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Republicans may be more in touch with American roots music than Democrats. Maybe. There are 27 Republican lawmakers on the host committee of the 7th Annual Congressional Blues Festival, and 20 Democrats - including Rep. George Miller of California, chairman of the sold-out event that has already raised $1 million to preserve heritage music and its makers.

The effort is so bodacious that it’s being staged Wednesday at the National Building Museum, historic home to behemoth presidential inauguration galas.

An organizer tells Inside the Beltway that tickets provide “all you can eat and drink all night, and rocking performances by Grammy nominated headliners Robert Randolph and the Family Band — joined by Howard Gospel Choir, Sol and Funk Root, and Bobby Parker. The menu features flavorful southern-influenced fare, with vegetarian options.”


The American Jewish Committee (AJC) is alarmed that two United Nations officials will attend the inauguration of Sudanese President Omar Hassan Bashir, scheduled for Thursday.

“President Bashir is a wanted man, indicted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity and atrocities in Darfur,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris. “He should be arrested, not feted. Official U.N. participation in Bashir’s inauguration would be nothing short of tragic.”

Haile Menkerios, head of the U.N. mission in Sudan, and Ibrahim Gambari, joint head of the African Union/U.N. mission in Darfur, will attend the ceremony, which Mr. Harris fears “confers legitimacy” on Mr. Bashir and undermines the international court system.

“The Arab League and African Union, in a circle-the-wagons show of support for Bashir, have rejected the ICC indictment. And, to make matters still worse, several Arab and African nations have rolled out the red carpet for Bashir on official visits since the ICC action,” he adds.


• 72 percent of U.S. voters say they are not confident that Congress “knows what it is doing” when addressing the nation’s economic problems.

• 6 percent are “very confident” lawmakers can solve the problems.

• 27 percent are “somewhat confident.”

• 53 percent of Democratic respondents are confident Congress can deal with the economy.

• 9 percent of Republicans and 12 percent of unaffiliated voters agree.

Source: A Rasmussen Reports survey of 1,000 likely voters conducted Tuesday and Wednesday.

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