Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
Amid concerns over a proposed government-run health insurance option, the Government Accountability Office says it has major problems with the current government-run option. A new GAO report says that in fiscal years 2006 and 2007, prescription drug fraud in Medicaid cost more than $63 million in just five states: California, Illinois, New York, North Carolina and Texas.
The report says about 1,800 prescriptions were filled for people who are dead and another 1,200 prescriptions were signed with the names of deceased doctors, costing a half-million dollars: "Medicaid offices in the selected states generally did not periodically compare their information against death records."
Medicaid also paid $2.3million to 65 health care providers and pharmacies, even though they are barred from receiving federal funds.
After taking control of the House in 2006, Democrats said lawmakers would work four or five days a week to bring change to America. But the Politico's Jake Sherman reports on October 7, 2009 that midway through President Obama's first year in office, the House, "has settled into a more leisurely routine. Members usually arrive for the first vote of the week as the sun sets on Tuesdays — and they're usually headed back home before it goes down again on Thursdays."
The report says that since the House returned for its fall session, members have stuck around for a Friday vote just once, to approve an almost 6 percent increase in Congress' own budget.
Missouri Republican Congressman Roy Blunt looks on the bright side: "Two and a half days a week is plenty of time to consider the ideas coming out of this Democrat-led House. Imagine the damage they could do with five-day workweeks."
But Majority Leader Steny Hoyer points to appropriations bills stalled in the Senate: "It takes a long time to do it."
Clarence Page at the Chicago Tribune notes a change in how President Obama is being treated on television: "Only a few months ago, major comedians... were lamenting with slack-jawed remorse how difficult it was to poke fun at Obama. But that appears to have ended after Obama's failed attempt to help Chicago win its bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics."
Page points to a "Saturday Night Live" skit in which an Obama-impersonator checks off a laundry list of broken promises. Page calls it "funny," but questions whether it was based on reality.
CNN actually ran a fact-check of the routine and CNN’s Kareen Wynter concluded: "On many points... 'SNL' couldn't have been more off the mark."
But the TV critic for the Baltimore Sun, David Zurawik, says that kind of CNN analysis is, "something they didn't do last fall when such satire was shredding (Sarah) Palin and (George) Bush... fact checking a comedy sketch — I will say no more."
— FOX News Channel's Zachary Kenworthy contributed to this report.