Andy Borowitz today jokes about a hypothetical Bush visit to reality:
For Mr. Bush, the visit to reality, while brief, was still significant because it represented his first visit to the real world since being elected President in 2000.
"The President deserves a lot of credit for making this visit to reality," one aide said. "He doesn't have a natural constituency here."
The AP reported today that the President, Secretary Chertoff, and other officials were clearly warned about the likelihood of levee failures three days before Bush went on television claiming otherwise:
Bush didn't ask a single question during the final government-wide briefing the day before Katrina struck on Aug. 29 but assured soon-to-be-battered state officials: "We are fully prepared."
Six days of footage and transcripts obtained by The Associated Press show in excruciating detail that while federal officials anticipated the tragedy that unfolded in New Orleans and elsewhere along the Gulf Coast, they were fatally slow to realize they had not mustered enough resources to deal with the unprecedented disaster.
This is information the Administration didn't want published, for the simple reason that it makes them look stupid, just like all the other information they've wanted to keep secret for five years. It kind of makes you wonder what they're holding back on global warming, doesn't it?
In a not-entirely-unrelated vein, I had a conversation with a colleague today who claims to be more worried about the unlikely (but dramatic) possibility of an asteroid strike than the demonstrated (but, barring the occasional flood, humdrum) occurrence of global climate change. People are funny that way.
The best governor we've got claims he didn't know the Daily Show interview was a spoof when he sat down:
"It was going to be an interview on contraceptives...that's all I knew about it," Blagojevich, laughingly [sic], told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in a story for Thursday's editions. "I had no idea I was going to be asked if I was 'the gay governor.'"
Interviewer Jason Jones pretended to stumble over Blagojevich's name before calling him "Gov. Smith." He later asked if Blagojevich was "the gay governor."
The Daily Show segment aired earlier this month.
In unrelated news, former Chicago Alderman Edwin Eisendrath is running in next month's Democratic primary against Gov. Smith.
Molly Ivins, on congressional reform:
Tom DeLay gets indicted, and all the Republicans can think of is a $20 gift ban. Forget the people talking about "lobby reform." The lobby does not need to be reformed, the Congress needs to be reformed. This is about congressional corruption, and it is not limited to the surface stuff like taking free meals, hotels and trips. This is about corruption that bites deep into the process of making laws in the public interest. The root of the rot is money (surprise!), and the only way to get control of the money is through public campaign financing.
You don't ask the local wolf pack to reform sheep-herding.
Josh Marshall poses this astute question:
Isn't offshoring port management and security sort of like offshoring the shore?
In its efforts to starve the Federal government out of existence, Bush cut $28 million—and 32 jobs—from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
Then he mentioned, in his state of the union speech, that we need renewable energy. Forgetting for a moment that the pusher-in-chief suddenly got religion on our addiction to (foreign) oil, it's still kind of embarrassing that he cut our renewable energy budget at the same time. Or, more to the point for these clowns, embarrassing that they got caught doing it.
So the 32 got their jobs back today:
Two weeks ago, the lab workers, including eight researchers, were laid off at the lab because of a $28 million budget shortfall. Then, over the weekend, at the direction of Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman, $5 million was transferred back to the lab to get the workers back on the job.
Lab officials are ecstatic about getting the positions back, although they say the remaining $23 million shortfall has forced delays in research subcontracted to universities and companies. Still, it was an untimely issue for the president, who flew to Colorado to push the energy initiatives he announced in his State of the Union address.
Quel faux pas!
Some items in the news today that probably should go without comment:
...even if she doesn't need men. In her column today (sub.req.) she pulls no punches with two men no one needs:
As the story of the weekend's bizarre hunting accident is wrenched out of the White House, the picture isn't pretty: With American soldiers dying in Iraq, Five-Deferment Dick "I Had Other Priorities in the 60's Than Military Service" Cheney gets his macho kicks gunning down little birds and the occasional old man while W. rides his bike, blissfully oblivious to any collateral damage. Shouldn't these guys work on weekends until we figure out how to fix Iraq, New Orleans, Medicare and gas prices?
The Ohio Democratic Party has honked off Paul Hackett, because they believe another Ohio representative has a better chance of getting elected to the Senate this fall:
"It boils down to who we think can pull the most votes in November against [incumbent GOP Senator Mike] DeWine," said Chris Redfern, chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party. "And in Ohio, Brown's name is golden. It's just that simple."
They're nuts. And now we've lost exactly the kind of person we need in the party. And we look like idiots.
Actually, the ODP look like idiots, but Harry Ried and the rest of our party didn't come out too well in this one, either. Unless there's something I'm missing about Hackett, he's exactly the kind of person we want running for Senate in Ohio.
Here's Hackett's side of it.
Vice President Cheney has been cited for not having a hunting stamp required for non-residents to shoot birds in Texas.
One assumes he didn't have the proper license to shoot people, either, but that bit is still under investigation.
Also of interest: The Cheney supporter and fund-raiser who owned the property he was hunting on, Karen Armstrong, got a call from Karl Rove less than two hours after the accident:
"Chief of Staff Andy Card called the president around 7:30 p.m. to inform him that there was a hunting accident," a statement released today by the White House said. "He did not know the vice president was involved at that time. Subsequent to the call, Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove spoke with Mrs. Armstrong. He then called the president shortly before 8 p.m. to update him and let him know the vice president had accidentally shot Mr. Whittington."
If Card didn't know the Vice President was involved, why bother to inform the President? Who else was there? Or is Armstrong that big a contributor?
The day after that conversation, she spoke to the press. Josh Marshall found an older news item showing her father got Rove his first job, as well.
So I guess it's just a family affair.
Let's review what's going on here. Cheney shot another hunter, which is on its face his fault. The other guy was behind him—behind him—meaning Cheney spun almost all the way around before firing. Now the guy is just leaving intensive care with doctors saying they'll just leave some of the bird shot in his body because it's in too deep. And Cheney and Armstrong are blaming the victim.
It's never their fault, is it?
Maybe we should stop thinking of these people as adults. They're really 10 years old.