My DD214

Veterans should be a thing of the past.

List of federal gov’t programs on the chopping block

Over on Metafilter, there’s a link to the Associated Press’ list of programs that the Bush administration’s new budget would kill or cut.

Here’s just a few programs that are lower on the priority list than tax cuts for the wealthy or an extended stay in Iraq:

  • Educational technology state grants, $272 million
  • Safe and Drug-Free Schools state grants (for high schools), $347 million
  • Arts in education, $35 million
  • Physical education, $47 million (how smart is this in one of the fattest countries in the world?)
  • Perkins Loan cancellations, $65 million
  • Geothermal technology program, $23 million (I thought we were ending our addiction to oil)
  • America’s Job Bank, $15 million
  • Clean Coal Power initiative, $45 million
  • Internal Revenue Service business systems modernization, $30 million
  • Corporation for Public Broadcasting, $114 million

Bush’s rationale for all of this was cutting “underperforming” programs. I have a hard time imagining that the Perkins Loan program, which makes higher education affordable for many Americans (including this one) and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (which funds production of Sesame Street) could be considered “underperforming” by any rubric. And that’s just a sample. Check the whole list out for yourself.

9 February, 2006 9:43 PM Posted by | Politics and other hazardous materials | Leave a comment

Dubya’s funny story

The Bush administration, needing something to pull their lagging poll numbers out of the toilet and desperate to salvage their illegal surveillance program, came out with the details of an alleged terrorist plot to fly a plane into a the skyscraper in Los Angeles. Although aesthetically, LA’s skyline would be way better off without it the ugly thing, the White House and their dehumanizing anti-terrorist policies finally have a real averted tragedy that they can point to as a success.

There’s two things that bug me about this story. First of all, nothing that Bush or Press Secretary Scott McClellan said today shows any link between the NSA domestic spying program and this thwarted terror plot. Not one connection. Much like he did in the State of the Union speech, Bush is throwing out marginally related stuff, hoping some of it will stick in the minds of Americans who aren’t really paying attention. We’re still waiting to hear one single success story from this legally and ethically dubious program.

Secondly, we have a matter of practicality. At the risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist, I wonder if the White House (taking cues from James Frey) hasn’t embellished this story a little bit. The White House says that terrorists planned to use shoe bombs à la Richard Reid. That doesn’t strike me as remotely plausible. I’m no physicist, but it seems to me that an explosive shoe used to breach a cockpit door would likely also breach the fuselage, depressurizing the cabin and killing everybody. Terrorists would never have the opportunity to fly the crippled plane into an ugly building in LA.

The saddest part is that my opinion of this administration’s capacity for lying is so high that I’m even willing to consider tinfoil-hattery of this magnitude.

9 February, 2006 8:34 PM Posted by | News, Politics and other hazardous materials | Leave a comment