The Note: Touching a Nerve


Everyone in the Gang of 500 knows why the Establishment Media is covering Sen. Feingold's censure resolution as if Democrats are rallying around it and Republicans are cowering in fear.

Only a subset of the Gang knows that the most important piece in any newspaper today is the Wall Street Journal's must-read "bring it on" editorial LINK, and that the most important quote in any newspaper today is from the anti-censure Barney Frank, who says "This is an understandable response from people who are very angry. But why do we want to energize George Bush's people?" Everyone in the Gang of 500 knows that the Bush political operation reads polls.

Only a subset of the Gang knows that the pro-domestic surveillance talking point (picked up by the Journal) that the program is ok because there is "public opinion in support" is a ticking boomerang of a time bomb.

Everyone in the Gang of 500 knows that Senator Coleman (R-Minnesota-by-way-of-Brooklyn) speaks for the full Gang when he calls for White House staff changes. LINK

Only a subset of the Gang knows that after some random CNN report yesterday, all other activities of the White House staff and of some Gang members came to a halt as discussions of Gergenesque layering with a former Senator TBD raced like wildfire through phone lines and Treos.

Everyone in the Gang of 500 knows that the move of super-talented Mark Leibovich from the Washington Post to the New York Times represents the biggest development in the 2008 presidential race to date. LINK and LINK

Only a subset of the Gang knows which potential presidential candidates truly understand why this is so.

Everyone in the Gang of 500 knows why it matters that Ben Bradlee told Vanity Fair what everyone in the Gang of 500 already "knew" -- that Dick Armitage was Woodward's (and Novak's) source on Plame.

Only a subset of the Gang knows why Bradlee told Vanity Fair and how Woodward (and Armitage) feel about this development.

And everyone in the Gang of 500 knows that -- Robert Pear's CW notwithstanding -- the White House intends for the prescription drug benefit to be a political net plus on Election Day, 2006, which is why President Bush makes 1:45 pm ET remarks about the program at Riderwood Village in Silver Spring, MD.

Three hours and fifteen minutes earlier, the AFL-CIO's Richard Trumka and Rep. Ben Cardin (D-MD) will denounce the President's program at the nearby National Labor College.

Meanwhile, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY), DCCC Chairman Rahm Emanuel, and Rep. Tim Ryan unveil a countdown calendar to the May 15 enrollment deadline at an 11:15 am ET press conference in H-203 on Capitol Hill.

Democrats will urge seniors to enroll in the Medicare prescription drug program by the May 15 deadline (as they also call for an extension of the deadline and for revising the program altogether -- complex messaging, that) to avoid higher monthly premiums, or what they are calling the "Bush prescription drug tax."

Expect few references to the "Medicare prescription drug program" and many references to the "Republican prescription drug program" or "Bush's Medicare drug plan."

The President also participates in a celebration of "Hungarian contributions to democracy" at 5:35 pm ET in the US Capitol.

Karl Rove makes closed press remarks to the NRCC's "Businessman of the Year Luncheon and Award Ceremony" in Washington, DC.

Don Evans, the CEO of the financial services forum (and a man who never gets tired of being asked if he will become President Bush's next chief of staff), delivers 12:45 pm ET remarks to the Exchequer Club at the St. Regis Hotel in Washington, DC.

As part of its consideration of the budget resolution, the Senate will consider a series of amendments in the morning followed by a series of votes starting at 1:00 pm ET.

The Senate will recess from 2:00-3:00 pm ET tomorrow for a joint meeting with the President of Liberia. At 3:00 pm ET there will be a lengthy series of votes.

House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) joined House GOP leaders to discuss lobbying reforms at 9:45 am ET.

Gen. Abizaid testifies before the House Armed Services Committee at 10:00 am ET.

The Iraq Study Group unveiled its bipartisan assessment of the situation in Iraq at 9:00 am ET in Russell 236. The group is chaired by former Secretary of State James Baker, former Rep. Lee Hamilton (D-IN), five Republicans and five Democrats, co-sponsored by the US Institute of Peace, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Center for the Study of the Presidency, and the James Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University.

(The AP has a preview: LINK).

Following a meeting of the House Democratic caucus, House Democratic leaders hold a 10:00 am ET press conference to discuss the "Sail Only if Scanned (S.O.S.) Act" which mandates that all containers be scanned using the best-available technology, that scans be reviewed by American security personnel before the container is loaded, and that containers be sealed with a device that indicates tampering.

