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Not in the Loop

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

The departing commander in chief is receiving no fond-farewell wishes from Michigan Rep. John Conyers Jr., who is busy this week touting the new report, "Reining in the Imperial Presidency: Lessons and Recommendations Relating to the Presidency of George W. Bush."

"I am having the report posted to the Judiciary Committee Web site in order to make it available to other members of the committee, to the full House and to the American public," declares the outspoken Democrat.

Prepared by the Democratic staff of the House Judiciary Committee, the report details purported abuses by the Bush administration over eight years, including "excessive secrecy."


Internal Revenue Service not-so-fun facts for 2008 as compiled by Inside the Beltway, based on data from the Government Accountability Office:

• Number of tax returns processed by the IRS as of September: 150 million

• Number of refunds issued: 105 million, totaling $246 billion

• Number of economic stimulus payments issued: 116 million, totaling $94 billion

• Number of taxpayer phone calls to the IRS seeking answers (mostly about the timing of the stimulus payments): 118 million (more than double the calls to the IRS in 2007)

• Expected cost and foregone revenue associated with issuing the economic stimulus package: $960 million ($655 million due to the shift of IRS collections staff to answer telephones)


You've probably seen the humorous, if not forthcoming bumper sticker on the back of luxury cars and motor homes that reads: "We Are Spending Our Children's Inheritance."

Now, Texas Rep. Ted Poe, a Republican, is proposing "that we get a big sign and put it out here on the U.S. Capitol grounds that says, 'Uncle Sam is Spending Your Children and Grandchildren's Inheritance.' "


"Our trailblazer, our leader, our Big Daddy."

-- Rep. Nick J. Rahall II, West Virginia Democrat, gushing that it was an astounding 50 years or half-century ago that Sen. Robert C. Byrd, West Virginia Democrat, took his first oath of office to serve in the U.S. Senate -- an oath he has now taken a record-setting nine times.


The longest-serving Republicans in the House of Representatives are both Young.

With 36 years in Congress, Rep. Don Young of Alaska ranks second; the longest-serving is Rep. C.W. Bill Young of Florida, who was first elected in 1971.


The "Teddy Roosevelt White Pizza" is one of nine "Inaugural Pizzas" on the menu at Teatro Goldoni on K Street Northwest.

Executive chef Enzo Fargione explains that it was Roosevelt, by presidential proclamation in 1901, who officially named the executive mansion located at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. "The White House."

Other trivia-laden pizzas are named for Jimmy Carter, John Tyler, Calvin Coolidge, Grover Cleveland, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, James K. Polk, and Barack H. Obama.


A bill was introduced in the Senate this week to establish the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park in Caroline, Dorchester and Talbot counties in Maryland.

Born a slave in Dorchester County around 1820, the feisty Tubman is perhaps the most famous of the Underground Railroad's "conductors," having made 19 risky trips into the South over 10 years to lead 300 slaves to freedom.

It's been written that one of Tubman's more challenging journeys was rescuing her elderly parents, although as she later told Frederick Douglass, she "never lost a single passenger."

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