The Note: The Last Time a New York Times Poll Write-up Was Positive for Republicans Was . . .

The Los Angeles Times' John Hendren and Cynthia Cho look at the mounting pressure on Iraq not only of public opinion but also in the form of a bipartisan House resolution introduced yesterday calling on President Bush to submit a plan for troop withdrawal and to begin pulling soldiers out of Iraq by fall of 2006. They also wrap the ongoing protests and the meeting yesterday by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) on the Downing Street Memo. LINK

The New York Times covers the Downing Street Memo! Sort of! LINK

Dana Milbank of the Washington Post describes the somewhat surreal scene at Conyers' meeting. LINK

The New York Times' Stephen Labaton reports that the House appropriations committee approved proposed budget cuts for PBS. LINK

Ethics:

The Washington Post's Jeffrey Birnbaum and Renae Merle gather all the details about the ties between Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-CA) and defense contractors that have Democrats and outside groups clamoring for an ethics investigation. LINK

Big casino budget politics:

The Washington Post's Justin Blum explains the details of the tax breaks for energy production -- particularly renewable and cleaner-burning forms of energy -- the Senate Finance Committee approved yesterday. LINK

The Washington Post's Shailagh Murray writes that the House is whipping through the appropriations process, approving spending for the Justice, State, and Commerce departments and edging closer to approving spending for the Pentagon, with some arguments and holdups (but not many) along the way. Despite lawmakers' chafing at the President's tight spending caps, House members have only four more bills to get out the door to accomplish Appropriations Committee Chairman Jerry Lewis' goal of getting them all approved by July. LINK

USA Today's Richard Wolf writes that congressional Republicans are pushing back on some of President Bush's more controversial spending cuts and fee increases. LINK

"The changes -- as much as $7 billion in additional domestic spending and more than $2 billion in rejected user fees -- are small in relation to the overall $2.57 trillion budget Bush submitted in February. Nevertheless, they allow Congress to exert its influence and set its own priorities. Final House and Senate action isn't expected until the fall, and some of these early decisions could be reversed."

"The changes show the willingness of Congress, controlled by Republicans, to alter Bush's proposals in significant ways. They reflect the parochial interests of lawmakers looking ahead to their own re-election bids next year and the pressure brought to bear by special-interest lobbyists. They also may signal lawmakers' belief that the estimated $350 billion federal budget deficit isn't a major priority, budget watchdogs say."

2005:

Virginia Fields supporter Percy Sutton had very kind things to say about Michael Bloomberg at a Harlem Business Alliance breakfast yesterday. LINK

"Former Mayor David Dinkins has also said nice things about Bloomberg. And yesterday, just hours after Sutton spoke, Dinkins was flying to Africa with the mayor to help push the city's Olympic bid," add the New York Daily News' Munoz and Saltonstall. LINK

And be sure to Note Mayor-elect Villaraigosa's recent pleasantries about Bloomberg.

The New York Post editorial board keys off of a Drum Major Institute study to urge Fernando Ferrer (the former head of DMI) to state his school safety platform. LINK

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