Joe Momma

The New York Times' David Sanger called it an "emotional" visit where President Bush spoke "cautiously about the ability of Iraqi forces to defend themselves." Sporting a specially tailored Marine tanker jacket, an all-weather jacket worn by enlisted men bearing custom touches like his name and designation as commander in chief embroidered across the front, President Bush thanked soldiers and families for their sacrifice during the holidays. "But administration officials also say they have been increasingly aware of the complaints surrounding long deployments, and of the emotional and economic toll of action in Iraq that has now gone on for two years, including the buildup of forces in the Middle East in the months before the invasion in March 2003." LINK

The Washington Post looks at Bernie Kerik's time in Saudi Arabia, raising questions about judgment and facts with an awfully large number of people on the record. A must-read piece for those who think Kerik's confirmation might not be a, err, slam dunk. LINK

Walter Shapiro writes his final Hype & Glory column in USA Today. LINK

"After more than 800 columns over the past nine years, this is closing time as I ask the bartender for "one for my baby and one more for the road." This newspaper, in a decision that was not wildly cheered by all concerned, has decided to end this column and my affiliation with USA TODAY."

The Des Moines Register reports on Gov. Vilsack's tax reform ideas for Iowa. LINK

The Washington Post's William Booth reports that Gov. Schwarzenegger got a standing ovation from nearly 10,000 women at his Conference on Women and families in Long Beach yesterday. LINK

Sheryl Gay Stolberg writes in a separate New York Times story, "With the presidential race over and Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist ill with thyroid cancer, the Washington advocacy establishment -- that vast machinery of special interest groups, research institutions and pundits who thrive on the periphery of politics -- is gearing up for the next big fight: the battle over the Supreme Court." LINK

Spitzer 2006 gets ink in the Nation's Newspaper, inside the Beltway, and in SoCal. LINK, LINK, and LINK

Deputy Interior Secretary J. Steven Griles resigned Tuesday, after a tenure that had put him at odds with thousands of Indians over revenue from land leases, reports the New York Times' John Files. LINK

Richard Lieby reports that Kitty Kelley and Washingtonian magazine are breaking up. LINK

Mary Frances Berry, the chairwoman of the United States Civil Rights Commission, resigned yesterday, a day after President Bush appointed a new head of the advisory agency. Randal C. Archibold Notes "The moves are expected to put a more conservative stamp on the panel, which investigates civil rights complaints and issues reports but has no enforcement power." LINK

The Hill's Alexander Bolton reports Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and Minority Leader Harry Reid are "clashing" over how to divvy committee resources. "The Republicans want control over two-thirds of each committee's resources, but Democrats have called that unacceptable. They want a 50-50 split in the 109th Congress or, at worst, a division reflecting the 55-44 GOP advantage." LINK

"This history, he suggested, has left both parties in Washington in a mind-set of blame-casting. 'Okay, so Kyoto was not perfect,' he acknowledged, adding that for Democrats 'it's time to stop worrying about whether the current administration will change its mind' and start looking for other ways to address energy-related problems." A slam dunk on the bestsellers list? LINK

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