Asks, “Is the Iraq ‘insurgency’ another Internet bubble?” If so, it’s a very deadly bubble.
Tens of millions of Christians decorate Christmas trees each year to celebrate the marking of Jesus’ birth. They perform generous acts of kindness for their family, friends and the less fortunate, mindful of the Christian teaching that “faith without works is dead.”
House Speaker Dennis Hastert has decided to mark the season by loudly insisting that the Capitol’s decorated spruce be called a “Christmas tree,” as opposed to a “Holiday tree.” He is right on this point. It is a Christmas tree. And while the Speaker may consider his action a “work,” the message of Jesus means more.
If Speaker Hastert really wants to put Christ back into Christmas, he should start by joining a long list of religious leaders in supporting a budget that isn’t balanced on the back of the poorest and most vulnerable.
Before the House went on Thanksgiving break, it passed $50 billion in spending cuts that target millions of poor and working-class Americans. The budget’s Medicaid provisions “would allow state governments to impose co-payments even on the poorest beneficiaries for emergency room visits for non-emergency health problems and for drug prescriptions not on a list of preferred treatments.” The Congressional Budget Office estimated the House bill “would cut food stamp benefits by about $45 a month for 225,000 people” and that 40,000 children would lose their eligibility for free meals at school. At the same time, conservatives are seeking to “extend several of Mr. Bush’s biggest tax cuts, including those on stock dividends and capital gains” — over half of the benefits from those cuts go to people earning over $1 million per year.
Hastert should heed the true spirit of Christ by caring for the vulnerable. As Jesus reminds us in Luke 4:18-20, by following his example we can “bring good news to the poor.”
Yesterday, 10 Marines were killed in Fallujah by a roadside bomb. President Bush knew about it before he made remarks at 10:45AM in the Rose Garden. From today’s White House press conference:
QUESTION: Can I ask, when the president came to the Rose Garden this morning about 10:45, at that hour, did the White House already know about this attack on the Marines in Fallujah?
MCCLELLAN: Yes, we did. The president was informed about the loss of the Marines last night and those that were injured, and then he was briefed again this morning.
A document obtained by the Washington Post reveal that career lawyers in the Justice Department unanimously concluded that Tom DeLay’s plan to redistrict Texas violated the Voting Rights Act:
The memo, unanimously endorsed by six lawyers and two analysts in the department’s voting section, said the redistricting plan illegally diluted black and Hispanic voting power in two congressional districts.
Nevertheless, then-Attorney General John Ashcroft and other partisan political appointees overruled them and approved DeLay’s plan anyway. This morning, Gonzales made little effort to defend the substance of the decision and passed blame to the Senate who confirmed Ashcroft and other top officials:
Gonzales said the plan was approved by people “confirmed by the Senate to exercise their own independent judgment” and their disagreement with other agency employees doesn’t mean the final decision was wrong.
Question: If there was nothing wrong with the decision, why did the Justice Department go to such great lengths to keep the memo secret?
The 73-page memo, dated Dec. 12, 2003, has been kept under tight wraps for two years. Lawyers who worked on the case were subjected to an unusual gag rule. The memo was provided to The Post by a person connected to the case who is critical of the adopted redistricting map.
Andrew Natsios, chief of the U.S. Agency for International Development, has resigned.
Let’s take a moment to reflect on one of Natsios’s most famous miscalculations:
TED KOPPEL: I mean, when you talk about 1.7, you’re not suggesting that the rebuilding of Iraq is gonna be done for $1.7 billion?
NATSIOS: Well, in terms of the American taxpayers contribution, I do, this is it for the US.
KOPPEL: You’re saying the, the top cost for the US taxpayer will be $1.7 billion. No more than that?
NATSIOS: For the reconstruction. And then there’s 700 million in the supplemental budget for humanitarian relief, which we don’t competitively bid ’cause it’s charities that get that money.
KOPPEL: I understand. But as far as reconstruction goes, the American taxpayer will not be hit for more than $1.7 billion no matter how long the process takes?
NATSIOS: That is our plan and that is our intention. And these figures, outlandish figures I’ve seen, I have to say, there’s a little bit of hoopla involved in this. [ABC, Nightline, 4/23/03]
See video of the exchange here.
A few months after the war began, Congress apporpriated $18.4 billion for the reconstruction of Iraq. Approximately $10.5 billion has already been obligated. The United Nations and World Bank have estimated $55 billion would be needed in rebuilding costs through 2007. And the CBO has estimated the reconstruction of Iraq could range anywhere from $50 to $100 billion.
President Bush, give that man a medal.
Number of people executed since the death penalty was legalized in 1977.
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Radical right’s James Dobson meets with ambassador John Bolton over U.N. policy. Dobson: “We had an opportunity to talk to him about the possibilty of Focus on the Family working with the United Nations. That really did excite me.“