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FROM THIS EPISODE

Today's Wall Street Journal editorializes that both Democrat and Republican lobby reforms of the practices that produced the Jack Abramoff scandal and brought down Tom DeLay are "hilariously predictable." Others agree, partly because the reforms would limit what lobbyists do, rather than members of Congress themselves. What about "earmarking" money on behalf of special interests? Does refusal to deal with campaign financing create a major loophole? We look at proposals from both parties. Would they prevent a legislative calamity like the Medicare drug plan, which has been touted by President Bush as a major achievement but has created confusion all over the country? Will it take fear of indictment to clean up Capitol Hill?
  • Making News: New Bin Laden Tape Threatens Terror Strikes in US
    Arabic-language network Al Jazeera has broadcast what appears to be the voice of Osama bin Laden, saying that new attacks on the US are being planned. White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan said the speaker's identity has not been confirmed, but that the war on terror is bigger than a single person. Magnus Ranstorp is Director of Asymmetric Threat Studies at the Swedish National Defense College in Stockholm.
  • Reporter's Notebook: The Abduction of Reporter Jill Carroll
    In Iraq, a commission of Iraqis and US military officials may release six women prisoners Sunday, possibly in response to the demands of kidnappers holding Jill Carroll. The mother of the freelance journalist for the Christian Science Monitor made a televised plea, saying her daughter had worked to show the Iraqis' sufferings to the world. The appeal comes 12 days after the kidnapping and a day before the deadline set by the captors who are threatening to kill her. Time Magazine's Bobby Ghosh has recently returned from Baghdad.

Al Jazeera article on bin Laden truce offer

527 Reform Act of 2005 (McCain, S 271)

Lobbying Transparency and Accountability Act (Lieberman, S 2128)

K Street Project

Arizona's Citizens Clean Elections Act

Medicare Prescription Drug Plan

Birnbaum's article on loophole in lobbying bill

Time Magazine article on kidnapping of Christian Science Monitor freelancer Jill Carroll

CS Monitor article on hostage video

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