[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/12/art.gi.scottbrown.jpg caption ="The Massachusetts Republican is giving signed baseballs and bats to donors."]
Washington (CNN) – Sen. Scott Brown is embracing the "Boys of Summer" theme for political purposes, of course.
The Massachusetts Republican is giving signed baseballs and bats to donors who contribute anywhere from $50 to $180 to his re-election campaign. His campaign made the latest fundraising pitch in an email Monday to supporters.
"As fans of the Boston Red Sox, we hope to make it to Fenway Park for a few games this summer," Brown's campaign wrote in the note. "But no matter where you live, or which team you support, we all share a passion for America's pastime.
"In the spirit of baseball season, we are offering for a limited time only, baseballs personally autographed by Senator Brown, whose upset election changed the course of American politics. We are also offering both engraved, and autographed bats."
If the Senate was a baseball team what would his jersey number be? Forty one, of course which is the number Brown is signing on the baseball items. Brown's victory in January's special election to fill the late Sen. Edward Kennedy's seat gave Republicans the crucial 41st vote in chamber to filibuster Democratic legislation.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/12/art.hrcscotus0412.gi.jpg caption="A Republican senator suggested Tuesday that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton might make a good Supreme Court justice."]
Washington (CNN) – Hillary Clinton's been a first lady, a senator, a trailblazer for women who aspire to the Oval Office and now the nation's top diplomat. Could a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court be the final stop on a long and successful career?
Well, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, floated the idea Monday when he told NBC's "Today" that she "would be an interesting person in [the Supreme Court] mix."
"I happen to like Hillary Clinton," he said. "I think she's done a good job."
Alas, it doesn't appear to be in the cards right now or so says the White House.
Washington (CNN) - Senate Democrats managed to get enough Republican support to take up a proposed extension of unemployment benefits Monday evening, but whether they have the votes to get past further GOP opposition remained uncertain, Democratic aides said.
Republicans, led by fiscal hawk Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, say they don't oppose extending unemployment benefits - they want Democrats to find a way to offset the nearly $10 billion price tag for the one-month extension. Democrats argue that cutting spending to pay for the jobless benefits, which average about $300 a week, would diminish the money's stimulative effect on the still-sagging economy.
"Do we have the presence of mind to do this in a way that doesn't hurt our children?" Coburn asked during a floor speech. 'We're debating whether to take from those who come after us and give to those today."
But four Republicans - Scott Brown of Massachusetts,; Susan Collins and Olympia Snow, of Maine and George Voinovich of Ohio - joined 56 Democrats in voting to bring up the bill. But Democrats are less confident they will get the 60 votes they need to get the bill through the Senate later this week, two Democratic leadership aides told CNN.
Brown, the Senate's newest member, told CNN he wanted to "help move things forward" but wanted Democrats to find a way to pay for the benefits before he decides how to vote on the final bill.
"Make no mistake, while people are hurting, people paying their bills are also hurting. We need to find a way to pay for this," Brown said.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/12/art.gi.file.rangel.jpg caption ="Rep. Charles Rangel has a long history with recently announced challenger Adam Clayton Powell."]
New York (CNN) - New York state legislator Adam Clayton Powell on Monday announced his candidacy in this year's Democratic primary against 20-term U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel, who has spent the past year battling an ethics investigation.
Powell acknowledged Rangel's 40-year legacy, adding it's time for change.
"I believe I will be part of that new chapter that will be written about Northern Manhattan and the New York City political history," Powell told reporters.
Powell was referring to the alleged ethics violations that led Rangel to temporarily step down last month from his post as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.
That happened on the heels of an ethics investigation for failure to pay taxes on a home in the Dominican Republic, and failure to report hundreds of thousands of dollars on federal disclosure forms. The committee found that the congressman was in violation of gift rules for accepting reimbursement payments for travel to the Caribbean for conferences in 2007 and 2008.
Rangel is also accused of misusing a rent-controlled apartment for political purposes and preserving tax benefits for an oil-drilling company in exchange for donations to a project he supported at City College of New York.
On Monday, Powell charged that Rangel plans to run for re-election with the intention of stepping down early and having a say in who would proceed him - an accusation Rangel's campaign spokesman, Kevin Wardally, said is "just not true."
Washington (CNN) – Senate Democrats expect enough Republicans will vote with them on a procedural vote Monday for the Senate to take up an extension of unemployment benefits, two Democratic leadership aides told CNN. But the aides said they were less confident that they will have the 60 votes needed to pass the bill later this week.
Republicans, led by fiscal hawk Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, are not opposed to be the unemployment aid, but are philosophically against adding to the nation's soaring debt. Coburn and other likeminded lawmakers want Democrats to offset the nearly $10 billion price tag for the one month extension.
But Democrats have steadfastly refused, arguing that offsets would diminish the simulative affect of the spending on the sagging economy.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/12/art.scotus0412.gi.jpg caption="A federal judge from Montana and the dean of Harvard's law school are among several names being added to the Supreme Court short list."]
Washington (CNN) - A federal judge from Montana and the dean of Harvard's law school are among several names being added to the short list of potential nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court, a government source tells CNN.
Sidney Thomas, a 14-year veteran on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, is being vetted by the White House, said the source, who has been regularly consulted in the selection process.
Two women who were not previously on other published lists of potential candidates are now being seriously considered. Harvard Law school dean Martha Minow has been on the school's faculty since 1981. And Elizabeth Warren heads the Congressional Oversight Panel, which reviews government efforts to boost the shaky financial and private investment sector. Neither woman has judicial experience.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/12/art.gi.stevens.jpg caption ="Stevens' willingness to put aside ego and to rule narrowly on hot-button cases - combined with an unmatched cordiality and kindness - earned him quiet power and respect."]
Washington (CNN) - When the nation's capital was turned upside down last Friday with the announcement that Justice John Paul Stevens was retiring after 40 years on the federal bench, he was miles away from the political circus– literally and figuratively.
The 89-year-old justice was quietly working on his caseload at his Ft. Lauderdale, Florida condo, a second home that serves as his occasional refuge from the high-pressure atmosphere of the U.S. Supreme Court.
It is doubtful his replacement will soon find any sanctuary in what could be a protracted fight over the shaky ideological balance of a mostly conservative high court. The 112th justice, by most measures, will have a tough act to follow, as he or she seeks to navigate the complex dynamics of a divided bench, and gain a measure of the level of influence Stevens enjoyed for the past two decades and more.
Washington (CNN) - Sen. Chuck Schumer vowed Monday to offer legislation that would prohibit airlines from charging passengers a fee to carry on luggage.
Spirit Airlines recently announced a carry on fee ranging from $30 to $45 per bag, becoming the first U.S carrier to charge for carry on luggage.
The New York Democrat said in an interview on CNN that the new fees "step over the line" and if the Treasury Department does not answer his plea to prevent the fees from being implemented he is certain that the legislation will go through the Senate and the House "like a hot knife through butter."
New York (CNNMoney.com) - The U.S. Postal Service is laboring under an outdated business model and needs to cut salaries, close facilities and take other steps to to aggressively slash costs, the Government Accountability Office said Monday.
"USPS's business model is not viable due to USPS's inability to reduce costs sufficiently in response to continuing mail volume and revenue declines," the GAO said in a report. "Given its financial problems and outlook, USPS cannot support its current level of service and operations."
The GAO study was commissioned after the Post Office submitted a proposal to Congress last month to overhaul its business model that included, among other things, the elimination of Saturday mail service.
Over the last three years, the USPS has lost nearly $12 billion as mail volume plunged 17% due to the weak economy and the increasing popularity of electronic mail.