The Note: (Un)making a Federal Case

WASHINGTON, March 22 --


Pity the ancient newsprint-based mode of distribution.

In the biggest political story of the week so far, old-fashioned newspapers were unable to deal with the judge's 6:30 am ruling in the Terri Schiavo case this morning.

In a move suggesting uncanny fidelity to (and awareness of) the network morning shows, U.S. District Judge James Whittemore denied the request to reinsert a feeding tube into the brain damaged woman just 30 minutes before Good Morning America and others took to the air.

Whittemore ruled that Schiavo's parents would not likely succeed at trial as he declined to order to her feeding tube restored. The court proceedings continue in Tampa today (agenda TBD), although Schiavo's lawyers say they'll appeal quickly to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which will probably have the case in full by tomorrow.

Smart, more modern newspapers updated the Internets.

Not everyone was ready to react, however.

At 9:00 am ET today, Matt Drudge's widely read Web site screamed "WAITING." (Although there was no siren or "DEVELOPING.")

Even with the judge's decision; the most deadly school shooting of the Bush Era; the Cheney Social Security road show; and, the Fed meeting, the Schiavo story remains at the head of the political parade today, if only as a prism to examine the health of the two major American political parties.

A Florida newspaper suggests that Gov. Jeb Bush is trying to find a way to remove Michael Schiavo as his wife's legal guardian. LINK

Sneaky Howard Dean held a conference call with Tennessee reporters and told then that "This is a deeply personal matter and ought to be left up to physicians." LINK

"'For Sen. Frist to say he could make a diagnosis based on a videotape is certainly not medically sound,' said Dean, who, like Frist, is a physician-politician. 'I wouldn't want my doctor making any diagnosis of me on videotape.'"

More on the political fallout and thumb sucking of this story below.

Elsewhere today, President Bush stumps for Social Security in Albuquerque, NM at 11:25 am ET. Vice President Dick Cheney does the same in Reno, Nevada at 11:55 am ET.

The President RONS in Crawford. In advance of tomorrow's release of the latest Social Security trustees report on the program's financing and future, RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman holds a conference call today at 11:30 am ET.

Both chambers of Congress are in recess. The Codel in Baghdad held a press conference at about 7:15 am ET to discuss their progress.

Howard Dean begins a two-day visit to Tennessee, stopping this afternoon at Roy Neel's Vandy class. The GOP is using the occasion to get in digs at Gov. Bredesen. LINK

The Federal Election Commission meets in executive session for much of the day. We suspect that a draft of the rules for Internet political communication will be in the mix. At 10:30 am ET, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission meets today in open session, hearing an update on HAVA, discussing the EAC's election day survey and pondering its own role as a clearinghouse.

The Federal Open Market Committee meets at 9:00 am ET and will release its decision to (probably) raise interest rates another quarter of a percentage point at 2:15 pm ET.

Former Sen. John Edwards holds a long discussion today on ameliorating poverty at his University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity.

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