Political Panorama: Wednesday

Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) was among the politicos in the audience at Barbra Streisand’s final concert of her tour in Los Angeles. Noting the Democratic victory in Congress, Streisand said “My depression is over.” She wrapped up the concert by singing the Democratic anthem, “Happy Days are Here Again.”

In the remembrances of Robert Altman, many critics cited his deft satire of the worlds of entertainment and politics. Time’s Richard Corliss says: “Tanner ’88, the TV series he concocted with Garry Trudeau, plays now like a prophetic parody of media manipulation by such masters as James Carville and Karl Rove.”

Al-Jazeera’s English language version draws raves, and its reportage includes Mia Farrow on the Darfur crisis.

Election coverage on Midwest TV stations was up considerably in October — no big surprise, considering the stakes — but it was still only about one-third of the ad time for political spots.

Comparing it to an animated “Inconvenient Truth,” Fox anchor Neil Cavuto claims that the Warner Bros. pic “Happy Feet” has a “hidden agenda” that is “pretty far left.”

Angelina Jolie made a surprise visit to Cambodia, where she is funding a conservation project. Her reps have said that “hundreds of thousands of dollars” she has provided for the project are missing.

NBC has picked up a pilot based on the movie “Thank You for Smoking,” about a master spin doctor for the tobacco industry. The new series would have Nick Naylor reppping all sorts of environmental polluters, politicos and fast-food companies.

Education Secretary Margaret Spellings came in second on last night’s “Jeopardy,” after Michael McKean of “Laverne and Shirley” and “This is Spinal Tap.” Said Spellings: “I think I held my own.”

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