KELLZ BELLS The King of R&B
• Piss-poor excuse: We knew straight up it couldn't be the ever-noble King of R&B R. Kelly's fault he missed his court date in Chicago Wednesday morning. Turns out, overzealous cops left Kells on the side of the road after they impounded his bus caravan in Utah ... and for what? Because an exhausted driver couldn't provide an up-to-date driving-hour log and was cruising at 100 mph! Did they not notice the lines of No-Doze chalked up along the dashboard?
• Christmas miracle: Even folks from rival campaigns are quietly calling Mike Huckabee's secret cross ad "brilliant." Not so for Giuliani's weird Santa ads.
• Times editors edited: Responding to a cutting report on the fact that top Bush Administration lawyers were made aware of the CIA torture tapes, the White House requested—and received!—a NYT sub-headline change. Because, really, why would anyone think the White House would be in to destroying government documentation?
• : Suddenly re-famous Jennifer Love Hewitt is offered a Playboy spread, but promptly turns Hef down—which probably has to do with the pregnancy rumors. Or maybe she's not comfortable with her naked body? It's a thought.
• End of the line?: Tom Tancredo has slated a "major announcement" for tomorrow afternoon. Is it the end of his epic White House run on behalf of tough immigration reform and the safekeeping of Duane "Dog" Chapman?
• Before Bartlett's: "Don't tase me, bro!" is named the top quote of the year by the Yale Book of Quotations, just outpacing Miss South Carolina's nonsensical "U.S. Americans" pageant response and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's "In Iran we don't have homosexuals like in your country."