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) will call for an end to the "dangerously incompetent" policies of the Bush Administration at a 10:30 am ET press conference. The Democratic Senators will be joined by US veterans and the family of an American soldier killed in Iraq because his Humvee lacked the armor that could have saved his life.

With Chinese President Hu Jintao set to make his first ever visit to the US in four weeks, Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Lindsey Graham make a major announcement regarding Chinese trade at 10:30 am ET.

Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) presides over a meeting of the governor's council at 12:00 pm ET.

Sen. Hillary Clinton attended a 9:15 am ET Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee meeting to consider the modernization of the health insurance marketplace. Later today, she attends an Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee hearing to examine ground forces readiness in review of the defense authorization request for fiscal year 2007. At 1:40 pm ET, Sen. Clinton attends a joint session of Congress with Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in the House chamber.

The grand jury looking into the CIA leak is scheduled to meet at 9:30 am ET in Washington, DC.

Justice Ginsburg turns 73 years old today.

Sen. Feingold calls for censuring President Bush:

In their must-read, the Wall Street Journal's ed board writes that Feingold's censure proposal is just the beginning. LINK

"The real debate in Democratic circles," writes the Journal, "would be whether to pass articles of impeachment. Whether such an inevitable attempt succeeds would depend on Mr. Bush's approval rating, and especially on whether Democrats could use their subpoena power as committee chairs to conjure up something they could flog to a receptive media as an 'impeachable' offense. But everyone should understand that censure and impeachment are important -- and so far the only -- parts of the left's agenda for the next Congress."

One Democrat who built a national reputation by vilifying "Washington Democrats" for trying to have it "both ways" is Howard Dean.

Not long ago, during an interview with ABC News' Charlie Gibson, Dean intimated that he didn't think the President's surveillance program complied with the law.

". . . What we don't approve of is breaking the law in order to spy on Americans," Dean told "Good Morning America" on Feb. 9. "The present law is very adequate, and the White House itself said so four years ago. All we ask is that this not turn, we not turn into a country like Iran, where the president of Iran can do anything they want at anytime. The reason the Constitution of this country has lasted as long as it has and this country has lasted as long as it has as a real democracy is because there is a check on presidential power. . ."

But when ABC News caught up with Dean at the Mayflower Hotel on Tuesday, the DNC chairman was in no mood to discuss the man (Feingold) whom Newsweek's Jon Meacham has dubbed "a sane Howard Dean." LINK

"We're not going to get into that," Dean told ABC News with a dismissive wave of the hand when asked if he supports Sen. Russ Feingold's (D-WI) resolution to censure the President.

Dean is not alone in shying away from the Wisconsin Senator on this issue.

With several pollsters and Democratic strategists saying that surveillance issues are not President Bush's most vulnerable spot in the minds of the public, most Democrats are trying to avoid discussing Sen. Feingold's measure even though many of them (as well as several Republicans) have questioned the legality of the Bush Administration's circumvention of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

ABC News' Liz Marlantes reports that when Sen. Schumer was asked about Sen. Feingold's measure on Tuesday, he said, "the leadership is discussing this. I'm not going to comment." At which point, a reporter said, "that's a first," to which Sen. Schumer shot back "it is not."

In a must-read, the Washington Post's Dana Milbank Sketches the silence which has greeted the Feingold measure from such Democratic luminaries as Sen. Obama (who says he hasn't read it), Sen. Clinton (who "tried to hide from reporters behind the 4-foot-11 Barbara Miklulski"), and Sen. Kerry (who said "I really can't right now"). LINK

Milbank: "At a time when Democrats had Bush on the ropes over Iraq, the budget and port security, Feingold single-handedly turned the debate back to an issue where Bush has the advantage -- and drove another wedge through his party."

More Milbank: "The one Democrat happy to talk was Feingold, who, in a pre-lunch chat with reporters, seemed to enjoy his colleagues' squirms. 'I'm concerned about the approach the Democrats are taking, which is too often cowering,' he said."

Even More Milbank: "Feingold . . . said he wasn't motivated by politics. But then he slipped. 'If there's any Democrat out there woul can't say . . . the president has nor right to make up his own laws, I don't know if that Democrat really is the right candidate,' he said of his likely primary opponents."

As if on cue, Bloomberg News has the DLC's Marshall Wittman condemning Feingold's censure resolution. LINK

"The Republicans couldn't contain their glee over an attempt to censure the president for being overly zealous in defending the country against al-Qaeda… This resolution was the only good news for Republicans in weeks."

