April 2004 Archive
April 30, 2004
A Rant Riddle...
What was the most difficult decision George W. Bush made in preparation for yesterday's closed-door interview with the 9/11 Commission?
Whether to sit on Dick Cheney's left knee or right knee.
Once upon a time there was a Presidential election that was too close to call. Neither the Republican presidential candidate nor the Democratic presidential candidate had enough votes to win the election. Therefore, it was decided that there should be an ice fishing contest between the two candidates to determine the final winner. There was much talk about ballot recounting, court challenges, etc., but a week-long ice fishing competition seemed the (manly) way to settle things. The candidate who caught the most fish at the end of the week would win.
After a lot of back and forth discussion, it was decided that the contest would take place on a remote and cold lake in Wisconsin. There were to be no observers present, and both men were to be sent out separately on this remote lake and return daily with their catch for counting and verification.
At the end of the first day, Kerry returned to the starting line and he had 10 fish. Soon, W. returned and had zero fish. Well, all of W.'s supporters assumed he was just having another bad day or something and, hopefully, he would catch up the next day.
At the end of the second day, Kerry came in with 20 fish and W. came in again with none. That evening, Dick Cheney got together secretly with W. and said, "I think Kerry is a lowlife cheatin' son-of-a-gun. I want you to go out tomorrow and don't even bother with fishing. Just spy on him and see if he is cheating in any way."
The next night (after Kerry came back with 50 fish), Cheney said to Bush, "Well, what about it, is Kerry cheatin'?"
"He sure is, Dick, he's cutting holes in the ice."
April 29, 2004
Yesterday, the Supreme Court heard oral argument regarding the authority of the Bush administration to hold two Americans as "enemy combatants". The Americans are being held at an army brig in South Carolina ( and numerous non-Americans are being held at Guantanamo) incommunicado, without any access to legal representation, and with no review outside of the administration (judicial or otherwise) of the facts to determine whether there is a basis to connect them with al Qaeda or the Taliban. Yesterday's case only questioned the deprivation of rights of U.S. citizens.
Clearly, the U.S Constitution does not protect foreigners who are captured outside of the U.S. and not brought to the U.S. However, by denying the Guantanamo prisoners even the rights guaranteed POW's under the Geneva Convention, the United States has abdicated any claims of leadership for justice it might have had in the eyes of the world.
George W. Bush has spoken with the zeal of a missionary about freedom being a right given to all human beings not by the U.S. but by God. While I disagree with Bush about the role of the U.S. serving as the hand of God bringing freedom to the oppressed (at least to those in oil-rich countries), I agree that freedom and justice are fundamental rights to which all people are entitled to aspire.
How can we effectively advocate for freedom and justice when we deny to human beings even the most basic elements of due process?
Bush and Cheney and Ashcroft would argue that, in a condition of war, our security demands that such people be held without any recourse. I would suggest that extending the umbrella of justice to our most hated enemies would set an example for the world, reclaim the moral high ground and, in the end, be an antidote to the contempt for the U.S. in many parts of the world.
It is good to do right.
What can be done to the least of us can be done to any of us.
April 28, 2004
April 27, 2004
Previously on The Rant...
3/17 Our current policy [toward the Israel - Palestinian conflict], coupled with our world-be-damned war in Iraq, will continue to fuel the fires of terrorism assuring that that war will go on and on.
3/18 According to The Pew Research Center, there is broad agreement in nearly all of the countries surveyed the U.S. being a notable exception that the war in Iraq hurt, rather than helped, the war on terrorism.
4/14 In the name of fighting terrorism, Bush is fueling it.
King Abdullah of Jordan, one of America's staunchest allies in the Arab world, was in California for a technology conference. He was scheduled to visit the White house while in the US. After the Sharon visit, Abdullah canceled the meeting with Bush.
