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Dec 29 2008

Happy Hour Discurso

Today’s opining on the public discourse.

Bush’s priorities:

In an effort to “prevent Palestinians from attacking towns in southern Israel” with rockets, Israel today undertook its third day of offensive military airstrikes in the Palestinian territory of Gaza, raising the death toll to more than 300. The Palestinian casualty numbers have been described as the highest over such a brief period since the 1967 Six-Day war. Scores of Israelis have been wounded — and at least one killed — by rocket attacks fired by Palestinians. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak called the situation “all out war.”

While Bush has been briefed on the situation by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, he has opted not to interrupt his final vacation as president to make a public statement on the crisis. For someone who has enjoyed the most vacation days as sitting president — including days spent relaxing in comfort during Hurricane Katrina and in the lead-up to 9/11 — it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that Bush prioritizes vacationing over crisis management. ABC News reports:

Even an emerging crisis in the Middle East, one he pledged to resolve just 13 months ago, has not drawn President George W. Bush from his final vacation before leaving office. Despite his personal pledge at Annapolis last year to broker a deal between Israel and the Palestinians before 2009, this weekend Bush sent his spokesmen to comment in his stead. […]

Since departing Washington for Crawford on Friday, President Bush has made no attempt to be seen in public. In fact, he has yet to leave his ranch.

Today, in a press briefing delivered from the “Western White House” in Crawford, TX, White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe was asked what is on Bush’s schedule today. In addition to receiving “updates on the ongoing situation,” Johndroe said, “I expect he’ll probably ride his bicycle today and spend time with Mrs. Bush.”

Because that’s exactly what the president of a superpower should do while the Middle East descends into chaos. And this is a man who thinks that history will be kind to him. I rather think not.

I suppose it won’t surprise any of you to discover that the Bush regime has made a complete hash of OSHA:


The Bush gang? Ignoring the public’s interests, politicizing a key federal agency, and advancing corporate interests above all else? You don’t say.

In early 2001, an epidemiologist at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration sought to publish a special bulletin warning dental technicians that they could be exposed to dangerous beryllium alloys while grinding fillings. Health studies showed that even a single day’s exposure at the agency’s permitted level could lead to incurable lung disease.

After the bulletin was drafted, political appointees at the agency gave a copy to a lobbying firm hired by the country’s principal beryllium manufacturer, according to internal OSHA documents. The epidemiologist, Peter Infante, incorporated what he considered reasonable changes requested by the company and won approval from key directorates, but he bristled when the private firm complained again.

[snip]

Current and former career officials at OSHA say that such sagas were a recurrent feature during the Bush administration, as political appointees ordered the withdrawal of dozens of workplace health regulations, slow-rolled others, and altered the reach of its warnings and rules in response to industry pressure.

[snip]

By all appearances, this administration barely wants OSHA to even exist, so I suppose it stands to reason that Bush political appointees would gut the agency and turn to lobbyists to help guide OSHA’s decision making. Indeed, it’s hard to count just how many regulatory agencies have, under this president, effectively been run by the business interests it was supposed to be regulating.

This administration will go down in history as one of the most inane, insane, and generally incompetent misadventures in American government since the Revolution. They’re banking on 9/11 to save them:

With President Bush’s time in office rapidly coming to an end, his loyal supporters are working overtime to spin his legacy positively. In an interview with the Telegraph, Bush’s former UN ambassador, John Bolton, claims that “in 100 years,” people won’t remember two of the biggest stains on Bush’s record, Guantánamo Bay and Abu Ghraib:


“In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, he was strong and decisive and that was critical for both the country and for the Western world,” believes John Bolton. “In 100 years people aren’t going to remember Guantánamo or Abu Ghraib, they’re going to remember 9/11 and Bush’s reaction to it.”

Yes, they’ll remember his reaction to it. They’ll remember that he started two wars, one with a country that had nothing to do with 9/11. They’ll remember that he authorized torture, thus ensuring terrorists had something to spice up their recruiting posters with. They’ll remember that al Qaeda in Iraq didn’t exist until Bush created the conditions that allowed them to flourish there.

People will remember plenty in 100 years. I doubt even the veils of history can put a shine on this pile of shit.

At least it seems there will be plenty of people to remember:

I don’t want to alarm anyone, but it appears that teenagers sometimes have sex, even if they “pledge” not to.

Teenagers who pledge to remain virgins until marriage are just as likely to have pre
marital sex as those who do not promise abstinence and are significantly less likely to use condoms and other forms of birth control when they do, according to a study released today.

The new analysis of data from a large federal survey found that more than half of youths became sexually active before marriage regardless of whether they had taken a “virginity pledge,” but that the percentage who took precautions against pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases was 10 points lower for pledgers than for non-pledgers.

“Taking a pledge doesn’t seem to make any difference at all in any sexual behavior,” said Janet E. Rosenbaum of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, whose report appears in the January issue of the journal Pediatrics. “But it does seem to make a difference in condom use and other forms of birth control that is quite striking.”

Got that? The difference between teens who make abstinence “pledges” and teens who don’t isn’t sexual conduct, it’s that those who make the “pledges” engage in more dangerous sexual conduct.

After a while, this just gets repetitious — the right insists that abstinence programs work, objective research shows they don’t. Conservatives, not satisfied, demand more objective research, which further proves abstinence programs don’t work. No evidence, no matter how overwhelming, seems to be enough.

But reality just won’t budge. The nonpartisan National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy found that abstinence programs do not affect teenager sexual behavior. A congressionally-mandated study, which was not only comprehensive but also included long-term follow-up, found the exact same thing. Researchers keep conducting studies, and the results are always the same.

I’ve been alive for over 30 years. I cannot remember another time in this country when our leaders were so overwhelmingly, relentlessly stupid.

Can we just let Bush stay in hiding on his pretend ranch and install the grownup in the White House now, please?

1 comment

  1. 1
    george.w

    I saw a poll somewhere in which a lot of Americans feel the same way; can we just have the grown-up in office NOW?I’ve been alive for over fifty years. I was a nerdy kid fascinated by politics; I remember Johnson and Nixon, but at least both of them were smart men. Bush has been a hand-puppet from day one.My web browser plugin says; “21 days”.

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