In 2002, a survey of girls age 15 to 19 found that 97 of every 1,000 girls in the United States was pregnant, compared to 113 of every 1,000 girls in Texas, according to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy.
Looks like those Texas Christian moms are doing a bang up job...if you'll excuse the expression.
You can't be a little bit pregnant, but you can be a little bit more pregnant.
...Kerry's always struck me as someone who was a fighter, someone who'd never give up, give in, let himself get hit without fighting back or flag in the home stretch.
Compare Kerry's competitive quality with the lack thereof in his opponent George W. Bush, who has managed throughout his entire life to win only on a playing field tilted in his favor. And, in Vietnam and in his political career, by having others do his fighting for him (Poppy, James Baker, Cheney, Scalia, Rove, etc.).
Families who lost relatives in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks voiced outrage on Thursday at President Bush's first ads of his re-election campaign that use images of the devastated World Trade Center to portray him as the right leader for tumultuous times.
"Families are enraged," said Bill Doyle, 57, of New York, who is active in several Sept. 11 family groups. "What I think is distasteful is that the president is trying to use 9/11 as a springboard for his re-election."
"It's entirely wrong. He's had 3,500 deaths on his watch, including Iraq," said Doyle, whose 25-year-old son Joseph died at the trade center.
Ron Willett of Walnut Shade, Missouri, said he was disgusted when he saw the ads. Willett, who lost his 29-year-old son, John Charles, said he is now so upset, "I would vote for Saddam Hussein before I would vote for Bush."
"I think it is an atrocity," his wife, Lucy, added. "He should not be allowed to use those images at all."
With Republicans holding their political convention in New York in late August, victims said they hope Bush does not make it worse by speaking at the site now known as Ground Zero, which many view as sacred.
"If he does, there will be a protest and it could get ugly," said Doyle.
Several family members said their annoyance stemmed in part from Bush's refusal to testify publicly before the federal commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
"The Bush administration will not cooperate fully with the 9/11 commission and at the same time they are trying to invoke and own 9/11 and use it for his re-election," said Stephen Push from the Washington office of "Families September 11th." His wife died on the plane that crashed into the Pentagon that day.
The International Association of Fire Fighters, which has endorsed and campaigned for Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, denounced the spots as "hypocrisy at its worst."
The 3,500 deaths on Bush's watch, including Iraq, neglect thousands of others: Iraqi civilians, Afghani civilians, and soldiers of other countries in the so-called "Coalition of the Willing" who were tricked into the Bush/Blair vortex of lies.
At Harvard Business School, thirty years ago, George Bush was a student of mine. I still vividly remember him. In my class, he declared that "people are poor because they are lazy." He was opposed to labor unions, social security, environmental protection, Medicare, and public schools. To him, the antitrust watch dog, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Securities Exchange Commission were unnecessary hindrances to "free market competition." To him, Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal was "socialism."
[In the McKinley Gilded Age, which Bush is attempting to replicate] ...there was no Securities & Exchange Commission to check "creative accounting" and Enron-WorldCom like malfeasance of corporations. America had poor public schools and medical care. There was no minimum wage or labor standard. Both federal and state governments and courts were hostile to labor unions and civic groups protesting the "injustices" of the society. The natural environment was ravaged by railroads, mining, lumbering, and newly emerging oil and gas firms. Abortion was illegal. Women did not even have the vote. In the South, Christian fundamentalists were pressuring public schools to stop teaching Charles Darwin's evolution theories. During the McKinley-Gilded Age, America's democracy atrophied. And America embarked on her imperialistic expansions of colonising Cuba, Panama, and the Philippines.
Funny how his logic doesn't seem to work in reverse. Somehow, Bush is and was lazy but never poor.
Amid this conjecture [of Kerry's choice for vice president], however, one name is conspicuously absent: Bill Clinton.
Clinton's strengths would compensate for Kerry's weaknesses almost perfectly. Not only is Clinton the most talented campaigner of his generation, but he is also a Southerner -- and since 1948, when Harry S. Truman chose Sen. Alben Barkley of Kentucky as his running mate, every successful Democratic ticket has included a citizen of a Southern state.
Besides, people might even pay to watch Bill Clinton debate Dick Cheney. So why not?
The first objection, the constitutional one, can be disposed of easily. The Constitution does not prevent Clinton from running for vice president. The 22nd Amendment, which became effective in 1951, begins: "No person shall be elected to the office of the president more than twice."
No problem. Bill Clinton would be running for vice president, not president. Scholars and judges can debate how loosely constitutional language should be interpreted, but one need not be a strict constructionist to find this language clear beyond dispute. Bill Clinton cannot be elected president, but nothing stops him from being elected vice president.
