Beltway Confidential

10 lowlights of the week

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Beltway Confidential,Commentary Writer

Another broken promise

1| Feds: Obamacare adds $6.2 trillion to deficit

The details: President Obama vowed in 2009 not to sign a health care bill that would add "one dime to our deficits," but the Government Accountability Office reports that Obamacare adds $6.2 trillion to the long-term deficit.

Attacks from Taliban not declining

2| Panetta's talking point wrong

The details: As defense secretary, Leon Panetta often noted that Taliban attacks on coalition forces were declining, but the military admitted this week that it made a mistake in its calculations, and that the attacks have continued at the same rate.

Torture fears or smears?

3| Karzai orders elite US troops out of province

The details: Afghan President Hamid Karzai ordered U.S. special operations forces out of Wardak province, where counterinsurgency operations are ongoing, claiming that Afghans associated with the U.S. military have tortured civilians. The United States denies that any of its associates were involved.

$505.5 billion

4| Income drops most in 20 years

The details: "Personal income decreased by $505.5 billion in January, or 3.6%," CNN reported, noting that the drop was driven in part by tax increases in the "fiscal cliff" deal.

Party in the USDA!

5| $340m for government conferences last year

The details: Federal officials spent $340 million on 894 conferences last year, according to a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee report. The report only accounted for conferences that cost more than $100,000.

Officer down

6| Old Town shooting

The details: A 17-year veteran of the Alexandria Police Department was shot and critically wounded in Old Town on Wednesday outside an elementary school playground. The suspect, a cab driver, led police on a chase into Fairfax County, where he was apprehended after crashing his taxi into another vehicle.

Birds of a feather

7| Councilman reprimanded

The details: D.C. Councilman Jim Graham was the second council member, after former Mayor Marion Barry, to be officially reprimanded by his colleagues for ethical violations in the legislative body's 38-year history. Barry was the only member to vote against Graham's public reprimand.

Dropout factories

8| Surge in D.C.

The details: Less than 61 percent of ninth-graders at 13 "dropout factories" in D.C. make it to senior year, according to a new report. That's a significant increase since 2002, when only two District high schools had graduation rates below 50 percent.

Track lemons

9| Rail car breakdowns

The details: Metrorail cars fell far short of the transit agency's goal of 60,000 miles without a breakdown, Metro board members learned this week. The large number of premature breakdowns are the cause of long delays, packed trains and overcrowded station platforms.

Parking permits

10| Fake disability, free parking

The details: Nine more employees of Chief Financial Officer Natwar Gandhi, for a total of 11, have been accused of fraudulently using handicapped parking placards to park for free, according to the D.C. inspector general.

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The Washington Examiner
The Washington Examiner