The Note

More: "Democratic sources say in their version leaders will unveil a "palm card" with a handful of themes designed to define the party and explain why it would provide a better alternative to the current majority. Unlike the original contract, which laid out specifics such as support for Congressional term limits and applying workplace laws to Congress, this version is expected to shy away from detailing policies."

ABC News Vote 2004: the Senate:

The New York Times' Rick Lyman overviews the Democrats' chances to keep a few Senate seats in the South; Charlie Cook believes that Louisiana is the Democrat's best shot. LINK

Roll Call's Chris Cillizza writes, "Less than a week before South Carolina Republicans will choose their nominee in the state's open-seat Senate race, three of the leading GOP candidates are circulating private polling that indicates they will be the one to advance to the likely June 22 runoff with former Gov. David Beasley (R)."

In a separate story, Cillizza reports that many Senate watchers are already looking at 2006 to see what could happen: "Unlike this cycle, where the playing field clearly tilted toward Republicans at the outset, neither side has an obvious advantage on paper."

The Seattle Times' Alex Fryer has an in-depth look at the politics of cloning, Noting that the polarizing issue has forced Rep. George Nethercutt, who hopes to take Sen. Patty Murray's seat in November, to cast the issue's "moral choices in simple, stark terms." LINK

The politics of gas prices:

ABC News' Ramona Schindelheim reports that oil traded at a new high of $42.45 overnight.

The Washington Post's Paul Blustein takes a look at the terrorism "fear factor" that is likely to keep oil and gas prices high for at least the near future. On Tuesday, U.S. crude oil futures closed at $42.33 a barrel. LINK

Blustein waits until the last graf to bring in the political implications.

"The danger to the global economy is not as great as it was during the oil crises and gasoline shortages of the 1970s. In inflation-adjusted terms, oil prices are well below where they were then, and industrial economies have stockpiled large amounts of oil for emergencies. But higher energy prices act as a sort of tax on oil-importing countries, and Bush administration officials are concerned that a sustained $40-a-barrel price would slow growth in the United States, Europe, Japan and other major economies."

Petroleum geologist Jim Jackson spells out in the Oregonian just why oil revenues from Iraq will not be enough to pay for the cost of the war LINK and why prices will stay high. LINK

Environmental politics:

The Washington Post's Harden and Morgan preview an expected debate on the Senate floor which Sens. Cantwell and Hollings plan to lead in hopes of striping "language out of the defense authorization bill that would allow the Energy Department to leave some radioactive waste in buried tanks -- rather than get it up and ship it off for entombment in Nevada." LINK

Reproductive politics:

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