The Note: The Streaming Note



As always in Thursday's Note, we begin with a quiz.

"As we in Washington shift our focus to a major preoccupation with post-Hurricane Katrina fallout, we have to remember that there are other big stories out there that could shake up Washington and Congress in a big way."

The preceding passage was written by:

A. Andy Card LINK

B. Chuck Todd LINK

C. Grover Norquist LINK

D. Norman Ornstein LINK

E. Kellyanne Conway LINK

The correct answer is (D), and Norm is, per usual, correct. LINK

Beyond Katrina, first and foremost among "other big stories" is the President's chance to reshape the Supreme Court, and on that front, today's monster event is the Senate Judiciary Committee's vote on the John Roberts nomination.

The full committee meets at 9:30 am ET to vote on the nomination of Roberts' to be the Chief Justice of the United States in Dirksen 226. Sen. Arlen Specter, the panel's chairman, will speak first. He will be followed by Sen. Pat Leahy (VT), the ranking Democrat.

The other members of the panel will then have an opportunity to speak for up to 10 minutes. They will likely speak in the order of seniority. The vote itself on Roberts is expected to come somewhere between 11:00 am ET and 12 noon. The big suspense, of course, is about how the other committee Democrats will vote -- who will follow Leahy's lead?

And after the vote, don't miss the debut of The Streaming Note later today. We're sure some of the cablers will carry the proceedings live, but if you really want to go inside the vote, you'll have to watch The Streaming Note on

With The Streaming Note, you don't have to wait for Friday morning's Note to get the best analysis in politics -- get it live from George Stephanopoulos and Mark Halperin, just after the vote concludes, at 1:00 pm ET. They'll field your calls and e-mails throughout this 15-minute streaming video event.

Fallout from the committee vote, predictions for the floor vote, and speculation about who the next nominee will be -- you can ask any insider question you want. Think of it like a Wall Street analysts call about a hot stock.

To submit your questions, go to this link LINK right now, or anytime before 1:00 pm ET tomorrow. Or, call your questions in to 1-877-726-7469 starting at 12:55 pm ET today.

To watch the inaugural Streaming Note, visit our homepage LINK

at 1:00 pm ET today. Follow the easy instructions, and you'll see the live video. It's just that simple.

You come to The Note every morning for (what we think) is a chance to read the most incisive and wittiest look ahead at the day's key political stories. Now's your chance to talk back to The Note. Call or log on. The Googling monkeys are standing by as we type (and they know a Baba Booey when they hear one. . . )

Beyond Roberts -- and with all due respect to Norm Ornstein -- Katrina is a gigantic story with major political implications stretching out as far as the eye can see. Unfortunately for those who want to know how things will be shaken up by the fallout, it is simply too soon to say still where all this will end up -- or even where we are headed right now.

But there are two must-read stories today from conservative all-stars that do reinforce the Notion that the Gang of 500 currently sees the remainder of the Bush presidency hanging in the balance.

First, Peggy Noonan continues on her extraordinary roll on -- which shouldn't surprise any of us, since Ms. Noonan always rises to the occasion on big stories, such as Katrina. LINK

Her point today is that the big-spending ways of the Bush era are a threat to conservatism, and this should be at least debated (and perhaps repudiated). In short: the most thoughtful, rigorous, and romping political must-read of the post-Katrina era.

Another must-read is Bob Novak's discussion of the Novak- and Bush-bashing that took place in Aspen during Bob's first (and, he predicts, last) trip to Teddy Forstmann's Forstmann Little Aspen Weekend confab. LINK

Bob's main point is that a lot of rich Republicans have turned on the President for a variety of reasons, but there is so much more in here – including Bob's judgment about when and how it is appropriate to break/interpret off-the-record agreements.

Elsewhere in Washington today, at the Pentagon, President Bush will make a statement on the War on Terror at 12 pm ET after receiving a closed military briefing at 9:50 am ET. The President has a 1:15 pm ET meeting with the King Abdullah II of Jordan at the White House.

