It was a bitter and fitting final note for a discordant Congress.
The ugly debate in the House on Friday over the Iraq war served as an emotional send-off for a holiday recess, capturing perfectly the political tensions coursing through the House and Senate in light of President Bush's slumping popularity, serious party policy fights, spreading ethics investigations and the approach of crucial midterm elections in less than a year.
Capitol Hill was always certain to be swept up in brutal political gamesmanship as lawmakers headed into 2006 - the midpoint of this second presidential term and, perhaps, a chance for Democrats to cut into Republican majorities or even seize power in one chamber or the other.
The ferocity of the fight in the House over a measure to withdraw American troops from Iraq shows that the war may command the high ground in the coming electoral contest, and that the course of events in Iraq - whether a new government takes hold, whether the violence continues, whether American troops are still committed in large numbers and still being killed by the scores each month - will be of prime political consequence here.
The above is from Carl Hulse's "Session Exposes Political Risks Ahead for G.O.P." in this morning's New York Times and Charlie asked that we highlight it. (Print headline is "Session Exposes Political Risks Inside Congress.") So what else you got?
How about a question.
Dexter Filkins has "At Least 35 Iraqis and 5 G.I.'s Are Killed in Attacks, Including a Bombing at a Funeral" filed from Baghdad. He was just in DC. Did he travel on the same plane as Chalabi?
Why was he following Chalabi to the United States? The Times has capable reporters in DC. There was no need to import Filkins in.
The reason it should be a question is the Times relationship with Chalabi. He wasn't just a source for a number of stories. His niece worked for the paper. So why does "war time correspondent" Filkins suddenly report from DC when Chalabi's in DC? Is Chalabi now a head of state for the Times to rush after and follow from country to country? Or is there some other arrangement going down?
Bernado notes Ginger Thompson's "Immigrant Laborers From Haiti Are Paid With Abuse in the Dominican Republic:"
The attacks on Haitians here provide the most recent example of what international human rights groups describe as the Dominican Republic's systematic abuse of Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent. In recent years, those organizations report, tens of thousands of Haitians have been summarily expelled from the country by individuals and the government, forcing them to abandon loved ones, work and whatever money or possessions they might have.
"We do all the work, but we have no rights," said Victor Beltran, one of about 150 Haitian immigrants, most of them barefoot and dressed in rags, who had taken refuge in a rickety old barn. "We do all the work, but our children cannot go to school. We do all the work, but our women cannot go to the hospital.
"We do all the work," he said, "but we have to stay hidden in the shadows."
Among those who have been deported, said Roxanna Altholz, a lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley, are Spanish-speaking Dominicans who were born to Haitian parents but have never visited Haiti, much less lived there.
At the root of the problem, Ms. Altholz said, is that Haitian immigrants and their Dominican-born children live in a state of "permanent illegality," unable to acquire documents that prove they have jobs or attend schools or even that they were born in this country.
Apparently desperate to be back in the spotlight, Condi Rice announces she's not the leak to Woodward. The Times dutifully notes her denial and runs a photo of her that, due to the angle, makes her look like a Bobble Head. Photo in print edition only.
From the Associated Press' "2 Candidates Prepare to Take Same Office" about the attorney general's race in in Virgina (yes, voting ending, the counting continues), Lyle notes:
Jean Jensen, secretary of the state elections board, said the biggest swing in the vote totals - about 1,000 votes in Deeds's favor - came when one locality discovered it had transposed the candidates' totals.
Results are continuing to change, and 59 uncounted paper ballots were found Thursday in Chesapeake.
Maybe I'm missing it but I'm not seeing much else worth noting. (But I'm not up to reading about sperm donors.)
Something community members won't want to miss is this at The Third Estate Sunday Review.
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