There was anguishing and forceful evidence that the hatred of the United States is being fueled - 17 more American soldiers were killed in Iraq.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, another major US ally, said there is more hatred of Americans in the Arab world today than ever before because of the US intervention in Iraq. "After what has happened in Iraq, there is an unprecedented hatred and the Americans know it," he added. "There exists today a hatred never equaled in the region." Mubarak, whose country is among the biggest beneficiaries of U.S. foreign economic assistance, faulted U.S. missteps in Iraq that have worsened the situation. "In Iraq, they (the Americans) said: 'We are not going to allow the creation of an Islamic states.' Result: people are attached even more to the idea of religion," Mubarak said.
Mubarak said the dwindling image of the United States among his fellow Arabs has been exacerbated by what is seen as near-unflinching US support for Israel. Many Arabs feel a sense of "injustice" in the way the United States has offered strong backing for Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. "What's more, they see Sharon act as he wants, without the Americans saying anything," Mubarak said.
My take on this...
John Kerry has been criticized for saying that some foreign leaders have privately expressed to him that they are hoping that he wins the 2004 election. I have three observations:
- I don't know who has said what to Kerry but can there be any doubt that our traditional allies like Egypt, Jordan, Canada, Mexico, Germany, and France, all who opposed our war in Iraq, would like to see our foreign policy go in a new direction?
- Can there be any doubt that foreign leaders would not publicly acknowledge their support for Kerry (and that they know it would be counter-productive to make their support public)?
- Sunday, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman wrote "Has America become so radioactive in the Arab-Muslim world that we glow in the dark and therefore it is dangerous for anyone to walk the streets with us...?" I suggest that Kerry's election will prove that the half-life of the radioactivity of America will be short - our traditional allies will eagerly take the hand of an American administration which genuinely wants to work through the world's crises as partners.
April 26, 2004
April 25, 2004
Are you kidding me?
Yesterday, the Green Bay Packers traded their fourth and fifth round picks for a late third round pick which they used to draft B.J. Sander, a punter from Ohio State. Many of the visitors to a Packer chat room were ranting about the Packers drafting a punter in the third round. I can deal with that, particularly if B.J. turns out to be a very good punter in the NFL. What I am bothered about is B.J.'s major at Ohio State - he was a "Turf and Grass Major". What the hell is that?
The Packers have a long tradition at the training camp where kids wait outside the locker room area with their bicycles and as the players come out for practice, they ride the kids' bikes to the field. If, in July, we see B.J. Sander on a riding lawn mower, we'll have some real insight into this draft pick.
By the way, "turf and grass" are closely related to bushes (first, all are plants and, second, George W. has the intellect of sod). Get my drift?
April 24, 2004
Jay Leno: "On '60 Minutes' on last Sunday Bob Woodward suggested that the main reason President Bush took the country to war is that he thinks he's on a mission from God. Of course the problem with that is, it's also Osama bin Laden's reason."
"John Kerry has three Purple Hearts for his war wounds and Dick Cheney has one Purple Heart from deep dish pizza."
April 23, 2004
Yesterday was Earth Day. How did the Bush administration honor it?
A GOTCHA at Houston's...
Wednesday night, we dined at Houston's, a popular restaurant in Coral Gables which is part of a national chain. One of our friends at the table ordered lemonade. Each time a server asked whether any of us wanted drink refills, he was offered more lemonade. After the meal, when we reviewed the bill we discovered that we were charged for two lemonades. We inquired about what we thought was a mistake and were told that only one refill of lemonade is complimentary.
George H. W. Bush lives in Houston. You figure it out.
Jon Stewart: "With the situation in Iraq growing ever more dangerous, the 34-member Coalition of The Willing are, one by one, dropping out to join the other coalition known as Most of The Rest of The World."
Jay Leno: "Colin Powell said that other countries may also follow Spain and pull their troops out of Iraq. I'm sorry, pull their troop out of Iraq."
"President Bush commented for the first time on the Woodward book. Bush said he couldn't wait until the book came out on tape so he can find out what all the fuss is about."
