Man, you can't take a vacation without the Republicans first trying to slip something past you. And by you, I mean the House Democrats. First it was the insertion of an anti-abortion provision into the spending omnibus. Regardless of your views on abortion, this isn't how the government is supposed to work, folks. Just before voting on said omnibus, Democrats discovered that a Republican representative from Oklahoma had inserted a provision making anyone's tax returns available to Congressional staff: see link above. Deeply embarrassed Republicans claimed that the insertion was a mistake and that that provision of the omnibus stands no chance of going into law.
When a document is 1630 pages and is a must-pass piece of legislation such as a spending omnibus, the situation is simply too ripe for abuse, as certain House Republicans have demonstrated. There is simply no way for congressmen who received a copy of the omnibus in the early morning to have it thoroughly read by the evening vote. As John McCain notes, this shows how broken the system really is. It's reminiscent of the Patriot Act, another piece of legislation that congressmen could've spent a little more time reading, to say the least.
LOCAL GOP WATCH
As many of you will know, the governor's race in Washington has still not been decided and a mandatory recount is underway to determine whether Rossi's very slim lead over Gregoire holds. Republicans are trying to prevent many votes in heavily-Democratic King County from being recounted, because they are not machine-read ballots. So much for "every vote counts." This isn't about equal protection under the law, it's about employing any means to the end. Meanwhile, Democrats are asking that Republican counties be required to recount their ballots by flashlight with one arm tied behind their back.
Update: I forgot to mention, California Representative Barbara Boxer was going to stall on the spending omnibus until the anti-abortion provision was removed, but she relented when Senator Bill Frist promised that the Senate would hold a separate vote on the issue in the Spring. So we have a long Winter ahead of wondering how good Frist's word is.