Stateline Story

WORTH NOTING: Epic battle rages in Mass. House

Call me controversial. A Massachusetts state legislator's effort to make "Moby Dick" the state's official book hit rough water in the state House of Representatives, the Boston Globe writes. His colleagues questioned whether Herman Melville's long-winded tale of Captain Ahab's obsession over a great white whale really was the best literary work the Bay State had to offer. So the House decided to designate it the state's official "epic novel" instead. The Globe points out that Massachusetts has split hairs before; it already has five different official "rocks."

West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin (D) has some straight talk about new flick, "The Express." Manchin thinks the movie about Ernie Davis, the first black football player to win the Heisman Trophy, should be labeled as fiction, the  Charleston Daily Mail reports. The governor, a former football player for West Virginia University, objects to the film's depiction of West Virginia fans as bigots who threw garbage at Davis and called him racial epithets. Manchin, who's attended West Virginia games since the 1950s, said it never happened.

Maybe now the governor will get Caller ID. A Republican candidate finally figured out how to get a call through to Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine of New Jersey - he just said he was someone else, the  Asbury Park Press writes. After failing to reach Corzine for almost a year using his own name, Michael Krawitz identified himself as Democratic powerbroker George Norcross and got patched through right away. But Krawitz' triumph was short-lived. His phone call lasted only 30 seconds and state police questioned him about the call.

Ghosts, goblins, witches and skeletons may be OK come Halloween, but Illinois politics might be a bit too scary for the kids. The state's Department of Agriculture drew the line when a haunted house at the state fairgrounds included a mural that showed caricatures of long-feuding Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) and House Speaker Michael Madigan (D) strangling each other, The (Springfield) State-Journal reports. The agency told the paper the artwork was "not appropriate for a family event." The Jaycees, who ran the attraction, agreed to remove the mural.