The Washington Post's Shailagh Murray reviews Sen. Russ Feingold's history as an "anti-establishment maverick" while contemplating whether Senate Republicans are right in sensing that "Feingold overplayed his hand" in demanding the censure of President Bush. LINK

Like a dog with a chewing toy, RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman is not letting go of Feingold's censure. Today he sent an email to supporters signed up on stating, "Weakening our national security is their agenda. Is it yours?"

More Mehlman: "Democrat leaders never miss an opportunity to put politics before our nation's security. And now, they would rather censure the President for doing his job than actually fight the War on Terror. It's what the wing of their party wants, and now, it's their agenda - from the top of the ticket on down."

The Boston Globe reports that three Bay State members of Congress will support Rep. John Conyers' (D-MI) bill to investigate and possibly impeach President Bush, but Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), says he will not be one of them. LINK


Advocates for African-Americans yesterday lobbied black Democratic lawmakers to "put politics aside and work harder to enroll seniors in the Medicare prescription drug plan," per the Washington Times. LINK

"Democrats have opposed and denounced the Medicare drug plan since 2003, but that has put black politicians, mostly Democrats, at odds with many of their senior constituents, who are not only confused by the plan but also by the message from their representatives."

While Noting that the President traveled to upstate New York yesterday to reassure the public of the soundness of the new Medicare prescription drug benefit, Michael Fletcher's Washington Post writethru of the speech is dominated by continued discussion of the administrative problems with the huge new program. LINK

Big Casino budget politics:

Carl Hulse of the New York Times writes up the 50-50 failed vote on enacting "pay-go" rules to the budget process. Hulse goes on to report that Vice President Cheney may be needed to cast a tie-breaking vote on the final budget resolution. LINK

The Senate will likely approve an increase in the debt ceiling later this week, predicts the Los Angeles Times' Joel Havemann. LINK

The Wall Street Journal reports that, in a written Q&A with the Senate Banking Committee, new Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke expressed serious concern about the growing budget deficit and seemed to be, by Grover standards, a bit of a sqish on tax increases.

Bernanke wrote that "the prospective increase in the budget deficit will place at risk future living standards of our country."

The Moussaoui Case:

The Los Angeles Times' Savage and Schmitt unconsciously foreshadow the upcoming politicization of the Carla Martin fiasco, writing that it represents just the latest "in a series of missteps and false starts that have beset the Bush administration's prosecution of terrorism cases." LINK

The New York Times' ed board paints the Moussaoui trial misstep as fitting into a larger Bush Administration incompetence narrative. LINK

Politics of Iraq:

Secretary Rumsfeld intimates nearly 800 troops will move from Kuwait into Iraq to bolster force strength in advance of a Shiite pilgrimage. LINK

Sen. Pat Roberts' (R-KS) progress report yesterday on the Senate Intelligence Committee's investigation of pre-war intelligence problems drew "muted optimism" from Democrats, per the Los Angeles Times' Maura Reynolds. LINK

Bush Administration agenda:

Read this one paragraph from David Sanger's New York Times story on the President's Rochester-area push for his Medicare prescription drug program. LINK

"In an echo of speeches conceding errors in the responses to Hurricane Katrina and the Iraq reconstruction, and in which he insisted that the problems were being resolved, Mr. Bush told a group of pharmacists and Medicare participants here that he had expected that the program would have a rocky start."

Joseph Spector of the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle has the local angle on the President's visit. LINK

In his New York Post column, Dick Morris offers some unsolicited advice to the White House: Remember a permanent campaign exists and start scheduling the President on a daily campaign-like speaking schedule if you want to hang on to majorities in both chambers and define your legacy. LINK

A USA Today analysis finds a record increase in the number of Americans receiving aid from federal programs like Medicaid and food stamps. LINK

Katherine Harris:

Adam Smith and Anita Kumar of the St. Petersburg Times discuss Katherine Harris' (R-FL) change of plans about the announcement (which will now be televised instead of being fed to Florida reporters) and suggest that the "major announcement" might involve campaign finances, not a withdrawal from the race – even if as of yesterday, pollster Ed Goeas, a chief campaign advisor, has called it quits. LINK

Bill Rufty of the Ledger picks up on the two major rumors about the Harris announcement: that Harris will stay in the race and "loan herself a considerable amount of money," and that the announcement will be televised. LINK

Larry Wheeler of the News-Press Notes some possibilities for the "major announcement": "She's remaining in the race; she's resigning her House seat to concentrate on the Senate campaign; she will be self-financing some or all of the remainder of her candidacy." LINK

Port politics:

Sens. Reid and Schumer aren't convinced that DP World will retract its bid to operate US ports and are still threatening legislation to permanently block the deal, reports Roll Call's Emily Pierce.

