Sunday, November 09, 2003


You've heard the "George Bush must love the poor, he made so many of them" quote, right? Looks like we can say "Bush must love the disabled veterans, he made so many of them" as well. (Salon - subscription or daypass required)

Yesterday evening on the House floor, Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., offered some angry perspective on the Bush administration's "support for our troops." A Vietnam-era Air Force veteran (although his own Web site omits that fact), DeFazio rose to contest the happy-face rhetoric of his Republican colleagues in anticipation of Veterans Day next Wednesday. DeFazio's remarks about the real record of the self-styled super-patriots in the GOP deserve to be quoted at length:

"Here are some real facts, unlike what we heard earlier today: 150,000 veterans are waiting six months or longer for appointments; 14,000 veterans have been waiting 15 months or longer for their "expedited" disability claims; 560,000 disabled veterans are subject to the disabled veterans tax, something we have tried to rectify....

"[On] January 8 of this year, the Bush administration cut off [Veterans Administration] health care for 164,000 veterans. They put them in a new category called Category 8. They are wealthy veterans just like the wealthy people they are giving tax breaks to. Well, not quite. The wealthy people the Bush administration is raining tax breaks on earn over $311,000 a year. But these vets are 'wealthy.' They do not deserve that veterans health care, according to the Bush administration. They earn $25,000 a year. They should pay for their own health care ..."

Not exactly breaking news, Bush has been screwing the vets for a while now, but it's good to see somebody fighting back.

Friday, November 07, 2003

White House Puts Limits on Queries From Democrats

Washington Post story says it all:

The director of the White House Office of Administration, Timothy A. Campen, sent an e-mail titled "congressional questions" to majority and minority staff on the House and Senate Appropriations panels. Expressing "the need to add a bit of structure to the Q&A process," he wrote: "Given the increase in the number and types of requests we are beginning to receive from the House and Senate, and in deference to the various committee chairmen and our desire to better coordinate these requests, I am asking that all requests for information and materials be coordinated through the committee chairmen and be put in writing from the committee."

He said this would limit "duplicate requests" and help answer questions "in a timely fashion."

It would also do another thing: prevent Democrats from getting questions answered without the blessing of the GOP committee chairmen.

"It's saying we're not going to allow the opposition party to ask questions about the way we use tax money," said R. Scott Lilly, Democratic staff director for the House committee. "As far as I know, this is without modern precedent."

They really do want a one-party system like good ol' Stalin had, don't they?


If this article is accurate (and I have no reason to doubt it), Baghdad International (sort of) Airport is guarded by a private company called "CusterBattles"?!? I hope they realize he isn't a role model to follow to the letter!


So the 16th solder from that Chinook crash died yesterday (I had originally seen the number go 13, 15, 16, then back down to 15), and now we've got another helicopter down, this time a Black Hawk with "only" six fatalities (or "casualties", if you prefer). It doesn't seem certain yet whether hostile fire was involved, but given that it was near Saddam's home town of Tikrit, that's the way to bet. Aside from that, one or two others have died today (not clear, due to time zone issues, not that I'm apathetic). Wow, they must really be desperate over there. Nice to see we're making a LOT of progress this week!

On the (non-sarcastically) bright side, the National Guardsman charged with cowardice got it knocked down to dereliction of duty. I wonder if we'll ever hear the full story behind that one?

Thursday, November 06, 2003


You know, as soon as I heard that the "Old Man of the Mountain" in New Hampshire has collapsed, I was wondering "how long can it take until some dolts start wondering about a curse on things featured on the state quarters?" About 6 months, apparently.

Did the Old Man of the Mountain die of natural causes, or was a curse the culprit?...

Age was cited as the official cause of the Old Man's demise. But conspiracy theorists take note: since the Mint inaugurated the coin series, a string of unfortunate events has befallen many of its subjects.
Call it the Curse of the Quarter.

Interesting tidbit

In this CNN story about the deaths in the Chinook crash (back up to 16 today):

The deaths bring the number of U.S. troop fatalities in Iraq to 384, including 245 since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1.

