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Rep. Ernie Istook a

Rep. Ernie Istook, a very sorry congressman. From The Hill: "Rep. Ernest Istook (R-Okla.) sent a written apology this morning to GOP lawmakers whose transportation projects he stripped from the omnibus appropriations bill in retaliation for their endorsement of additional funding for Amtrak."

What a pleasant surprise.

What a pleasant surprise. CBS's and NBC's rejection of the UCC's church inclusion ad got big billing in the Boston Globe and the Chicago Tribune. (If you're in Chicago or Boston, drop us a line telling us exactly where the story ran in the paper.) Let us know how your local paper covered it.

Coming soon: Sen. Bill Frist test-drives Social Security privatization with his own campaign warchest and comes up half a million short.

Late Update: It turns out the Trib and the Globe both ran the story on page 1 below the fold. The Austin American-Statesman, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Providence Journal-Bulletin (the 'Projo') and the Des Moines Register also seem to have gone with it on the front page

In case you didnt

In case you didn't know, there's a tight House race still going on down in Louisiana's 7th District. The Democratic candidate is former Lake Charles Mayor Willie Landry Mount. And the run-off election is on Saturday.

Check out her site here and media coverage of the race here.

This is an important race. Majorities are built one seat at a time.

Late Update: My bad, my bad. Louisiana's got -- count 'em -- two House races still going on. In the third district Democrat Charlie Melancon is battling to stop retiring Rep. Billy Tauzin from handing off his seat to his son, thirty-year-old Billy Tauzin III.

I dont know what

I don't know what else to make of Nebraska Gov. Mike Johanns nomination as Agriculture Secretary. But Johanns is now the second cabinet secretary appointment of the second term whose current office is more than a hundred feet from the president's. So I guess this marks a new phase of reaching out.

Today a reporter asked

Today a reporter asked me whether I'd noticed, as he had, the sudden drop-off of interest in things political since the election and whether I'd seen this drop off registered in the traffic at TPM. I gave the matter some thought and looked over the traffic logs. And having done so and given him an answer, I thought I'd share what I told him with you. (And I assume, though I have no direct knowledge, that similar sites have had roughly similar experiences.)

The answer turns out to be that, yes, traffic is down substantially, but not nearly as much as I'd expected. And if you set aside the furious final month of the campaign, October, the viewership of the site hasn't fallen at all.

A few examples ...

In the last two weeks, the average number of weekday visits has hovered around 140,000. That is close to indistinguishable from the average in September and markedly higher than August.

In October, weekday daily visit totals never went below 165,000 and often went over 190,000. But it was only in the last week or so of the campaign that the real pre-election updraft began. Visits hit 223,000 on Monday, October 25th, the first day (I believe) they'd ever gone over 200,000. And they never went below 200,000 again until after the election.

So, I've tossed out a lot of numbers here. But the upshot seems to be that traffic to center-left political websites like TPM has been relatively unaffected by either the end of the election cycle or the Kerry defeat.

Another update from the

Another update from the JTA on the FBI's investigation of AIPAC.

Their latest update reveals ...

Sources close to the investigation told JTA that the four [AIPAC staffers] ordered to appear before a grand jury were Howard Kohr, the group’s executive director; Raphael Danziger, the research director; Richard Fishman, the managing director; and Renee Rothstein, the communications director. An FBI spokeswoman confirmed the search, but had no further comment.

Various knowledgable sources tell me that this investigation is heating up and that AIPAC, and specifically Steven Rosen, are the primary targets, rather than Larry Franklin.

Another JTA update on

Another JTA update on the FBI search at AIPAC headquarters today.

The Bureau also got subpoenas for grand jury appearances by four AIPAC staffers.

I hear the investigation remains quite active and continues to focus almost entirely on Steven Rosen, AIPAC's Director of Foreign Policy Issues.

A wonderful piece of

A wonderful piece of magazine journalism in the current New Yorker, "God Doesn't Need Ole Anthony." Unfortunately, it's not online, only in the print version.

Sen. Norm Coleman R-Minn

Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn) wants a certain chief executive to resign over the failures of his Iraq policy because the "massive scope of this debacle demands nothing less."

Click here to find out who he's talking about.