This week the new Congress offers its plan to fund the government for the next eight months.
What's missing from the Democrats' spending bills? Earmarks.
No...not what happens when your clip-ons are too tight. But hidden earmarks: money that slips through Congress at the last minute to benefit one district or special interest.
It was almost two years ago that the idea for a $223 million "Bridge to Nowhere" in Alaska -- connecting a town of 8900 to an island with 50 residents -- sparked national outrage, and signaled the beginning of the end of the Republican Congress.
But are Democrats over-correcting?
They say that earmarks will be allowed again next year, but under much stricter rules. This year, however, some Congressmen complain that worthy projects--like gang prevention funding--are getting lumped together with waste.
Maybe when it comes to earmarks, politicians are tone deaf.
That's a page from my notebook.