What Would Jesus Do? Finally an Answer

July 7, 2007 at 4:02 pm | Posted in Bush Administration, Politics | 2 Comments

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Somebody asked me how I felt about Bush commuting Scooter Libby’s sentence, so I directed him to the story on this blog.  For further information see above.

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The Bottle Vs. the Tap

July 3, 2007 at 11:20 pm | Posted in Peeves | Leave a comment

Have you noticed?  In the last few years fashion has decreed a new accessory for men, women, and even children:  a bottle, filled (if you believe the label) with exotic… water!

 

Yes, water.  The water in bottles is almost indistinguishable from the stuff that gushes from the tap.  (We’re talking about public water supplies here, not private wells)  Both are very carefully processed, tested and monitored to ensure that dangerous chemicals and other impurities are removed.  Both look exactly the same in your glass.  Both are safe to drink.  Both provide exactly the same health benefits.  In most cases the taste is similar enough so that given a blindfold test using chilled water, people can’t tell the difference.  (If your tap water tastes bad, a water filter can fix the problem.)

 

But there are differences between bottled water and tap water.  The water in the bottles costs more than the gasoline you put in your car.  The water that runs from your tap is a lot cheaper, and usually contains fluoride, which dentists agree is important to reducing tooth decay.  Bottled water almost never contains fluoride.

Bottled water has a bigger impact on the environment.  It takes energy and petroleum to make the bottles, and more energy and petroleum to fill them and transport them, sometimes over thousands of miles, to you.  After you finish drinking the water the bottle goes to a landfill, where it sits for thousands of years.  It has been suggested that you can get an idea of the environmental impact if you imagine the water bottle being a quarter full of oil.

But drinking bottled water is cool.  People use it to make a statement:  “I’m not just an athlete, I’m the kind of person who drinks Perrier during my morning run.”  Or, “I can afford to eat here, and  I’m so sophisticated that I chase my Chardonnay with Evian.”

I don’t.  I clear my palate with cool tap water and a bit of bread before tasting my Merlot.  That way I have more money to spend on the wine!

Libby’s Get Out of Jail Card

July 2, 2007 at 8:41 pm | Posted in Bush Administration, Politics | 2 Comments

I guess if you work for Vice you’re not above the law, but you won’t get punished for breaking it, either.  The President commuted Scooter Libby’s well-deserved 30-month sentence, leaving him with a fine (which the several-million-dollar Libby Defense Fund will no doubt pay) and membership in the Convicted Felon club, which is a large and influential organization around Washington these days.

 

I suspect there are a few other members of the Bush administration who will sleep more easily tonight.  Not only because their peccadilloes are more likely to be pardoned or commuted, if they get caught, but because  Mr. Libby is a bit less likely to talk about the way things work in the Bush White House.  A sentence commuted is an expression of downward loyalty, isn’t it?  Loyalty which, a lot of administration folks hope, will be reciprocated.

 

Think about what Prez has done.  Mr. Libby was Chief of Staff to Vice.  In that capacity he helped to set policy.  He helped to mislead the public and even the Congress.  He clobbered the career of an undercover CIA officer in an attempt to defame her husband for daring to expose the fact that the administration was misleading everybody in sight.  In other words, he was a high official of the administration.

 

And he lied to a grand jury and obstructed justice.  Those are serious felonies that would get you and me a long term in the penitentiary.  He was convicted of those charges by a jury, in a trial conducted by an experienced Federal Judge.  He was sentenced according to the sentencing guidelines by that same, experienced, Federal Judge.  Mr. Libby got the punishment he deserved.

 

But Prez, showing the same contempt for the rule of law and the American justice system that he has shown for the Constitution, commuted Mr. Libby’s sentence before he had served a day.  And he did it in a printed news release rather than in a personal announcement.  And he did it in the middle of the longest possible holiday break.  Did he think nobody would notice?

 

Oh,  Prez has the power to commute sentences, all right.  No question about it.  He didn’t even have to stretch the Constitution.  He doesn’t need a legal justification for it.  (There certainly isn’t any!)  He can do it on a whim.

 

In commuting Mr. Libby’s sentence, Prez  has again shown the kind of judgment that produced the Axis of Evil, Mission Accomplished, and “Bring ‘em on.”  (Today, if you’ve kept track, is an anniversary of that ill-considered dare.)

 

The commutation shows bad judgment in several ways.  Some of them are described in the  paragraphs above.  In addition, Prez has angered virtually everybody in the country except the hard-core right wing.  Democrats are outraged.  Independents are outraged.  Republicans are more than angry because their chances of election or re-election have once again diminished appreciably because of Prez.  They deserve it:  they supported him, and some of them still do.

 

It seems that every week a story comes out of Washington that turns the stomach.  Cupidity, stupidity… and plain ol’ incompetence.

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