Friday, February 27, 2004

Headline of the day:

Look at this Reuters story: Bush to Limit Interview with 9/11 Panel to an Hour

The panel investigating the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States will get one hour to ask President Bush what he knew about events leading up to the suicide airline hijackings, the White House said on Friday.

"They are looking at an hour as you pointed out," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said when asked by a reporter whether he could confirm reports that Bush was limiting the meeting to an hour.
Can you believe it? First of all, it's foolish to stand by a specific time period. It would have been better politics to say something like, "as much time as the president can spare," instead of "one hour". And "one hour"? An easy to belittle amount. People spend more time in line getting a driver's license renewed.

Bush has spent many, many hours fund-raising (and traveling to fund-raisers). And don't forget, Bush has spent lots of time on vacation. Like the month-long one just before 9/11. This is amazingly bad politics.

From a Washington Post story by Mike Allen from August 7, 2001:
CRAWFORD, Tex., Aug. 6 -- By the time President Bush returns to Washington on Labor Day after the longest presidential vacation in 32 years, he will have spent all or part of 54 days since the inauguration at his parched but beloved ranch. That's almost a quarter of his presidency.

Throw in four days last month at his parents' seaside estate in Kennebunkport, Maine, and 38 full or partial days at the presidential retreat at Camp David, and Bush will have spent 42 percent of his presidency at vacation spots or en route.
Okay, it's number-crunching time. Bush was inaugurated on January 21, 2001. Labor day was September 3. The time span was 226 days, or 5424 hours. Take 42% of that, and you have 2278 hours "at vacation spots or en route".

Let's graphically compare Bush's one hour planned for the commission against the time he spent having fun prior to 9/11. Here it is:

TECHNICAL CLARIFICATION: In our initial post, we calculated in haste. We were too favorable to Bush! We figured 42% of the time from inaguration to August 6 (the date of the article) and came up with 1975 hours Bush was "at vacation spots or en route". But Mike Allen was reporting that Bush will have been away 42% of the time by Labor Day of that year, which was September 3. That comes out to 2278 hours .
And we read:
Rather than sitting down with all 10 members of the so-called 9/11 commission, Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have only agreed to meet privately with its chairman, Thomas Kean, and the vice chairman, Lee Hamilton.
Does this mean an hour for both Bush and Cheney?

We'll find out.

UPDATE: On the Yahoo message board associated with this story, we encountered the following post:
by: cveparts 02/27/04 01:01 pm       Msg: 812 of 1417       30 recommendations

Folks are getting angry.


Thursday, February 26, 2004


On the Charlie Rose show last night (Wednesday), there was a discussion of Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ. Ght general reaction of the four guests was negative (very negative by David Denby "two hour snuff film" and Christopher Hitchens "fascist"). One of the guests was Jon Meacham of Newsweek, who wrote a recent cover-story Who Killed Jesus?, and he made the following point:
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has established a policy for protraying the Passion. It includes the following:

  • Don't have Jewish high priests dressed in black.

  • Don't have the Jews shown as a chanting mob.

  • Don't show Pilate as a passive, sensitive, not-particularly strong ruler
According to Meacham, Gibson violated those advisories. (Yes, we know that Gibson is not part of the established Catholic Church, but it shows what the USCCB thinks should be done.)

NOTE: The official movie review by the USCCB is strangely neutral in tone. Go figure.

ADDENDUM: If you are a fan of John Dominic Crossan (we are), check out his essay on about the source of Gibson's ideas: The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ from the Meditations of Anne Catherine Emmerich.


Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Who cares?

We took a quick spin around the Internet looking at religious-conservative sites to see what their reaction was to Bush's proposal of a constitutional amendment about marriage. What did they have to say at 8:30 PM EST?
That's a pretty tepid response. Where was the coordination by the White House?


Would it have helped Herbert Hoover in the 1932 campaign?


Monday, February 23, 2004

Another rerun:

We posted this last year in April, but since today is bash-Ralph day (TAP, LeftCoaster, Mark Kleiman), we thought we'd pile on.


Sunday, February 22, 2004

Following in the footsteps?

[Note: Nader didn't really say those words.]


Nader 2004 trivia:


Over at the hyper-conservative Free Republic message boards, we read the following comments: (threads: 400+ posts, 30+ posts, 100+ posts)
  • Go Nader!! We love you.
  • Run, Ralph, run!
  • God Speed Ralph Nader!
  • Since he's running as an independent, he may gain more of that vote. FREEPERS who live in Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Florida, New Hampshire, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Ohio, Tennessee, Arkansas, and West Virginia must get him on the ballot.
  • Oh Yeah! GO RALPH GO!
  • YAHOO!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Is it possible that Nader is a closet Republican? LOL
  • What a LOSER ! But, THANKS, Ralphie !!
From the Meet the Press transcript, we note the following comments by Nader: (emphasis added)
  • ... the liberal intelligentsia ... agrees with almost all our positions.
  • So I think the liberal intelligentsia has got to ask itself a tough question, Tim. For 25 years they have let their party run away from them.
  • We just can't sit back like The Nation magazine and betray its own traditions, and the liberal intelligentsia, and once again settle for the least worst and watch both parties get worse every four years ...
"liberal intelligentsia" ?

We did a quick Google search (web and news) expecting to see that expression used by the conservative press, but it appears to be (at least for now) distributed evenly across the political spectrum and used most frequently to refer to a political faction in Russia.


Why he did it:

Ralph Nader decided to run for president in 2004 because not running would have been an admission that he threw the 2000 election to Bush.