While addressing the American Medical Association on Tuesday, DNC Chairman Howard Dean seized on an AP report indicating that DP World has no immediate plans to sell its US subsidiary's interests at Miami's seaport. LINK

"We need some straight answers," said Dean.

The New York Observer's Ben Smith chronicles how Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) made himself the point man on the ports deal. And he has Schumer defending himself on anti-Arab charges with this argument: "Let's say skinheads had bought a company to take over our port. I think the outcry would have been the same." LINK

In a Washington Times op-ed, former Reagan official Bruce Bartlett places blame for the blundered ports deal squarely on the shoulders of the White House. LINK


Fred Dicker of the New York Post offers a must-read look at the state of the New York GOP. He writes of a party which has returned to its Javits vs. D'Amato class-driven factions in its current crop of potential nominees and he hints at a dog-bites-man D'Amato endorsement of Eliot Spitzer should the D'Amato faction of the party lose to the Pataki/Giuliani faction in the primary. Read every word! LINK

(Of course, D'Amato himself is no longer lives the blue-collar lifestyle.)

In a second must read, Dicker writes up KT McFarland's voting history (or lack thereof) and dual registered addresses on the voter rolls. Chairman Minarik's favorable comments for John Spencer's candidacy for his party's nod are included too. LINK

With all due respect to the shoe-leather capacities of Herr Dicker, ask yourself: did this prime oppo come from Team Spencer, the Democrats, or somewhere else?

Expect some anti-Sen. Clinton rhetoric here. The New York Republican Committee announced it will hold its convention May 31 - June 1 on Long Island. LINK

"Stopping just a speck shy of giving his outright endorsement, Minarik said Spencer offers a sharper contrast to Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), who is seeking reelection this year," writes Joe Mahoney of the New York Daily News. LINK

"As for McFarland, a former highranking Pentagon official who has been a stay-at-home mom for the past 20 years, Minarik told the Daily News: 'I just don't think she brings anything to the ticket.'"

Tom Suozzi accused his primary opponent Eliot Spitzer of being behind a lawsuit filed against Suozzi by a police union. Spitzer calls that Notion, "silly," reports the New York Post's Haberman. LINK

Patrick Healy of the New York Times describes Tom Suozzi as "handsome" in his television ad debut as a candidate for governor. LINK

Roll Call's David M. Drucker reports that allegiances can be fleeting in California, where Rep. Elton Gallegly, who announced his retirement just hours before last Friday's filing deadline, is expected to re-enter the 24th District race. California GOP Vice Chairman and Ventura County Sheriff Commander David Tennessen, who had moved to endorse Michael Tenenbaum (R-CA) after Rep.Gallegly's announcement, now says he will again back Gallegly.

Is the new -- a site run by the National Republican Senatorial Committee which highlights the "lavish lifestyle" of Tennessee Senatorial candidate Rep. Harold Ford Jr. -- racist?

The Washington Times reports some liberal bloggers say it is. LINK

Wayne Washington of The State discusses Park Gillespie's (R-SC) GOP-induced upcoming decision to pull out of the congressional race in favor of his primary opponent, Ralph Norman (R-SC), and points out that this decision would "clear the field for Norman two days before Cheney is scheduled to headline a $2,100-per-couple luncheon." LINK

With the Illinois primary fast approaching, the Chicago Tribune's John Biemer reports on Tammy Duckworth's push for health care reform. LINK

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's editorial board describes the GOP 2006 platform discussed at the SRLC of running against "wasteful spending" as "glaringly hypocritical." LINK


The Washington Times' Tony Blankley claims both Sen. Feingold ("this season's Eugene McCarthy -- without the wit or poetry") and Sen. McCain ("a party gadfly who has gone out of his way to be rude to conservative southern Christian leaders over the years") have begun playing "the George W. Bush card" in preparation for the 2008 presidential race. LINK

2008: Republicans:

The AP's Glen Johnson reports that Gov. Romney's second-place finish in the straw pole over the weekend could be in part to the 200 supporters bused into the event on corporate backer finances. LINK

(Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey's (R-MA) husband's company being one of those donors).

Johnson seems to not be amused by the previous denials of effort the Family Wire had been given.

