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Washington Whispers

March 2010


BlackBerry Black Holes on Capitol Hill

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By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers

House and Senate members have a new complaint about Capitol Hill. There are dozens of places where their cellular phones and BlackBerrys don’t work. It’s been an ongoing problem, and areas like the underground tunnels between House and Senate office buildings and ...

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TAGS:
Congress
cellphones

Hazards for Smokers on Capitol Hill

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By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers

A lot of the perks for House members have been snuffed out, but smoking isn't one of them. While greatly limited as far as where they can puff, members are allowed to smoke on an outdoor balcony off the Speaker's Lobby near the House floor. But members tell ...

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TAGS:
smoking and tobacco

Marines Break Recruitment Records

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By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers

Despite two wars and long tours away from home, the Marine Corps remains the hot service. And not just for new recruits. Commandant James Conway tells Congress that he's met a recruiting goal of 27,000 additional marines two years ahead of schedule, with over 98 ...

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TAGS:
Army

Michelle Obama’s Bees Ready for Spring

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By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers

It's year two for first lady Michelle Obama's veggie garden, and plans are underway to begin planting at the end of the month. And when the spring crops sprout, the honeybees will be ready to pollinate. First beekeeper Charlie Brandts tells us that despite a ...

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TAGS:
Obama, Barack

Wasserman Schultz Fights for House Staffers

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By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers

They call the 12 House appropriations subcommittee chairmen "cardinals," a bow to their power on the all-important money panel. But one of the 12 wouldn't mind a different title: House mom. "I think that's an apt description of how I view my role," says Florida ...

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TAGS:
Congress

GOP Testing a New Contract With America

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By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers

With public and internal polls showing the likelihood of a huge Republican voter swing in the fall, party officials are now testing the need for and the issues that would be included in an election agenda like the 1994 Contract With America.

One of the key findings ...

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TAGS:
Republican Party

BlackBerry Password Trouble on the Hill

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By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers

A new security requirement ordered by the speaker and the Republican leader to protect House computer networks if a lawmaker's BlackBerry is lost or stolen is driving some members crazy. To use the government-issued devices, a user now has to type in a password.

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TAGS:
BlackBerry

Higher Profits at the Senate Barber-Shop

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By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers

Not everything the Senate does gives taxpayers a haircut. Take the barbershop, technically called Senate Hair Care. For about $20, senators, staff, and visitors who know about it can get a professional coif. We're told that the 11 hairstylists and other staff are ...

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Cooperation Rules With Hill Staff Despite Polarization

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By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers 

The bitter partisanship over the federal debt, healthcare reform, and unemployment hasn't yet spilled over to top aides on Capitol Hill. But there's no doubt that everyone on the Hill is on edge these days. Just ask two of the most important aides there: Alexis ...

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TAGS:
Pelosi, Nancy
health care
unemployment
deficit and national debt
Hoyer, Steny
health care reform

Chamber Polls Find Public Is Opposed to Healthcare Plan

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Armed with nearly a dozen new polls from key swing congressional districts, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is striking a tougher tone in its bid to kill President Obama's healthcare reform plan in advance of this weekend's planned congressional vote. 

Polls released by the chamber show that House ...

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TAGS:
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Obama, Barack
Congress
health care
Republican Party
health care reform

New Book Shows Hitler Loved Movies

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By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers

He's been the subject of many movies, most recently the Brad Pitt hit Inglourious Basterds, an Oscar winner for best supporting actor. But in a new book, we learn that Adolf Hitler had a love-hate relationship with movies. The jailhouse notes of his long-dead ...

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TAGS:
Hollywood
movies

Female World War II Pilots to be Honored

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By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers

Rosie the Riveter wasn't the only World War II hero to wear skirts. Add to her the unsung 1,102 Women Airforce Service Pilots who flew military aircraft around the country, freeing up the guys to fly into combat. On Wednesday, the women finally get national ...

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TAGS:
World War II

Obama Can't Just Communicate, He Must Negotiate

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By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers

President Obama has been called a great communicator—many say as good as Reagan—but the evidence suggests another title: Reconciler

President Obama sure can sound good, whether he's talking off the cuff, like he did at his recent healthcare summit with Republican ...

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TAGS:
Obama, Barack

Marines Like the Media Embed Program

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By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers

The news media embed program begun at the start of the Iraq war has reached a new height in Afghanistan: Reporters and camera crews are traveling shoulder to shoulder with U.S. marines on the hunt for the Taliban. No less than Gen. James Conway, Marine Corps ...

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TAGS:
Army

Tea Party Expects Big Second-Year Growth

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Groups associated with the tea-party movement expect to see far more supporters at planned April 15 antitax rallies than they saw at the birth of the movement a year ago. The reasons, say organizers: continued building of the federal deficit and Democratic moves to pass healthcare reform despite ...

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TAGS:
tea party