The school year has started again, and so Bwog’s “White House Bureau Chief” Jim Downie resumes his dispatches.

Gather ’round, Terrible 12s, and I’ll tell you a story. See, way back in your senior year of high school, Bwog decided to ask me to write a weekly column about the election. I’ve been told the selection process involved “a dartboard.” This was back when we were still waiting for Super Tuesday, Clinton was still the favorite, John McCain was only just completing his comeback in the Republican primary, and the New York Giants had just saved the world from the only thing that could ever make Boston sports fans more annoying. I was young and innocent, and I was dazzled by the possibility of my name up in lights.

Actually, that’s a lie: I was bored, and it seemed like a fun thing to do at the time. I agreed, in exchange for a promise that I would be the first to know when somebody figures out what’s tasty about Tasti-D-Lite (I’m still waiting).

So what’s the idea behind Political Weekly? As I wrote in my column, “The idea: “it’s not for political junkies. It’s for normal people.’ Sometimes serious, sometimes witty, sometimes nutty, and sometimes not even political (or linked).” It’s a combination of keeping you informed and helping you procrastinate. And now, the news (ten imaginary bucks to the first Anglophile who gets that reference):

ZOMG! Palin Actually On the Record: One of the strategies of the McCain campaign has been to keep Sarah Palin away from reporters until she completes her briefing crash course. To that end, they’ve had a blanket “off-the-record” policy on her plane, and she hasn’t been interviewed by the major networks until yesterday, when she sat down with ABC’s Charlie Gibson. Those on the right seem to be satisfied with her performance, given that she’s still absorbing a bunch of new information (particularly on foreign policy), but those on the left thought it curious that she didn’t know what the “Bush Doctrine” was. Not that it’s been a big part of the last 8 years or anything…

Of Farm Animals and Cosmetics: In the middle of the week, Barack Obama set off a media frenzy when he said, “You can put lipstick on a pig; it’s still a pig.” The McCain camp declared the comment a clear sexist jab at Sarah Palin, though much of the media has pointed out it’s a relatively common slang phrase. TIME Magazine has a history of the phrase.

The Possible Palin Problem: It’s not perceptions of her as inexperienced or too conservative, but probably this hearing in Alaska over whether she “abused her power in trying to get her brother-in-law fired.” Unfortunately, it’s already being referred to as Troopergate, the least creative scandal name since every other time people have tacked on “-gate.”

“Well, So What? What’s Wrong With Being Sexy?”: Jon Stewart takes on the sexism charge. On this issue, I stand with Nigel Tufnel.

Numbers, Numbers, Numbers: As usual, polls for all the states (in slightly different formats) are here, here, and here. For the more mathematically-inclined, check out the Baseball Prospectus-inspired

A More Special Number: For months, Democrats have led in the generic congressional ballot, but that lead has suddenly shrunk to 3 points. Maybe people finally realized they’re doing nothing?

Well, That’s Just Salt in the Wound: Joe Biden tells a guy in a wheelchair to “stand up.”

Yay Views!: This anti-Obama video has over 5 million views on YouTube. More background on the creator, who is not affiliated with the McCain camp, here.

McBama Appears At Columbia: But you already knew that.