Truly Fair and Balanced

Perhaps I was short below.

There is an important element to the story I’m missing.  A view that hasn’t been taken into consideration.  There are vital reasons to block inspection of cattle for E. Coli.  After all, what about the E. Coli?  Don’t they have 4th Amendment Rights Against Unreasonable Search and Seizure?  The cattle too? Aren’t they covered by ADA since it’s an illness?  Don’t they have a right to be slaughtered and eaten?

The Assault on Parody

Forget Al Gore’s Assault on Reason, the administration is carrying out assault on parody:

Via Chicago’s own Rick Perlstein we find that the USDA is fighting to stop a company from testing all of its beef for E. Coli:

WASHINGTON – The Bush administration said Tuesday it will fight to keep meatpackers from testing all their animals for mad cow disease.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture tests less than 1 percent of slaughtered cows for the disease, which can be fatal to humans who eat tainted beef. But Arkansas City-based Creekstone Farms Premium Beef wants to test all of its cows.

Larger meat companies feared that move because, if Creekstone tested its meat and advertised it as safe, they might have to perform the expensive test, too.

A federal judge ruled in March that such tests must be allowed. The ruling was to take effect Friday, but the Agriculture Department said Tuesday it would appeal — effectively delaying the testing until the court challenge plays out.

Mad cow disease is linked to more than 150 human deaths worldwide, mostly in Britain.

There have been three cases of mad cow disease identified in cattle in the U.S. The first, in December 2003 in Washington state, was in a cow that had been imported from Canada. The second, in 2005, was in a Texas-born cow. The third was confirmed last year in an Alabama cow.

The Agriculture Department argued that widespread testing could lead to a false positive that would harm the meat industry. U.S. District Judge James Robertson noted that Creekstone sought to use the same test the government relies on and said the government didn’t have the authority to restrict it.

The best line is this one:

The Agriculture Department argued that widespread testing could lead to a false positive that would harm the meat industry

I have about a billion snarky things to say, but really the straight story is the funniest.

Slight Delay on the Site Changeover

However, while I fix the technical stuff and get life back to normal, Charles Franklin has ended classes and produced a fine piece of work on the prevalence of the name Monica since the Lewinsky scandal.

Also, while everyone has been getting hyped by plummeting Bush poll numbers, up until the last few days, there hasn’t been much movement.  You can have your Pony now with the blue (more stable) estimator at 32.2% and red (more sensitive) at 31.2%.

As Charles says though:

The bottom line: The model is not yet unambiguously insisting on a new downturn in approval. And it would be well to remember that we’ve seen this kind of a dip more than once this spring, only to quickly see a return to the recent equilibrium. So before declaring that decline is a certainty, we should remember that such a prediction has been wrong recently.

He also gives some good discussion on why immigration is unlikely to hit Bush any harder since last year it didn’t have much of an effect.  For Bush to go any lower he’ll need to significant losses in his base–so far he’s hanging around 70% approval amongst Republicans as Charles pointed out in comments.

I can imagine some scenarios where Bush loses more support as Republican candidates run against him as the election nears, but I think he’s hit the floor for now. That’s entirely speculation, but I just don’t see how the political environment leads to a true crack-up of the Republican base.  I can also imagine a scenario where Bush’s approval stays the same throughout the election and Republican Presidential candidates who abandon Bush lose significant primary support thus creating the situation where the guy (and they are all old aging white guys) who wins has to figure out how to attract people other than the base while not distancing themselves from Bush.  I’m thinking the best illustration of that would be the medieval stretching machines used for torture.

Congrats to Charles and Mark

They win the Mitofsky Innovator Award

Interestingly, Charles labels the most recent Presidential Approval numbers as interesting because the demonstrate a level of stability that is amazing .  I think it’s somewhat obvious, though certainly obvious conclusions need to be demonstrated, that the base of the Republican Party is remarkably solid and won’t change their opinion of Bush or unless he turns out to be an illegal Mexican immigrant performing abortions with his gay husband  being his nurse.

Why Have a Board if You are Going to Write the Report

This story could simply have the board/agency and person resigning cut and pasted for any number of situations in the Bush administration:

At the same time, Davis, a former Clinton White House official who had been named by President Bush to serve on the Privacy and Civil Liberties Board, sent a letter to the White House and his fellow board members protesting the panel’s lack of independence. In recent months, Davis has had numerous clashes with fellow board members and White House officials over what he saw as administration attempts to control the panel’s agenda and edit its public statements, according to board members who asked not to be identified talking about internal matters. He also cited in his letters criticisms by the former co-chairs of the September 11 commission, Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, that the board had interpreted its mandate too narrowly and was refusing to investigate issues such as the treatment of detainees in Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere around the world.

Not Enough Time in the Day

To point out each scandal and how totally and completely this administration has turned the federal government into a giant fucking AMWAY

After receiving the Reading First contracts, Best was able to sell his company, Voyager Expanded Learning, for $360 million. According to his critics, the company was valued at only $5 million a few years earlier, a figure Best disputes.

“At the time of the sale, the company that bought the program justified this to their stockholders on the basis that this program had done extremely well under Reading First and was very politically connected,” said Robert Slavin, a leading educator at Johns Hopkins University and critic of the Reading First program.

Slavin, the brother of an ABC News executive, says a program he developed was rejected by the Department of Education despite its record of success.

Best, of Dallas, denied his connections to President Bush helped him win any of the federal reading program contracts.

“I have gotten no help from anyone in the administration, and I’ve given more money to Democrats than Republicans,” Best told ABCNews.com.

But congressional investigators say Reading First contracts were awarded by the administration based on politics and financial ties, not merit.

“They designed it for their friends and cronies, and they ended up not designing the best program for America’s schoolchildren,” said Congressman George Miller, D-Calif., the chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee.

In a report earlier this year, the inspector general for the Department of Education found repeated instances of conflict of interest in the Reading First program.

And it resulted in more phonics instruction than instead of balanced literacy.  Bad for taxpayers, bad for policy, good for Bushies.

Classic Bushism

Wolfowitz:

He said the inquiry into his conduct “has the potential to do greater long-term damage to the institution than the alleged underlying ethics issue that was, in point of fact, put to rest over a year ago.”

No matter how much a Bushie screws up, they threaten impending doom for those who dare oppose them.


Rule of Law

Just fabulous 

“He lifted his head off the pillow and in very strong terms expressed his view of the matter, rich in both substance and fact, which stunned me,” Comey said. Then, he said, Ashcroft added: “But that doesn’t matter, because I’m not the attorney general. There is the attorney general,” and pointed at Comey, who was appointed acting attorney general when Ashcroft fell ill.

I believe this is where I have sympathy for the devil.  More seriously, that Ashcroft was willing to resign along with Mueller is stunning.  And yet, the current AG was the enforcer to try and get a heavily sedated man to approve a plan.