True, if Clinton were vice president he would be in line for the presidency. But Clinton would succeed Kerry not by election, which the amendment forbids, but through Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution, which provides that if a president dies, resigns or is removed from office, his powers "shall devolve on the vice president." The 22nd Amendment would not prevent this succession.
Not that Bill Clinton would want the job, but the speculative weight of this idea is golden.
Xymphora on the Haitian coup: "The one good thing that has come out of the attempted coup in Venezuela and the kidnapping in Haiti is that all the peoples of the Caribbean and Central and South America now know that the United States is an enemy of democracy and human rights, and will act ruthlessly to continue its exploitation."
U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney said Tuesday he supports U.S. President George W. Bush's call for a federal constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages, even though one of his daughters is gay and he has said in the past the issue should be left to the states.
"The president's taken the clear position that he supports a constitutional amendment," Cheney said in an interview with MSNBC. "I support him."
Cheney said during the 2000 campaign, and again last month, that he prefers to see states handle the issue of gay marriage. His openly lesbian daughter, Mary Cheney, is an aide in the Bush-Cheney reelection campaign, but the vice president declined to discuss her.
"One of the most unpleasant aspects of this business is the extent of which private lives are intruded upon when these kinds of issues come up," he said. "I really have always considered my private - my daughters' lives private and I think that's the way it ought to remain."
Private lives should remain private — exactly right. So why publicize your denial of her equal status with a constitutional amendment?
CNN anchor Lou Dobbs is on a crusade -- and oddly, his target is the U.S. business establishment. Nearly every night for the past year, in a campaign he calls "Exporting America," Mr. Dobbs has railed against companies that move jobs to low-wage countries.
On recent broadcasts of "Lou Dobbs Tonight," he has called for President Bush to fire a top economic adviser who said outsourcing U.S. service jobs is probably good for the economy, and lauded Congress for considering legislation to limit government work from being sent overseas. On his section of CNN's Web site, Mr. Dobbs has compiled a list of more than 200 companies that he says are "either sending American jobs overseas, or choosing to employ cheap overseas labor, instead of American workers."
The ferocity of Mr. Dobbs's attack has surprised and even angered some observers used to associating the well-known Republican financial journalist with spirited defenses of capitalism and cozy interviews with America's top chief executives.
"It's really one of the most dramatic shifts of attitude and persona that TV has seen," says David Bernknopf, a media strategist and former CNN vice president. "Lou was always seen by corporate America as a reliable and generally friendly journalist. Now he has shifted 180 degrees and has clearly dedicated his show to criticizing a lot of the way that corporate America does business."
Mr. Dobbs insists he hasn't dramatically changed his tune, saying he just wants the U.S. government to study the consequences of outsourcing so it can make wise policy decisions. "I am an absolute free market capitalist, but I believe in true free markets and the importance of clear, accurate information to create free markets," he says.
On the air, Mr. Dobbs sometimes takes a caustic tone with guests who disagree with him. "What is it with you people?" Mr. Dobbs asked after Mr. Glassman [James K. Glassman, a conservative commentator who sparred with Mr. Dobbs on the air earlier this month] commented on the benefits of a trade deficit. Later in the same show, Mr. Dobbs told Mr. Glassman: "You talk like a cult member."
Mr. Glassman says the interview was "an amazing experience. I knew he was going to be very argumentative, but I think he sort of lost it." Mr. Dobbs now says his comment was aimed at "the orthodoxy amongst too many economists, too many in business who simply say it's free trade and the hell with the consequences."
It may be premature to label Dobbs a "capitalist against Bush" as we have done for Warren Buffett and Seth Glickenhaus. But the sudden politicization of his ordinarily pro-business approach deserves watching.
Side note: "Mr. Dobbs conducted another crusade two years ago. When federal prosecutors went after the accounting firm Arthur Andersen LLP for its role in Enron Corp.'s collapse, Mr. Dobbs repeatedly denounced on-air what he saw as the federal government's effort to destroy 'the livelihoods of most of those 85,000 innocent people' who worked at Andersen."
The observation that 85,000 jobs of innocent Andersen employees were obliterated while Ken Lay roams free and wealthy three years later has been a pet peeve here in Skimbleland as well. We repeat what may not be obvious: Andersen was most likely destroyed by the feds not for being Enron's auditor, but for being Halliburton's auditor during the reign of Cheney. No auditor means no evidence, and Cheney's financial shenanigans are lost to history.
(New York-WABC, February 23, 2004) — As New York City scrambles to cover security costs to protect against another terror attack, Eyewitness News has found millions in taxpayer dollars going to protect some of the nation's wealthiest companies.
