government


Assessing the Bush years | The frat boy ships out | The Economist
I know I said I would try to be more positive in my entries but I just couldn’t help myself. On this day of the historic inauguration of Barack Obama, I find it strangely comforting that a publication as conservative as the The Economist is more than willing to comment on the deficiencies of “W” and his administration and legacy.

Mr Bush relied heavily on a small inner core of advisers. The most important of these was Dick Cheney, who quickly became the most powerful vice-president in American history. Mr Cheney used his mastery of bureaucracy to fill the administration with his protégés and to control the flow of information to the president. He pushed Mr Bush forcefully to the right on everything from global warming to the invasion of Iraq; he also fought ruthlessly to expand the power of the executive branch, which he thought had been dangerously restricted since Watergate.

The two other decisive figures were Karl Rove, Mr Bush’s longtime political guru, and Donald Rumsfeld, his defence secretary. Mr Rove was obsessed by pursuing his dream of a rolling Republican realignment, subordinating everything to party politics. Mr Rumsfeld regarded the Iraq war not, like his boss, as an exercise in democracy-building, but as an opportunity to test the model of an “agile military” that he was pioneering at the Pentagon.

The fruit of all this can be seen in the three most notable characteristics of the Bush presidency: partisanship, politicisation and incompetence. Mr Bush was the most partisan president in living memory. He was content to be president of half the country—a leader who fused his roles of head of state and leader of his party. He devoted his presidency to feeding the Republican coalition that elected him.

This is a great article and well worth the read. It’s refreshing to read a point of view from outside the states.

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At this point, I don’t care how you vote as much as I care that you do cast your vote. Don’t waste your power. Register to vote online at www.maps.google.com/vote. Many deadlines expire soon (October 4). If you’ve registered but don’t know your polling place or if you need to vote absentee ballot, this site will help you with that information, too.

Do it – no excuses are acceptable.


An Extra Hour of Halloween Daylight? Thank the Candy Lobby – City Room – Metro – New York Times Blog

The candy lobby has a long history with Halloween and “saving”
daylight. By 1986, a year of great Congressional debate on the matter,
candy sales had suffered a sharp falloff as trick-or-treating was
hammered by

“The candymakers were so desperate for this that, beside lobbying
for years, they went and put pumpkins filled with candy on the seat of
every senator in America,” Mr. Downing said.

I knew there was a conspiracy somewhere! The best part of Halloween was being out in the dark. We were truly afraid of visiting certain houses and lots of people installed great displays that needed to be seen at night.

Now the kids come around demanding candy and not even bothering to dress up in costumes. I’m sick of the high-school age kids thrusting forward their opened backpacks and grunting – no “Trick or Treat”, no “Thank you”.

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