The House Select Committee begins hearings into how the Katrina disaster happened at 10:00 am ET in Rayburn 2154. No Democrats have joined this committee yet, and the Senate half of the Select Committee is not yet joined with the House. Today's hearing will focus on hurricane forecasting.

There are four other Katrina-related congressional hearings taking place today. (Details below).

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi holds a 3:00 pm ET presser in H-204 of the Capitol following a private meeting with members of Hurricane Katrina relief organizations to call once again for an independent investigation into the Katrina response.

Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama participate in a 9:30 am ET Congressional Black Caucus town hall discussion on "Eradicating Poverty: Removing the Disparities vs. the Innate Drive for Survival and Success" at the Washington Convention Center.

Cindy Sheehan and two Gold Star mothers will join former Congressman Tom Andrews, National Director of Win Without War, at 10:00 am ET Thursday at the National Press Club to unveil two television ads (with small national cable buys) asking President Bush how many more people have to die for his "mistake." Other Gold Star moms who support the war hold a competing event.

The House meets at 10:00 am to consider the School Readiness Act of 2005.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger holds a 4:00 pm ET town hall meeting in Long Beach, CA. He also meets privately with Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom in Los Angeles.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics releases a report on unemployment insurance claims for the week at 8:30 am ET.

The AFL-CIO announces its "America Needs a New Direction" campaign at 1:00 pm ET in Washington, DC. (See below for more details).

John Roberts for Chief Justice: the whip count:

Since all Senate Republicans are expected to vote "aye," we are focused on the opposition party. As for the Democrats, this is how they are lining up, based on ABC News and other media sources:

Aye or leaning Aye:

Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD) Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE)

Nay or leaning Nay:

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) Sen. Jon Corzine (D-NJ) Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)

John Roberts for Chief Justice:

The New York Times' Robin Toner has a must-read on how Democratic activists want to see backbone and toughness in standing up to the President and for principle – and thus "no" votes on Roberts. Don't miss the Gordon Fischer cameo!!! LINK

The new Mistress of Understatement -- Maura Reynolds of the Los Angeles Times – writes "The division between…Leahy ..and…Reid …underscored that Democrats have been unable to devise a unified strategy on the nomination…." LINK

The New York Times' Sheryl Gay Stolberg emphasizes Democrats "deciding" to focus on the O'Connor seat and Ralph Neas damning Pat Leahy's soul (or something like that). And Sen. Feinstein is sick and tired of being asked how she'll vote. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Bravin and Cummings find some needles in the haystack of Judge Roberts SJC questionnaire.

As USA Today and others report, Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) is concerned "about the balance of power on the court" and urged the President yesterday to delay naming Sandra Day O'Connor's replacement. And the White House said, in effect, "no way, Jose, erh, Arlen." LINK

"Conservatives widely assumed that Leahy and Schumer (D-NY) were two of the surest 'no' votes in the Senate, and Leahy's split betrayed the disarray Democrats are facing after Roberts skated through confirmation hearings last week," the New York Daily News says. LINK

The Hill has Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) joking yesterday after Sen. Patrick Leahy's announcement that he would vote to confirm John Roberts, "Now that Senator Leahy's for him, I may have to be against him." LINK

USA Today's editorial board lines up behind John Roberts, saying he "came off as the best politician in the room" at his confirmation hearings last week. LINK

But/and Ralph Neas calls Roberts "a dangerous bet," in USA Today's opposing view. LINK

The O'Connor seat:

Elisabeth Bumiller of the New York Times plays the name game, listing Gonzales, Hinojosa, and Garza (Hispanic male division); Brown, Owen, Williams, and Callahan (female division); and Thompson and Young (African-American male division). LINK

With everyone she talks to convinced that white men need not apply, Bumiller writes, "The strategists said that staff members like Harriet Miers, the White House counsel, had been in contact with several contenders, but that Mr. Bush was not thought to have begun formal interviews."

The Washington Post's VandeHei and Babington report that "a top White House aide said Bush plans to announce O'Connor's replacement next week, shortly after the Senate votes on Roberts's confirmation." LINK

A Republican in "close contact" with the White House said the choice to replace O'Connor would be "as conservative" and that white men are in play.

