DON’T MISS IT. Seriously, how often have I said that. Editorial pages are really starting to turn on Bush. They are simply ignoring his PR campaign to turn domesic spying into “terrorist surveillance,” instead attacking Rumsfeld’s incompetence, Bush’s disregard for law, and the utter failure that is Medicare Part D.
I’m still looking for a couple of new contributors, so drop to the bottom if you’re interested.
The Decatur Daily
Our military will be decades recovering from Rumsfeld. Ultimately, the man is a petulant, arrogant child, so married to his idea that he refuses to note when it is failing.
Army report evidence of breakdown in command
The conclusions reached by a consultant — that the Army is stretched to the breaking point — come as no surprise. The surprise is who had to hire Andrew Krepinevich for that nugget of information. …
The question is, why does the Pentagon have to hire an outsider to conclude that its own Army is deficient? Why does Mr. Rumsfeld have to hire someone to track down publicly available evidence of the Army’s deficiencies?
The existence of the consulting contract and its conclusions suggest a catastrophic breakdown in communications between Mr. Rumsfeld and Army officials. In a healthy organization, Mr. Rumsfeld would have a sit-down with Army commanders. “Do you have enough troops?” he might ask. “Can we continue the war in Iraq at current levels without letting other commitments slip through the cracks?” …
The revelation is not that the Army is short on troops. The revelation, rather, is that the chain of command is in such disarray that the only way the Pentagon can get a straight answer is by hiring an outside consultant to do the digging.
Journal Gazette & Times Courier
This is a pretty amazing rant from a self-proclaimed pro-Bush Democrat. I had to cut a lot of it, so follow the link for the whole thing. The most pithy line to me describes the 38% Bush will never drop below, “the Christian right and Bush groupies.” The other lesson of this diatribe, therefore, is that we can NEVER turn certain people, no matter what the reality, and we should damned well stop trying.
Just what’s so bad about `Big Brother’ Bush?
The Bush Administration claims the president can authorize spying on any American if he deems it necessary.
Strip away all the arguments justifying unfettered domestic spying, and that’s what it boils down to. …
I suppose there are some American citizens who have no difficulty accepting the proposition that it’s fine to live in a fish bowl. …
Most blindly chatting the mantra are Bush supporters on the Christian right (who believe Bush might be capable of walking on water) and Bush groupies (people for Bush right or wrong, by gosh). …
In order for America to be the world’s democratic beacon, we must insure the values codified in our Constitution and Bill of Rights are adhered to.
Not idle words, to be discounted in the heat of the moment.
Yes, it is easier to protect Americans by stripping them of their liberties and rights.
This would be a far safer nation if unchecked domestic spying were permitted. It would. …
I trust George Bush. I believe he would not abuse his self-proclaimed right to spy on me without warrant or any oversight.
I trust George Bush.
But, what about the next president?
The Morning Call
Lynn Swann is the latest celebrity neophyte politician. It is interesting that he is staking his claim in Pennsylvania, sure to be on the hottest spots in the ’06 Senatorial fight (don’t fool yourself into thinking Santorum will give up and walk away, his numbers will start to climb when it counts. We’re in for a dog fight, folks). This will assure a higher than average mid-term turnout, and that will have to be a huge consideration in the Republican endorsement. I, for one, hope the whole thing turns into a blood bath we can watch from afar.
State’s Republicans are poised to stage a fascinating gubernatorial contest
Bill Scranton or Lynn Swann? Former lieutenant governor and scion of one of Pennsylvania’s blue-blood political families, or charming pro football Hall of Famer, former Pittsburgh Steelers star wide receiver and recently resigned television sports analyst? …
So, what should Pennsylvania Republicans do? Are they confronted with choosing between a celebrity neophyte or an experienced campaigner? Do they stick to the tradition of blessing a candidate with an endorsement, or do they let Republican voters decide? …
Pennsylvanians still are fuming about the pay raises. How Republicans resolve Scranton vs. Swann will indicate whether they will try to win the governor’s office with emotion or reason. As the Republicans work this out, they must remember to keep the voters in mind, and that an open process is the best way to serve them.
Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Criminal defense attorneys and prosecutors know where Jesus lives- he lives in the County Jail. After all, everybody who gets held awaiting trial finds him there. That’s why it’s such a brilliant comparison to Congress’ sudden lobby reform awakening.
Without enforcement, Congress can forget reform
Like miscreants who find God in prison when a link to the Almighty may help them win parole, lawmakers from both sides of the congressional aisle are backing lobby reform proposals that might distance them from a lobbyist felon. The talk increased yesterday during a Senate hearing. …
That’s a mistake. Congress has clearly shown its inability to monitor itself. The perfect example is the behavior last year of House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert. The Illinois Republican rebuffed a request for reappointment from the GOP chairman of the ethics committee and ousted two Republican members after the group reprimanded then-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. As if that weren’t enough, Mr. Hastert then appointed to the committee, which still was deliberating allegations against Mr. DeLay, two replacements who had given large sums to the DeLay legal defense fund.
