The Note: Blessed Is He Who Expects Nothing . . .

USA Today's Judy Keen leads the paper with some gloomy news that the price of gas isn't likely to come down any time soon. In his speech on Wednesday at the U.S.-Hispanic Chambers of Commerce legislative conference, President Bush will focus on the energy bill that he says would've prevented these prices, Keen writes, pushing the measure including ANWR drilling that Congress is set to debate again this week. LINK

Foreign markets aren't giving investors hope, so it's this week's batch of important earnings reports that will signal whether the U.S economy is in for a rough patch that folks out there will feel. LINK

The Fed, the New York Times article says, appears "to have been caught flat-footed."

A trio of Wall Street Journal economics reporters write, "High oil prices, a widening U.S. trade deficit and the Federal Reserve's new concern over inflation have all chipped away at the calm mood in the financial markets. Over the weekend, finance ministers of the Group of Seven major industrial economies, meeting in Washington, expressed concern about oil prices and noted that the global economy's 'expansion is less balanced than before.' They also warned of the 'potential for a sharper-than-expected rise in long-term interest rates' and currency volatility.

Paul Krugman senses stagflation. LINK

Leader DeLay:

Check out this blind quote from Karen Tumulty's very good, news-filled article in Time:

"The President's team is increasingly frustrated by the majority leader's inability to mount a defense more persuasive than blaming his problems on a liberal conspiracy. DeLay, says a senior Administration official, 'is handling this like an idiot.'" LINK

"House Speaker Dennis Hastert faces pressure within Republican ranks to end the impasse with Democrats over ethics-rules changes pushed through on a partisan vote in January," reports David Rogers in the Wall Street Journal.

"Mr. Hastert so far shows no willingness to reverse himself but compromises are being discussed. Privately, Republicans say the rules are a greater political worry for the party than the more publicized ethics questions about Majority Leader Tom DeLay. As a practical matter, Mr. DeLay's problems will persist until the impasse is resolved, since Democrats are blocking the Ethics Committee from giving the Texas Republican a hearing and a chance to clear himself."

On "This Week with George Stephanopoulos," Sen. Trent Lott urged the White House to give DeLay full and unfettered support. LINK

On Sunday, the Boston Globe's Rick Klein looked at the DeLay controversy as a case study in how playing the political game for power -- particularly hardball -- can bring with it both opportunity for trouble and the risk that the opposition party will pounce on your pitfalls. LINK

The New York Times' David Kirkpatrick and Philip Shenon report that Ralph Reed's ties to Jack Abramoff are already a part of his lieutenant governor race in Georgia. The article doesn't break any new ground aside from a negative Pat Roberston appraisal, despite its prominent front-page placement, but it's a good recapitulation of one of the charges against Abramoff as well as Reed's professional history. That makes it a must read. LINK

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