President Bush apparently signed into effect Joe Biden’s baby, the hideous Reducing Americans’ Vulnerability to Ecstasy (RAVE) bill. Jacob Sullum comments.
My advisor in grad school once told me that you “can give a monkey a hammer, but you can’t be sure he’ll use it on nails.” So it seems with our Justice Department:
The Justice Department has begun using its expanded counterterrorism powers to seize millions of dollars from foreign banks that do business in the United States, creating tensions with the State Department and some allies.
Law enforcement officials say the tool has proven invaluable in seizing ill-gotten money that criminals hide overseas and that was once out of the government’s reach. Under the counterterrorism measures approved by Congress after the Sept. 11 attacks, prosecutors are not even required to trace the money back to the target of an investigation.
Officials at the State Department, however, have raised concerns over the practice
P.S. 1.9% growth is not a recession. So the next time you hear a politician or anyone else say that the country is in recession tell them they are full of it. Granted, 1.9% isn’t exactly setting the economy on fire but considering what this economy has been through during the Clinton “Boom” and subsequent events such as 9/11 and war it is a tribute to someone that we are not in a depression. We still need to see stronger growth in order to create jobs but that may be coming with some help with the money supply and tax relief. I’m guessing that by Nov ’04 things will be moving along at a very nice clip. That’s right Dems, just in time for GW’s re-election.
This blog is now officially a Laci Peterson free zone. I am not even going to avoid talking about that obnoxious bitch Nancy Grace and her interminable appearances on Larry King. The only thing that could possibly make me discuss this case anymore is if we find out that O.J. was involved.
So, for all your Laci-Free blogging needs, you are safe here.
The Rev. Markle dissects the CNN/rifle debacle.
Everytime I read about the Rosenthal case, I get pissed off.
Kevin Drum asks the trillion dollar question:
Of course, Sullivan joins the chorus of those who say that they like tax cuts, honest they do, but what they really want is to cut spending. Fine. Let’s hear what you want to cut. And remember, for bonus points you have to include some programs that you yourself benefit from.)
So have at it, folks- post your cuts here and at Kevin’s site.
I’ll start with farm subsidies and anything involving ethanol, Amtrak (which I benefit from- I will have to drive to Chicago to visit my brother from now on, or fly), the Postal Service, the NEA (I donate to NPR- the rest of you bums should too), and the miscellaneous corporate welfare that take billions from the federal treasury. Add in all the ridiculous pork projects (Robert Byrd, anyone), and the silly outdated programs like the Mohair subsidies that we hear about frequently. I would be willing to hear debates on NASA. There you go, now add yours.
*** Update ***
The 2004 budget can be found here.
Henry Hanks has uncovered a rare moment of Hollywood Honesty.
The computer system used by the Environmental Protection Agency to track and control water pollution is obsolete, full of faulty data and does not take into account thousands of significant pollution sources, according to a new government report.
Efforts to modernize the program have been mismanaged for several years, said the report, issued last week by the E.P.A.’s inspector general. While the cost to fix the problem has been soaring, the amount of money dedicated to the project has been shrinking. The new system was supposed to come online this month, but because of its many problems it will be at least three years before the agency and the states can properly manage the enormous system of permits that is the basic tool for enforcing the Clean Water Act.
How long before this is Bush’s fault? At any rate, faulty equipment means we have been under-estimating or over-estimating threats for years now- essentially, this report makes it appear as if we have been flying blind. Not good.
One of the most annoying things about this administration is that they have been so wildly successful at slowing the flow of information. Mike McCurry and company would have loved to have had this amount of success. The problwm with this isthat it leaves the rest of us in the dark, and no one knows what the hell is going on. Take for example, this article:
The sudden shift in postwar strategy in favor of an American and British occupation authority has visibly deflated the Iraqi political scene, which earlier this month was bustling with grass-roots politicking and high expectations for an all-Iraqi provisional government.
This week Kurdish leaders are clearing out of Baghdad to return to the north to consult with their constituents about a course of action. They have asked the new American civilian administrator in Iraq, L. Paul Bremer III, to visit northern Iraq to confront the popular disenchantment.
Will this story be like the previuos 500 that have come out of Iraq, and in two weeks be throroughly discredited? I don’t know- no one knows what the hell is really going on, and that is a problem, whether the Administration recognizes it or not. If the public is unaware of the situation, accidents, setbacks, and military deaths can be portrayed and spun by the press as abysmal failures. We need to know what is going on, and I am hard pressed to say that we are getting the information we deserve.
