How in the world did your party manage to get here:
"As the father of four children, I am absolutely appalled that taxpayer dollars are being used to spread President Obama's socialist ideology. The idea that school children across our nation will be forced to watch the President justify his plans for government-run health care, banks, and automobile companies, increasing taxes on those who create jobs, and racking up more debt than any other President, is not only infuriating, but goes against beliefs of the majority of Americans, while bypassing American parents through an invasive abuse of power."
"The 'greatest good for the greatest number' applies to the number within the womb of time, compared to which those now alive form but an insignificant fraction. Our duty to the whole, including the unborn generations, bids us restrain an unprincipled present-day minority from wasting the heritage of these unborn generations. The movement for the conservation of wild life and the larger movement for the conservation of all our natural resources are essentially democratic in spirit, purpose, and method."
Can anyone explain the transformation?
President Bush announced today that he has (finally) named a nominee to replace Jim Nicholson as head of the Veterans administration. His choice, retired Lt. General James Peake, is probably one of the more qualified people that this President has ever nominated to do anything. That's the good news. The bad news is that's not a very high bar to clear.
Seriously, though, Peake certainly has the qualifications to run the VA. He's a West Pointer, he is a combat veteran who served in the infantry and was wounded twice in Vietnam, he's a medical doctor, and he was the Surgeon General of the United States Army. As a nominee for VA Secretary, he's an absolute slam dunk. Or would be, anyway, if it wasn't for one very small problem: his old address.
From 2000 until 2004, while serving as Surgeon General of the Army, LTG Peake lived in a very, very nice house - the Washington Post has a picture - located on the picturesque grounds of Walter Reed Army Medical Center. The house sits across the street from the now-infamous building 18, and it sits directly next to the quarters of the hospital commander. During his time in residence there, General Peake managed to remain blissfully ignorant of the disastrous bungling of outpatient care that was taking place under the command of his next-door neighbor and subordinate, and literally at his doorstep.
It's certainly not fair to lay all - or most - of the blame for the problems at Walter Reed at General Peake's feet. The problems at that hospital did not take place under his direct command, and they certainly didn't end when he left. It certainly is fair to wonder whether that one factor should outweigh the balance of his outstanding career.
But it's also fair to wonder this: if he could not spot poor medical care being given to wounded veterans when it was happening in his front yard, how good a job can we expect him to do when it comes to spotting the same thing from farther away?
Google news is currently featuring a comment by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) on the House of Representatives' failed attempt to override President Bush's veto of the SCHIP expansion. The comment reads in part:
"I remain committed to working with my colleagues across the aisle to reauthorize the State Children's Health Insurance Program to protect underprivileged children who currently lack health insurance. However, I cannot support legislation that will expand the welfare state, provide government health care benefits to illegal immigrants, and irresponsibly draw-down the public purse."
That's a nice, principled statement. Apparently, though, it only applies to legislation that's being pushed by Democrats. In 2003, Blackburn voted in favor of the Medicare prescription drug benefit - the one that irresponsibly draws down the public purse by barring the government from using it's purchasing power to negotiate for lower prices on the drugs.
Of course, that was her statement as of 2003. People do change - even conservatives - on occasion. Maybe her views shifted over the last few years, and she would have voted for more fiscal responsibility if the medicare thing came up for a vote this year. Oh, wait, what's that you say? A bill that would have modified the Medicare legislation by allowing for price negotiations did come up for a vote this year? If Blackburn's opposed to irresponsibly drawing-down the public purse, then she obviously voted in favor of that bill, right?
As you are undoubtedly aware, this year's Nobel Peace Prize is being split between the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and Al Gore, in recognition of "their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change."
Like almost everybody else here at Scienceblogs, I think this is absolutely fantastic. Gore has worked his butt off over the last few years. He's been tireless in his efforts to focus attention on climate change, and he's made a real difference. The potential effects of human-driven climate change do represent a real threat to everyone on the planet, and Gore has done more than his part to make sure that people - and not just policy makers - understand that.
As I just said, almost everyone here has nothing but praise and congratulations. But it's not quite unanimous. Matt Nisbet seems to have a few concerns about Gore's effect on the differences in the way Democrats and Republicans perceive global warming. Emphasizing the potential dangers, Matt believes, makes it easier for people to dismiss him as an "alarmist," and makes it harder to convince some people that there's a problem - particularly when the science is uncertain.
Personally, I think that Matt sees a problem when he looks at the very different levels of concern about global warming seen in Democrats and Republicans. There is definitely a problem there. I'm just not sure that it's the one he's identified.
Continue Reading »