Westchester County Executive Andrew Spano says that's money he could use. He's got numerous high-risk targets including the Indian Point nuclear plant and New York City's reservoirs, yet has only received a couple hundred thousand in direct security grants.
Andrew Spano: "Why the federal government would give us something like $200,000 -- which is what we have gotten -- and they give millions and millions to companies that are making exceptional amounts of money this year is beyond me."
Our analysis of Port Security documents show that some of the nation's most profitable oil companies received $66 million in grants. Money from the Department of Homeland Security to pay for fencing, cameras, and gates around big oil's refineries.
...only 15 percent of the half billion dollars in grants go to oil companies. Still that's $66 million that could go to those who really need it, like the local police chiefs we spoke with. None of whom say they have received any money from Homeland Security.
We should note that the nuclear power industry, which has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on its own security, has not received any grants from Homeland Security.
This shows how seriously the Bush administration takes its so-called "War on Terror" — not at all.
Tax credits for the poor to buy health insurance such as those proposed by the Bush administration are unlikely to reduce the rolls of the estimated 43 million U.S. uninsured, a study released on Wednesday said.
The struggling economy and corporate layoffs have pushed record numbers of people off health insurance in recent years. Most Americans get health coverage through employers.
A remedy proposed by President Bush offers tax credits to the needy, who would be required to buy health insurance individually. Past Bush plans were projected to cost taxpayers $89 billion over 10 years.
But these people would have to spend significantly more if they took the tax credit option, according to an analysis of some 8,000 low-income Americans without health insurance.
That would lead few to opt for the credits and so would have little effect on health care coverage nationally, the study found. The grim choices facing the poor among food, shelter and health care are part of the reason for this, the report in the journal Health Affairs said.
For example, an uninsured family that spent $463 out of pocket on health care in 2001 dollars would have to lay out $2,511 if it chose the tax credit option modeled on one proposed by Bush.
Quintupling what the poor spend of their own limited money on health care — that's the Republican definition of "compassion."
So you don’t think there was a genuine interest as to whether or not there really were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?
It’s not about interest. We knew. We knew from many years of both high-level surveillance and other types of shared intelligence, not to mention the information from the U.N., we knew, we knew what was left [from the Gulf War] and the viability of any of that. Bush said he didn’t know.
The truth is, we know [Saddam] didn’t have these things. Almost a billion dollars has been spent — a billion dollars! — by David Kay’s group to search for these WMD, a total whitewash effort. They didn’t find anything, they didn’t expect to find anything.
Don't forget the blood of the 571 Americans who died to find nothing at all.
There are also positive reasons for dumping Mr Cheney. Bringing in a fresh face as vice-president would suggest that the second Bush term will be more than just a re-run of the first. It would also allow Mr Bush to add someone to the ticket who has a better chance of attracting swing voters than a retired CEO from a solid Republican state.
Who might that be? Rudy Giuliani might burnish Mr Bush's reputation for fighting terrorism, though he is not known for his ability to play second fiddle. Condoleezza Rice might do something to neutralise the Democrats' traditional advantage among blacks and women. But some Republicans would rather turn to Bill Owens, the governor of Colorado. There are signs that Mr Kerry is planning to write off the South in order to concentrate on loosening the Republicans' hold on the south-west. What better way to check this threat than to add the Republican Party's brightest western star to the ticket?
It hardly needs saying that replacing Mr Cheney would have to be done with the utmost finesse. Otherwise, it might seem that the Bush White House was falling apart. Mr Cheney would have to retire gracefully, blaming his dodgy heart (he has already had four heart attacks) and no doubt accepting a post as senior counsellor from a grief-stricken president. Persuading such a powerful vice-president to step aside will be no easy thing, of course. But the Bushes don't have a reputation as the Corleone family of the Republican Party for nothing. The next time Mr Cheney takes that jet to go duck-shooting, he may well find James Baker slipping into the seat behind him, with “a litl' proposal to discuss for the good of the party”.
I'm betting on Giuliani because the convention will be held in New York and because he, like the entire Bush administration, owes whatever political legacy he might have to 9-11-01.
A prominent Houston lawmaker's campaign fund-raising sweep at Reliant Energy has become part of a growing Travis County grand jury probe into possible criminal misuse of corporate funds to finance a Republican takeover of the Texas House.
Rep. Beverly Woolley, R-Houston, swept through Houston corporate offices on Sept. 9, 2002, raising money for targeted House races as well as for Texans for a Republican Majority, according to an itinerary of her travel obtained by the Houston Chronicle.
Notes on her itinerary indicate she spoke to some donors about what types of legislation they would like.
I hope she was wearing a cute little red-white-and-blue Republican waitress uniform while she was taking orders, writing their legislative preferences on her pad.