The Washington Post duo report that "among the names mentioned" are: "Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales; Edward Charles Prado and Priscilla R. Owen, both from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit; Consuelo Maria Callahan, from the 9th Circuit; Larry D. Thompson, former deputy attorney general; Maura Corrigan, a member of the Michigan Supreme Court; Alice Batchelder of the 6th Circuit; Karen Williams and J. Michael Luttig, both from the 4th Circuit; Michael McConnell, from the 10th Circuit; and Samuel A. Alito Jr. of the 3rd Circuit."

Ms. Greenburg from the Chicago Tribune lays out three scenarios. She lumps Gonzales and Thompson together in one, says Owen is on the top of the list on another and lastly does not leave out Luttig and Wilkinson. LINK

National Review weighs in with an editorial: "Roberts left the door wide open to modifying and even overturning Roe -- along with other liberal precedents -- when the time is right. That time may never come unless the president makes a similar appointment in filling the pending vacancy of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. The Democrats may be poised to do conservatives a favor by demonstrating that no Republican nominee, no matter how qualified or inoffensive, can avoid significant opposition from them. President Bush should therefore nominate the most qualified conservative jurist available to replace O'Connor -- just as soon as John Roberts is confirmed." LINK

Katrina: Bush strategy/response:

David Sanger of the New York Times Notes the President's remarks yesterday linking up the war on terror and the hurricane damage, and then he slips this in at the end: ". . . [I]nside the administration, a senior diplomat involved in the Iraq effort, who would not allow his name to be used because of the sensitivity of the subject, said that it was hard for him to imagine 'Congress spending more on rebuilding schools in Iraq before they rebuild schools in New Orleans.'" LINK

With a cagey Ron Brownstein tag credit, the Los Angeles Times Vieth and Alonso-Zaldivar write up the politics of Rita preps, with a meta-theme symbolized by this quote, keying off of the President's Wednesday schedule, "'Why he spent 45 minutes on Social Security today floors me,' said a GOP lobbyist close to the White House, expressing concern over what he called 'a perception that no one is in charge.'" LINK

USA Today details how officials at every level, from local ranks to the Pentagon to the Oval Office, hope they have learned the lessons of Katrina in preparing for Rita. "This time, 'it's probably fair to say that everybody is being extra careful to make sure that there isn't any possibility of a lack of resources,' Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said." LINK

USA Today wraps up what else is on President Bush's plate besides Katrina recovery and Rita preparations. LINK

School voucher aid to Katrina victims would only be temporary, according to Education Secretary Margaret Spellings, per the Nation's Newspaper. LINK

Katrina: Big Casino budget politics:

Cutting funding for projects such as the highway bill's $223 million "bridge to nowhere" in Alaska made the list of budget cuts offered yesterday by the House Republican Study Committee, led by Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN). "'Kiss my ear!' Rep. Don Young (R-AK) barked when he was asked about suggestions by Sen. John McCain, (R-AZ), and others that he forgo building a bridge to connect Ketchikan to tiny Gravina Island."">LINK

Stephen Dinan and Bill Sammon of The Washington Times report that some Senate Republicans are offering their own recommendations on cuts today. LINK

The Hill has lots of details, including Rep. Zach Wamp (R-TN) saying he doesn't want the Chinese owning more of America. LINK

The Houston Chronicle reports that Texas politicians disagree on whether NASA mission funding should be cut to pay for Katrina clean up. LINK

As much of Washington salivates for tax increases, the Wall Street Journal ed board, worried about a potential failure to keep dividend and cap gains rates low, write these three graphs of gold:

"But now some GOP Senators are suggesting that they should redo reconciliation and drop the capital gains and dividend tax cuts. We're told Ohio's George Voinovich, New Hampshire's Judd Gregg and Maine's Olympia Snowe are three of the troublemakers. As ominously, Majority Leader Bill Frist's chief budget aide, Bill Hoagland, has floated the idea on the record in this newspaper. If this is the kind of advice Mr. Frist is getting, much less listening to, he's going to have a hard time ever becoming President. One bit of good news is that Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley is so far holding firm on the extensions."

