Washington Babylon — March 16, 2009, 8:39 am

Pork Gallery

From the Washington Post:

Just because there’s still a Justice Department investigation rattling around you doesn’t mean lobbyists can’t contribute to buying a portrait for you to hang in your congressional committee’s hearing room. But don’t reach for those checkbooks. The effort to raise $30,000 for a portrait of Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.), former chairman and now ranking GOP member of the House Appropriations Committee, has met its goal, we hear.

The investigation, a subset of the probe of disgraced former lobbyist Jack Abramoff, apparently has been dormant for a while, indicating Lewis is in pretty good legal shape. And even if the investigation heats up, there’s no worry that Lewis’s portrait won’t be hanging soon in the hearing room — even if he’s indicted and convicted. After all, former House Ways and Means Committee chairman Dan Rostenkowski (D-Ill.) pleaded guilty to two counts of mail fraud in the House Post Office scandal and did over a year in the slammer, and his portrait proudly hangs in that hearing room.

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I first heard the name Barack Obama in the spring of 2004, while visiting my mother in Chicago. As we sat around the kitchen table early one spring morning, I noticed a handsome studio portrait among the pictures, lists, cards, and other totems of family life fastened to the refrigerator door. “Who’s the guy with the ears?” I asked, assuming he was some distant relative or family friend I didn’t know or else had forgotten. “Barack Obama,” she answered with a broad smile. “He’s running for Senate, but he’s going to be the first black president.”

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I first heard the name Barack Obama in the spring of 2004, while visiting my mother in Chicago. As we sat around the kitchen table early one spring morning, I noticed a handsome studio portrait among the pictures, lists, cards, and other totems of family life fastened to the refrigerator door. “Who’s the guy with the ears?” I asked, assuming he was some distant relative or family friend I didn’t know or else had forgotten. “Barack Obama,” she answered with a broad smile. “He’s running for Senate, but he’s going to be the first black president.”

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