February 19, 2005
David Brooks tries not to embarrass himself, embarrasses himself anywayNYT's dim-witted columnist David Brooks is shocked, SHOCKED, to discover that Bush has no sense of fiscal restraint:
You think? Link: The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: In the Midst of Budget Decadence, a Leader Will Arise.
... But the White House is threatening to veto anything [responsible Republican senators and congressmen] do [about limiting the disastrous prescription drug benefit, which applies equally to wealthy older people with insurance]! President Bush, who hasn't vetoed a single thing during his presidency, now threatens to veto something - and it's something that might actually restrain the growth of government. He threatens to use his first veto against an idea he himself originally proposed! Have we entered another world, where up is down and rationality is irrational?
February 17, 2005
Why does Bush-appointed CIA Director Porter Goss hate freedom?
Link: Yahoo! News - Iraq Conflict Feeds International Terror Threat -CIA.
Islamic militants waging a deadly insurgency against U.S.-led forces in Iraq pose an emerging international terrorism threat, CIA Director Porter Goss said on Wednesday.In his first public appearance as U.S. spymaster, Goss described Iraqi insurgents, including al Qaeda ally Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, as part of a Sunni militant movement inspired by Osama bin Laden and intent on attacking Americans. "The Iraq conflict... has become a cause for extremists," Goss told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. "Those jihadists who survive will leave Iraq experienced in and focused on acts of urban terrorism. They represent a potential pool of contacts to build transnational terrorist cells, groups and networks in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and other countries," he said.
February 16, 2005
Link: Bush's Clark Kent (washingtonpost.com).
[New National Security Adviser Stephen] Hadley starts off the interview by stressing that Bush's policy is, above all, a product of the president's own convictions, principles and life experience. That may sound self-effacing from a national security adviser, but in this case it's clearly true. As Hadley says, Bush is his own strategist.
February 11, 2005
Oh boy, here it comes
Link: The New York Times > Washington > A New Dean for a New Job. But the Old One Lingers..
"Most of you know there are a lot of people in this city who are afraid I'm going to be very unorthodox - and I am," Dr. Dean declared to hundreds of mostly young supporters.
February 09, 2005
My head just exploded
Link: FT.com / World / US - Bush's ‘architect’ builds up his portfolio.
Karl Rove, the man President George W. Bush dubbed the “architect” of his 2004 re-election victory, was granted expanded powers on Tuesday to oversee not just politics but White House policy. ...In addition to responsibility for political affairs and strategic initiatives, Mr Rove has been appointed deputy chief of staff to co-ordinate policy, both domestic and international. [Please allow me to repeat that:] In addition to responsibility for political affairs and strategic initiatives, Mr Rove has been appointed deputy chief of staff to co-ordinate policy, both domestic and international. Scott McClellan, the White House press secretary, suggested Mr Rove's chief focus would be economic policy, domestic policy and international economic policy, leaving national security and intelligence to Joe Hagin, the other deputy chief of staff. But Mr McClellan also made clear that Mr Rove's promotion positions him to get involved in any and all administration business: “Karl will continue to oversee the strategy to advance the president's agenda. He will also co-ordinate policy within the various White House councils . . . the Domestic Policy Council, the National Economic Council, the National Security Council and the Homeland Security Council,” Mr McClellan said.
Who does this remind you of?From Laura Rozen:
Link: War and Piece.
Orwell was not, as liberals liked to think, merely attacking Soviet communism. "He is saying, indeed, something no less comprehensive than this: that Russia, with its idealistic social revolution now developed into a police state, is but the image of the impending future and that the ultimate threat to human freedom may well come from a similar and even more massive development of the social idealism of our democratic culture." A few years later, reviewing another book by Orwell, Trilling repeated this theme: "Social idealism" is not the only thing that can be perverted into tyranny; so can any idea "unconditioned" by reality. "The essential point of Nineteen Eighty-Four is just this, the danger of the ultimate and absolute power which the mind can develop when it frees itself from conditions, from the bondage of things and history."
February 08, 2005
Our hero at work
Link: President Discusses Strengthening Social Security in Nebraska.
THE PRESIDENT: Mary is with us. Mary Mornin. How are you, Mary?MS. MORNIN: I'm fine. THE PRESIDENT: Good. Okay, Mary, tell us about yourself. MS. MORNIN: Okay, I'm a divorced, single mother with three grown, adult children. I have one child, Robbie, who is mentally challenged, and I have two daughters. THE PRESIDENT: [Following pre-scripted Social Security discussion...] And so thank you for asking that. You don't have to worry. MS. MORNIN: That's good, because I work three jobs and I feel like I contribute. THE PRESIDENT: You work three jobs? MS. MORNIN: Three jobs, yes. THE PRESIDENT: Uniquely American, isn't it? I mean, that is fantastic that you're doing that. (Applause.) Get any sleep? (Laughter.)
February 07, 2005
Adventures of a remarkably low-IQ soldier in WWII
Link: Yahoo! News - Former US soldier says he delivered Goering's poison pill.
A former US Army private who was a guard at the Nuremberg trials says he gave convicted Nazi war criminal Hermann Goering the poison capsule that enabled him to commit suicide two hours before his scheduled execution.Entire books have been written pondering how the heavily guarded Nazi leader managed to evade justice. And while Herbert Lee Stivers's story cannot be proven, several experts on the era have said it rings true, according to a story in the Los Angeles Times. Stivers, 78, a retired sheet metal worker from southern California, was a 19-year-old army private assigned to an honor guard that escorted Nazi defendants in and out of the courtroom during the post-World War II war crimes trials. Stivers said he agreed to take "medicine" to a supposedly ailing Goering to impress a flirtatious local girl who approached him one day on the street. In their first conversation she asked to keep the autograph of one of the prisoners which he showed her to prove he was one of their guards. Another day, she introduced him to "a friend" who convinced him to take notes to Goering hidden inside a fountain pen on two occasions. The third time, the man put a capsule in the pen. "He said it was medication and that if it worked and Goering felt better, they'd send him some more," Stivers told the Times. He returned the pen to the young woman after delivering the capsule, and never saw her again. "I guess she used me," Stivers said. "I would have never knowingly taken something in that I thought was going to be used to help someone cheat the gallows," he said. Two weeks after the delivery, on October 15, 1946, Goering committed suicide and left a note bragging that he'd had a cyanide pill during his entire 11-month war crimes trial. An army investigation agreed and concluded the Nazi had hidden the pill on his body and in his cell. Many historians remained skeptical, as did Stivers. "I felt very bad after his suicide. I had a funny feeling. I didn't think there was any way he could have hidden it on his body," he said. He said nothing for 60 years, fearing he could face charges, until his daughter convinced him to go public to ease his conscience and reveal his part in history. The statute of limitations has long since run out, so he cannot be prosecuted, the Times said.
February 05, 2005
From the "a first time for everything" departmentThe Bush administration (probably accidentally) proposes a great policy move...
Link: The New York Times > Washington > Bush Is Said to Seek Deep Cuts in Farm and Commodity Programs.
President Bush will seek deep cuts in farm and commodity programs in his new budget and in a major policy shift will propose overall limits on subsidy payments to farmers, administration officials said Saturday.Such limits would help reduce the federal budget deficit and would inject market forces into the farm economy, the officials said. The proposal puts Mr. Bush at odds with some of his most ardent supporters in the rural South, including cotton and rice growers in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi... Most of the subsidies are paid to large farm operators growing cotton and rice and, to a lesser degree, corn, soybeans and wheat.
February 04, 2005