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In the Loop: Guess the Vote on Sotomayor

The study will be available online this morning after 8:30 at http://www.nationaljournal.com/decisionmakers.

LONG-RANGE CONCERNS

Administration officials made it clear last week that they were prepared should the wacky North Koreans go ahead with a reported test of long-range missiles, perhaps to coincide with the Fourth of July.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said Thursday that the Obama administration was quite concerned about the possibility of North Korea firing off more missiles.

"We're obviously watching the situation in the North with respect to missile launches very closely, and we do have some concerns if they were to launch a missile to the west in the direction of Hawaii," Gates said, according to the Associated Press and Reuters.

Well, if that missile heads west from North Korea, best we can figure, we won't be nearly as concerned as the Chinese or the Russians. They'll be at Defcon 1.

JUST OFFAL

Theme-food-and-drink fundraisers have been all the rage in recent months as lawmakers hit up lobbyists for contributions. On June 10, Rep. Solomon Ortiz (D-Tex.) had a "Music and Margaritas" fundraiser on the Hill, only $1,000 per PAC. The next day, Rep. Mike Michaud (D-Maine) did his usual "Lobster Bake." Lobsters costing what they do, this was $5,000 to host, $2,500 to sponsor. On Wednesday, Rep. Frank Kratovil (D-Md.) will be doing an "Eastern Shore Crab Feast," with the same $5,000 to host. (As a handy reminder, many invites list the incumbent's committees.)

But the best is the fundraiser for Idaho Lt. Gov. Jim Risch (R), the former governor who's running for the Senate. It's the "Rocky Mountain Oyster Feed and Steak BBQ" at the Dollar Mountain Lodge in Sun Valley. That one's a very sensibly priced $1,000 per PAC and $250 per person.

Having had these "oysters" -- they were sometimes on the menu years ago at one fine restaurant in Ordway, Colo. -- we strongly recommend the steak or the vegan option. The oyster experience can stay with you for days.


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