Published March 17, 2009
Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has an explanation about why she never mentioned the word "terrorism" during her first testimony on Capitol Hill.
Napolitano tells the German news site Spiegel Online that while she presumes there is always a threat from terrorism: "I referred to "man-caused" disasters. That is perhaps only a nuance, but it demonstrates that we want to move away from the politics of fear toward a policy of being prepared for all risks that can occur."
James Carafano, senior research fellow at the conservative think tank Heritage Foundation says: "By deliberately trying not to use the T word they run a serious political risk. If something does happen, they'll be accused of taking their eye off the ball and no amount of explanation after the fact will suffice."
Safe at Home
Iraqis are more upbeat about their future and less concerned about violence and insecurity. A poll conducted for ABC and the BBC shows Iraqis feel safer. (The poll was conducted from February 17-25, 2009; 2,228 Iraqis were interviewed with a +/- 2.5% margin of error). Forty-six percent of respondents feel very good about their security situation compared with just 20 percent in March of last year. And 21 percent of Iraqis feel their lives are very good compared with 13 percent this time last year.
A statement by ABC said the results "represent a stunning reversal of the spiral of despair caused by Iraq's sectarian violence in 2006 and 2007."
Fire From the Left
The Liberal blog Daily Kos is calling for an ethics investigation into Pennsylvania Democratic Congressman John Murtha.
Kos writes in the entry entitled "Inside Murtha's Little Corrupt World": "House Democrats have been blocking an ethics investigation into this matter. That has to stop now. It was — expletive— like this that helped Democrats lose control of the House in 1994."
The Washington Post is reporting federal agents are looking into how a Pennsylvania defense research center, with ties to Murtha, obtained and distributed federal funds. It says the center channeled a significant portion of its funding to companies that made campaign contributions to the Pennsylvania Democrat.
Murtha's office called the Washington Post story "sensationalized claims" that aren't based on facts.
And finally, fair and balanced down to the airport tirades; first Republican Senator Vitter and now Oregon Democratic Congressman Peter DeFazio. DeFazio lost his temper in the Portland International Airport after being singled out for a random inspection by Transportation Security Administration personnel.
DeFazio admitted to Roll Call newspaper that he denounced the extra security as "stupid" and "ineffective." He complained to the screeners that he was a member of Congress who actually helped found the TSA.
DeFazio says he does not recall swearing at the screeners, although a source told the paper that he did. DeFazio says he sees his airport annoyance as a positive: "By experiencing security, I can improve it."
— FOX News Channel's Zachary Kenworthy contributed to this report.