"Investment decisions are already being made with the year 2008 in mind, so failing to extend the lower rates will soon have economic consequences. Worse, dropping them from the budget would send markets the signal that Washington is back in a tax-raising phase. It would say that, even with their strong Congressional majorities, Republicans lack the political will to make any of the Bush tax cuts permanent. For that matter, it will signal that the entire Bush agenda is moribund, and that the political rout to 2006 is on."

"We can understand why some Democrats would want Republicans to repudiate their own tax policies. But why Republicans would want to join in this act of masochism is a mystery. President Bush has ruled out tax increases to finance Katrina relief, but we hope someone in the White House is telling him what Members of his own party are doing in the Senate. Katrina has already done enough damage, without the political class compounding it with policy blunders."

Katrina: Congress reacts:

The New York Times' Carl Hulse and the Washington Post's Amy Goldstein play up the line that the Democratic boycott of the Katrina investigation continues. LINK and LINK

But Roll Call reports that two Democratic Reps. Gene Taylor (MS) and Charlie Melancon (LA) may, in fact, take part in the investigation, at the invitation of its chairman, Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA). Taylor says he told Leader Pelosi he understands her refusal to name any Dems to the panel, but he feels his testimony as an eyewitness is vital. LINK

Lloyd Grove says the widows who successfully lobbied for a 9/11 Commission may join the fray pushing for a Katrina Commission. Kristen Breitweiser hopes a Republican will take the lead to make the effort nonpartisan. LINK

Here is a round-up of other Katrina-related congressional hearings taking place today:

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee holds a 10:00 am ET hearing, "Communications in a Disaster" in Dirksen 562.

The Senate's education and early childhood development subcommittee holds a 3:00 pm ET hearing on "Katrina's Displaced Schoolchildren" in Dirksen 430.

The Senate's Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee holds a 10:00 am ET hearing on Katrina's effects on small businesses in Russell 428-A.

The House Energy and Commerce panel holds a 9:30 am ET hearing on "Assessing Public Health and Delivery of Care in the Wake of Katrina" in Rayburn 2123.

Katrina: politics and policy:
f The Washington Post's Jonathan Weisman reports that President Bush and Gov. Haley Barbour's plans to give tax breaks for casinos to rebuild in Mississippi is a break with tradition and not, in fact, how things have been done in the state up until this point, despite what the good governor said yesterday. LINK

The Washington Post's David Broder criticizes the Bush Administration for insisting on each state to negotiate its own waiver from the rules limiting eligibility for Medicaid benefits rather than making all the evacuees Medicaid-eligible for the next five months as supported by the NGA as well as the Republican and Democratic Senate Leaders and the ranking Democrat on the Finance Committee. LINK

Former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt, author of the forthcoming "Cities in the Wilderness" by Island Press, pens a Washington Post op-ed about what Florida can teach us. LINK

James Lee Witt has been hired by The National Disaster Search Dog Rescue Foundation to help the group obtain more government funding, The Hill reports. LINK

Katrina: 2008:

David Brooks, proving yet again that he is the best columnist today writing about the Democratic Party, looks at this week's Kerry and Edwards Katrina-driven speeches -- finding the former angry and unconstructive, and the latter thoughtful and productive -- and then closes with a final graph as must-readable as the whole piece: LINK

"I have discussions with my Democratic friends over whether the party will snap back to Clintonite centrism after the polarizing Bush leaves town. Some think yes. I suspect no. As Kerry's speech shows, the emotional tenor of the party has changed. The donors are aroused. Bush may end up changing the Democratic Party more than his own."

The Boston Globe's Tom Oliphant liked Kerry's speech better than Brooks did. LINK

Kane Webb, the deputy editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, writes a mash Note to Governor Huckabee for his Katrina perf with a "North Little Rock" dateline on the Wall Street Journal editorial page.

