The Note: Rising for Principle

WASHINGTON, May 19

NEWS SUMMARY

There are two ways to pass the time while waiting to see how the all-consuming filibuster showdown ends.

Those ways couldn't be more obvious.

First, one can write traditional haiku poems about the drama.

Second, one can read today's political must-reads.

To paraphrase Mario Cuomo, The Note is written in prose, but conceptualized in poetry, so here are our efforts to put the events in Washington in the standard 5-7-5 (syllables) format.

'Husker Ben Nelson,

Seeking space for compromise,

Like the cat's forehead.

Senators argue,

Americans just wonder,

How "Lost" will conclude.

Frist, rising to stand.

Talking and moving at once.

Capitol blossom.

Harry Reid has learned

DC is more complex than

Searchlight, Nevada.

Sununu ogles.

The process fascinates him.

Seabrook's nuclear.

Frist will not matter

if six compadres decide

to vote with Nelson.

Susan McCue and

E. Ueland have lots of tales

To share over beer.

Thune and Clinton are

Not as odd a couple as

Warner and Specter.

Send your own filibuster haiku to us at politicalunit@abcnews.com, and let us know if you want your name printed if we choose yours for publication in Friday's edition.

As for the must-read stories, any Note reader is of course free to read 'em all (Note hint: we recommend it . . . ), but today's are done mostly as specialty recommendations:

1. For general interest Note readers who want to understand the bigger stakes in the filibuster fight, may we recommend Ron Brownstein of the Los Angeles Times, on whether the Republicans will be hurt by the stand off (and we suggest this not just because Ron quotes the elusive Don Fierce, although that is a plus). LINK

2. For Sid Blumenthal, Jim Manley, and everyone else waiting to read about the obvious, there's Dick Stevenson's best-yet-but-still-not-there take on the White House's quietly assertive role in the 'buster battle. LINK

3. For members of the House Republican Conference who wonder what's going on below the surface while the Gang of 500 fixates on the filibuster fight (and for Rahm Emanuel, with visions of sugar plums dancing in this head), there's John Harwood in the Wall Street Journal on a new poll, the write up of which ledes thusly:

"A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll shows that disapproval of Congress's performance is higher than it has been since 1994, the year voters swept Democrats out of power on Capitol Hill. Americans have grown gloomier about the nation's direction, the economy and Iraq, and by 65%-17% they say Congress doesn't share their priorities. LINK

4. For the President, Secretary Snow, and Phil Gramm, gander at the work of the Journal's David Wessel, right on the front page, on the possibility that the housing bubble is finally going to maybe, possibly burst. LINK

5. For the DNC staff prepping their boss, for a humor-loving Ken Melhman, and for Ralph Hallow, there's Bob Novak's treatise on Howard Dean's mouth and times. LINK

6. For those of you trying to improve your journalism skills, there's Jennifer Steinhauer's real estate story, with the sparkling lead in the New York Times: "Donald J. Trump, reality television star, fragrance entrepreneur and developer of tall buildings, revealed his answer to the problems at the World Trade Center site yesterday. That answer, perhaps unsurprising, was himself." LINK

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