Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) and incoming Speaking Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) have notified their colleagues that they will try to add an anti-pay-raise provision to a must-pass bill that provides funds to keep the government running.
71 percent: Number of Americans who disapprove of President Bush’s handling of the Iraq war, an “alltime high” according to a new AP-Ipsos poll.
As a final act, the Do-Nothing 109th Congress will push for approval of what is likely to be “the last major pro-drilling bill during the Bush presidency — a measure that would open a large swath of the Gulf of Mexico to energy exploration. The drilling provision was part of a $45-billion tax and trade bill that was expected to pass the House today and be sent on to the Senate.”
“The 109th Congress is packing its bags for good and leaving town today without enacting nine of the 11 appropriations bills that pay for the federal government.” “It’s a spectacular disorder of chaos,” said incoming House Appropriations Chair David Obey (D-WI). “We will have to run a cleanup brigade.”
Lawyers representing Donald Rumsfeld “are set to appear in federal court” today “in response to a lawsuit charging that the Defense secretary authorized torture and other illegal abuse of military detainees in Afghanistan and Iraq – including at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison.”
“The annual number of reservists and National Guard members who say they have been reassigned, lost benefits or been fired from civilian jobs after returning from duty has increased by about 30% since 2002.”
For the second year in a row, the Committee to Protect Journalists’s “annual survey found the total number of journalists in jail worldwide has increased.” Nearly one-third of the 134 incarcerated reporters, editors, and photographers “published their work on the Internet.”
“Across the country, half a dozen federal libraries are closed or closing. Others have reduced staffing, hours of operation, public access or subscriptions.” Critics of the closings say they “could lose access to research materials” because the libraries “house collections vital to scientific investigation and the enforcement of environmental laws.”
And finally: Will the gentleman from Tennessee please yield for a bearhug? “Apparently taking the Democrats’ pledge of civility seriously, Sen. Harry M. Reid of Nevada bearhugged a startled Sen. Bill Frist yesterday, as Frist, the outgoing majority leader, bid farewell to his colleagues on the Senate floor. As the two men firmly shook hands, the Democrat unexpectedly reeled Frist in closer. After an awkward two-step, Frist even hugged back a little.” “As man-hugs go, this one was definitely uncomfortable to watch.”
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