The Washington Post has former GOP House speaker Newt Gingrich saying of the post-Katrina period: "This is one of the most important moments in modern history, and in the next three to four weeks we will find out if the party is ready and able to govern." LINK

Katrina: the economy

In bloodless tones, the Wall Street Journal's Gold and Herrick have a comprehensive look at how Rita+Katrina might impact the energy sector.

The politics of Iraq:

The Washington Post's Ann Scott Tyson writes up a GAO report showing that the Pentagon has "no accurate knowledge" of the cost of military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan or the fight against terrorism, limiting Congress's ability to oversee spending. "The GAO said the problem is rooted in long-standing weaknesses in the Pentagon's outmoded financial management system, which is designed to handle small-scale contingencies." LINK

Cindy Sheehan goes to Washington, per USA Today. LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Daragahi says Cindy Shaheen is big in Baghdad (too). LINK

Sheehan forces begin a new $1 million advertising campaign against President Bush, but refuses to name her bankroller, the Washington Times' Stephanie Mansfield reports. LINK

2008: Democrats:

House Democrats looking for leadership on Iraq say they've found it: in General Wesley Clark. Clark spoke this week to a bloc calling themselves the Out of Iraq Caucus, and advised them on ways to hone their strategy. Roll Call reports that Clark, who has "become the go-to guy" for the Democrats on national security issues, urged the group to focus on a plan for diplomacy, rather than setting a firm date for troop withdrawal.

Sen. Biden makes the New York Times account of the Able Danger hearing, and he is portrayed in high-dudgeon mode. LINK

Deb Orin speculates that Sen. Clinton may have to protect herself against an unlikely challenger from the left: Al Gore. "Even Katrina could boost Gore -- he got a standing ovation when he did an I-told-you-so and blamed global warming for hurricanes at Bill Clinton's Global Initiative last week." LINK

2008: Republicans:

Bill Frist's attempt to shed a political problem by selling his HCA stock lands him in several papers today, none of whom can do anything but suggest that maybe he got inside information before the sale that motivated him, even though there is not a whisper of a hint of such a thing.

The New York Times' David Kirkpatrick seems bored by the story. LINK

Per the Washington Post's Smith and Birnbaum, several ethics experts find it "odd" that Dr./Leader/Sen. Bill Frist could intervene to order a sale of HCA stock when, ostensibly, it was suppoed to be "out of his reach in blind trusts." LINK

Bill Wichterman, a Frist aide who has been one of the key Senate staffers involved in the fight over judicial nominations, is leaving for the slightly less contentious -- and better paid -- world of lobbyists, the Washington Post's Judy Sarasohn reports. Wichterman starts Monday at Covington and Burling. LINK

The Arkansas Times writes that their Governor, Mike Huckabee, is indeed eyeing the presidential spotlight of 2008 and unlike in the state of Massachusetts they support their leader in his endeavors. However the Times does point to some bumps in the road for Huckabee's candidacy such as alleged past improper use of the Governor's Mansion account, public money allegedly being used for personal use, and the Governor's "glib" public demeanor.

The Times also Notes that his wife Janet could be an issue: "think of her as the red-state version of Hillary Rodham Clinton or Teresa Heinz Kerry." LINK


The New York Times covers the day in Bloomberg v. Ferrer, with Mark Green and Ferrer teaming up on the UWS, a new Ferrer TV ad LINK, the beginning of the end of the beginning of the debate-about-debates, and man in a George Bush mask. LINK

The New York Times' Mike McIntire scours the Democrats for Bloomberg committee, comes up with a link to Donald Manes, and gets Bill Cunningham to declare that New York is famous for giving its citizens a second chance. LINK

"Schools flunk but Mayor gets good grades," blares the headline on Quinnipiac's latest NYC Issues poll showing education to be the top issue in this year's Mayor's race.