April 22, 2004
John Kerry Military Fitness
(scroll down for Bush evaluations)
George W. Bush Military Fitness Evaluations
No editorial comment is necessary.
April 21, 2004
|At a recent Washington dinner party hosted by New York Times D.C. bureau chief Philip Taubman, Condoleezza Rice was reportedly overheard saying, As I was telling my husb and then stopping herself abruptly, before saying, As I was telling President Bush. Jaws dropped, but a guest says the slip by the unmarried politician, who spends weekends with the president and his wife, seemed more psychologically telling than incriminating. A National Security Council spokesman laughed and said, No comment.|
Jon Stewart: "After going to war against the U.N.'s expressed wishes, the U.S. is now admitting it needs the U.N.'s help. It's the geopolitical equivalent of the 2 a.m. phone call ever parent dreads: 'Mom, I'm not saying I wrecked the car, but I need a ride home.'"
"Spain's new Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero announced he will soon call back Spain's 1300 troops from Iraq -- meaning the coalition of the willing is fast turning into a duet of the stubborn."
Jay Leno: "A new poll shows that most college students would rather have President Bush as a roommate than John Kerry. Yeah, but which one would you rather cheat off of in class?"
April 20, 2004
April 19, 2004
10 More U.S. Dead In Iraq This Weekend.
The deaths brought to 99 the number of US troops killed in violence since April 1. At least 697 U.S. service members have died in Iraq since the war began in March 2003.
Yesterday, on Meet The Press, John Kerry said that Bush made a mistake in the way he went to war in Iraq, spurning the U.N. and a true international consensus. Our problems in Iraq were not winning the "war" (defeating Hussein's army) but, as we now painfully understand, governing and rebuilding Iraq. Many Iraqis, even those who welcomed the downfall of Hussein, do not want the U.S. occupying the country or selecting the new Iraqi government. Had the toppling and rebuilding of Iraq been a U.N. operation, there would have been less resentment. The Bush administration is only now coming to realize the importance of having the U.N. take the point in putting together a new Iraq government. However, many countries in the U.N. and the U.N.'s leadership is understandably reluctant to now join (bail out) the U.S.
Bush constantly touts the international makeup of the coalition and says that characterizations of the occupation as a U.S. operation demean the contribution of the other countries. More than 80% of the Coalition of the Willing troops are from the U.S. (almost 90% from the U.S. and the U.K.). Spain and Honduras are pulling troops out of the Coalition within weeks. I have been unable to find data on the amount of new U.S. foreign aid promised to third world countries in exchange for their token participation in the Coalition.
|Iraq Troop numbers March 2004|
April 18, 2004
George "Stonewall" Bush
The evidence mounts that the Bush administration routinely withholds information from the public, Congress, and investigative bodies to protect its political agenda. For example:
On April 27, the Supreme court will hear argument on Vice President Dick Cheney's refusal to disclose details of his secret Energy Task Force.
An investigation is pending on allegations that the chief Medicare auditor was threatened to keep him from disclosing a $130 billion shortfall in the Bush administrations budget for its Medicare reform bill.
Since the proposal of the 9/11 Commission, the Bush administration opposed its formation and then has consistently thwarted its access to information and witnesses.
Now, Vermont Senator Jeffords has
disclosed that he had been "stonewalled in getting information from the EPA" and
pointed to 12 unmet requests for documents between May 2001, when he left the Republican Party and became an independent, and January 2004. "I have bent over backwards to try to accommodate the EPA, but my patience is now worn out," Jeffords said. "I had hoped that we could put the posturing aside, receive information to which we are entitled from this agency, and get on with a productive dialogue about environmental policy." The documents mostly have to do with the Bush administration's changes to air pollution rules which eased requirements that power plants install modern pollution-control equipment when expanding or significantly modifying operations. "The information I requested, quite simply, would help us and the public better understand how the administration arrived at its questionable interpretations of the Clean Air Act. Jeffords, the most senior non-Republican member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, was joined on March 4 by the panel's chairman, Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., in writing to EPA Administrator Leavitt "to express our commonly held position that the agency is obligated to respond to requests from each the chair and ranking member."