*** Update ***
The more I think about it, the more of a problem this is for the administration. The main outcry in Gitmo with the detainees was the secrecy PRIOR to their being viewed by outside sources. Once it was known how they were treated, most of the catcalling and international accusations died off.
This is not a parody:
After reading the paper this morning I’m so depressed that I just want to crawl into a hole and go to sleep forever. I’m afraid that there are days when I just can’t stand to watch any longer as the Republican party continues its ceaseless, step-by-step quest to destroy a great country and a decent society, and today is one of those days.
I guess that means I should pick up the LA Times and celebrate. Let’s see, let me check my agenda today:
1.) Taunt poor, attempt to steal bag lady’s change jar from her grocery cart.
2.) Attack the environment- I think I will drive my car really fast for a while in a circular route around town. Then I will change my oil and throw the old oil into the woods out back. When I am done, maybe I will do some random littering and shoot some small animals.
3.) Next in my ‘ceaseless, step-by-step quest to destroy a great country’ I will try to screw up our international relations. I think I will visit every messageboard on a French web domain and post “America hates cheese-eating surrender monkeys!- Go to hell, George Bush.”
4.) I better do something homophobic- maybe I will squirt KY jelly on all the door handles of the gay bar downtown.
5.) For my final step in ruining the country, I will do what Democrats hate most- I will go to work. Yep- I will work hard, and then earn money. Maybe a lot of it- then they can really hate me and call me greedy, selfish, and unfair. You see, there is nothing noble about earning a living and wanting to keep it.
*** Update ***
Go read the comments section this to Yglesias’s post. Pay special attention to the unhinged Zizka. Dearest Zizka- I was not attacking Kevin – I was poking fun at him. This post looked like it was written by Stuart Smalley, not the straight-forward, unabashed moderate that Kevin normally is. Also, this post was typical of the silliness that is always reported about Republicans. You know the drill- we are all mean, we hate the poor, we love to trash the environment, etc. That is what I was making fun of- not Kevin, not his politics, not the issues close to him. Got it?
Nice Zizka quote for you:
The core constituency of the Republican Party consists of neo-Confederates, Armageddon Christians, promoters of a Fourth World War, and anti-government, anti-tax fanatics.
Which one are you?
All in all, another stellar week for the NY Times:
A federal jury ruled today that the New York Times and one of its reporters libeled an Ohio Supreme Court justice in an article about a lawsuit filed by the son of Sam Sheppard. But the jury said it was done without malicious intent and refused to award damages.
The fallout over the Jayson Blair debacle at the New York Times has hit a far more prominent Times reporter, Pulitzer Prize winner Rick Bragg.
In an editor’s note yesterday, the paper said that Bragg had only briefly visited the Florida town of Apalachicola, from which he filed a story last June, and that most of the reporting had been done by a stringer. That freelance reporter, J. Wes Yoder, should have shared a byline with Bragg, the paper said.
An outrageous new falsehood is circulating about President Bush. Last week, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd misrepresented a Bush statement to imply that he said the Al Qaeda terrorist network is “not a problem anymore,” and the distorted quotation has since been repeated by MSNBC “Buchanan and Press” co-host Bill Press, CNN’s Miles O’Brien and others, including numerous foreign press outlets. At a time when the New York Times is under fire for its conduct in the Jayson Blair scandal, Dowd’s creation of an exploding media myth is cause for serious concern.
Impressive. Under Raines the NY Times has gone from the ‘paper of record’ to ‘a paper with a record.’
I should have asked this yesterday, but, that is just things go. Here is the question for the day:
Are tax rates a moral issue?
After watching the Democrat candidates for a couple of months, I have decided that Gephardt or Dean are the ones who stand the best chance of winning the nomination. Balloon Juice readers will note that this is a complete reversal for me regarding Gephardt, who months ago I said was completely unelectable. I still think he is unelectable, but he looks better than the rest of the Democrats out there, and he seems to have the Unions wrapped up, as well as securing the endorsements of everyone who matters in Congress.
Dean seems to have a shot because he is strident and angry, and he appeals to the fringe elements of the Democrat party who are just bitter and angry. That counts, for now.
Send Gov. Bob Ehrlich (R- MD) a few bucks and a thank you:
Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. yesterday became the nation’s first Republican governor to sign into law a measure that relaxes criminal punishment for seriously ill people who use marijuana to relieve pain and other symptoms.