How safe will Reliant be from a scandal in the House? Another way of asking this: Is Reliant Energy a good enough tipper?
A few feet away, I could see police officers and orange-vested security agents holding the crowd back. It wasn't long before everyone realized we were being delayed until Bush had completed his entrance into the stadium.
After only a minute's pause, people started grumbling. Soon, they started yelling at the security detail. A few minutes more and they'd turned their ire on the president himself.
"We want to see the race, not Bush!" shouted someone in the crowd.
"Why didn't that SOB stay in Washington?" screamed Doug Shelby, the loudest of the voices.
Doug Shelby was denouncing Bush's policies -- and drawing agreement from the crowd. "We're $500 billion in debt and it's only getting worse!" he shouted.
Overhead, Lee Greenwood sang "God Bless the USA." The crowd started chanting obscenities.
After LeAnn Rimes sang the national anthem, the crowd above the grandstands started cheering; those below booed.
Then Bush's motorcade drove by. One middle finger went up in the crowd, then another, and soon they were everywhere.
In America, it's where you sit in the stadium that helps determine your ideology. As fewer and fewer people gain entry into the expensive seats and skyboxes and corporate suites, the Democratic base must grow.
[Henry] Bunting [a former employee for Halliburton in Iraq] displayed a towel that was monogrammed with the logo of a Halliburton subsidiary, KBR, saying a company manager insisted on ordering the towels for between $4.50 and $5.50 each, instead of $1.60 for cheaper towels.
Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., said the allegations concerning Halliburton were particularly grave, given that some U.S. soldiers couldn't get life-saving protective vests and body armor due to the prohibitively high cost.
Durbin also said he was troubled by the "millions of wasted dollars spent in the name of defense."
Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., called on Halliburton to disclose if it has been trading with Iran, in violation of U.S. sanctions.
"This week, my staff uncovered documents from the Department of Commerce revealing a flurry of business activities between Halliburton and the Iranian government when Vice President Cheney ran the company," Lautenberg.
"The documents indicate contacts between an Iranian oil company called Kala Ltd. and a subsidiary of Halliburton, Halliburton Products and Services, which has 'offices' in Dubai but is registered in the Cayman Islands," Lautenberg said.
"Despite the possibility that Halliburton - under Vice President Cheney's watch - was deliberately bypassing U.S. sanctions law to conduct business with the terrorist regime in Tehran, this administration, which purports to be waging a global war on terror, has given Halliburton contracts exceeding $9 billion to rebuild Iraq," Lautenberg said.
The New Jersey Senator said he has requested official Senate hearings to investigate billing abuses in Iraq for the last nine months but has so far received no reply from Republicans.
Surely this is getting uncomfortable even for stoic Cheney. This would be a good Rovian opportunity for a carefully-timed vice presidential heart attack.
Rather than picking the best scientists, the White House instead chooses people who are most likely to agree with their own ideological preferences. As the report puts it, "the current administration has repeatedly allowed political considerations to trump scientific qualifications in the appointment process."
The UCS report, which is endorsed by 20 Nobel prize winners, makes clear that it has no problem with arguments over policy. After all, there are usually plenty of facts and arguments on both sides of any policy question.
But suppressing actual research itself simply because you don't want to believe it is another thing entirely. It's hard to think of anything more corrosive to the scientific process, and the extent to which the Bush administration does this is unprecedented. Nixon didn't do it, Reagan didn't do it, and Bush Sr. and Clinton didn't do it. Only the current administration has done this on a regular and sustained basis.
Kevin has written the post I would have wanted to write, but his is only a hundred times better and with much more evidence systematically presented in his trademark manner.
Jeff Skilling, Enron's former CEO and COO, was likely indicted by the Enron grand jury in a sealed indictment today and is expected to surrender to the FBI in Houston early Thursday.
Sources told the Chronicle that the indictment named 50-year-old Skilling, who now becomes the top Enron executive to be accused of a crime in the trading giants stunning downfall.
Skilling has consistently denied any wrongdoing and testified before Congress rather than invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self incrimination, as other executives did.
The foreman of the specially formed Enron grand jury told U.S. Magistrate Judge Frances Stacy at about 4:00 p.m. today that he had one sealed indictment from the panel, which met part of Tuesday and most of Wednesday. Enron Task Force prosecutors Sam Buell, Kathryn Ruemmler and Sean Berkowitz asked that the indictment be sealed and the courtroom be cleared of spectators.
The specially formed Enron grand jury that will consider these charges against Skilling is nearly 2 years old and has been working more frequently as this investigation intensifies.