The poll has Mayor Michael Bloomberg up 14 points (52 percent to 38 percent) over Democratic challenger Fernando Ferrer. LINK

"Overall, it's an astonishing turnaround for the mayor from his moribund poll numbers of just a year ago. Bloomberg has turned out to be a pretty decent politician (or at least been smart enough to hire people who know their politics)," writes the New York Post's Eric Fettman. LINK

Given the good poll numbers, the paper's editorial board asks, "why all the cheap shots" at President Bush? "Discretion, Mr. Mayor. Discretion." LINK

The New York Daily News says the new Quinnipiac poll has one bright spot for Ferrer: "Voters believe Ferrer cares more than Bloomberg about their personal issues." LINK

Stefan Friedman Notices that Bloomberg's campaign features more blue than red. LINK


Democratic Senators used their caucus meeting yesterday to hear from strategists McCurry, Begala, Sosnik, and Bing (!), with some basic talk about how to combat the White House and win back the Senate in 2006. According to someone who heard an account of the meeting, Senators Obama and Lieberman displayed particular message savvy.

Senate Democrats have identified five issue areas on which they will campaign next year, but are still sorting out who will spearhead each issue and what the overarching message theme will be," Roll Call reports. "The party's message 'focuses on strength, not just our [national] security, but a strong energy policy, a strong economy,' said Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin following a special meeting of the Senate Democratic Caucus on Wednesday to talk about the 2006 election message strategy."

The Washington Post reports that Maryland Republicans decried news yesterday that Democratic researchers obtained Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele's [R] credit report, suggesting that it showed how seriously the Democrats are taking Steele's likely bid for the U.S. Senate." "'If they're trashing you, they fear you,' Gov. Bob Ehrlich (R) said. "'You don't go to this sort of extreme if you're not fearful.'" LINK

The Clintons of Chappaqua:

The Los Angeles Times' Magnier writes a totally straight news story about how a Chinese company is now selling condoms named after Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. The company's general manager is, apparently, the Norm Ornstein (and the Jackie Mason) of the Communist world. LINK

"'We chose the name because we think Clinton is a symbol of success and a man of responsibility. And Lewinsky is a woman who dares to love and dares to hate,' said Liu Wenhua, the company's general manager."

"'We haven't told Clinton about this yet. Can you help us find him?' Liu added. 'We'd like to tell him how respected he is in China, so we can boost his confidence and help his career. . .'"

"'Clinton is not only successful, he's also humorous and loves life,' he said. 'Jokes mean you should love life.'"

Tina Brown thinks Bill Clinton has found his role as "facilitator-in-chief." LINK

Former President Clinton and Sen. Bob Dole came together last night at a North Carolina fundraiser. LINK

New Hampshire:

The Union Leader's John DiStaso reports that the state Democratic party has added the RNC to its existing civil case over the 2002 Election Day phone-jamming scandal. Party Chair Kathy Sullivan says it is now "crystal clear that the phone-jamming was planned by the Republican Party to help win John Sununu's Senate seat." Her Republican counterpart, James Dowd, who is named in the case, said the charges are bogus. The federal criminal investigation is continuing. LINK

This morning's editorial in the Union-Leader seethes over the city's mayoral ballot, which does not list the parties of any of the candidates. The editors write that this system benefits Democrats by depriving voters of information, and say keeping "city elections rigged in such a fashion is a travesty." LINK


Gubernatorial hopeful Michael Blouin will win the endorsement today of state Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal, reports the Des Moines Register. Blouin's campaign manager says it will be the first of several endorsements by high-profile Iowa Democrats. Among the others: Sen. Mike Connolly, who says Blouin's pro-life stance will play well in heavily Catholic Dubuque. LINK

Denise O'Brien, a Democratic farmer, is considering a run for Iowa's secretary of agriculture, saying she'll make an official announcement in October. She joins a long list of other would-be candidates, including Dusky Terry, a former adviser to Gov. Tom Vilsack. LINK

The Schwarzenegger Era:

The Los Angeles Times' Salladay on how this November's ballot measure fights are revving up next year's gubernatorial contest early. LINK

Better late than never: Schwarzenegger has finally begun his media campaign for the special election reports Lynda Gledhill of the San Francisco Chronicle. LINK

George Will praises Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for understanding the damage that public employees unions are causing to the state and for backing "creative disturbance." LINK

The San Francisco Chronicle's Carla Marinucci talks with political analyst Sherry Bebitch Jeffe who suggests that Schwarzenegger's continued support of the Minuteman organization might be an effort to energize his base and follow a "Bush-like strategy" in his upcoming special election. LINK

Bush Administration:

The Los Angeles Times' ed board, in cheering on the President's immigration reform efforts, has some good reporting on last week's White House meeting on the matter. LINK

The headline over Greg Hitt's Wall Street Journal profile of Paul Wolfowitz raises the prospect of a "kinder, gentler" man at the World Bank.


