Hillary Takes Asia, Barack Takes Colorado, And Washington Goes To Hell In A Handbasket

With Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama on the road, Washington is pretty much going to hell between ethics investigations, cease and desist orders and a governor refusing to take money so he can be President.

While Hillary Clinton is over in Asia, finishing in Japan by telling girls to "do what's true to yourself and then making a large detour to Indonesia in order to highlight and improve our relations with a moderate Muslim nation after the Republicans spent most of the election calling them terrorists, Barack Obama was on the road, too, signing the stimulus bill in Denver before heading to Phoenix to accept a size 23 shoe autographed by Shaq and, oh yeah, unveil his plan to stem the tide of home foreclosures. But while the grown-ups are away, Washington will apparently play.

And play they did, with the news that newly minted Illinois Senator Roland Burris had more contacts with former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich's staff than he initially testified to and, oh, yeah, tried to raise money for Blago to get the Senate seat Blago eventually gave him. The Chicago Tribune and the Washington Post are both calling for Burris to resign, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is talking about a potential Ethics Committee investigation and Burris may soon find himself facing impeachment charges in Illinois. Fun times!

Republicans are having fun on their own, with House Republican Whip Eric Cantor getting a cease and desist letter from Aerosmith over his use of the band's song in an anti-stimulus video and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal saying he doesn't want the federal government's damn stimulus money because he wants to run for President later. Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann thinks we're "running out of rich people" except for Postmaster General John Potter, who got more than $850,000 in compensation last year despite the Post Office being awash in red ink and talking about ending Saturday mail service. Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey's sitting pretty with a new job, though, doing corporate law and raking in the fees even as his predecessor Alberto Gonzales spends his days job-hunting and blaming his lack of prospects on the poor economy rather than his utter disregard for the Constitution.

Speaking of the shitty economy, 14,000 Americans a day are now losing their health insurance, the government's bailout stock portfolio lost $86.5 billion since October, the banks that got the bailout money cut lending anyway and GM and Chrysler would like another $22 billion, please. While South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham is defending his statement that we ought to consider full-on nationalizing some of the banks, no one's talking about how we may end up de facto nationalizing the car companies if we're just propping them up with billions of dollars every single month.

Meanwhile, Barack Obama will be sending more troops into Afghanistan, spending some of his political capital for that instead of the stimulus plan, but he probably won't be sending the Uighurs he releases from Guantanamo Bay back to China, what with the likelihood that the Chinese will just execute them. He's then going to head to Canada and play nice on NAFTA (did you know Canada's a member too? Neither did most Americans!) and, apparently, definitely not nominate Howard Dean to be the Secretary of Health and Human Services because Dean might not be able to play nice with Republicans. You know, since the Republicans themselves are playing so nice these days.