Tuesday News Roundup

November 22, 2005

Michael Scanlon, former top aide to lobbyist Jack Abramoff and to Congressman Tom DeLay (R-TX) pleaded guilty yesterday to conspiring to bribe a member of Congress. Scanlon acknowledged in a plea agreement that he and Mr. Abramoff agreed to make lavish gifts to public officials in exchange for official actions.
Additionally, Talkleft notes that "(t)he court agreed to defer (Scanlon's) sentencing until his cooperation is over, which means if he tells the truth from the Government's point of view, the Government will file a motion before sentencing seeking a reduction below his guideline range."
Two Colorado residents claiming to have been ejected from a Bush campaign event last year because of an anti-war bumper sticker on their car have filed a suit over the matter. A.C.L.U lawyers handling the case said they would pursue in particular the question of who gave the orders to deny entrance.
Huge oil profits have led Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to offer aid to U.S. poor in the form of subsidized heating costs. The populist South American president would relish being able to show that Venezuela, far less wealthy than the United States, had come to the rescue of low-income people here, analysts said.
Representative Tom DeLay (R-TX) will appear with his co-defendants in court today for the first time. According to the Austin Statesman, Delay desperately "needs a quick knockout to keep alive any hope of reclaiming his post as majority leader in the House, where some Republicans are jockeying to replace him permanently in January."
As relief legislation stalls in Congress, Louisiana officials are growing "desparate", fearing that the federal government is losing interest in the plight of the devastated Gulf Coast.
Responding to criticism of the program as "rigid" and "unworkable", the Bush Administration agreed to relax some key provisions of the No Child Left Behind act. Specifically allowed use of some new ways to rate schools, granted a few urban systems permission to provide federally subsidized tutoring and allowed certain states more time to meet teacher-quality requirements.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) is leading opposition to a plan to split the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which recently passed the House for the second year running. Feinstein has gained the support of judiciary committee colleagues Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Arlen Specter (R-PA), who recently co-authored a letter criticizing any effort to address the issue in a budget bill and stating that, "(t)he issue is squarely under the jurisdiction of the judiciary committee."