Percentage of Americans who approve of President Bush’s handling of the Iraq war, an all-time low and an 8-point drop from just a month ago, according to a new CBS poll.
The Guardian reports, “Cabinet ministers have been told by the Foreign Office to drop the phrase ‘war on terror’ and other terms seen as liable to anger British Muslims and increase tensions more broadly in the Islamic world.”
is “expected to stand by her decision to permanently remove” Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA) from the powerful Ways and Means Committee, National Journal reports. Jefferson is currently under FBI investigation for bribery.
Last week, Sen. Gordon Smith (R-OR) — who originally supported the war in Iraq — delivered a scathing indictment of President Bush’s policy in Iraq, stating it “may even be criminal.” Yesterday on ABC This Week he called it a “dereliction” and “deeply immoral.”
The administration isn’t taking him very seriously. Today, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow dismissed the comments, stating that “politics are emotional.” When the reporter questioned whether Snow was “saying Republican Senator Smith is not in favor of democracy,” Snow replied, “I don’t know.” Watch it:
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– President Bush, on how his legacy will be viewed, according to a “recent visitor” to the White House who says Bush is “still resolutely defiant, convinced history will ultimately vindicate him.”
Frist Ducks Responsibility For Unfinished Spending Bills, Blames ˜Systemic Flaws In America’s Processes
The USA Today blasted the 109th Congress in an editorial today, accusing lawmakers of “lowering the achievement bar.” The paper complained, “Congress even punted its most basic job: approving all 11 annual spending bills that keep the government’s lights on.”
Outgoing Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) responded by blaming the Senate’s inaction on the appropriations process:
Some problems Congress faces stem from systemic flaws in America’s processes. No matter who has been in charge, all appropriations bills have passed on time on only three occasions in the past 30 years. Improving things will require a strong mutual commitment on the part of the White House and the leadership in both houses of Congress to reform the spending process, fix entitlements, tackle earmarks and eliminate the deficit.
While it’s true that it is a difficult task to pass all 11 appropriations bills exactly on time, the 109th Congress’ lowered the bar and set a record for its dismal performance. The fiscal year started months ago and the Senate only approved two spending bills this year, leaving “almost a half-trillion dollars of spending bills” for incoming lawmakers.
Conservative members of the House are not buying Frist’s excuses:
- Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA): “The Senate, quite honestly, has not done its work. This is not an anomaly. It has become the norm in Congress, and I’m appalled by that.”
- Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO): “There’s so much to do and we’re punting. It’s irresponsible. There’s no excuse for it.”
- Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA): “I think it’s shameful. … The Senate got into a trap of inactivity.”
Congress did not always operate this way. “In 1994, when Republicans swept back to power in the House after four decades,” GovExec.com reported, “there was no spending mess to clean up – all appropriations bills had been enacted by the Democrats before the end of the fiscal year.”
“Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who have fled their homeland are likely to seek refugee status in the United States, humanitarian groups said, putting intense pressure on the Bush administration to reexamine a policy that authorizes only 500 Iraqis to be resettled here next year.” Bush’s former refugee affairs official said that “for political reasons the administration will discourage” the resettlement of Iraqi refugees in the United States “because of the psychological message it would send, that it is a losing cause.”
Refugees have no home, sometimes no citizenship, and in the case of climate refugees, not even refugee status.
Though climate refugees are not recognized under the Geneva Convention, their number almost certainly exceeds the number of officially-recognized refugees. This comes to light in an article from the Center for American Progress by Teresita Perez.
The devastation from Hurricane Katrina that caused thousands to relocate and rebuild foreshadows what our own country and the world may face regularly as climate change continues to intensify global weather patterns.
Making room for people who are fleeing increasingly severe natural disasters, or allowing them to simply switch high-risk locales, does not solve the problem. What we need to make room for are new policies and emerging solutions. What we need to switch is our stance on international climate treaties, the fuel in our cars, our light bulbs, our domestic climate policies….
Let me just go on record as a little bit unsure why the Celtics seem so eager to trade for Allen Iverson. It’s not like you look at this team and say “if only they had a top-notch perimeter scorer they’d be pretty good” it’s more like “if only they had something in addition to their top-notch perimeter scorer they’d be pretty good.” That said, if they can get Iverson for Theo Ratliff’s contract plus some “promising” youngsters, the team would pretty clearly improve. But if Philadelphia wants Wally Szczerbiak, rather than Ratliff, in addition to picks/youngsters I’m not sure how much better the Celtics really get. Szczerbiak produces less than Iverson, obviously, but he does what he does considerably more efficiently. If you imagine Iverson taking roughly the same volume of shots he does for the Sixers and those shots replacing both Szczerbiak’s and those of the Celtics’ backcourt laggards you’ll see an overall improvement, but it would be a small one all things considered and for a team at Boston’s level to I’m not sure why you’d want to mortgage the future for a marginal improvement.
UPDATE: IC also writes in to remark on the seeming irrationality of Philadelphia not wanting to offer the Answer to an in-conference or (worse) in-division rival. As he points out, this is not the best thing to worry about if your team sucks and is all-but-guaranteed to get worse as a result of the trade you’re about to make. The post-Iverson Sixers need to be thinking about the long term, not who wins the sorry 2006-2006 Atlantic Division.
On Sunday, the London Telegraph previewed a new report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which is viewed as an authoritative source of global warming science.
According to the Telegraph, the report concludes “there can be little doubt that humans are responsible for warming the planet.” Moreover, carbon dioxide emissions are accelerating and the IPCC predicts “that temperatures will rise by up to 4.5 C during the next 100 years, bringing more frequent heat waves and storms.”
The IPCC also “lowered predictions of how much sea levels will rise in comparison with its last report in 2001.” The new estimate was “a refinement due to better data on how climate works rather than a reduction in the risk posed by global warming.”
Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), outgoing chairman of the Environment & Public Works Committee, said the report is evidence that global warming was all hype:
We are all skeptics now. It appears that the UN is now acknowledging what an increasing number of scientists who study the climate have come to realize: Predictions of manmade catastrophic global warming are simply unsustainable.
Inhofe’s core claim is that global warming is “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people” and humans are not responsible for climate change. The new IPCC report does not support Inhofe’s position, it undermines it.
It’s ironic that Inhofe is now citing the IPCC as an authority. In speech on the Senate floor in 2003, Inhofe claimed that “the IPCC process resembled a Soviet-style trial, in which the facts are predetermined, and ideological purity trumps technical and scientific rigor.”