Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
The scrutiny resulting from House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's congressional trips has got congressmen rushing to report their travel. The Chicago Tribune reports that while lawmakers are required to disclose a privately financed trip within 30 days, Illinois Democrats Bobby Rush (search) and Luis Gutierrez (search) haven't filed any trip reports since 2000. Rush's office says he plans to rectify the situation, adding, "we didn't know we had to file."
The Tribune also reports that Illinois representatives have traveled for free to places like Las Vegas, Rome and the Cayman Islands. Democratic Senator Dick Durbin (search), who has taken seven trips since 2000, admits he visits "nice places," but insists, "we do serious work there."
Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (search) has apologized after calling President Bush a "loser" as the President traveled to Europe, saying he "crossed the line." The Nevada Democrat told a high school civics class in Las Vegas that while the president's father is a wonderful human being, "I think this guy is a loser."
But after the remarks were released last week, Reid expressed regret, telling the Las Vegas Review-Journal (search), "I called [White House adviser Karl] Rove and apologized for what I said." The White House referred reporters to a statement by the Republican National Committee calling Reid's remarks, "sad," but not surprising.
Cleaner, but Worse?
Two studies released last week show that air quality is improving worldwide. Science magazine reports that a dramatic drop in fossil fuel emissions over the former Soviet Union has contributed to cleaner air over that region. But experts were also surprised to find cleaner air over China (search), which is burning more fossil fuels than ever. One scientist speculated that China may be using previously unknown clean-air technology.
Either way, global warming researchers insist that cleaner air is bad news. They say that additional sunlight reaching the ground will warm the earth's surface and destabilize the climate, adding to the problems of global warming.
The New York Times has released an internal report outlining a strategy to rebuild reader confidence. A panel of employees recommends increasing rural and religious reporting, reducing factual errors, and making it easier for readers to write the paper, saying, "The Times makes it harder than any other major American newspaper for readers to reach a responsible human being."
As for perhaps the most frequent complaint against the Times — that its news coverage is biased to the left — the panel remarks, "because the Times' editorial page is clearly liberal, the news pages do need to make more effort not to seem monolithic."
— FOX News' Michael Levine contributed to this report