Bush campaigned on the claim that he trusts the American people more than he trusts the government. More recently, he has spoken with missionary-like zeal about freedom being an God-given right of all people. Too bad he won't trust the American people with the facts. He knows the truth will set us free.
April 17, 2004
April 16, 2004
Chicken Little 2004: "The country is going deaf!"
Q-tips cotton swabs with wood sticks are no longer being produced. Drugstore.com claims to be getting the last inventory of wood Q-tips in May and is selling them at a premium - about double the price of the item before its impending extinction.
The lawyers for Chesebrough-Pond's USA Company, the makers of Q-tips have mandated a warning label on the package which says:
If used to clean ears, stroke swab gently around the outer surface of the ear, without entering the ear canal... Entering the ear canal could cause injury.
Oh, yeah? A society relegated to using swabs with rolled paper or plastic shafts (you certainly can't call them sticks) is doomed to ear wax buildup and, ultimately, deafness. First, drivers without passengers (you know, the ones who think their car windows are opaque from the outside) will no longer have an index finger in a nostril. Instead, pinkies will be in the ear up to the first knuckle. But, as we all know, the pinkie will not reach those inner recesses. Mark my words, within months, emergency rooms across the country will be filled with ear injuries, self-inflicted by people who improvise with wire coat hangers, fondue forks, and power drills to uncake their ears.
I don't yet have the proof as to who is responsible for this disaster - but there was no wood stick Q-tip shortage under the Clinton administration. Draw your own conclusions.
If anyone reading this Rant has access to a cache of wood Q-tips, I'll take a case!
David Letterman: "CIA Director George Tenet has now testified before the 9/11 commission and he said we are still making the same dumb mistakes, like leaving memos on the President's desk."
April 15, 2004
From the transcript of the Bush "Press Conference":
Q: I was asking why you're appearing together, rather than separately, which was their request.
THE PRESIDENT: Because it's a good chance for both of us to answer questions that the 9/11 Commission is looking forward to asking us, and I'm looking forward to answering them.
Q: Thank you, Mr. President. In the last campaign, you were asked a question about the biggest mistake you'd made in your life, and you used to like to joke that it was trading Sammy Sosa. You've looked back before 9/11 for what mistakes might have been made. After 9/11, what would your biggest mistake be, would you say, and what lessons have you learned from it?
THE PRESIDENT: I wish you would have given me this written question ahead of time, so I could plan for it. (Laughter.) John, I'm sure historians will look back and say, gosh, he could have done it better this way, or that way. You know, I just -- I'm sure something will pop into my head here in the midst of this press conference, with all the pressure of trying to come up with an answer, but it hadn't yet.... I hope I -- I don't want to sound like I've made no mistakes. I'm confident I have. I just haven't -- you just put me under the spot here, and maybe I'm not as quick on my feet as I should be in coming up with one.
Somehow, I think Bush's response to the second question is the real answer to the first question.
Jay Leno: "The argument continues about President Bush and whether he did anything about that memo. You know, the famous memo that said terrorists are planning a major attack inside the United States. Actually, it turns out that Bush was more concerned about another urgent memo he got from Attorney General John Ashcroft saying that two gay guys in San Francisco may be planning to get married."
David Letterman: "President Bush insisted that there was nothing in the August 6th, 2001 briefing, which was titled 'Bin Laden determined to attack the United States', that hinted what bin Laden was up to. Bush says that he would have moved mountains to stop the attack. Yeah, but he draws the line at reading a memo."
"Bush insisted that Iraq is not another Viet Nam. Well, of course not. Bush avoided Viet Nam."
April 14, 2004
"Love means never having to say you're sorry."
George W. Bush was asked last night if, like Richard Clarke, he should apologize to the 9/11 families and America for failure to take action against terrorism which might have prevented 9/11. Dream on.