A Washington Times editorial enthusiastically reviews Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's record. LINK

Concludes the editorial, "The consensus among those present in Memphis was that Mr. Romney's speech was very well received. This suggests that his second-place finish in the straw poll was no fluke. We look forward to hearing more from him."

The Boston Globe reports that Gov. Romney's latest efforts to tweak the health care proposal working its way through the legislature to make it more Grover-friendly was shot down by Beacon Hill Democrats yesterday.LINK

More from the Boston Herald:LINK

In an article entitled "Lessons for McCain," Robert Robb of the Arizona Republic lectures Sen. McCain on economical issues, stating that "John McCain is indicating that, when it comes to economic issues, he may be a work in progress." LINK

The Washington Post's Al Kamen asks if there might be an "ethical or legal concern" about Senate Secretary Emily Reynolds' appearance in Memphis last weekend helping out her former boss, Sen. Frist. LINK

Josh Poltilove of the Tampa Tribune has former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who addressed the Florida state House yesterday, argue that "the national health care system requires drastic reform." LINK

Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) called on the city of Houston to overturn its long-standing sanctuary policy in light of Tuesday's shooting deaths at an illegal alien "drop house."

2008: Democrats:

Which comes first: the beat assignment or the increased national media attention? Such chicken-and-egg conundrums may be fodder for many a boozy D.C. dinner party, but the New York Times declined to engage with the New York Observer on the philosophical implications of naming star Anne Kornblut to cover Senator Clinton's 2006 race from the paper's Washington bureau. LINK

The New York Observer on the dangers of subjecting your (ruggedly presidential, or so you thought) face to the vagaries of those artsy types at the New York Times Magazine. LINK

Maureen Dowd pushes an Obama 2008 candidacy in her column today urging Democrats to consider personality over experience -- like the Republicans have done, she claims.

We urge you to read carefully the five letters published in the New York Times today in response to David Brooks' Sunday column on Sen. Clinton's Dubai ports stance. Four defend the Senator and one sides with Brooks. One defense slams Sen. Clinton for her Iraq war vote and another is offered up by a former staffer of hers from the Clinton-Gore 1992 campaign. LINK

Sen. Kerry says he will block Presidential nominee, Richard Capka, former head of Boston's Big Dig, from becoming the head of the Federal Highway Administration. " ' I'm afraid Richard Capka could be the Brownie of highways,'" says Kerry. LINK

Sen. Kerry says President Bush hasn't plugged in enough effort when it comes to universal high-speed Internet capability. LINK

Maggie Haberman's fresh byline has returned to the pages of the New York Post after some time over at the competition. Haberman writes today of Rev. Sharpton's invitation for John Kerry to be keynote speaker at Sharpton's National Action Network breakfast next month. Homestate Sen. Hillary Clinton has been invited to attend. LINK

As part of his publicity tour to promote his new book (with co-author Jerome Armstrong), "Crashing the Gate," Markos Moulitsas Zuniga chatted with the fabulous Deborah Solomon for her "Questions for" feature in your upcoming Sunday New York Times Magazine.

Here's what the Kos has to say about the 2008 nomination contest:

NYT: "Whom would you like to see run in 2008?"

Kos: "I like Mark Warner. I like Russ Feingold. I don't hate Hillary, but I don't like anyone who is declared by fiat to be the front-runner."

Clintons of Chappaqua:

President Clinton, like his wife, wanted to see the Dubai ports deal blocked despite his advice to the UAE on how to handle the expected public opposition, reports the New York Times. LINK

New Orleans:

Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu's first ad, which features Landrieu giving a hand in the community days after Katrina hit, draws some controversial allegations regarding its authenticity, write Michelle Krupa and Frank Donze of the Times-Picayune. LINK

Mayor Ray Nagin's support is put to the test tonight at a $1000-per-couple event, as "the buzz heading into the mayoral campaign" is that "many of Ray Nagin's financial backers had abandoned the embattled incumbent and cast their lots with one of his many challengers," write Krupa and Donze. LINK

The Fitzgerald investigation:

The New York Times on Ben Bradlee's Vanity Fair comments about Richard Armitage being Woodward's source: LINK

New Hampshire:

Dante Scala, a New Hampshire primary guru, blogs about a Jim Splaine press release that some in the Hawkeye State may consider threatening. LINK

From the release: "With our current First-In-The-Nation Presidential Primary Law that we have had since 1975, along with the new proposed bill that will allow the Secretary of State to accept earlier candidate filings for our next primary, we will be sure New Hampshire has the first major event for 2008."


