The Sunday morning party in suburban Washington, D.C., had all the trappings of anticipation.
A lace-trimmed bassinet, a jumble of gifts tied with pink and blue ribbons, a "diaper cake" on the table. And chatter about babies, diets, new spring outfits and the coming end of the school year.
But for Sue Costello, the grandmother-in-waiting, the happy cacophony of the baby shower masked an abiding anxiety about the future of her daughter's family and the twins — a boy and a girl — who are due before June's end.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee ranking Democrat, Rep. Elijah Cummings during a Capitol Hill hearing last month.
Credit Carolyn Kaster / AP
A self-described conservative Republican who oversees IRS screeners dealing with non-profit groups has told lawmakers that he doesn't think the White House played a role in stonewalling "Tea Party" and "patriot" groups, according to the ranking Democrat on the committee investigating the matter.
News about data collection by the government sounds uncomfortably like prophetic novels of the past.
Credit Alex Williamson / Getty Images
President Obama says he's not Big Brother. The author who created the concept might disagree.
Addressing the controversy over widespread government surveillance of telephone records and Internet traffic Friday, Obama said, "In the abstract, you can complain about Big Brother and how this is a potential program run amok, but when you actually look at the details, then I think we've struck the right balance."
Newark Mayor Cory Booker at a news conference last week.
Credit Julio Cortez / Associated Press
Newark Mayor Cory Booker announced Saturday he would run to finish the late Frank Lautenberg's term in the U.S. Senate.
Booker, a 44-year-old Democrat, has served as mayor since 2006 and is Newark's third black mayor. He is hoping to claim Lautenberg's seat, which has been filled by Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa until a special election in October.
He made the announcement at a Saturday event in which he was endorsed by former U.S. Sen. Bill Bradley.
A sign posted at the entrance of Paradise Firearms in Colorado Springs invites customers to sign a recall petition against Colorado Democratic State Senate President John Morse.
Credit Ed Andrieski / AP
John Morse isn't bogged down in personal scandal. The Democratic president of the Colorado Senate isn't accused of ethical improprieties or anything else that might directly violate his oath of office.
But by pushing a sweeping gun-control measure he's alienated a swath of voters who are determined to toss him out of office before his term ends.
On Monday, groups opposing restrictions on guns turned in twice as many signatures as they needed to trigger a recall election against Morse. A recall of another state senator appears likely.
Sen. Frank Lautenberg was buried with military honors at Arlington National Cemetery on Friday. There was a steady rain. Soldiers fired rifle volleys, a bugler played taps and mourners paid their final respects.
The New Jersey Democrat was 89 when he died this week — and his death marked a somber milestone.
For the first time since the end of World War II, there are no veterans of that war in the U.S. Senate. Lautenberg had been the only one remaining.
Now, for our weekly political conversation. We're going to start with this week's big disclosures of data collection by the National Security Agency. Joining me are columnist David Brooks of The New York Times and sitting in this week for E.J. Dionne, Jane Mayer, staff writer for The New Yorker. Good to see both of you here.