Mid-Morning News:

  • The Club for Growth Blog reports that Rep. [sw: Jim Moran] (D-VA) is really excited about earmarking. “When I become chairman [of a House appropriations subcommittee], I’m going to earmark the s—t out of it,” Moran buoyantly told a crowd of 450 attending the event.” Can we please get earmarking transparency — QUICK!
  • The David Safavian trial is about to be handed to the jury to decide the former Bush administration official’s fate. Did Safavian abuse his position to help Jack Abramoff? Was it a mistake for the prosecution to not send Abramoff to testify? Will Safavian’s bumbling testimony lead to a guilty verdict as Ken Lay’s did? I’m putting my money on the latter.
  • CongressDailyAM reports that the Democratic Caucus will vote on Thursday on the Steering Committee’s recommendation that [sw: William Jefferson] be stripped of his seat on the Ways and Means Committee.
  • Also in CongressDailyAM, Speaker [sw: Dennis Hastert] (R-IL) plans on naming conferees to the lobbying and ethics reform conference committee. Don’t expect much of the conference committee or the legislation that they create. Whatever comes out of that committee it will not be reform.
  • The Washington Post’s Jeff Birnbaum reports that Congress is about to make it infinitely more difficult to lobby members of Congress through email. If you wish to send an email to your representative you will now have to complete a math problem. I’m going to go with MoveOn’s Eli Pariser’s statement about this: "We should be living in the golden age of politics — an age in which every member of Congress can easily have a two-way conversation with his or her most engaged constituents. Instead, we’re seeing bunkerization." Exactly. And why don’t we have instant, searchable Internet disclosure of all information reported in Congress? This is the 21st Century isn’t it?