Paying the high price for political arrogance

The House ethics committee, the existence of which you might have understandably forgotten, is back in business, investigating the handling of a now former member’s unhealthy interest in young male congressional pages.

The ex-congressman, former Florida Republican Rep. Mark Foley, is beyond the committee’s jurisdiction, having resigned just over two weeks ago.

GOP Rep. Bob Ney convicted for taking bribes

A Republican congressman pleaded guilty on Friday in the Jack Abramoff political corruption investigation, becoming the first lawmaker convicted in an election-year scandal that has reached into Congress and the Bush administration.

Rep. Bob Ney of Ohio admitted he had illegally accepted trips, meals, drinks, tickets to concerts and sporting events and other items worth tens of thousands of dollars in return for official acts performed on behalf of the lobbyist Abramoff and his clients.

Taxpayers footing bill for Foley alcohol rehab

A taxpayer funded medical plan covers the type of alcohol rehabilitation program that former Rep. Mark Foley is using, a spokeswoman for the clerk’s office at the U.S. House of Representatives said Friday.

“Most, if not all (lawmakers), have some coverage as far as rehabilitation for drug and alcohol,” said Salley Collins, a spokeswoman for the House clerk’s office.

Rummy’s here to stay, at least for the time being

Count on this: Nothing will budge embattled Pentagon chief Don Rumsfeld from his post, at least until December ends.

If he can stick it out that long _ and those who know him say he’s not even contemplating leaving before President Bush exits in January 2007 _ Rumsfeld will reach the historic milestone of being the longest-serving defense secretary ever.

Democrats poised to reap benefits of GOP failures

Republicans are in danger of losing control of the U.S. House of Representatives on Nov. 7, their brief September hopes for a surge of momentum burst by a barrage of bad news.

Republicans are on the defensive over Iraq, the Mark Foley House page scandal and nationwide angst about the country’s direction, according to reports from key House races and interviews with independent analysts in Washington and battleground districts.

God’s gonna get the Bush boys for making fun of him

No one should be surprised that President George W. Bush and his senior aides privately ridiculed right-wing Christians and evangelicals that helped put them into office. Bush has shown repeatedly that he lacks respect for anything, be it the Constitution, freedoms that once were considered sacrosanct in the nation, the law or the truth.

Now a White House insider who once ran the administration’s “faith-based initiative” reveals that the whole “God is my copilot” shtick is just another callous, cynical political ploy to get votes and political support.

Bush’s words have a habit of coming back to haunt him

President Bush says he will pursue diplomacy to try to persuade North Korea to abandon its goal of being a nuclear power, as opposed to the military means he used against Iraq, another country he accused of being part of the “axis of evil” but which had no nuclear weapons.

Our words do have a way of coming back to haunt us.

Putting self-preservation above everything else

If members of Congress are guilty of anything in the Mark Foley scandal, it is their intense and congenital preoccupation with self-preservation.

Foley was a well-liked, respected member of the House Republican inner circle right up until the second it was disclosed that he had sent inappropriate-sounding e-mails to young male congressional pages. The really steamy e-mails didn’t come until later.

None of his erstwhile friends said, “Gee, Mark, why don’t you get some professional help for that problem? And in the meantime drop by our prayer circle.”

Congress allows mob thugs to work at nation’s ports

Before Congress passed a port-security bill on Sept. 30, a House-Senate panel deleted a proposed ban by Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., on current or future dockworkers convicted of murder, conspiracy, explosives trafficking and transporting hazardous materials, among other felonies. As The Wall Street Journal’s John Fund reported Oct. 2, conferees stripped this language “in the dead of night at the behest of unions fearful that too many of their members could lose their jobs.” Call this measure “No Longshoreman Left Behind.”

Even in disgrace, Foley will get lavish benefits

Now that he’s resigned from office, just how much money can former Rep. Mark Foley expect to receive in the coming years?

When he turns 62, Foley, who turned 52 last month, will start getting a pension of $32,000 a year, according to the National Taxpayers Union. If Foley is unable to wait until 2016, he could choose to begin collecting a “deferred reduced retirement” plan in 2010, when he is 56. But, then, he would only be able to collect $22,400 a year, depending on cost-of-living adjustments.