Dems promise to investigate

From MSNBC.com:

The incoming chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee is promising an array of oversight investigations that could provoke sharp disagreement with Republicans and the White House.

Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., pledged that Democrats, swept to power in the Nov. 7 elections, would govern “in the middle” next year. But the veteran lawmaker has a reputation as one who has never avoided a fight and he did not back away from that reputation on Sunday.

Among the investigations he said he wants the committee to undertake:

  • The new Medicare drug benefit. “There are lots and lots and lots of scandals,” he said, without citing specifics.
  • Spending on government contractors in Iraq, including Halliburton Co., the Texas-based oil services conglomerate once led by Vice President Dick Cheney.
  • An energy task force overseen by Cheney. It “was carefully cooked to provide only participation by oil companies and energy companies,” Dingell said.

Meanwhile, the incoming chairman of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee said his committee would not take on contentious issues, such as extending expiring tax cuts or overhauling Social Security, at the beginning of the year. Rep.  Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., said Democrats do not want a fight with President Bush and want to prove they can govern. more

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Oversight, oversight. Oversight.  I can’t say it enough.  Without oversight you get Iraq!

Blair apologizes for slavery

From CNN.com:

Prime Minister Tony Blair will express “deep sorrow” for Britain’s role in the slave trade nearly 200 years after the legislation that led to its abolition, Sunday’s Observer newspaper reported.

However Blair’s statement will stop short of a full apology despite pressure from some black campaigners and community leaders, the newspaper said.

“I believe the bicentenary offers us a chance not just to say how profoundly shameful the slave trade was — how we condemn its existence utterly and praise those who fought for its abolition — but also to express our deep sorrow that it ever could have happened,” it quoted Blair as saying in a statement due to appear in New Nation, a newspaper aimed at the black community.  more

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