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Opinion

Medal's so cool, Dylan had to wear shades

| Sunday, June 3, 2012, 12:33 a.m.

It's not as though he isn't used to the glare of the spotlight.

Still, Bob Dylan raised eyebrows on Tuesday when he wore aviator sunglasses while being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom during a ceremony at the White House. The iconic 71-year-old singer and songwriter was honored by President Barack Obama along with former astronaut and U.S. Sen. John Glenn , former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and novelist Toni Morrison .

Dylan was the only awardee to sport shades, but as Politico pointed out, he hardly is the first celebrity to wear sunglasses when meeting a president. In fact, former Steelers linebacker Joey Porter had them on when the team met President George W. Bush in 2006 following the team's Super Bowl XL victory.

Other well-known people who have donned sunglasses at the White House include comedian Bill Cosby , late singer Michael Jackson , U2 frontman Bono , author and poet Maya Angelou and NASCAR drivers Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

HEINZ MONEY BACKS ANTI-RIGHT FELON . Teresa Heinz 's money appears to be bankrolling a convicted felon's efforts to harass conservative bloggers into silence.

That startling revelation comes courtesy of FrontPageMag.com , which reported a Heinz Family Foundation connection to criminal-turned-liberal-activist Brett Kimberlin . He spent 17 years in prison for a 1978 bombing spree in Indiana.

Kimberlin has gained notoriety recently for what the Examiner newspapers described as "harassment and domestic terrorism" against conservative writers. Syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin provided additional details, saying Kimberlin's tactics include "abuse of the court system, workplace intimidation, serial invasions of privacy, perjury and harassment of family members."

Kimberlin is head of the nonprofit Justice Through Music organization, which supports the radical environmentalist agenda and the Occupy Wall Street movement. Since 2006, the group has received at least $20,000 from the Heinz Family Foundation, whose CEO happens to be a certain Pittsburgh pickle heiress and wife of Sen. John Kerry , D-Mass.

Justice Through Music also has received at least $70,000 in funding from the Tides Foundation, whose donors include billionaire lefty philanthropist George Soros . His Open Society Institute has given more than $25 million to Tides and the affiliated Tides Center since 1999.

We wonder if Heinz and Soros are aware that their greenbacks are aiding the efforts of someone whose personality is indisputably incendiary.

CASH FOR CRITZ . U.S. Rep. Mark Critz , D-Johnstown, has a heavy-duty fundraiser scheduled for Monday at Mt. Washington's Le Mont restaurant.

Many of Western Pennsylvania's most prominent Democrats -- including Allegheny County Chief Executive Rich Fitzgerald , U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle of Forest Hills, U.S. Rep. Jason Altmire of McCandless, Steelers President Art Rooney II , Pittsburgh City Controller Michael Lamb and Pittsburgh City Councilman Patrick Dowd -- are among the hosts for the event. Tickets range from $250 to $2,000.

Critz faces Republican attorney Keith Rothfus of Edgeworth in the November battle for the recently reconfigured 12th Congressional District.

RENDELL'S REPUBLICAN LEANINGS . Democrat Ed Rendell is unlikely to formally endorse Republican Mitt Romney for president. But Time envisions a scenario in which the former Pennsylvania governor is featured prominently in a pro-Romney commercial.

Time unearthed a 2005 episode in which Rendell traveled to Boston to pay off a Super Bowl bet he lost to Romney, then Massachusetts' governor. While the two were attending a basketball game, Rendell gave a glowing endorsement of Romney in the presence of a reporter.

"This will be the kiss of death," Rendell said. "But if I had to choose the next Republican president, if there's going to be one, it would be Governor Romney."

Bet Rendell regrets that line, which Time predicts will resurface prominently before Election Day. Wrote the magazine's Michael Scherer : "You can just see them in an ad now: 'Hello, Pennsylvania. This is Mitt Romney -- the one Republican choice of Ed Rendell.'"

That prospect probably won't put a smile on President Barack Obama 's face.

PITCHMAN . Westmoreland County Courthouse staffer Dave White says he's learned his lesson about using county resources to pitch off-duty work endeavors.

White, an employee of Recorder of Deeds Frank Schiefer , recently promoted his private child-care service using his county job's email address and telephone number.

White said he was admonished by human resources officials.

"I made a mistake and talked to my supervisor," he said.

White said he removed his county phone number and email address from the ads.

BANANA-SPLIT SPLIT . While most consider Strickler's Drug Store in Latrobe the birthplace of the banana split, a Buckeye State wannabe is challenging that notion.

The Wilmington (Ohio) News Journal contends Latrobe can't claim that title because it doesn't hold an annual festival celebrating the ice cream treat. Wilmington will hold its 18th annual banana split festival on Friday and Saturday.

As all connoisseurs know, David Strickler , a 23-year-old apprentice pharmacist, invented the banana-laden triple ice cream sundae in 1904 at the pharmacy at 805 Ligonier St., Latrobe.

Ohioans claim Ernest R. Hazard invented the banana split in 1907. He owned a restaurant in Wilmington and hoped a new ice cream treat would attract students from Wilmington College.

SAME OLD SAME OLD . Latrobe Deputy Mayor Ken Baldonieri 's monthly admonishments about the brick crosswalks in town have become as routine at city meetings as the Pledge of Allegiance.

Baldonieri has been complaining for several months that the recently installed crosswalks are falling into disrepair. He says the city should hold someone -- designers and/or contractors -- accountable for the workmanship.

Baldonieri's monthly monologue, followed by solicitor Jim Kelley's pledge to investigate possible legal recourse, has become like a broken record.

-- compiled by Tribune-Review staff

Have some dirt to dish? A tip to flip? Email the intrepid Whispers desk at: whispers@tribweb.com .

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