Capitol Hillbillies

Congress can be hazardous to health

The 110th Congress is close to becoming the most deadly term for lawmakers in the past 20 years.

The death of Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, D-Ohio, who died Wednesday of a brain aneurysm, brings to eight the number of legislators who have died since the current Congress began in January 2007.

Democrats blew it on the surge

As top Democrats address their national convention in Denver, they will propose "ending" Operation Iraqi Freedom, demand a speedy withdrawal of U.S. forces there, and insist that "Bush lied, and people died."

Pelosi puts politics over principle

Never let it be said that Nancy Pelosi isn’t principled. Actually, her main principle seems to be that when politics dictate, give up the principles and go with the politics.

So the Speaker of the House has decided that a vote on drilling off the nation’s coasts might have to happen despite her year of adamant opposition that was still in place only a few weeks ago before Congress left for its August recess. But that was before it looked as though Republicans were succeeding in tagging her Democratic Party with intransigence in solving the nation’s energy problems and before polls clearly revealed a dramatic lessening of public opposition to drilling on the Continental Shelf.

Just another silly season in Congress

August is supposed to be quiet time in the national capital. Congress is in recess, the Supreme Court is adjourned and the president is usually at his ranch in Texas. Also gone are all their attendants. The place really does close up in August.

But this month is different. Even though Congress usually can’t wait to get out of town, some members are refusing to leave.

Irradiating our mail

Since the 2001 anthrax attacks, the feds have spent $75 million on nuking millions of pieces of mail sent to Congress, the White House and Cabinet departments, to protect against evildoers bent on sending poisonous organisms to bureaucrats and politicians via the post.

An arrogant sense of entitlement

One of the hazards of being both powerful and in Washington a long time is arrogance and a sense of entitlement. How else to explain Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens’ indictment for concealing gifts from an oil company that, considering the billions that the senator controlled from his seat on the Appropriations committee, amounted to a relatively paltry $250,000.

Stevens: Another nail in GOP coffin?

The indictment of Alaska Republican Sen. Ted Stevens on charges that he lied about accepting gifts from an oil contractor only adds to his party’s already bleak electoral prospects in November, and not simply because it could cost the GOP a Senate seat that should be safe.