The charges against Skilling by Enron Task Force prosecutors follow the Jan. 21 indictment of ex-Enron Chief Accounting Officer Rick Causey and the Jan. 15 guilty pleas of former company Chief Financial Officer Andrew Fastow and his wife.
Attorneys involved in the Enron criminal cases expect that Fastow, who agreed to serve 10 years in prison for two counts of conspiracy, gave prosecutors information that will add to the case against Skilling.
WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration and Citigroup Inc. are proposing a joint $200 million arrangement to finance Iraq's imports, with the bank's revenue from the project guaranteed by Iraq's oil sales.
The plan, led by the federal Overseas Private Investment Corp., has raised some eyebrows inside the administration because it comes just a few months before the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority is to turn over sovereignty to a still-undetermined Iraqi government. It is far from clear whether the trade-finance project would get much done before the scheduled June 30 handover or whether the new Iraqi government would abandon it.
But OPIC officials believe their plan to facilitate letters of credit for Iraqi importers will help the economy recover and modernize. OPIC officials stress the assistance the project would provide to Iraqi private companies and private banks. It is an attempt to "put in the foundations that will achieve economic freedom for the Iraqis," said OPIC President Peter Watson.
The project would work through a series of guarantees for letters of credit, a standard tool used to smooth the flow of trade. Letters of credit guarantee payment to the seller -- say, a German drug company or an American tractor maker -- at the time it delivers the goods. Without such a letter, Iraqi importers -- who are by virtue of the country's situation considered huge credit risks -- would have to put up the cash beforehand and trust that the goods would eventually arrive.
In the case of the OPIC/Citigroup project, a Baghdad bank might issue a letter of credit for a local company's imports. An international bank would confirm the letter, assuming the risk of nonpayment. A separate institution, set up by Citigroup, would then guarantee that the international bank gets paid. Citigroup and OPIC would guarantee that the separate institution -- still nameless -- gets paid. Finally, the coalition would pledge to use Iraqi oil revenue to cover any Citigroup and OPIC losses.
Is it normal to accept letters of credit from invaded nations without governments? The arrangement sure stinks at first sniff.
At least we Americans can sleep better at night knowing Citigroup's revenues are guaranteed by the fruits of our taxes, although the job security, baseline medical coverage, and increasingly privatized retirement savings of our citizens are not.
Q: Did he have to do any community service while he was in the National Guard?
Scott McClellan: Look, Helen, I think the issue here was whether or not the President served in Alabama. Records have documented --
Q: I'm asking you a different question. That's permissible.
Scott McClellan: Can I answer your question? Sure it is. Can I ask you why you're asking it? I'm just -- out of curiosity myself, is that permissible?
Q: Well, I'm interested, of course, in what everybody is interested in. And we have a very --
Scott McClellan: Let me just point out that we've released all the information we have related to this issue, the issue of whether or not he served while in Alabama. Records have documented as false the outrageous --
Q: I asked you whether he had to do any community service while he was in the National Guard.
Scott McClellan: Can I walk through this?
Q: It's a very legitimate question.
Scott McClellan: And I want to back up and walk through this a little bit. Let's talk about the issue that came up, because this issue came up four years ago, it came up four years before that -- or two years before that, it came up four years before that --
Q: Did my question come up four years ago, and was it handled?
Scott McClellan: Helen, if you'll let me finish, I want to back up and talk about this --
Q: Don't dance around, just give us --
Q: It's a straightforward question.
Q: Let's not put too fine a point on it. If I'm not mistaken, you're implying that he had to do community service for criminal action, as a punishment for some crime?
Q: There are rumors around, and I didn't put it in that way. I just --
Q: Could you take that question? I guess apparently that's the question, that he had to take time out to perform community service --
Scott McClellan: That's why I wanted to get to this because --
Q: -- as a sentence for a crime.
Xymphora follows up on this line of questioning with a blunt hypothesis about the evidence for the probable crime of cocaine possession:
Rove is on his game here. By holding back the military records he has made the military records the issue, and has has managed to divert the media from the real issue, which is the community service. If those legal files ever get out, showing that Bush was convicted of a serious drug offence, his political career will be finished. The real reason that Bush went AWOL was that he couldn't afford to take a drug test. The real reason he couldn't afford to take a drug test was that it would have been a condition of his sentencing that he remain clean. If word of the failed drug test had filtered back to the court, he would have gone to jail. His fear of the criminal legal consequences is why he went AWOL, and that's why the community service is the key to understanding what is going on here. By concentrating on the military records, the media is walking right into Rove's trap.
So, you see, kids, drugs are bad. They can make you lose your illegitimate residency in the White House even thirty-odd years after you stopped snorting them.
In the crowd: It must have been some dish served up the other night at PlumpJack Cafe in the Marina.
