It's official: Senator Craig disgraced the senate

Categories: Congress

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The Senate ethics panel--a contradiction in terms if ever there was one--ruled that U.S. Senator Larry Craig's wide-stance bathroom antics and subsequent bizarre guilty plea take-back constituted "improper conduct which has reflected discreditably on the Senate."

Craig responds to the charges in a letter to the AP:


"While I am disappointed and strongly disagree with the conclusions reached by the Senate Ethics Committee, from the outset I have encouraged the committee to act in a timely fashion and they have done so. I will continue to serve the people of Idaho," he said.


Craig then added: "Hey there, you got any extra toilet paper in your stall?"

Franken beating Ciresi, Coleman in new poll

Categories: Congress
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Via DailyKos, Al Franken beats both his Democratic competition and the Republican incumbent in CSRA's new poll for Minnesota Public Radio:


Democratic Primary (MoE 4.5%)

Franken 42
Ciresi 18

General Election Matchups

Coleman (R) 40
Franken (D) 43.2


But before you Franken fans get too hopeful, Kos points out that the poll may be skewed:


In 2004, the Minnesota party ID breakdown was D-38, R-35, and I-27. For this poll, it's D-52, R-34, and I-14. Of course, after the last two years, Democratic identification is up, so that might have something to do with it. But just a cautionary note in what otherwise is a great result for Franken.


To which I can only add: Go Al! Grrr!


Compare and contrast: The Reichstag fire and 9/11

Categories: Congress
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Rep. Keith Ellison (Minnesota's 5th District) is taking flak from the Anti-Defamation League for controversial remarks he made earlier in the month. During a July 8 speech he gave to a group of atheists in Edina, Ellison compared the Bush administration's post-9/11 actions to the heavy-handed undertakings carried out by the Nazi government in the wake of the 1933 Reichstag fire—initiatives that fomented Adolf Hitler's rise to power.

"After the Reichstag was burned, they blamed the Communists for it and it put the leader of that country [Hitler] in a position where he could basically have authority to do whatever he wanted," a July 8 Strib article quoted Ellison as saying.

So in a Tuesday press release, the Anti-Defamation League took Ellison to task and demanded that he retract his remarks. "[His] comments comparing the rise of Nazism in the aftermath of the burning of the Reichstag to the War on Terror in the aftermath of 9/11 is outrageous and offensive to all Americans," read the statement.

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Manufacturing the news: Ellison edition

Categories: Congress

Of the many controversies that have afflicted Congressman-elect Keith Ellison, none is sillier--and more bogus--than this week's kerfuffle over Ellison's stated intention to take his oath of office on the Qur'an. As you probably know by now, the "debate" was ignited by Salem Radio Network host Dennis Prager. In his syndicated column, Prager (whose frothing can be heard in the Twin Cities at 1280-AM The Patriot) complained that Ellison's "act undermines American civilization." Implicit in all this, of course, was Prager's transparent plea for publicity. Come Friday morning, the Strib obligingly weighed in with a page one story that was... okay, not as dreadful as the headline, "Oath on the Qur'an: Provocation or act of faith?"

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DeLay indicted

Categories: Congress
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Will the dominoes begin to fall? The AP's Larry Margasack details House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's indictment today on a single conspiracy count:


A Texas grand jury on Wednesday charged Rep. Tom DeLay and two political associates with conspiracy in a campaign finance scheme, forcing the House majority leader to temporarily relinquish his post....

GOP congressional officials said Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., will recommend that Rep. David Dreier of California step into those duties. Some of the duties may go to the GOP whip, Rep. Roy Blunt of Missouri. The Republican rank and file may meet as early as Wednesday night to act on Hastert's recommendation. The charge carries a potential two-year sentence, which forces DeLay to step down under House Republican rules.


Trent Lott works through anger issues in new autobiography

Categories: Congress
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The Drudge Report has the scoop from subscription-only Roll Call about Mississippi Republican Sen. Trent Lott's new autobiography, Herding Cats (soon to be a major motion picture starring Meg Ryan and John Cusack). It seems Strom Thurmond's biggest fan is a bit miffed at Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and former Sen. Don Nickles for "helping mastermind" his fall from power in 2002. Lott also smacks around former FEMA Director Joe Allbaugh for being one of the unnamed 'Bush aides' that told the press Lott should step down. Forget the Washingtonienne's new book, sounds like Trent's the one dishing out the good stuff in DC.

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