Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Ba da da da da da, feeling groovy

The Bush team insists that they have not lost the momentum on Social Security since Bush's State of the Union.

Noting that it had been only a month since the State of the Union speech, Nicolle Devenish, the White House communications director, said: "If you look at what the president has been able to do in terms of elevating the issue, explaining a program riddled with terms like 'bend points' that are hard for busy families to wrap their brains around, the intensity with which we have engaged in the public campaign and the legislative process, we feel good about where we are..."

Wow, that's funny, cause I feel good about where they are, too!

President Bush has lost ground in the public relations battle over Social Security since he kicked off a concentrated campaign two months ago to convince Americans the national retirement program needs an immediate overhaul, according to a recent poll.

A CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll conducted Friday to Sunday said 38 percent of Americans feel major changes must be made in Social Security within the next two years. In January, that number was 49 percent.

That's not momentum, that's Joementum!

Monday, February 28, 2005

Bush does Camus

I'm sure he remembered it from his college days...

Bush recently made a trip to Europe to reassure Europeans that he does not plan an imminent invasion of Europe to impose democracy.

When in Brussels, he spoke of Camus.

"Albert Camus said that 'Freedom is a long-distance race,' " Mr. Bush said in his opening speech about the future of the United States and Europe. "We're in that race for the duration and there is reason for optimism."

Hey that makes me more optimistic. I would have given Bush more credit all this time if I knew he were capable of quoting Camus. I'm sure if further pressed, he would have been able to identify the book the quote came from, The Fall, and discuss existentialist philosophy. Certainly he didn't just memorize one line did he?

No, he did not.

What Bush says Albert Camus said... “Albert Camus said that ‘Freedom is a long distance race.’ We’re in that race for the duration and there is reason for optimism.”

What Camus actually said: “I didn’t know that freedom is not a reward or a decoration that is celebrated with Champagne. Nor yet a gift, a box of dainties designed to make you lick your chops. Oh, no! It’s a choice, on the contrary and a long-distance race, quite solitary and very exhausting. No Champagne. No friends raising their glasses as they look at you affectionately. Alone in a forbidding room, alone in the prisoner’s box before the judges, and alone to decide in face of oneself or in the face of others’ judgment. At the end of all freedom is a court sentence; that’s why freedom is too heavy to bear, especially when you’re down with a fever, or are distressed, or love nobody.”

Now what does Albert Camus say Bush said?

Funny he cut out that part about freedom being a court sentence; I mean he could have used it to justify his military tribunals, right?

To his credit, Mr. Bush answered a call from GoBacktoTexas.com in regard to this matter. He reminded GoBacktoTexas that the Fall also warns about terrorists who hate Freedom. When pressed for page numbers, he mumbled something about national security interests, and put Dick Cheney on the phone. Dick Cheney told me to go $#%$# myself, and promptly hung up.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

To be or not to be [HIV positive]...

So the Bush administration is against distributing free needles to drug addicts to prevent the spread of HIV. According to the administration, there is insufficient evidence to show that free needle exchanges reduce HIV rates (as scant as the evidence that global climate change indeed exists, perhaps?).

So what support does the health/bioscience community lend to this view? Some support Bush (he alleges).

The administration claims that the evidence for the effectiveness of needle exchange is shaky. An official who requested anonymity directed us to a number of researchers who have allegedly cast doubt on the pro-exchange consensus. One of them is Steffanie A. Strathdee of the University of California at San Diego; when we contacted her, she responded that her research "supports the expansion of needle exchange programs, not the opposite." Another researcher cited by the administration is Martin T. Schechter of the University of British Columbia; he wrote us that "Our research here in Vancouver has been repeatedly used to cast doubt on needle exchange programs. I believe this is a clear misinterpretation of the facts." Yet a third researcher cited by the administration is Julie Bruneau at the University of Montreal; she told us that "in the vast majority of cases needle exchange programs drive HIV incidence lower." We asked Dr. Bruneau whether she favored needle exchanges in countries such as Russia or Thailand. "Yes, sure," she responded.

The Bush administration attempted to bolster its case by providing us with three scientific articles. One, which has yet to be published in a peer-reviewed journal, was produced by an author unknown to leading experts in this field who is affiliated with a group called the Children's AIDS Fund. This group is more renowned for its ties to the Bush administration than for its public health rigor: As the Post's David Brown has reported, it recently received an administration grant despite the fact that an expert panel had deemed its application "not suitable for funding." The two other articles supplied by the administration had been published in the American Journal of Public Health. Although each raised questions about the certainty with which needle-exchange advocates state their case, neither opposed such programs.

Hey George,

Would Jeb prefer that Noel shoot up with a clean needle, or that she share one? That is the question.

P.S. My apologies to the reader whose post I inadvertently deleted. He's welcome to repost, but basically he said that 1.) We liberals are bitter and 2.) He is the only conservative in New York. I'll cede the second point since New Yorkers are very intelligent people, but with regard to the first, I would say we are not so much bitter as frustrated that science is being completely ignored and very selectively used to the extent that it is used at all in this administration.

Typically, the administration has relied upon scientists who are in the extreme minority of the scientific community (to put it more bluntly, laughed at) and who are coincidentally heavily funded by the energy/health care industries etc, to support their ridiculous policies.

In this case however, even their self-selected "shills" didn't agree with their claims. Nevertheless, these claims form the basis for the policy of the United States government, and a direct result of this policy will be more Americans infected with HIV when W's reign comes to an end. That's the Bush legacy.

Conservatives get bitter, we get sad.