There, gathered in one place, were billionaire Gordon Getty, his son Billy Getty, downtown tycoon and Democratic rainmaker Walter Shorenstein, mega- attorney and Democratic powerhouse Joe Cotchett and, the guest of honor -- Sharon Bush, soon-to-be ex-wife of Neil Bush, President's Bush's politically radioactive brother.
In case you've missed it, Sharon and hubby Neil have been providing more than their share of tabloid headlines lately with their nasty divorce proceedings.
The juicy disclosures go beyond just adulterous sex and a child possibly born out of wedlock. There's the more sensitive question of whether Neil used his White House ties to land a deal that could be worth millions, consulting for a computer chip company managed in part by the son of former Chinese President Jiang Zemin.
As for why Sharon Bush was sharing a table with this Democratic A-team, nobody is talking for the record. But a spy says Cotchett has been advising her on a book deal that could come on the heels of an upcoming piece about her and the "Bush family values'' in Vanity Fair.
Sharon's book could be much more explosive than David Brock's or Ron Suskind/Paul O'Neill's.
Here's the back story on the "child possibly born out of wedlock," and other Neilsie shenanigans.
"What you are refusing to acknowledge, a half trillion dollar current trade deficit. We are importing capital. We are squandering our wealth on a short-term basis, corporate America and U.S. multinationals are shipping jobs for only one reason, not for greater productivity, not for efficiencies, those are purely code words for cheaper labor costs and you know it and you won't admit it."
There's a lot here. Lou's loaded for bear and not backing off.
Every president has characteristic strengths and weaknesses. For better or worse, by the end of his term of office, Bill Clinton's reputation as a truth-teller was in tatters. But that was never his strong suit with voters anyway. The measure of his enduring strength with voters is best gauged in a question pollsters usually frame as 'does candidate X care about/understand the problems that affect people like you.'
Clinton always did very well on that question. It's the politics of empathy -- a topic which, when it comes to Clinton, one could literally write a whole book.
People never warmed to President Bush as a literary critic or a raconteur. And he's usually done okay, but not great, on the 'care about/understand' question. His strong suit has always been honesty and trustworthiness -- that and the closely related quality of 'leadership'. If he loses that, politically speaking, he's finished.
No one enjoys being lied to, particularly the hundreds of families who have lost loved ones to the dishonesty of this administration. Slowly but surely they're waking up to the falseness of the "patriotic" rush to war that has benefited no one but Bechtel, Halliburton and other corporate pals of the White House.
The Halloween presidency may have tricked itself out of a second term.
Recalls Memphian [Bob] Mintz, now 63: “I remember that I heard someone was coming to drill with us from Texas. And it was implied that it was somebody with political influence. I was a young bachelor then. I was looking for somebody to prowl around with.” But, says Mintz, that “somebody” -- better known to the world now as the president of the United States -- never showed up at Dannelly in 1972. Nor in 1973, nor at any time that Mintz, a FedEx pilot now and an Eastern Airlines pilot then, when he was a reserve first lieutenant at Dannelly, can remember.
“There’s no way we wouldn’t have noticed a strange rooster in the henhouse, especially since we were looking for him,” insists Mintz, who has pored over documents relating to the matter now making their way around the Internet. One of these is a piece of correspondence addressed to the 187th’s commanding officer, then Lt. Col. William Turnipseed, concerning Bush’s redeployment.
Mintz remembers a good deal of base scuttlebutt at the time about the letter, which clearly identifies Bush as the transferring party. “It couldn’t be anybody else. No one ever did that again, as far as I know.” In any case, he is certain that nobody else in that time frame, 1972-73, requested such a transfer into Dannelly.
Mintz, who at one time was a registered Republican and in recent years has cast votes in presidential elections for independent Ross Perot and Democrat Al Gore, confesses to “a negative reaction” to what he sees as out-and-out dissembling on President Bush’s part. “You don’t do that as an officer, you don’t do that as a pilot, you don’t do it as an important person, and you don’t do it as a citizen. This guy’s got a lot of nerve.”
Though some accounts reckon the total personnel component of the 187th as consisting of several hundred, the actual flying squadron – that to which Bush was reassigned – number only “25 to 30 pilots,” Mintz said. “There’s no doubt. I would have heard of him, seen him, whatever.” Even if Bush, who was trained on a slightly different aircraft than the F4 Phantom jets flown by the squadron, opted not to fly with the unit, he would have had to encounter the rest of the flying personnel at some point, in non-flying formations or drills. “And if he did any flying at all, on whatever kind of craft, that would have involved a great number of supportive personnel. It takes a lot of people to get a plane into the air. But nobody I can think of remembers him."
