Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Random Political Thoughts for a Wednesday Afternoon

Hump day… we all know what that means. Random Political Thoughts for a Wednesday Afternoon, or RPTFAWA, for all you acronym-ites out there.

D’oh! Remember last week when Herr Bush said the National Anthem should only be sung in English? Apparently he has forgotten about his past (that damn amnesia… or maybe it’s senility) It seems that during Bush’s first presidential campaign, he would often have singers at the events singing the anthem in Spanish… and it’s possible that Bush sung the national anthem in Spanish himself at one such event. Add to that that after Bush was elected, Cuban exile and pop vocalist Jon Secada also sang the "The Star-Spangled Banner" in both English and Spanish at the 2001 opening ceremony of the presidential inaugural. Hmmmm…. can we say ‘fracaso de tirón’? (Flip flop for all you non Spanish-speakers out there)

Sigh… A poll for National Geographic found that 6 in 10 Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 could not locate Iraq on a map, close to a third couldn’t locate the state of Louisiana, and “fewer than three in 10 think it important to know the locations of countries in the news.” I… I can’t even think of something to say about that…

The hits just keep on coming. Just when you thought Bush couldn’t see more push-back from his own party, you’re proven wrong. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) stated earlier this week that the Armed Services subcommittee (of which he is the Chairman) “would reject one of the most controversial aspects of President Bush’s fiscal 2007 defense budget request, a proposal to charge some military retirees more for their health care.” Good work Senator… Bush apparently wants them to risk their lives in a military conflict of which he has no plan of action to exit AND pay more for their healthcare when they retire. The man IS a mental furball…

THE definition of irony. Michael Scanlon, Jack Abramoff’s former lobbying partner (who has already pleaded guilty to conspiracy) defended his graduate thesis at Johns Hopkins University earlier this week. His thesis’ subject? The House ethics process. Some of my random political thoughts just speak for themselves, and don’t need additional comments, don’t they?

Well, duh. Some members of the GOP thought they were being considerate when they crafted the plan to react (just in time… sarcasm alert) to soaring gasoline prices by giving most drivers a $100 rebate (cuz that would help oh, so much) After being inundated with complaints about pandering, the rebate idea has been shelved, although there is also a thought that it wasn’t shelved because it was ridiculed by the public, but because of “torrent of objections from business leaders and their advocates” in the oil and gas industries. Hmmmm… which one seems more likely???

Gratuitous op-ed plug(s) of the week. Not an op-ed piece per se, but rather a new report from the libertarian CATO Institute on the Bush presidency: “The pattern that emerges is one of a ceaseless push for power, unchecked by either the courts or Congress, one in short of disdain for constitutional limits.” (I’m gonna say ‘Ouch’ for the Bush Administration…). The second one is also not an op-ed piece but rather a quote from former Homeland Security inspector general Clark “I’ve heard all the jokes” Kent Ervin from his new memoir:, “Clearly, the Homeland Security Department has served to make us only marginally safer, and in the age of terror, marginally safer is not enough.” (Again, I’m gonna say ‘Ouch’ for the Bush Administration)

Kicking him while he’s down. A scant six months before Republicans try to hold on to control of Congress in the November elections, a new USA Today/Gallup/NO CNN poll shows that the “President’s” approval ratings have fallen to the lowest of his presidency, 34%. Add to that that 54% of respondents plan on voting Democrat in November and you have a bad day… week… year… terms… for Dubya. Tee. Hee.

Open mouth, insert foot. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is quickly learning that what he says carries a LOT of weight with the country’s financial markets… even if it’s in a ‘social situation.’ Bernanke told CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo at the White House Correspondents Association dinner that her investors were wrong in thinking he's done lifting interest rates. Financial markets were blindsided after Stocks surrendered gains, bonds fell and the dollar jumped after she reported the conversation. (Personal advice to Mr. Bernanke: like the old “EF Hutton”commercials… when you speak, people listen. Remember that… learn it, live it, love it.)

From the ‘it’s funny when it happens to them’ files Rep. Tom DeLay's (R-TX) legal defense fund spent $312,000 in expenses in the first quarter of this year, after paying out fees to four different law firms that, in some way or another, represent him on two different legal fronts. Combine that $110,000 that he paid out of his campaign committee to a firm in January and you have him paying more than $400,000 in the first three months of the year on legal fees. In the last two years, DeLay has paid out $1.3 million in legal fees. (I’m gonna say ‘ouch’ for Sen. DeLay…)

Let the odds-making begin. Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R-NY) said earlier this week that he is weighing whether “I have a chance in 2008,” during a trip to Iowa. This is seen as some to be his strongest statement yet as to whether or not he is considering a run for the presidency. Hmmmm, I could think of WORSE people to have as a GOP candidate (Jeb Bush, Neil Bush… any of the Bush family), but, ignoring his party-affiliation, I’m just not sure I can see Giuliani as President.

They came, they saw, they marched. In the aftermath of Monday's ill-themed “Day Without Immigrants,” the question now is how to translate the passion of the streets into long-serving political gains. In the months ahead, immigrant rights groups plan to shift their energy into making a difference at the polls by way of registering voters, helping legal immigrants become citizens, and getting out the vote in primary elections across the country. They better make sure they are loud, as Monday’s rallies did little to influence Congress one way or the other.

Have gun, will travel.Vice President Dick “Dead Eye” Cheney has an upcoming, six-day “Freedom Agenda” trip aimed to “nurture democracy” and advance U.S. interests abroad. Stands to reason that there are some pretty good chances that, with Cheney doing the talking, after the six days are over, our standing in the world will be less than it is right now and even more countries will be pissed at us.

Awwww, crap. Four words: Medicare broke by 2018. ‘Nuff said. Ok, I’ll say more… According to a government forecast, the financial woes of the Medicare system have deepened the past year, and that it will be unable to cover all its bills in twelve years, this would be 12 years sooner than what had been anticipated when Dubya first took office. Great… just great. Instead of fixing Medicare, Bush is… is… doing absolutely nothing. Think about it, what is Bush doing right now? Not just regarding Medicare, but about anything… is he trying to fix anything in this country or just biding his time until his term is up in a couple of years? We’ve said it here before, and others have also said it, but I’ll say it again… screw the trolls who will accuse us of harboring animosity against Bush. He is, simply and non-originally out, the worst. President. Ever.

The plot thickens… Remember how some in the Bush Administration and the GOP said that the leaking of former undercover CIA agent Valerie Plame’s name did nothing to hinder her CIA work? Well, turns out they were either lying or were wrong (my vote is for lying). Ms. Plame was doing something rather important when her cover was blown. What was she doing you ask? Nothing much, just tracking the proliferation of nuclear material in Iran and that her ‘outing’ is said to have “damaged” the administration’s ability to track Iran’s nuclear ambitions.. (Well, there ya go, it seems that whichever White House employee leaked her name is to partially blame for the current mess in Iran. I wonder how the administration will spin this story?)

Take ‘em as you will…

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