Category Archives: Political Figurines

Okay, I’m confused.

So I’m reading this article in the New York Times about the shakeups in the CIA, and a question crystallizes in my mind that’s been there for months… Wasn’t the Director of Central Intelligence roughly equivalent to this “National Intelligence Director” that they’re proposing, and couldn’t a small alteration of the job description meet the 9/11 Commission’s reccommendations??? What’s up with that???

From the CIA’s website:

The Central Intelligence Agency was created in 1947 with the signing of the National Security Act by President Truman. The National Security Act charged the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) with coordinating the nation’s intelligence activities and correlating, evaluating and disseminating intelligence which affects national security.

Seems like a no-brainer to me, this National Intelligence Director thing is an attempt to un-do what the old party did and/or re-do it with the current administration’s stamp (funny how much of a tradition that is).

Speaking of liking to “do” things, Mr. Goss is a real winner, all sarcasm intented. Take a look at this:

The report did not mention Ms. Miscik by name, but it criticized the intelligence directorate’s leadership and senior managers, among other things, for devoting too much time and attention to providing updates for policy makers, thus “squandering scarce analytic resources that could be put to better use.”

Because, of course, there’s no need to keep the policy arm of the Bush administration informed.

Do we want this, I mean really?

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Shrub is claiming that Social Security privatization would look much like the Federal Thrift Savings Plan (our gratitude to the Wonkette for her pointing at the article in the late summary for Dec 22nd). For the WSJ to be as pessimistic about a pro-business plan as it is in this article, it must stink to high heaven. As a good friend of mine says, however, “but wait, there’s less!”

“Safe is not an adjective I would use” to describe the TSP investment options, says William Shipman, chairman of Carriage Oaks Partners LLC, co-chair of the Cato Institute’s Project on Social Security and a backer of private accounts who advocates an initial limit on workers’ exposure to stocks. Just because an investment option is an index fund “does not get around the risk” of the underlying investments.

While the article goes on to say a few token good things about the TSP, it then describes how people lost their shirts in the stock market bubble.

Okay W, when the friggin Cato Institute, one of the biggest cheerleaders for your “Ownership Society,” is dissing your plan you’ve got no credibility.

Yet another Shrub Flip-Flop

According to The New York Times, (link to, the Department of Education is trimming back Pell grants. CNN reports that this is the first change in the program in 50 years.

Because of the changes, which take effect in the 2005-06 academic year and are expected to save the government $300 million annually, at least 1.3 million low-income students will receive smaller Pell Grants, the primary federal scholarship, according to two analyses of the new rules. In addition, 89,000 students or so who would otherwise be getting some Pell Grant money will get none, the analyses found.

The Neo-Cons, focused on their dream of merging Capitalism and Feudalism, are working for it in a thousand different ways, all the time. This is going to force people trying to pay for college to look for alternative funding, and commercial lending organizations are probably overcome with joy.

Interestingly enough, Kerry claimed incorrectly that Bush had cut Pell grants (when actually, what he had done was reneg on the promise to increase them). I guess it’s just a matter of timing.

Gov. Rowland Resigns.

Governor Rowland is resigning over corruption charges, and apparently he had quite a career, going from most loved to most disliked Conneticut Governor ever. Imagine my surprise (I mean it, seriously!) when CNN did not announce his party afilliation, and I looked him up and discovered he was a Republican. (I’m clueless and didn’t know that the Conneticut Governor was a Republican. I am young in the ways of political information, give me time.) And from the timeline in USA Today (see link above) he’d been corrupt for a long, long time.

Bush Holds Press Conference, Hell Freezes Over

Oops, my bad. That’s scheduled for January 20th. What did happen is a puzzling moment where it seemed he suddenly bent his head and muttered at his tie. Take a look, but I think the speculation focuses on the wrong thing – rather than the muttering, listen to what he’s saying beforehand. AmericaBlog’s headline sums it up, “I think Bush was wired during his recent press conference”. I don’t believe he’s stupid, I do believe he’s always wired, but I don’t believe this event necessarily proves anything one way or another – other than the fact that Bush has so many things he needs to be careful about his words on. The Neo-Cons have done so much dirt, talking is as big a conflict for him as the undeclared Iraq war.

I’m thinking that it was either him muttering angrily at himself for the way he phrased part of his answer and the the Billy Flynnesque tap-dance he did to get away from it, or his handler was panicking over the same thing and he was telling them to shut up so he could think.

The possibilities have been argued that it was either a burp or that he was looking at his notes, but I don’t think so. He’s definitely talking, so it’s unlikely it’s a burp. He wasn’t looking at his notes, he would have been looking higher up.

At 16:26 in the video, he says

“I can understand why people, they’re looking on your TV screen, and seeing indiscriminate bombing, where thousands of innocent, or hundreds of innocent Iraqis are getting killed, and they’re saying whether or not we’re able to achieve the objective. What they don’t see…”

and then went on to say, essentially, but there is progress, and we’re doing all these good things there. While in that phrase he’s talking about suicide bombers, whoever is on the other end of the mystery T on his back could have been a little worried by his word choice. He could have even been happy he pulled that one out. Especially since, to my knowledge, the only bombs killing thousands of Iraqis are ours.

And that’s about all the time we have to spend on this.

Note by SB on 7/14: Unfortunately I neglected to put a URL in the original link to America blog, so I removed the anchor tag to avoid confusion.