“I never saw hide nor hair of Mr. Bush,” confirms [Paul] Bishop, who now lives in Goldsboro, N.C., is a veteran of Gulf War I and, as a Kalitta pilot, has himself flown frequent supply missions into Iraq and to military facilities at Kuwait. He voted for Bush in 2000 and believes that the Iraq war has served some useful purposes – citing, as the White House does, disarmament actions since pursued by Libyan president Moammar Khadaffi – but he is disgruntled both about aspects of the war and about what he sees as Bush’s lack of truthfulness about his military record.
“I think a commander-in-chief who sends his men off to war ought to be a veteran who has seen the sting of battle,” Bishop says. “In Iraq: we have a bunch of great soldiers, but they are not policemen. I don’t think he [the president] was well advised; right now it’s costing us an American life a day. I’m not a peacenik, but what really bothers me is that of the 500 or so that we’ve lost almost 80 of them were reservists. We’ve got an over-extended Guard and reserve.”
So who has shown the ultimate disrespect for the Guard and Reserves? The Democrats for bringing the issue up, or Bush for sending 80 reservists to their deaths — without managing to find a single weapon of mass destruction?
Two former Halliburton Co. employees are accusing the Houston firm of routinely overcharging American taxpayers for work performed under a military contract, two Democratic lawmakers say.
Halliburton, which as a government contractor is supposed to keep a lid on costs, selected embroidered towels when ordinary ones would have cost a third as much and leased cars, trucks SUVS and vans for up $7,500 a month, the would-be whistleblowers said.
Indeed, the motto at Halliburton was "Don't worry about price. It's cost plus," one of the ex-workers told lawmakers.
That's a reference to a type of government contract in which a company like Halliburton would be reimbursed for the cost of providing a service, plus receive an additional percentage as profit.
One of the former employees, a field buyer named Henry Bunting, stationed in Kuwait, is scheduled to testify Friday before a panel of Senate Democrats.
These latest allegations were made public today by Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., and Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., both frequent Halliburton critics, in a letter to William Reed, director of the Defense Contract Audit Agency.
If the former employees' "accounts are accurate, the company is systematically overcharging the taxpayer on hundreds of routine requisitions every day. While the dollar amounts involved in any single procurement may be small, the cumulative cost to the taxpayer could be enormous," the lawmakers wrote.
Halliburton's subsidiary KBR, formerly known as Kellogg Brown & Root, builds bases, cooks food, washes clothes, delivers mail and provides other basic services for U.S. troops under a 10-year contract with the Pentagon valued at $3.6 billion.
Embroidered towels? $7,500 a month cars and SUVs?
Who do Pentagon contractors think they are — Tyco?
Neil Bush's involvement in raising money for an HISD charitable foundation to help buy his company's educational software raises serious legal and ethical concerns, experts say.
The head of a national watchdog group described it as "self-dealing" and characterized the agreement as pushing "the border of legality."
Bush's Austin-based company, Ignite, agreed last summer to provide its eighth-grade U.S. history software to 23 HISD schools at half price this academic year, on the condition that the HISD Foundation, a philanthropic group, would come up with the remainder of the funds. The schools, which have been using the curriculum since August, each paid Ignite $5,000.
Some observers question the role that Bush and his company played in raising the additional money through the philanthropic organization because Bush and other Ignite executives contacted major donors, asking them to make tax-exempt, charitable contributions earmarked for the for-profit business.
LIST OF DONORS
Donations made to the HISD Foundation for purchasing educational software from Neil Bush's company came from:
• The Friedkin Companies, Inc. $25,000
• Landry's Restaurant Foundation $25,000*
• Wells Fargo Foundation $25,000
• Former Iranian Ambassador and Mrs. Hushang Ansary $25,000
• Astros in Action Foundation $10,000
• Stearns Charitable Fund $5,000
Neil, with his whoring, conniving crony capitalism, represents in many ways a more forthright version of the entire Bush family in microcosm.
*Landry's generous contribution, by the way, represents Chairman and CEO Tilman Fertitta's desire to bet on two horses, given his prior charitable support of Sharon Bush's pet projects and now of her adulterous ex-husband's self-directed charity.