Bush's whole persona is one of arrogance and machismo which is totally inconsistent with any admission of an error. He is incapable of any public acknowledgement of weakness or fallibility. Indeed, I believe him to be so self-deluded that he does not even privately comprehend his failures.
What is worse is that this arrogance and machismo drives Bush's foreign policy. Not only did Bush lack the humility necessary to build a true international coalition and work through the United Nations to contain Saddam Hussein, he wears as a badge of honor that he and America can and will do as they see fit anywhere in the world.
Which brings us to another question asked Bush last night - Can we win the war on terrorism? Bush's answer - "Of course we will." - illustrates his inability to grasp the essence of terrorism. Terrorism will be with us as long as there is one person willing to die if he/she believes it will further a cause. What is more critical (and ironic) about Bush's presidency is that his arrogance in foreign policy breeds more martyr wannabes. In the name of fighting terrorism, Bush is fueling it. In the name of making the world a safer place, Bush is making the world more dangerous.
April 13, 2004
Tina Fey: "In response to a request by the 9/11 commission the White House agreed to declassify the president's daily intelligence briefing from August 6th titled Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States. The commission also wants to see the August 20th briefing, No Seriously Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States and also from August 26th, Mr. President, Please Put Down the Game Boy, Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States."
Jay Leno: Condoleezza Rice gave her big testimony before the 9/11 commission. She said one of her big ambitions in life is to become the commissioner of the National Football League. And she demonstrated her ability to perform the end around, the double reverse and the prevent defense."
"Rupert Murdoch, the owner of Fox News, has announced that he will support President Bush's re-election. Really, it's so hard to tell from the news coverage."
April 12, 2004
April 11, 2004
The August 6, 2001 PDB
The much-discussed 8/6/01 Presidential Daily Briefing ("Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in US") was declassified and released yesterday. Although Condoleezza Rice characterized the PDB as containing historical information, the report did include the following:
FBI information... indicates patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York.
The FBI is conducting approximately 70 full field investigations throughout the US that it considers Bin Ladin-related.
Rice was right in that the PDB did not contain specific information to know the specifics of the 9/11 attacks. However, even without the hindsight of 9/11, wouldn't the following Executive Order have been appropriate?
THE WHITE HOUSE
August 6, 2001
To: National Security Advisor
Secretary of Transportation
From: The President
I am attaching a copy of today's PDB for your review. By tomorrow, I want a status report on the following:
Implementation of Anti-Terrorism Chief Richard Clark's January 26, 2001 recommended action plan.
Review and recommendations from the FAA on airport security.
Directives to all FBI field agents that investigations of suspected Al Qaeda activity in the U.S. be given the highest priority and that all information be immediately directed to Anti-Terrorism Chief Richard Clark.
Identification of and plan for increased security for government buildings, nuclear power plants, and other potential terrorist targets.
Protection of the United States from terrorists is our number one priority - even more important than killing the son-of-a-bitch Hussein who tried to hurt my daddy nine years ago.
April 10, 2004
Shame on the 9/11 Commission for agreeing to a three hour time limit for Condoleezza Rice's testimony. Rice gave a lengthy opening statement and long unresponsive responses to questions - effectively filibustering.
The nation's gratitude should be expressed to the organization, Families of 9/11. The families were the decisive factor forcing the Bush administration to accept the formation of the 9/11 Commission, the extension of time for the Commission to complete its report, Condoleezza Rice testifying publicly, Bush meeting with the entire Commission without a time limit (albeit with Cheney there to do the talking), and, over the next few days, forcing the White House to declassify the August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Briefing which predicted Bin Laden's attack on America.
Jay Leno: "Condoleezza Rice testified before the 9-11 commission. She did a great job. It is not easy raising your right hand while youre trying to cover your ass at the same time."
"President Bush was able to watch Condoleezza Rice's testimony after all. It seems that Sponge Bob Square Pants was a rerun."