The New York Times' Davey writes how the laws in Iowa governing where sex offenders cannot live have caused authorities to lose their ability to track some Hawkeye State sex offenders. LINK

Lobbying reform:

Seryl Gay Stolberg of the New York Times previews the lobbying reform proposal House GOP leaders plan to brief their conference on later today. LINK

The leadership-backed proposal "would temporarily bar lawmakers from privately financed trips and require lobbyists to disclose their gifts to lawmakers. The proposal also includes a requirement for lawmakers to disclose so-called earmarks, special financing for pet projects that they insert into legislation. . .," writes Stolberg.

Elana Schor and Patrick O'Connor of the Hill preview the results of the House GOP's yesterday meeting on lobbying reform, which will result this week in a bill expected "to impose new disclosure standards on lobbyist-paid gifts and meals, restrictions on privately sponsored travel and transparency requirements for member earmarks." LINK

Backed by recent examples, Alexander Bolton of the Hill points out that even if House members voted overwhelmingly to ban former lawmakers from gym facilities, these reforms are "largely meaningless" because lawmakers-turned-lobbyists still have access to members' dining rooms. LINK

Per the Associated Press, House Republicans last night said they would back legislation that would require lobbyists to disclose their gifts to lawmakers and would temporarily ban privately funded trips. LINK

Roll Call's ed board isn't letting Senate leaders forget that they promised to have a lobbying reform bill on the floor by March. It's the middle of March and the only thing they've delivered is a new date: April 10.

Per Bloomberg, Rep. Chris Shays (R-CT) and Rep. Martin Meehan (D-MA) say House Republicans are trying to undo their 2002 campaign finance legislation, which had banned unlimited corporate and union political donations, by blocking regulation of spending on the Internet. LINK

Politics of energy:

Yesterday's tough Judiciary Committee hearings for oil executives "underscored the potency of the energy issue for this year's election campaign," writes the Washington Post's Paul Blustein. LINK

"Republicans have generally sympathized with the free-market arguments advanced by the [oil] industry, but some fear that Democrats will exploit public discontent, especially in northern states."

The Wall Street Journal says former Sens. Bob Dole (R-KS) and Tom Daschle (D-SD) are joining an unlikely union of agricultural interests and environmental groups in order to push through new legislation to encourage renewable energy sources made from farm byproducts. No word yet on the farm team's stance on switchgrass.

The Schwarzenegger Era:

The Los Angeles Times' Dan Morain reports that film producer Rob Reiner's involvement with a California state commission has forced all 14 state Republican senators to publicly urge Gov. Schwarzenegger to remove Reiner from the panel. LINK

House of Labor:

David Leonahrdt of the New York Times suggests a Wal-Mart bank would be competition for Wall Street more than harm the "little guy." LINK

To which Wal-Mart Watch spokesgal Tracy Sefl replies: "It sounds like David Leonhardt bought a new Jump to Conclusions Mat at his local Wal-Mart."

On its blog late yesterday, the AFL-CIO unveiled a new union-sponsored study showing that Wal-Mart's "refusal" to pay "decent" wages and provide "affordable" health insurance is costing taxpayers "millions" to provide health care coverage to Wal-Mart workers. LINK

"Wal-Mart's refusal to pay decent wages and provide affordable health insurance to its workers puts it atop the list in at least 19 of the 23 states surveyed here," according to the AFL-CIO's report on "The Wal-Mart Tax."

Politics of immigration:

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff tells the Associated Press that China is refusing to take back 39,000 immigrants who have been denied entry to the U.S., creating a expensive backlog that's clogging detention centers. Also Note the Secretary's beleaguered tone in the final quote: "I didn't realize until a couple weeks ago that really, every year in this job is a lifetime." LINK

The New York Times editorial board opposes the Specter proposal currently before the Judiciary Committee and urges the committee to follow the McCain-Kennedy approach even if that means Sen. Frist has to extend his deadline. LINK

Politics of funny video:

Ben Smith was kind enough to post the Squier-Knapp-Dunn inspired mock Bloomberg campaign ad on his Politicker blog. For those of you that missed the Inner Circle this weekend, it is well worth your time to check it out. LINK


Yesterday The Note inadvertently called the San Francisco Board of Supervisors the "Democratic congressional delegation." It is the Board of Supervisors which has passed a resolution calling for President Bush's impeachment, not the city's congressional delegation.

On Tuesday, The Note received a post-publication clarification from Ron Bonjean of the Speaker's office: "To All Note Lovers, our press releases can be accessed at the homepage of on the left-hand side under "Recent Releases." LINK