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FROM THIS EPISODE

Barack Obama may have a harder time re-directing the ship of state than other incoming presidents have.  George Bush is perfecting the art of "midnight regulations." We hear what that could mean for the Endangered Species Act, development on federal lands and other environmental issues.  Also, Congress expands unemployment benefits, and 85-year old, seven-time felony convict Ted Stevens gets a standing ovation on the floor of the US Senate.  We hear about generational change on Capitol Hill.


President George W. Bush (R), Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (C) and National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley before boarding the Marine One helicopter at the White House. Bush will be attending the Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Lima, Peru, his last scheduled trip abroad as president of the United States. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Producers:
Gary Scott
Karen Radziner
Sonya Geis

Reporter's Notebook A Senior Moment as Senator Ted Stevens Steps Down 6 MIN, 53 SEC

Ted Stevens got a standing ovation yesterday in the US Senate, as most members do when they're defeated after long tenure. But the 85-year old Stevens had a special distinction: seven convictions for violating federal law. The Alaska Republican served for 40 years in the US Senate, longer than any other Republican. When he made his final speech on the Senate floor yesterday, he did mention his felony convictions, though indirectly. Dana Milbank is a columnist for the Washington Post.

Guests:
Dana Milbank, Washington Post (@Milbank)

Making News Unemployment Benefits Expanded 5 MIN, 58 SEC

More than 10 million Americans are looking for work and benefits for 1.2 million were about to run out. So Congress yesterday extended unemployment insurance for an additional seven weeks. President Bush signed the bill before leaving for an international conference in Lima, Peru. Meantime, if the Big Three go under, there could be a lot more unemployment. Dave Clark is economics reporter for Congressional Quarterly.

Guests:
Dave Clark, Economics Reporter, Congressional Quarterly

Main Topic Bush, the Midnight Regulator 35 MIN, 41 SEC

In the last hours of his presidency, John Adams appointed what came to be known as "midnight judges." Jimmy Carter invented "midnight regulations." Every subsequent outgoing president has tried to perpetuate his policies by last-minute rules the next president has a hard time getting rid of. Bill Clinton strengthened environmental protections and locked up federal lands from development. George Bush complained about it, as every president does, but now Bush is doing the same thing. Based on the lessons learned eight years ago, he may be doing it more effectively, which means that Barack Obama will face a harder time making "change."  We find out why.  

Guests:
Joaquin Sapien, Reporter, ProPublica
Elizabeth Kolbert, New Yorker (@ElizKolbert)
Jeffrey Holmstead, Bracewell and Giuliani
Noah Greenwald, Center for Biological Diversity (@CenterForBioDiv)

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