April 9, 2004
The Condoleezza Show
I was able to listen to most of the Condoleezza Rice testimony before the 9/11 Commission yesterday. I also watched a good deal of the reaction and commentary on CNN and MSNBC. The whole business reinforced that which is obvious to many - about 90% of the people in this country are so polarized that they watch Bush and any member of his team and come away with totally opposing opinions of what is right and wrong. Not only that, both sides are totally befuddled as to how the other side can be so blind and ignorant.
Not that this is a new phenomena. I think it was like this during much of the Clinton presidency - but it is worse now. One irony of this vicious split is that one of Bush's campaign themes was that he intended to be a "uniter not a divider".
The other irony is that it is unlikely the election will be determined by this 90% of the population which is getting more lathered every day. The election will be decided by the other 10% (or rather those in the other 10% who end up voting). Many of these tweeners are so because they are either turned off by the political process or feel so disenfranchised that they have become indifferent to the political process. This latter group offers the greatest opportunity for the Democrats. To the extent that the disenfranchised can be motivated (made to feel empowered) to vote, the overwhelming majority of those people will support the party of the people. If I am right, Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson can play important roles in electing John Kerry.
Which brings me to today's final irony. Despite being the highest ranking African-Americans in any administration, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice will generate little support for their leader in the communities from which they have come.
April 8, 2004
From the Do-It-Yourself Network?
A genuine feel-good story: Sex may help prevent prostate cancer
Carl T. Hall, Chronicle Science Writer
Wednesday, April 7, 2004
©2004 San Francisco Chronicle
Not too many studies these days conclude that a little sex is good, and even more sex is better.
But in one of the first major attempts to gauge the cancer risk of male sexual activity, researchers at the prestigious National Cancer Institute discovered to their great surprise that a lot of orgasms do a guy no harm -- and may even do him some good.
It matters not if they happen during sexual intercourse with a man or a woman, or if they occur spontaneously during sleep. Even masturbation, scientifically speaking, is good for you.
"As epidemiology studies go, this is about as good as it gets," said John Witte, a genetic epidemiologist at UCSF, who was not one of the study's authors but was familiar with the results. "In this day and age, when most of the health warnings are negative -- 'don't do this, don't do that' -- this is kind of a fun one. So ejaculation is something people don't have to feel bad about."
The study, which appears in the latest Journal of the American Medical Association, is by far the most ambitious attempt yet to clear away some of the confusion surrounding male sexual function and one of mankind's deadliest cancers.
The prostate study includes results for 29,342 men. The health professionals filled out detailed survey forms every two years from 1992 to 2000, estimating how many ejaculations they had had per month on average during their 20s, their 40s and the past year. Sexual climaxes during intercourse and masturbation, as well as nocturnal emissions, all counted the same.
Results were striking: Men having the most orgasms reduced their prostate cancer risk by a full third compared with those men reporting the fewest orgasms. The same pattern held true for those who landed in between the extremes, including an 11 percent reduced cancer risk for those estimating eight to 12 monthly ejaculations and a 14 percent decrease for those in the 13- to-20 ejaculation group.
But the epidemiologists said they had no intention of launching a new pro- masturbation public-health campaign aimed at teenage boys. No need for that, they said.
David Letterman: "President Bush says he is looking forward to the testimony of Condoleeza Rice. Yes, he is very excited about Condoleeza Rice's testimony before Congress. Well, it makes perfect sense he wants to know what was going on, too."
Jay Leno: "Vice President Dick Cheney threw out the first pitch at the Cincinnati Reds opening game. And President Bush, he threw out the first pitch at the Cardinals opener. Well it's nice to see they have the time for that kind of stuff now that everything is under control in Iraq."
April 7, 2004
No (Affluent) Child Left Behind:
The AP reported Monday "eleven states will get less federal money for poor students next school year." The cuts come even as the federal government imposes more stringent standards on every school as part of the No Child Left Behind Act.