"For the Black Eyed Peas to get on pop radio with a slickly produced but smart and soulful rap that associates the CIA with international terrorism and implies that George Bush is a liar would deserve our attention. That the tune is impossibly catchy, with a boy-pop pinup singing the candy-coated chorus, makes it a subversive cultural milestone." — Rick Mitchell, Pazz & Jop 2003
"Coup of the year: Fountains of Wayne seduce the cool boys of VH1 with a sexy video about MILFs. Safely inside the palace walls, the band then blindsides 'em with an entire album full of sad songs about downsized America with such sunny harmonies that even Mo Rocca has to sing along." — Tim Grierson, Pazz & Jop 2003
The ruling is the first in a series of subpoenas by the U.S. Justice Department seeking the medical records of patients from seven physicians and at least five hospitals, Crain's sister publication Modern Healthcare has learned. Besides Northwestern, Mr. Ashcroft is seeking patient records from University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers in Ann Arbor; Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia, owned by Tenet Healthcare Corp.; Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center and Weill Cornell Medical Center of New York Presbyterian Hospital both of which are part of the New York-Presbyterian Healthcare System; and an unidentified San Francisco-area hospital.
Northwestern received the subpoena in December, a month after obstetrician/gynecologist Cassing Hammond, a member of Northwestern’s staff and medical school faculty, was served with subpoenas seeking his patient records. Hammond is one of seven doctors and three groups who has challenged the constitutionality of the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003. The American Civil Liberties Union is representing the National Abortion Federation; Planned Parenthood and the Center for Reproductive Rights, which are all filing challenges to the law. A hearing for all of the challenges has been scheduled for March 29 in U.S. District Court in New York.
Dr. Hammond refused comment last week. His case is pending.
You think stuff like this doesn't hit home? That it's some vague privacy-related matter that happens to other people?
It hits home. The doctors of Northwestern’s staff and medical school faculty are my healthcare providers. Disgust is not a strong enough word to express how I feel about Ashcroft's fingers riffling through the same filing cabinets that contain my medical records.
I assume it's because military people are looking for alternatives. It's hard to know what to do with your personal investments, but that's the price we all pay as Americans for the privatization of our retirement funding — a cherished Republican ideal that doesn't help those of us without expensive financial advisors.
So let me tell you what I do, because I don't have a financial advisor either, and I don't like the idea of paying huge loads (sales commissions) to financial "planners" whose whole idea of planning is taking your money.
Find some no-load mutual funds that are specifically designed for retirement and put your money there. They are the right mix of stocks and bonds and international and all that stuff you don't want to worry about.
In my case, I use the Fidelity Freedom funds, like the Fidelity Freedom 2020 or Fidelity Freedom 2030 or Fidelity Freedom 2040 funds (the number means the approximate year you expect to retire. Go to fidelity.com or Yahoo Finance and poke around for more information.
If you are in the military and you want more information about investing for retirement, email me and if there are enough of you I'll start an online course right here. Free, of course.
I think it's such a crying shame what they're doing to you. In light of very little evidence justifying our actions, there isn't a day goes by that I'm not grateful for the enormous sacrifices you've made.
...the Bush dynasty differs from other American families that have mixed wealth with political prominence. While the Kennedys and the Rockefellers may have a sense of entitlement, they also display a sense of noblesse oblige—what one might call an urge to repay, with charitable contributions and public service, their good fortune. The Bushes don't have that problem; there are no philanthropists or reformers in the clan. They seek public office but, if anything, they seem to feel that the public is there to serve them.
Phillips sees the activity of the Bush family as a return to the royalist privilege and imperial tendencies of European dynasties: "When Bush took office in 2001, a parallel to Stuart and Bourbon arrogance quickly emerged in the new regime's insistence on ideological conservatism despite the lack of any such national mandate."
It is precisely this arrogance that fuels the hatred of Bush, the hatred that his supporters supposedly find so confounding. The reason is Bush is hated, in contrast to conservatives who are merely opposed, is the sense of entitlement without competence — a Bush trait, not a conservative trait.
The president's supporters cannot see how or why people who believe in actual (as opposed to staged) democracy regard the Bush brand of political maneuvering as disastrous and reprehensible if not criminal. Why not? Because they are royalist courtiers themselves.
Even with Rove's stage-managed ground rules — tape on Saturday, home court advantage, no followup questions allowed — the interview revealed a thoughtless, dodgy, repetitive man who is clearly out of touch with the issues, the American people, and reality itself.
How else could he say that the trouble with Vietnam (which he managed to escape) was "politicians making military decisions"?
The head football coach at the University of Colorado told a former colleague it would be harder to recruit star athletes if the school did not show them a good time and take them to sex parties, according to a deposition released on Friday.
"If recruits aren't being shown these type of activities ... it would be a recruiting disadvantage," Robert Chichester, a former associate athletic director at the university, quoted head coach Gary Barnett as having told him.
The depositions were taken as part of a lawsuit filed by three women who claim they were raped at or after a December 2001 off-campus recruiting party attended by high school recruits.
One nipple on camera, or an authority-condoned system of rape among minors — which is the right way to feed the voracious, monopolistic football entertainment industry?