Crew of 42, a blog all about the CBC launched a week or so ago. Blogger and founder, Lauren Burke sent me an email that looked like an invitation to a fancy party. I was hoping to go to that party but after clicking, instead found myself looking at an unusually high gloss blog. The attempt at a scrappy, indie feel mimicing other political blogs just starting out seemed undercut by all the hightone graphics and sophisticated style.

Here’s Burke’s own description, loudly proclaiming herself as a DC insider:

Currently I am a freelance writer/photographer workaholic political junkie. My primary clients are ABC News, THE HILL, Ebony, Associated Press, CNN, and C-SPAN. I also own WDCPIX.COM photo service. My dad (cop) was born in NYC and my mom (teacher) was born in Emporia, VA. I spend time between DC, NY and VA.

Burke also claims:

This blog has no official affiliation with the CBC or any individual member therein.

Yet, I wonder if the CBC or its Institute hasn’t found a way to “sponsor” or “encourage” someone (using money) to blog their activities for them. A friendly blogger if you will. It’s a bit deceptive and astroturf-y. It’s also a bit transparent — the blog is loathe to criticize any CBC members or traffic in real commentary — not even about “Dollar Bill” Jefferson, the man with $90K in his freezer.

Burke even touts her personal involvement in the “CBC Portrait Project“:

The CBC portrait project by myself and the best portrait photographer in the Eastern U.S., Benjamin Jay Myers, continues. The above gallery is only a few examples from the project. Thirty-one members of the CBC have participated so far and we really thank them once again for their time during one of the busiest legislative periods in years.

Ugh — so kiss-assy. No, the blog seems suspiciously cozy with its subjects and a mite too fawning. I’m guessing she might be somebody’s internet-hip cousin?

But back it on up — it’s a well-written, timely blog with some great info as long as you, ahem, read between the lines. Burke seems to be a bit freer with her posts lately. And bottom line: the machinations of the CBC are fascinating. Black power is intoxicating and sexy. Get used to it, America.

Check out this bit from Burke on 14 members of the CBC meeting with Pelosi on healthcare:

In the room (H-210 of the Capitol): Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Charlie Rangel, Danny Davis, G.K. Butterfield, Sheila Jackson Lee, Elijah Cummings, Chaka Fattah, Bobby Scott, Donna Edwards, Laura Richardson, Gwen Moore, Donna Christensen, EBJ, Bobby Rush, and Barbara Lee.
The issues discussed are familiar: Urban vs. Rural hospitals $$, bringing the bill to the floor NOW and not later and, of course, BEFORE the recess, and the Waxman pronouncement reported that he is ready to move forward despite the Blue Dog vote block. Several members indicated that things appear to be on track but off course there has to be compromise. As usual the devil is in the details. Blue Dogs Mike Ross and Charlie Melancon have declared the talks are at a major impasse. If there is a deal next week keep an eye on whether or not the CBC health care priorities remain in the bill.

Or this special nugget:

Rangel (AP): “No one wants to tell the speaker (Nancy Pelosi) that she’s moving too fast and they damn sure don’t want to tell the president,” Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., a key committee chairman, told a fellow lawmaker as the two walked into a closed-door meeting Tuesday. The remark was overheard by reporters.

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