Budget Buster?

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Louisiana officials are asking for $250 billion in federal funds to help rebuild their state in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. That figure includes $40 billion dollars for the Army Corps of Engineers (search), 10 times last year's annual budget for the entire country, and 16 times the $2.5 billion Corps officials say it would take to protect New Orleans from a Category 5 storm.

The Washington Post reports that the bill also includes a new $750 million lock for the New Orleans Industrial Canal — rated the fifth worst Corps boondoggle in the country by one watchdog group along with $8 million for alligator farms and $25 million for a laboratory researching sugar-cane.

Times Correction... Sort of?

After repeatedly standing behind its report despite video evidence to the contrary, The New York Times has taken a step toward correcting TV Critic Alessandra Stanley's claim that Geraldo Rivera "nudged" an Air Force worker out of his way during a New Orleans rescue.

One day after the Times own public editor criticized the paper's stance, the Times said this in this morning's edition: "The Times acknowledges that no nudge was visible on the broadcast." The paper carried this not as a correction, but as an "editor's note."

Bush and Bull?

New York Representative Charlie Rangel (search) is standing by remarks comparing President Bush to Bull Connor — the Birmingham police commissioner who turned dogs and fire hoses loose on civil rights demonstrators in the 1960's. Now, some other prominent New York Democrats are taking the comments even further.

New York City Councilman Charles Barron calls the comparison "an insult to Connor." Former presidential candidate Al Sharpton says, "…we've gone from fire hoses to levees." And Representative Major Owens tells the New York Daily News, "Bull Connor didn't even pretend that he cared about African Americans. You have to give it to George Bush for being even more diabolical."

Been out Boozing

Georgia Republican David Graves (search) had been boozing at a late night dinner when he was picked up for his second drunk driving arrest earlier this year. Now, he's asking the court to throw out the charge — not because he wasn't drunk, but because the Georgia constitution prohibits lawmakers from being arrested while in session, or on their way to and from. Graves says the provision, dating back to 1789, gives him immunity — since he did his drinking with other state legislators.