Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Random News & Views Roundup

Catching up with the world...

- Diplomacy, what a concept. John Bolton and Dick Cheney cry.

- Let's hope those British captives aren't villified by the right-wingers like Jill Carroll was.

- Speaking of Bolton, who was appointed by Bush as ambassador to the UN while congress was on a recess because they wouldn't approve his nomination (twice), Bush has decided to pull the same stunt and has appointed former Swift Boat Veterans for Smears contributor Sam Fox as ambassador to Belgium.

Recognizing Fox did not have the votes to obtain Senate confirmation in the Foreign Relations Committee, Bush withdrew the nomination last week. On Wednesday, with the Senate on a one-week break, the president used his power to make recess appointments to put Fox in the job without Senate confirmation.

This means Fox can remain ambassador until the end of the next session of Congress, effectively through the end of the Bush presidency.
Recess appointments are intended to give the president flexibility if Congress is out for a lengthy period of time, such as the four-week adjournment in summer. But Dodd said the law was not intended to circumvent lawmakers' approval.

"This is really now taking the recess appointment vehicle and abusing this beyond anyone's imagination," said Dodd, a candidate for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. "This is a travesty."

Bush? Abusing his authority? No way. I mean, c'mon...

- AttorneyGate update:

Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales has retreated from public view this week in an intensive effort to save his job, spending hours practicing testimony and phoning lawmakers for support in preparation for pivotal appearances in the Senate this month, according to administration officials.

He should be practicing his golf swing and phoning for tee times instead.

- Condi, pussycat:

Julius Caesar, as is well known, reported to the Roman Senate, "I came. I saw. I conquered." Condoleezza could report to the U.S. Senate: "I came. I saw. I capitulated." To whom? To a failing Israeli prime minister, whose popularity rating is approaching zero and who practically nobody expects to survive to the end of the year.

In the ongoing debate about which is wagging which – the dog its tail or the tail its dog – the proponents of the tail have won the day. In the round just finished, Israel has won against the United States.

This bout started with President Bush deciding, it seems, to clear the decks for action. The U.S. is preparing for war against Iran. For that purpose, it has to put an end to the mess in Iraq, unify the pro-American Arab regimes, and find a solution to the Palestinian problem.

In the beginning, everything worked just fine.

read on...

- So-called "friendly fire" incidents are bad enough but, when a soldier involved in one wasn't even properly trained, because he was "rushed to the country in the "surge"", that lands right in Bush's lap.

"Zeimer arrived at Fort Stewart on Dec. 18 after basic training and deployed to Iraq just a few weeks later. He missed the brigade's intensive four-week mission rehearsal in October when more than 1,300 trainers and Iraqi role-players came to the post as part of the most realistic training program the Army offers for Iraq operations.

"The fact some of the brigade's 4,000 soldiers missed that training raises questions about how well the Army is preparing troops for war in the face of accelerated and repeat deployments."

- Wait times:

All 10 provinces and three territories have agreed to provide wait-time guarantees in a treatment area of their choosing by 2010, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Wednesday.

That sounds good. What's the catch?

Harper did not say how the federal government will ensure that the provinces and territories deliver on the guarantees and it was not clear how long individual waiting periods for various procedures will be.

There you go. Just another day in health-care paradise waiting for something to happen while hoping someone might actually be held accountable if it doesn't. Looks good on paper though and that's what counts, isn't it?

- Hopefully, I'll be adding my Paypal donation button by the end of the week once my account is verified. Thanks to all of you who've been so supportive. It really has helped me tremendously. I'll keep you updated. My posting has been lighter than usual since I've been quite busy this week. Thanks for hanging in there with me.

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