At least there's something Democrats and Republicans can agree on, Paul West shows in today's story: Spreading around the pork. In an excellent expose of how Washington really works, West reveals how President Obama's desire to shut down NASA's program to revisit the moon has turned into a fund-raising bonanza for Maryland's senior senator -- with Republican help. The cash is rolling into Mikulski's campaign till from Huntsville, Ala., where NASA has a big operation that works on the moon project. She was in Huntsville for a breakfast fundraiser in October, where she got tens of thousands of dollars from Huntsvillians who respect her pro-choice stance on abortion work for NASA contractors. Mikulski is up for re-election this year.

Behind the scenes, West reports, was Alabama Republican Sen. Richard Shelby, making sure the thing went off. A key part of the rainmaking formula here is Mikulski's studied indecision. If she announced her position there would be no reason to ply her with money. She told West: "As I review NASA's plans for human space flight, I will evaluate them the way I do all decisions about NASA funding - with carefully thought through principles."

Pffft. Here are the principles that really matter, from Paul's story:

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