Indian Affairs can print no more

Chalk up another casualty in the wake of the lobbying scandal involving Jack Abramoff. But this time it’s nothing as lofty as business ethics or integrity in government. No, this time it’s a simple matter of paper and ink. The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, which has been doing the bulk of investigating of Abramoff, already has exhausted its allotment of printing and copying for the year, so furiously has it been Xeroxing Abramoff’s e-mails and other documents for staffers and curious members of the press.

Chalk up another casualty in the wake of the lobbying scandal involving Jack Abramoff. But this time it’s nothing as lofty as business ethics or integrity in government. No, this time it’s a simple matter of paper and ink.

The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, which has been doing the bulk of investigating of Abramoff, already has exhausted its allotment of printing and copying for the year, so furiously has it been Xeroxing Abramoff’s e-mails and other documents for staffers and curious members of the press.

According to a well-placed source familiar with committee proceedings, the dilemma has forced the committee to send staffers to other committees’ copy machines.

Senate Rule 26, Section 10(a), states, “Each committee is authorized to have printed and bound such testimony and other data presented at hearings held by the committee.” Each committee, however, is also allotted a printing budget. Larger committees with broader jurisdiction, such as the Finance Committee or the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, receive a greater allotment than Indian Affairs.

Andrea Jones, spokeswoman for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who chairs the committee, confirmed that the allotment has been reached, citing the “very paper-intensive” nature of the investigation. However, she noted, “The committee has a number of functions and a number of priorities, and the investigation is not the sole reason for the depletion of our supply. As evidence, this has happened several times before on the Indian Affairs Committee and will not result in a lack of printing and copying supplies.”

WoW II: Tom Cruise as Joe Biden

Former Solicitor General Ted Olson, who has been mentioned as a possible replacement on the Supreme Court for Sandra Day O’Connor, predicted Friday that we’re “about to enter the most bitter and depressing confirmation season the nation has ever seen. … It will not make this country proud.”

Speaking before the conservative Federalist Society at the Mayflower Hotel, Olson excoriated the court for some of its most controversial decisions this term. Both he and the Society’s Doug Cox, who introduced him, quipped that, despite the judges voting against medical marijuana use, their opinions lead to suspicion that they have access to a private stash.

But Olson reserved special scorn for the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the decisions of which, he noted, the Supreme Court vacated or reversed 17 of 19 times. “I hope I don’t have to appear before the 9th Circuit,” he joked when finished.

Cox got the biggest laughs, however, in a not-so-veiled aside to Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.), whom many conservative court watchers still bitterly resent for his role in blocking the nomination of Robert Bork in 1987. Cox posited a “War of the Worlds II” in pre-production: “Tom Cruise will star as a sensational Delaware senator torn between his presidential ambitions and his desire to lecture the American people about natural law.”

Hell hath no fury like Hitchens scorned

An Israel-bashing New Yorker who takes to spamming journalists and other unwitting souls has picked on the wrong guy, earning a rebuke from that caustic critic Christopher Hitchens as a “puke-flecked moron.”

Michael Santomauro, a Holocaust revisionist who operates the www.reportersnotebook.com website, sends out barrages of Jewish-obsessed e-mails each day from the address reporternotebook@aol.com.

After the attacks on London, Santomauro sent out an e-mail stating: “These attacks are obviously the result of Blair poodling along with Bush in his war for Israel in Iraq. … It is utterly tragic when an overwhelming majority of the British public were against the war and Bush’s poodle [Blair] still went along with the Iraq invasion for Lord Levy and company. … Incredible. … My heartfelt condolences are with the people of Britain.”

Santomauro’s e-mail list is extensive — so much so that The New York Times pointed out in 2003 that clients of a roommate-search business he runs in New York were added to his RePorterNoteBook list.

Whether or not he’s ever rented an apartment in the Big Apple, Hitchens has evidently found his way onto the list. And after receiving Santomauro’s diatribe last week, he unleashed his considerable powers of invective, reprinted in a subsequent e-mail by Santomauro. “Take the condolences and shove them, you puke-flecked moron,” he wrote. “Do not insult the British in such a way at such a time.”

Still making history, even as it’s being written

The oral history of Sen. Edward Kennedy’s (D-Mass.) life and career was launched earlier this year by the University of Virginia’s  Miller Center of Public Affairs. It will cost an estimated $3.5 million and take six years to complete, by which time Kennedy will have surpassed the late Strom Thurmond’s (R-S.C.) Senate longevity record, assuming Kennedy runs for reelection and wins a ninth term next year.

However, Kennedy may still trail Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), who’s closing in on Thurmond’s record of 47 years, five months and 17 days, assuming Byrd is also elected to a ninth term next year. If he is, the 87-year-old Byrd, who has served some 46-and-a-half years, will exceed Thurmond’s record about this time next year.

And if he serves out the entire term, Byrd will still hold a four-year advantage over Kennedy, who has served about 42 and a half years. Of course, the 73-year-old Kennedy would still be a relatively young septuagenarian if he serves out his entire term and no doubt would be eyeing a 10th term that could make him the first 60-year senator.

Incidentally, those familiar with the interviews that Kennedy is conducting with his colleagues, family, staff, associates, friends and adversaries, say he has nothing bad to say about any of his colleagues except for one person. That is former Sen. Eugene McCarthy (D-Minn.), whom he can’t forgive for his behavior during the 1968 Democratic primary battle against his brother, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy (D-N.Y.). That campaign ended tragically with RFK’s death by assassination in Los Angeles. McCarthy’s fellow Minnesotan Hubert Humphrey would go on to take the Democratic nomination.

A presidential clue for 2008, by the Bayh?

As the son of a former senator and Democratic presidential candidate, it’s not surprising that Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) runs into people who supported or opposed the 1976 candidacy of his father, Birch Bayh (D-Ind.).

During a weekend visit to New Hampshire, where he is testing the waters for his own candidacy in 2008, Sen. Bayh met Ray Buckley, a local party activist, who told him that he backed Jimmy Carter, who defeated Bayh’s father while winning the Granite State’s 1976 primary.

No offense, Bayh assured Buckley. “You may have an opportunity to make amends.”

Cramming into the subway with a senate icon

Tourists were crammed shoulder to shoulder into the underground subway connecting the Capitol to the Russell Building last week when Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) approached, giving an interview to a reporter.

“We’ll get off, senator,” offered an obliging visitor willing to make way for the Democratic icon. “No,” replied said icon, “I want to get on with you.”

Kennedy then climbed in, much to the delight of the group. Kennedy, who frequently makes himself available to tourists for photos, then invited the entire group to pose for a group shot. He smiled broadly even as several visitors tried to figure out how to operate their digital cameras.

One unfortunate visitor from Arizona ran out of film but was able to install a new roll just in time for a photo with another of the Senate’s best-known members: John McCain (R-Ariz.).

Obey to pay tribute to Nelson with harmonica

When Wisconsin pays tribute tomorrow to Gaylord Nelson (D), the late former governor and senator, at a memorial service in the state Capitol Rotunda in Madison, Rep. Dave Obey (D-Wis.) will earn a place in the Badger State’s history.

Obey will play “Amazing Grace” on his harmonica after a bevy of speakers, including Gov. Jim Doyle, Nelson’s daughter Tia, former Vice President Walter Mondale, former Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird and Rep. Tom Petri (R-Wis.) eulogize Nelson, who died last week at 89.

Six former governors, including former Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson, also are expected to attend the service for the founder of Earth Day.