of conviction-level evidence showing that some Republicans also steal from us. (Apparently, gifting is the only way you'll get this.)

To former Philly U.S. Attorney Pat Meehan, a Republican who also would like to be governor: some coal to put in Corbett's stocking.

To Vince Fumo: some character witnesses who are not under investigation.

And to our state legislators: a bout of rapidly induced mass hypnosis under which you do the right thing and cut your size, cost and sessions. Hey, you're already making noise about cost cuts - plus it's the season of hope, renewal and resolutions.

Oh, yeah, and to all a good night.

Send e-mail to

For recent columns, go to