But Department of Education data reveals the problem is even worse than previously reported. Data detailing cuts at the local level shows over 7,000 school districts not just in 11 states but across the nation will face significant cuts in federal funds to help disadvantaged kids in reading, math and other subjects. Nearly half of all school districts and millions of children will be affected.
The Bush administration's persistent underfunding of federal education programs is largely responsible for the cuts. For 2004, the President has spent more than $6 billion less in Title I education funding than he committed to when he signed the No Child Left Behind Act.
Nevertheless, throughout the country Republicans continue to push school voucher programs which siphon the precious funding for public education to private and parochial schools.
Jay Leno: "According Time magazine, Condoleezza Rice has been rehearsing for her appearance this week before the 9/11 commission. They say she has been practicing her answers by having her aides ask her questions. Wouldn't it be easier just to tell the truth? Then you wouldn't have to remember the answer."
April 6, 2004
Bush vs. The Environment
Executives of companies that ran afoul of the Clean Air Act before the Bush Administration's revisions were major contributors to the
President. FirstEnergy President Anthony Alexander, Reliant Resources CEO Steve Letbetter
and Reliant's Chairman Don Jordan, whose companies were sued by the EPA, were Pioneers on Bush's 2000 campaign meaning they raised at least $100,000. Six other Pioneers were lawyers or lobbyists for companies sued by the EPA for failing to install pollution-control technology in their power plants.
In February 2004, conservative leaders in Congress sent an email to all House Republicans advising them on what to say about
the environment in the months ahead. The email directs members to say "global warming has
not been proved, air quality is 'getting better,' the world's forests are 'spreading, not deadening,'
oil reserves are 'increasing, not decreasing' and the 'world's water is cleaner and reaching more
people.'" Rep. Mike Castle (R-DE) criticized the email for ignoring "the fact that pollution
continues to be a health threats," and said "if I tried to follow these talking points at a town hall
meeting with my constituents, I'd be booed."
The Bush Administration's backtracking on regulations to reduce dangerous mercury emissions from power plants is meeting widespread disapproval. 45 U.S. Senators including seven Republicans wrote a letter expressing their concern to EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt. The group, which included such stalwart conservatives as Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) and Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), wrote that Leavitt's mercury proposals "fall far short of what the law requires, and they fail to protect the health of our children and the environment." The Senators were joined on the letter by attorneys general from 10 states.
Source: The Progress Report
David Letterman: "John Kerry had surgery on his right shoulder this week to repair some damage. It was pretty bad, he had no feeling. It was almost like he was a Republican."
Craig Kilborn: "There are 300,000 new jobs and Bush said he's confused, 'Can I take credit for good news that I didn't even make up?'"
Jay Leno: "President Bush has reversed himself and decided to allow Condoleezza Rice to publicly testify before the 9/11 commission under oath. It was a little dicey for awhile because White House lawyers told Bush that they didn't want to set a dangerous precedent. Bush said 'Hey I'm the precedent, I'll decide what's dangerous around here.'"
"Bush and Cheney will make a joint appearance in front of the commission. To make sure Bush is really speaking, they're going to have Cheney drink a glass of water when Bush talks."
April 5, 2004
That was then. This is now.