Shenon and Kornblut of the New York Times interview David Safavian's lawyer, who is alleging improper and unfortunate prosecutorial pressure. LINK

Bloomberg's Salant reports that the Abramoff probe is moving beyond the confines of "tawdry influence-peddling to threaten leading figures in the Republican hierarch that dominates Washington. LINK

Fitzgerald investigation:

When the Googling monkeys kick back to watch some high quality television -- besides ABC programs, of course -- it is usually the Gilmore Girls, (back for a fresh sixth season!), which is always is good for some comedy, some drama, and some piercing political/media/cultural insights and/or potshots. This week's highlight: As Rory, (rosy-cheeked princess, erstwhile Yalie, and dainty criminal) takes refuge in her grandparents' luxury pool house, struggling with the prospect of community service and a damaged, impounded Prius, rich Grandpa Gilmore suggests calling old friend Scooter Libby, "a man on the inside;" rich Grandma Gilmore quickly adds, "before an indictment comes down." (Note Note: Scooter Libby isn't really friends with Richard Gilmore. Richard Gilmore is fictional.) LINK and LINK

House of Labor:

The AFL-CIO will announce its "America Needs a New Direction" campaign at 1:00 pm ET today in Washington, DC. The campaign includes organizational, legislative, and political action components.

The AFL is planning to convene a "Coalition of Fairness in Federal Disaster Relief" comprised of former Secretaries of Labor and HUD, as well as leaders from labor, religion and civil rights to object to the suspension of prevailing wage standards and affirmative action requirements for federal contractors and to promote local hiring requirements.

The AFL plans to pressure the U.S. Department of Labor and/or Congress to over-ride President Bush's Executive Order and restore the community prevailing wage provisions of the Davis-Bacon Act, and likewise restore affirmative action requirements for federal contractors.

The AFL will also push for transparency and accountability in all contracts and work to expose corruption, windfall profits, and the erosion on workers' rights.

When President Bush exercised his emergency authority to suspend the Davis-Bacon Act for hurricane-ravaged areas, the suspension also lifted payroll reporting requirements. Davis-Bacon requires contractors working on federally funded projects to "furnish a statement on the wages paid each employee during the prior week."

According to the AFL-CIO's Esmerelda Aguilar, "With no such obligation to file reports, the labor costs incurred by contractors working on the Katrina reconstruction will be completely obscured, leading to alarming opportunities for waste and fraud."

Dean's Democrats:

DNC Chair Howard Dean visited Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian territories for meetings with officials and dignitaries during a trip sponsored by both the National Jewish Democratic Council and the American Jewish Committee's Project Interchange program," the Forward reports. Dean traveled with Steve Grossman and the Democratic state chairs of Arizona, Florida, and Ohio.


Roll Call reports on a night of star-studded conservatism: the belated tribute dinner to former Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC). Jerry Falwell called him a personal hero, Phyllis Schlafly gushed over his manliness, and Wayne LaPierre gave a him a revolver.

The Houston Chronicle Notes that many MOCs from Texas are headed back home to prepare for Rita. LINK

The AP reports that Gov. Joe Manchin from West Virginia has been "tapped" as the new 2006 vice chairman of the DGA. Manchin replaces Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm of Michigan.

Alexander Bolton of The Hill reports this morning that George Soros hosted his first fundraiser for Democratic candidates since John Kerry's defeat last November. About 60 donors rubbed shoulders with Sen. Charles Schumer and poured an estimated $250,000 into 2006 Democratic senate candidates' campaigns at Soros' home on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. LINK