The Bush Files

A sampling of the day’s best independent news, views, and resources on US politics, keeping an eye on the Bush Administration. Updated each weekday.


Apr. 20, 2001

Tax cut costing Bush his majority — American Prospect
“George W. Bush is losing his working majority in Congress,” according to Robert Kuttner. “The only surprise is that it took so long.” As details of Bush’s budget begin seeping into the public consciousness, the massive spending cuts necessary to make room for the proposed tax decrease are hitting close to home with almost every constituency. As a result, says Kuttner, the administration can no longer assume that its GOP faithful will necessarily shepherd the budget package through.

How to survive the Bush years — Progressive Review
The irrepressible Sam Smith has a list of things progressives can do to fight the Bush agenda. It’s the same list Smith made 12 years ago when Bush Sr. was elected. “Unfortunately, it’s still applicable,” Smith writes. Among his suggestions: “Go for redemption rather than recrimination,” and “Be serious, not solemn.”

Apr. 19, 2001

Molly Ivins’ parting shot — Dallas Observer
Texas lip Molly Ivins is leaving the Ft. Worth Star Telegram, and she’s using the press attention to take yet more potshots at the former governor she dubbed “Shrub,” and at the Washington press corps: “Everyone knows the man has no clue, but no one there has the courage to say it. I mean, good gawd, the man is as he always has been: barely adequate.”

How much is that ambassadorship in the window? — Opensecrets.org
Sure, you suspect that the cushy appointments in any administration constitute payback in one form or another. But check out how much these ambassadorship nominees coughed up in campaign contributions in 2000:

  • Richard Blankenship, Bahamas (rough gig) — $32,000 to GOP candidates, $7,000 to Bush alone;
  • William Farrish, Britain: $142,875 to GOP candidates, $107,000 to Bush alone;
  • Howard Leach, France: $399,359 to GOP candidates, $114,000 to Bush alone;
  • Richard Egan, Ireland: $480,100 to GOP candidates, $112,000 to Bush alone;
  • Charles Heimbold, Sweden: $365,200 to GOP candidates; $102,000 to Bush alone;
  • Mercer Reynolds, Switzerland: $456,173 to GOP candidates; $111,973 to Bush alone

(Thanks to Friction Magazine for the tip.)

Norton may be held in contempt in BIA case — Government Executive
A group of Native Americans has filed a lawsuit alleging that Interior Secretary Gale Norton failed to comply with a federal court order in a four-year-old lawsuit involving the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ management of individual trust funds for Native Americans. Norton could face contempt-of-court charges.

Apr. 18, 2001

Jeb asks big bro for enviro exemption — The Guardian (UK)
Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida has asked his elder brother, the president, for a little favor: Could Florida maybe please be exempted from federal laws governing safe drinking water? Seems the state’s rapid growth is causing underground water tables to drop precipitously, and Jeb would like permission to inject untreated rain- and wastewater into the ground to create subterranean reservoirs.

Laura loves libraries, George guts them — Dallas Morning News
First Lady Laura Bush, a former school librarian, kicked off a nationwide campaign for public libraries in early April. The following week, her hubby released a budget that proposes to cut $39 million from federal for libraries.

Bureaucrats must breed — Nando Times
If a stealth provision in Bush’s proposed budget survives Congress, the 1.2 million female federal employees will lose insurance coverage for contraception. The men in the administration’s employ, however, will keep their coverage for Viagra. As Bonnie Erbe points out, “contraception prevents unplanned pregnancies, which in turn lowers the rate of abortion — a goal of many Americans, including the president.”

Apr. 17, 2001

Save the Arctic, trash the Rockies — The Missoula News
A Presidential task force featuring Gale Norton and Dick Cheney recently announced plans to lift the moratorium on oil and gas exploration in the Lewis and Clark National Forest in the Rocky Mountains. The administration can open the area to drilling without consulting Congress, a luxury it doesn’t enjoy with the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Montanans overwhelmingly supported the moratorium when it was implemented under the Clinton administration.

Bush’s fuzzy budget math — The Observer
Joe Conason says “the slippery calculations that underlie George W. Bush’s budget are like the selective counting that put him in office.” The spending cuts called for in the document are being framed as “reform,” when in fact, says Conason, they are just a way to free up money for Bush’s ill-advised tax cut at the expense of crucial domestic programs.

What Dubya and Puff Daddy know — The Chicago Tribune
The reigning chiefs of American politics and American rap might not appear to have much in common, but both do appreciate the power of nicknames. George W. Bush uses them to signal hisaffection, or lack thereof, for those in his administration and Congress. Bush has been on the receiving end, too — Molly Ivins labelled him both “Dubya” and “Shrub.” Puff Daddy, aka Sean Combs, realizes that a certain fluidity in one’s identity can be a powerful tool for reinventing oneself (although there are drawbacks — ask the artist formerly known as The Artist Formerly Known As Prince). Puffy, recently acquitted on weapons charges, has renamed himself P. Diddy.

Apr. 16, 2001

Greetings from Orwell, Alaska — The Guardian (UK)
Ian Thomas, a high-tech cartographer at the US Geological Survey, may be “mapmaking’s first modern martyr.” Thomas lost his job after posting a map on the Internet that depicted caribou migratory patterns in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, including a popular calf-birthing spot called “Area 1002.” Unfortunately for Thomas (and the caribou), the Bush administration and oil companies also have their eyes on Area 1002 — as a potential oilfield. His boss claims the problem was the map’s inaccuracy, but shortly after Thomas got the boot, other government information about Area 1002 vanished from the Web.

What’s in Bush’s Cabinet? Hypocrisy! — The Weekly Standard
The conservative Weekly Standard is appalled by what it sees as President Bush’s hypocritical use of affirmative action in filling cabinet and advisor spots. One aggrieved job candidate even wrote to the White House, the Standard reports, saying he “never expected a Republican Bush administration to treat white males so shabbily.”

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