Bush has attacked Kerry for "flip flopping" on issues. People who live in White (glass) Houses shouldn't throw stones. Just a sampling of Bush's "reconsiderations":
|Opposes Department of Homeland Security||Supports Department of Homeland Security|
|Supports Free Trade||Imposes Tariffs on Steel|
|Supports Mandatory Caps on Carbon Dioxide Emmissions||Opposes Mandatory Caps on Carbon Dioxide Emmissions|
|Opposes Establishment of WMD Commission||Supports Establishment of WMD Commission|
|Opposes Establishment of 9/11 Commission||Supports Establishment of 9/11 Commission|
|Opposes Time Extension for 9/11 Commission||Supports Time Extension for 9/11 Commission|
|Limits His Testimony Before 9/11 Commission to One Hour||No Limit to Testiomony Before 9/11 Commission Provided Cheney is Present|
|Says Gay Marriage is a State Issue||Supports Constitutional Amendment Banning Gay Marriage|
|Opposes Nation Building||Supports Nation Building|
|Supports U.N. Vote on Iraq War||Opposes U.N. Vote on Iraq War|
|Opposes Middle East Summit||Supports Middle East Summit|
|Opposes McCain-Feingold Bill||Supports McCain-Feingold Bill|
April 4, 2004
Last week, I went to a local drug store to have a print made of a digital photo. I told the photo processing "technician" and wrote on the envelope that I wanted the print to be 3" x 3" to put into a small picture frame. I returned an hour later, paid for the print and took it home. When I tried to put the print in the frame, it wouldn't fit - it was too big. I measured the print and found it to be about 3.5" x 3.5". I returned to the drug store bringing the too-big print and the insert which came in the frame when it was purchased. When I showed the technician the print and the 3" x 3" insert, she said, "You should have brought the insert with you the first time. I didn't know which 3" x 3" you wanted it."
The cover piece for today's New York Times Magazine is a lengthy article on the Bush administration's relaxing of the rules on upgrading emission standards for power plants. The conclusion of the article is:
The White House's reversal of clean-air gains was especially disturbing to Biondi, who joined the agency in 1971, six months after its inception under President Nixon. The rule changes and the abandonment of the new-source review investigations ''excuse decades of violations,'' he said. ''We worked 30 years to develop a clean-air program that is finally achieving our goals. It was frustrating to see some of our significant advances taken away. I left because I wanted to make a difference, and it became clear that that was going to be difficult at the E.P.A.''
If you want to read the entire article, click here.
April 3, 2004
The White House pulled out the executive privilege strategy Thursday, refusing to allow President Bush's chief health-policy adviser, Douglas Badger, to testify in front of Congress about how the Administration hid cost estimates for its new Medicare law. Last year, Tom Scully, then-Medicare chief (now health care industry lobbyist) told Medicare actuary Richard Foster he would fire him if he sent Congress the more accurate data on the cost of the prescription drug benefit. The White House claims Scully acted on his own, but Foster said he was under the impression the orders were coming from within the White House. The White House finally acknowledged Badger had received Foster's estimates and was aware of the higher figures. Now Congress wants to talk to Badger to try to get the story straight. But yesterday, White House Counsel Alberto R. Gonzales refused to allow Badger to appear, citing "long-standing White House policy" against having White House staff members testify before Congress. Of course, this "long-standing" policy is frequently waived: at least 45 high-ranking Clinton administration officials testified before Congress in the last Administration.
Source: The Progress Report
April 2, 2004
I arrived safely in Wisconsin after driving almost 1800 miles from South Florida in 2 1/2 days with my uncle. Several reflections...
I do this drive with my uncle twice a year. A lot of people think it must be grueling. It is not. We take turns driving. We relax when not driving. We talk. We listen to good music. I look forward to this semi-annual outing.
As luck would have it, the cruise control wouldn't function on the 2004 Lincoln. We stopped in Cordele, Georgia to see if a Lincoln dealer there could fix the problem without much of a wait. Unfortunately, it was their lunch hour. We didn't wait. My brother (runner up to Bush for yesterday's rant) suggested that we ask for a loaner. The astounding thing is that we made the trip without the cruise control and without a speeding ticket.
As I mentioned, we listened to a lot of good music. I realized I have a regret. I never saw Ella Fitzgerald perform live and although I remember seeing her on TV when I was a child, I was too young to appreciate her. For my money, she was the best female singer, ever.
This is a Rant Lite. I am a bit out of the loop on news after being on the road. But you always get your money's worth at The Daily Rant.
Jay Leno: "Not only will Condoleezza Rice testify, but President Bush has also agreed to meet with the (9/11) commission. He's going to testify, but he said he wants have Dick Cheney there with him. Why does he want Cheney with him? What? Does he have a learner's permit to be president and have to have an adult with him."
April 1, 2004
*The joke is on US.