Bailouts and Earmarks

As we all know by now, Congress failed to pass the Bailout Bill on Monday for $700 billion (a number, apparently, the US Treasury just made up). If they pass it, they saddle taxpayers with the debt and socialize the banking system. If they don’t pass it, they tell us civilization will end as we know it and we enter the Next Great Depression.

Are those the only two options? Great Depression versus Socialism?

So what was wrong with version of the bailout that didn’t pass? Tonight, Congress will attempt to pass a revised version, so let’s see what they added (via)-

New Tax earmarks in Bailout bill
– Film and Television Productions (Sec. 502)
– Wooden Arrows designed for use by children (Sec. 503)
– 6 page package of earmarks for litigants in the 1989 Exxon Valdez incident, Alaska (Sec. 504)

Tax earmark “extenders” in the bailout bill.
Virgin Island and Puerto Rican Rum (Section 308)
American Samoa (Sec. 309)
– Mine Rescue Teams (Sec. 310)
– Mine Safety Equipment (Sec. 311)
– Domestic Production Activities in Puerto Rico (Sec. 312)
– Indian Tribes (Sec. 314, 315)
– Railroads (Sec. 316)
– Auto Racing Tracks (317)
District of Columbia (Sec. 322)
– Wool Research (Sec. 325)

Ah. Obviously, Socialized Banking will be much more palatable if we buy more Puerto Rican rum. American Samoans and Indian Tribes who will be receiving earmarks will be happy to know that Puerto Rican rum will be cheaper. And Nascar, while they didn’t get beer subsidies, got some help with auto racing tracks.

I think, though, we can all breathe a sigh of relief that there are now earmarks for wooden arrows designed for use by children. I assume that the children from Indian tribes will be provided with wooden arrows and Puerto Rican rum, then told to drive around a race track and shoot each other while drunk. There’s money in there, too, for Film and Television to make it into a movie.

That alone justifies eliminating capitalism and socializing the western banking world. The bill should pass now.

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Ill Wind May Not Blow to the Whitehouse

Will Hurricane Katrina spell the end of George Bush’s Presidency? Almost certainly yes, with a few caveats. 😛

As the full horror of Hurricane Katrina sinks in, thousands of desperate columnists are asking if this is the end of George Bush’s presidency. The answer is almost certainly yes, provided that every copy of the US Constitution was destroyed in the storm. Otherwise President Bush will remain in office until noon on January 20th, 2009, as required by the 20th Amendment, after which he is barred from seeking a third term anyway under the 22nd Amendment.

As the full horror of this sinks in, thousands of desperate columnists are asking if the entire political agenda of George Bush’s second term will not still be damaged in some terribly satisfying way.

The answer is almost certainly yes, provided that the entire political agenda of George Bush’s second term consists of repealing the 22nd Amendment. Otherwise, with a clear Republican majority in both Houses of Congress, he can carry on doing pretty much whatever he likes.

As the full horror of this sinks in, thousands of desperate columnists are asking if the Republican Party itself will now suffer a setback at the congressional mid-term elections next November.

The answer is almost certainly yes, provided that people outside the disaster zone punish their local representatives for events elsewhere a year previously, both beyond their control and outside their remit, while people inside the disaster zone reward their local representatives for an ongoing calamity they were supposed to prevent. Otherwise, the Democratic Party will suffer a setback at the next congressional election.

As the full horror of this sinks in, thousands of desperate columnists are asking if an official inquiry will shift the blame for poor planning and inadequate flood defences on to the White House. The answer is almost certainly yes, provided nobody admits that emergency planning is largely the responsibility of city and state agencies, and nobody notices that the main levee which broke was the only levee recently modernised with federal funds. Otherwise, an official inquiry will pin most of the blame on the notoriously corrupt and incompetent local governments of New Orleans and Louisiana.

As the full horror of this sinks in, thousands of desperate columnists are asking if George Bush contributed to the death toll by sending so many national guard units to Iraq.

The answer is almost certainly yes, provided nobody recalls that those same columnists have spent the past two years blaming George Bush for another death toll by not sending enough national guard units to Iraq. Otherwise, people might wonder why they have never previously read a single article advocating large-scale military redeployment during the Caribbean hurricane season.

As the full horror of this sinks in, thousands of desperate columnist are asking how a civilised city can descend into anarchy.

The answer is that only a civilised city can descend into anarchy.

As the full horror of this sinks in, thousands of desperate columnists are asking if George Bush should be held responsible for the terrible poverty in the southern states revealed by the flooding.

The answer is almost certainly yes, provided nobody holds Bill Clinton responsible for making Mississippi the poorest state in the union throughout his entire term as president, or for making Arkansas the second-poorest state in the union throughout his entire term as governor. Otherwise, people might suspect that it is a bit more complicated than that.

As the full horror of this sinks in, thousands of desperate columnists are asking if George Bush should not be concerned by accusations of racism against the federal government.

The answer is almost certainly yes, provided nobody remembers that Jesse Jackson once called New York “Hymietown” and everybody thinks Condoleezza Rice went shopping for shoes when the hurricane struck because she cannot stand black people.

Otherwise sensible Americans of all races will be more concerned by trite, cynical and dangerous political opportunism.

As the full horror of that sinks in, this columnist is simply glad that everybody cares.

* From a tip from Right Voices and Slugger O’Toole. Original article by Newton Emerson in the Irish Times.

Rod Paige and the NAACP

Rod Paige tears into the NAACP in an opinion to the Wall Streel Journal.

I have a message for the NAACP’s Julian Bond and Kweisi Mfume, who have accused black conservatives of being the “puppets” of white people, unable to think for ourselves: You do not own, and you are not the arbiters of, African-American authenticity.

I am a lifelong member of the NAACP. I have a great respect for the organization. Its historical leaders, all visionary thinkers, have been responsible for helping to advance the struggle of African-Americans over the past century, making our nation a more equitable and race-blind society. Sadly, the current NAACP leadership has managed to take a proud, effective organization in a totally new direction: naked partisan politics, pure and simple.

In particular, Mr. Bond and Mr. Mfume have done a great disservice to our organization, and to the founders of the civil-rights movement, with their hateful and untruthful rhetoric about Republicans and President Bush. How ironic that they would direct this vitriol at a president who has appointed more African-Americans to high-profile posts, has committed more funds to fight AIDS in Africa, has championed minority homeownership, and has supported more trade and aid for African and Caribbean nations than any other administration.

Rod Paige is right – the NAACP is doing blacks a disservice now. Since 2000 when NAACP ran an ad claiming that Bush endorsed dragging blacks behind pickup trucks until dead, till Julian Bond’s (Chairman of NAACP) calling Bush’s cabinet picks the “Taliban wing of American politics,” the NAACP has forgotten their role as advocators of black right and are now the mad-dog tool of the Democratic Party.

Bush has done more for the black community through his No Child Left Behind Act alone, not to mention he’s promoted more minorities to prominent adminstration positions than any other president in history. You’d never know it through the “mad dog” rhetoric from the black tool of the Democratic Party.