Capitol Hillbillies

Senate blocks torture ban

Senate Republicans blocked a bill Friday that would restrict the interrogation methods the CIA can use against terrorism suspects.

The legislation, part of a measure authorizing the government’s intelligence activities for 2008, had been approved a day earlier by the House and sent to the Senate for what was supposed to be final action. The bill would require the CIA to adhere to the Army’s field manual on interrogation, which bans waterboarding, mock executions and other harsh interrogation methods.

Contempt citations for Bush aides

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted on Thursday to hold two men who have been top aides to President George W. Bush in contempt for refusing to comply with subpoenas in its probe of the firing of federal prosecutors.

On a largely party-line vote, the Democratic-led panel sent contempt of Congress citations against White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten and former Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove to the full Senate for consideration.

Democrats cave to Bush once again

The failed Democratic leadership of Congress caved once again Wednesday to the most unpopular President in American history, giving George W. Bush another victory while abandoning the voters who put them into power in the 2006 mid-term elections.

House Democratic leaders dropped their demands for $22 billion in domestic spending and agreed to Bush’s spending limit on a half-trillion dollar bill. While the House version does not contain funding for Bush’s failed war in Iraq, the Senate is expected to add the money and send it back to the House, where it will be accepted as part of a deal between Democrats and Bush.

Silly season on Capitol Hill

Most Americans equate July with independence, fireworks and barbeques. But Congress wants Americans thinking about watermelons, too. A resolution before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee would make July National Watermelon Month.

Hayden lays tape blame on others

CIA Director Michael Hayden is briefing lawmakers behind closed doors about the destruction of videotapes showing harsh interrogation of terror suspects but says he can’t answer all their questions.

Hayden told reporters after testifying Tuesday before the Senate Intelligence Committee that he had “a chance to lay out the narrative, the history of why the tapes were destroyed” and the process that led to that decision.

A payback budget

The White House killed via a veto threat a tentative congressional compromise on a $520 billion government spending bill because it contained $18 billion more than President Bush wanted on domestic programs and not enough on things he did want, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Hayden set to testify on CIA tapes

CIA Director Gen. Michael Hayden faces two days of testimony behind closed doors at the Senate and House intelligence committees to answer questions about his agency’s destruction of videotaped interrogations of terrorist suspects.

Hayden will answer questions Tuesday from the Senate panel and Wednesday from its House counterpart. Both are closed sessions.

More doubts about destroyed CIA tapes

Washington politicians scrambled Sunday to position themselves on the rapidly-developing CIA torture tape scandal. Both Republicans and Democrats doubted the CIA’s story that the tapes were destroyed to protect the identities of interrogators.

The growing scandal threatens to turn into the worst yet for the Bush Administration, a Presidency beset by scandal and questions about White House credibility.

Capitol Hill pages & ‘Monica Cocktails’

They call it the “Monica Cocktail,” oral sex named in a reference to Monica Lewinsky, the White House intern who performed the same act on President Bill Clinton during the infamous Oval Office affair that led to impeachment proceedings.

It has other variations: “Being Monica’d” or “Lewinskied.” But it means oral sex in the halls of power in Washington and it has become a favorite pastime of teenage pages for the Congress of the United States.

Reports of pages enjoying the “Monica Cocktail” in the Congressional Page Dorm on Capitol Hill along with shoplifting by other pages have led to the resignations of two members of the Page Oversight Board and at least four pages sent home in disgrace.

Sources close to the Page System say the recent allegations are just the tip of a sexual scandal iceberg that threatens a page system rocked too many times in the past by sexual indiscretions.