What is needed is an independent investigation and enforcement mechanism — an ethics commission whose funding can’t be cut off when it admonishes congressional leaders and whose members can’t be replaced when it fulfills its duty to check complaints. Senate Democrats proposed such a body, an Office of Public Integrity, in legislation introduced Friday.
Such an ethics police force is essential to ensuring that members of Congress follow the rules — or else risk getting caught green-handed.
Red Wing Republican Eagle
Medicare Part D is bad, and it is only going to get worse as several things happen. First, and worst, people will drop into the doughnut hole and never know what hit them. Second, the enormous cost to states, since state Medicaid programs got discounted prices and Part D doesn’t, will become apparent as states try to make new budgets over the next couple of years. And third, all those seniors who diligently searched for the program with their drugs will be disappointed to find they were victims of a bait and switch- they’re stuck in the Cadillac program all year, while it gets to switch to Yugo drug coverage after 60 days.
Medicare drug plan remains a big mess
We’ve said it before and we say it again: The Medicare prescription drug benefit is a nightmare for the people it’s supposed to help. Those people believe it, too.
In a poll done for the Associated Press, 52 percent of those surveyed said the plan was difficult to understand. Another 33 percent weren’t sure if the plan was difficult or not. In other words, more than 80 percent of those polled either find the plan confusing or they don’t know whether the plan is confusing. The underlying factor is confusion about a drug benefit that was supposed to be simple. …
This is not about a glitch or two in a new program. It’s a systemwide failure that is affecting thousands of people, mostly elderly, who thought they finally were getting a drug prescription benefit that worked. It’s about the fashionable notion that a government program can rely on a competitive private sector to deliver the goods more efficiently. …
And what about the major selling point? Beneficiaries are supposed to save money because of the benefit. But the AP poll revealed that six in 10 of those enrolled in the program have realized no savings. …
It’s a mess. It’s already far more expensive than advertised and it’s not delivering as promised. It’s little more than a spigot of federal dollars from Medicare to the treasuries of insurance companies and drug firms. No wonder they did not oppose it in Congress.
There’s some talk in Washington that the drug benefit should be withdrawn. Bad idea. It should be fixed by making it simpler. If that means fewer private insurers can back up their trucks to the money machine, so be it.
Editorials around the country are amused at Congress’ sudden interest in lobbying “reform.” They are also bemused over the concept of a Congress so obviously corrupt regulating itself.
Can we trust Congress to reform itself?
If it weren’t such a serious problem — that our government appears to be for sale — it would be laughable to watch as politicians scurry to distance themselves from lobbyists like Jack Abramoff. …
What is disturbing is that so many people we’ve put in charge of our government and our tax money seem so willing to look the other way when things like golf vacations, high-priced tickets to sporting events and other lavish gifts come their way or to people on their staff.
How could anyone not think that someone was trying to buy his or her vote? …
Many of these ideas are sound steps toward ethics reform, but the question we ask is: Can we really trust Congress to propose rules and police itself? The House and Senate ethics committees have been responsible for enforcing the past rules, but much of the effort has ended up in partisan politicking. …
While it is impossible to legislate honesty, rules should be passed to bring lobbying off of the golf course or out of the resort swimming pool. Lobbyists can provide Congress with information or state a position. No gifts. No loopholes.
If an elected representative needs to go to a conference or attend a seminar, he or she should pay for it. If hunger hits along the way, buy your own lunch.
These are very basic rules. But they are easy to understand and easy to enforce — even for Congress.
I’m ramping The Daily Pulse back up, and viewership has increased significantly. It took 4 months to get the first 3000, and about two weeks for the next thousand. If you’re interested in being a front-page contributor, let me know. Ideally, we’re looking for the following, all to be surveys of different editorial sites like the above:
* Letters to the Editor. I’ve been doing it once a week, but think a daily column gives the best picture of all what people outside the beltway or the political junkie blogs are thinking. Daily is ideal
* Foreign editorials. The best would be to have several different people, each posting once a week. I’d love to have a European Pulse, an Asian Pulse, a Middle Eastern, etc. Now, I try to include one foreign per main entry, but think the blog would be more valuable with a wider voice.
* Alternative editorials. I include GLBT, African American, Jewish, etc., newspapers in my database, from which randomly select editorial pages. But they are such a minority, they rarely pop up. If somebody dedicated themselves to an alternative column, that would be incredibly cool. It could also be broken up- weekly or semi-weekly GLBT, ditto African American, etc.
* Local columnists. Local columnists tend to have their fingers on the pulse of their communities, even better sometimes than the editorials. The editor gets to write whatever s/he wants. Columns sell, and they don’t sell if they’re too far from the community. Daily is best, but a couple of times per week would be cool.
* Other content, esp. local radio and television.
*Whatever else might fit in the format.