* A DESPERATE DEAL DOOMED TO FAIL , per the Washington Post: "'It's an all-front crisis for the Bush administration,' said Kongdan Oh, an expert on the North Korean nuclear program at the Institute for Defense Analyses in Alexandria. 'I think they thought, hey, North Korea is a small country and maybe we can handle it if we put it to the side for a while." But she said she did not believe North Korea would ever give up nuclear weapons, 'its platinum trump card.''" LINK
* INDICTMENTS GALORE ON THE WAY , per the Washington Post: "The Bush administration's top federal procurement official [David H. Safavian] resigned Friday and was arrested yesterday, accused of lying and obstructing a criminal investigation into Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff's dealings with the federal government." LINK
* A TANGLED WEB OF CORRUPT RELATIONSHIPS IN AT LEAST TWO BRANCHES, per the New York Times: "[Safavian's] wife, Jennifer Safavian, is chief counsel for oversight and investigations on the House Government Reform Committee, which is responsible for overseeing government procurement and is, among other things, expected to conduct the Congressional investigation into missteps after Hurricane Katrina." LINK
* A SMART SUGARLAND MOVE BY BEGALA, per the Washington Post: "Adults With Wisdom Teeth Often Develop Gum Disease." (That one is an inside joke intelligible to precisely seven Note readers.) LINK
Looking to improve things and win the news cycle -- as well as inspect and inspire -- President Bush returns to the Gulf Coast region today with stops in Mississippi and Louisiana. The President will be in Gulfport, MS at noon ET. He then heads to New Orleans to participate in a briefing on Tropical Storm Rita and then visits a "recovering business" at 3:20 pm ET before heading back to the White House.
Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) hold a 10:50 am ET press conference with African American ministers on Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.
Later in the day, Rep. Pelosi will team up with Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) at a 3:00 pm ET press conference on legislation creating a commission to prevent fraud and abuse in the recovery and rebuilding effort in the Gulf Coast.
At 2:15 pm ET, the Federal Open Market Committee meets on interest rates in Washington, DC. Whatever they decide will be seen through the Katrina prism.
Sens. Barack Obama (D-IL), Chris Dodd (D-CT), and Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) will hold a 2:15 pm ET press conference to voice their opposition to a recommendation made by the Carter-Baker Commission on Federal Election Reform which would require all Americans to show photo identification before voting. Of course, as best we can tell (and we say this un-cynically) that report is already gathering dust and it isn't even on the shelf yet.)
The Senate convenes at 9:45 am ET. The Senate will recess from noon until 2:15 pm ET for the weekly party luncheons.
The House will convene at 12:30 pm ET for morning hour and 2 pm ET for legislative business. No roll call votes are expected before 6:30 pm ET.
The Arctic Refuge Action Day rally gets underway at 10:30 am ET to protest plans to drill in ANWR with featured speaker Robert Kennedy, Jr.
Judge John Roberts will be on the Hill for a 3:30 pm ET photo opportunity with Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA). And Roberts' opponents at People for the American Way have put together a collection of "faith and religious leaders" to formally oppose the Roberts nomination at 12:30 pm ET.