The Note: A Bee to a Crying Face

Nick Lewis of the New York Times writes of Justice Janice Rogers Brown, " . . . friends and opponents . . . might well agree that one of her most notable traits is her unrestrained willingness to offer her broad and admittedly provocative views on social issues. Where they most certainly disagree is on whether the views, vividly critical of government and staunchly conservative on issues like affirmative action and property rights, have any bearing on her fitness to be an appeals judge." LINK

Bennett Roth of the Houston Chronicle looks at Owen's time in Washington this week. LINK

The Washington Post's editorial board looks at the "carefully scripted Kabuki dance" that will begin after Frist introduces Judges Owen and Brown to the floor, and writes that while there are good, principled arguments both against and for filibusters, there is no good argument to change the Senate rules via the nuclear/constitutional option. LINK

Social Security:

AP looks at the deal sweeteners House Republicans are dangling to break through Democrats' unity on President Bush's Social Security plan, including shoring up private pension plans and improving non-retiree benefits for widows, children, and the disabled -- courtesy of House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas. LINK

Robert Samuelson argues in the Washington Post that what really needs to happen to sustain the Social Security system and strengthen the economy is to raise the retirement age to 70 -- which won't happen because of the bitter partisanship over the entitlement program. LINK

Economy:

As the Labor Department announced this morning that consumer prices rose by 0.5 percent in April because of the biggest boost in energy prices in two years, something else caught our eye. Bush Administration officials are considering asking Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan to stay in the job at least a few months after his term expires on Jan. 31, the Washington Post's Nell Henderson reports. If Greenspan stays in office until May 11, he'll be the longest-serving Fed chairman ever, and it would buy the White House a little breathing room to broaden its search for a successor, possibly from the corporate world. LINK

Bush agenda:

AP: "The FBI on Wednesday said a grenade found amid the crowd during last week's speech by President Bush in this former Soviet republic was capable of exploding." LINK

"As anti-China sentiment rises in Washington, the Bush administration is caught in a complex balancing act: bashing Beijing enough to appease critics in Congress and stir action -- without provoking a trans-Pacific backlash," the Wall Street Journal's Jay Solomon and Greg Hitt report. See also the news analysis by WSJ deputy managing editor John Bussey.

Harvey Rosen, chair of the president's council of economic advisers, councils readers of the Wall Street Journal to focus on long term trends, not the statistic of the day.

"Eliminating the increasingly unpopular alternative minimum tax could require even more unpleasant tax changes, such as reducing deductions for mortgage interest, charitable contributions and health care costs, the leaders of President Bush's tax panel warned Tuesday," USA Today's Richard Wolf reports. LINK

The Washington Times' Nicholas K has a must-read insidery account of Secretary Rice's managerial style at State. LINK

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