France, Spain among top congressional destinations, report finds
If the frequency of congressional visits is any indication, Afghanistan is important to lawmakers — but then again, so are more traditional (and scenic) destinations like France, Spain and Ireland.
According to an impressive database of House member’s travel in 2012 constructed by the folks at the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, war-torn Afghanistan was the most popular destination for lawmakers travelling abroad, getting 37 visits. But Spain got 30 — and perhaps unsurprisingly, members lingered there a bit longer, staying a total of 227 days, far longer than the 161 days they spent in Afghanistan. Hey, we understand — we hear the paella’s far better in sunny Spain.
And France and Ireland saw lawmakers 27 times each.
Hats off to the Herald Tribune for the grueling work of sifting through some 2,000 congressional travel records, which aren’t downloadable, to compile the data and assemble it into a nifty interactive map.Continue reading this post »
Obama White House policy: ‘Don’t tell Dad’
This IRS scandal is, as expected, getting most interesting.
People are starting to ask questions about who knew what when — a variant of former Sen. Howard Baker’s famous Watergate hearing question 40 years ago: “What did the president know and when did he know it?”
“I first learned about it,” Obama said on May 13, “from the same news reports [May 10] that I think most people learned about this. I think it was on Friday.”
Which means, except for the acting deputy assistant gardner, he was maybe the last person in the White House to hear about it.Continue reading this post »
By 12:16 PM ET, 05/21/2013 |
Tags: Obama, IRS, Watergate, Howard Baker, Tea Party, Denis McDonough, Mark Childress, Jack Lew, Mark Patterson, Treasury, IG, Al Kamen, Emily Heil, In the loop
Scalia questions CTIA’s ‘secret’ identity
In addition to knowing the laws of the land, Antonin Scalia apparently is familiar with the cardinal rule of comedy: know your audience.
In a footnote in an opinion on a rather obscure case on Monday, the droll Supreme Court justice dropped a dry little aside that cracked up only a tiny subsection of Washington — telecom lawyers. Scalia affixed a footnote to a mention of “CTIA — The Wireless Association,” the name of the trade association that represents wireless companies.
“This is not a typographical error” he clarified in the footnote. “CTIA is presumably an (unpronounceable) acronym, but even the organization’s website does not say what it stands for. That secret, known only to wireless-service-provider insiders, we will not disclose here.”
Scalia apparently was being cheeky about the branding of CTIA, which once was shorthand for the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association, but now, following in the footsteps of institutions from the AARP to KFC, only goes by its shortened moniker (alas, the CTIA didn’t return our calls about Alito’s take on what’s known in linguistic circles as an “orphan initialism”).
Perhaps Scalia can weigh in next on the transition of the artist formerly known as “Snoop Dogg” to “Snoop Lion.”
At the Park Service, a DIY approach to trash hauling
In a big win for those who advocate personal responsibility above heavy-handed government, the U.S. Park Service is expanding the rugged-individual approach to a service typically left to Uncle Sam: trash hauling.
How about that for liberty from tyranny?
In a little-noticed move, the Park Service on Earth Day began removing trash cans from sites along the George Washington Memorial Parkway — including popular landmarks like the Iwo Jima Memorial, Great Falls and Roosevelt Island — essentially forcing visitors to take their water bottles, bags of doggie waste, and gum wrappers with them.
The expansion is part of the Park Service’s “Trash Free Parks” initiative, which seeks to reduce the amount of garbage the government has to haul away (right now, it’s 380 tons of trash out of the G.W. Parkway alone). We should note that actually doesn’t mean that there won’t be any trash in the parks — just that there won’t be any trash cans.Continue reading this post »
Sapiro moving up to be acting U.S Trade Rep
Miriam Sapiro is expected to be named this week as acting United States Trade Representative, taking over for acting trade rep Demetrios Marantis when he leaves on Wednesday to take a top job at Square, the mobile payments company.
Sapiro has been deputy United States Trade Representative since January 2010, handling trade policies in the Americas, Europe and the Middle East.
Sapiro will be in the new job pending Senate confirmation of deputy National Security Adviser for International Economic Affairs Mike Froman, who was nominated May 2 to be U.S. Trade Rep.