There is no reliable source for Iraqi civilian or combatant casualty figures, either during the period of major combat or after May 1. The Associated Press reported an estimated 3,240 civilian Iraqi deaths between March 20 and April 20, but the AP reported that the figure was based on records of only half of Iraq's hospitals and the actual number was thought to be significantly higher.

I don't remember any CNN stories mentioning Iraqi death tolls since the "end of major combat operations".

More confusing/confused sentences

From today's "Ask the White House" (response to "Trent, from Thaxton"):

His response was to ignore , to delay and to defy the international community. The President has made very clear (sic) that in the war on terrorism, you are either with the civilized world who are peace (sic) and or (sic) you are against peace and freedom loving people of the world. And as a result of Sadam (sic) defiance of Resolution 1441 action needed to be taken that would help ensure stability and the security of the region and all those who have banded together in the war on terrorism.

Now what the heck was that one supposed to mean?

"Aside from that, what has Rome ever done for us?"

More Bartcoppy goodness — Reagan's record.

My personal favourites:

44. #1-In recorded MISSTATEMENTS

45. #1-In never having a single press conference in which he did not make at least one or more INCORRECT STATEMENTS.

46. #1-In needing a staff person standby during press conferences to tell the press “WHAT HE REALLY MEANT”.

55. First to FALL ASLEEP while the Pope spoke

56. First to invite the Pope to visit the White House and “BRING THE WIFE AND KIDS”

57. First to have his press secretary remove him from the microphone because he could not answer questions. Then, as the reporter yelled out “answer my question” he replied “MY HANDLERS WON’T LET ME SPEAK”. Quick get the white coat.

Death Be Not Loud

Agreeing with Bartcop, I'd say this is the "money quote" from this NYT article:

If he gets more explicit, or allows the flag-draped coffins of fallen heroes to be photographed coming home, it will just remind people that the administration said this would be easy, and it's teeth-grindingly hard. And that the administration vowed to get Osama and Saddam and W.M.D., and hasn't. And that the Bush team that hyped the presence of Al Qaeda in Iraq has now created an Al Qaeda presence in Iraq. And that there was no decent plan for the occupation or for financing one, no plan for rotating or supporting troops stretched too thin to guard ammunition caches or police a fractious society, and no plan for getting out.
As the White House points out, Mr. Bush cannot fairly pick and choose which memorial services to go to, or which deaths to speak of.
"If a helicopter were hit an hour later, after he came out and spoke, should he come out again?" Dan Bartlett, the White House communications director, told The Times's Elisabeth Bumiller, explaining Mr. Bush's silence after the Chinook crash. The public, he added, "wants the commander in chief to have proper perspective, and keep his eye on the big picture and the ball."
The ball for fall is fund-raising. President Bush has been going full throttle since summer, spending several days a week flying around the country, hitting up rich Republicans for $2,000 checks. He has raised $90 million so far out of the $175 million he plans to spend on a primary campaign in which he has no opponent.
At fund-raisers, Mr. Bush prefers to talk about the uptick in the economy, not the downtick in Iraq. On Monday, arriving for a fund-raiser in Birmingham, he was upbeat, not somber. As Mike Allen of The Washington Post reported in his pool report, "The president, who gave his usual salute as he stepped off Marine One, appeared to start the day in a fabulous mood. . . . An Alabama reporter who was under the wing shouted, `How long will U.S. troops be in Iraq?' The president gave him an unappreciative look."
Raising $1.8 million at lunch, he stuck to the line that "we are aggressively striking the terrorists in Iraq, defeating them there so we will not have to face them in our own country." He didn't want to depress the donors by mentioning the big news story, the loss of 15 American soldiers, or sour the mood by conceding the obvious, that the swelling horde of terrorists fighting us there will not prevent terrorists from coming after us here. Maybe we should all be like President Bush and not read the papers so we don't get worn down either.
Perhaps the solution to Mr. Bush's quandary is to coordinate his schedule so he can go to cities where he can attend both fund-raisers and funerals.
The law of averages suggests it shouldn't be hard.

Glad to know he's got his priorities sorted out.


Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Another must-read

"If at first you don't succeed", about the history of Wolfowitz's et al.'s "brilliant" earlier work for the CIA.