The Week in Review

Jeff Alworth

The Week of February 7 began brutally, as the President chose the day after the Superbowl--when we were besotted by beer ads and cheese doodles--to assault us with his new budget.  An extraordinary document,  it simultaneously proposed to cut or eliminate 150 federal programs and still expand the deficit--all the while failing to include the costs of fighting wars, making permanent the tax cuts, or gutting Social Security.  Bush also announced a proposal to change the way federal power suppliers charge their customers, the effect of which seemed to be punishment for blue-state Northwesterners who would see rates climb by 20%.  Amid all the talk of success in New England this year, I wondered: why couldn't Boston have won just one more?

Closer to home, the Governor put $54,000 into his warchest, but demurred when asked to comment on whether he would be running in 2006.  Perhaps he had been reading Blue Oregon, where Pete Sorenson announce he was running.

North Korea's Dear Leader on Tuesday announced that he had nukes--that was the official word, "nukes"--and our own Dear Leader confirmed that the US would hold the line on our policy on the peninsula, seeing as how it has been such a smashing success.  No bilateral talks for you, said Bush.  In Pyongyang, tiny, nuclear feet stamped in fury.  Tuesday was an enormously news rich day, so we'll pause here for a brief palate cleanser: just nine weeks into the season, Oregon crabbers have already caught a million more pounds of Dungeness crab than they did in nine months last year.  My daffodils sprouted in January this year, as well, but let me whistle past the graveyard here and make no mention of "theoretical" global warming...

We do not love Harry Reid's politics, but we love Harry Reid.  Anyway I do.  (New paragraph, same day.)  On Tuesday, the Mr. Rogers of the Senate politely and softly sprung the trap set weeks ago by the wily Minority Leader.  Recall how we watched on, aghast, as Reid, newly-ascended to the leadership, declared that he would rather "dance than fight" with the GOP, pointing out how he had worked closely with Bush on Iraq.  Well, maybe you missed the part where he said the only thing that would stand in the way of such a lovely tango would be personal attacks or a radical agenda.  An agenda radical enough to unite Democrats and divide Republicans already in place, the RNC Clelanded Reid.  In the well of the Senate, Reid responded by asking "Is the President a man of his word?"  Dang it, said Harry (softly), he had been prepared to dance.  How could he ever have foreseen that Bush would proceed from a close election with a radical agenda or that the GOP would try to smear him?  Repudiate the document, he cried to Bush from his moral high ground.  Snap.

On Wednesday, in compensation for all the activity on Tuesday, nothing happened.  It appeared briefly that Karen Minnis might have cheated on her campaign report, but it was apparently an honest mistake.  Nothing to see here, folks.

I've become so inured to Bush's crooked regime that I barely noticed the latest media scandal that blossomed on Thursday, in which a second-rate internet booster for GOPUSA has been given access to official White House briefings.  For the purpose, apparently, of lofting set-up questions about the oppressiveness of the liberal media.  Yet again, the irony eluded everyone.  In Oregon news...wolves!  The feds say non!, but the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission says oui.  Farmers and ranchers uncomfortably line up with big gubmint and oppose state control while Portlanders and Eugenies--whose sheep and cattle will not be gobbled by canis lupis--romantically dream of hearing eerie howls in the night.  Wolves in Oregon?  Stay tuned.

Jobs news arrived on Friday.  Are you sitting down?  Check it: the news was actually good.  Unemployment was adjusted down, and the construction, manufacturing, and retail sectors were all up.  In Quebec, however, Wal-Mart decided to close down a store that had just voted to unionize.  Must cut out the cancer before it spreads.

And while Quebecois lamented the loss of $10 hair dryers, Americans mourned the loss of something far more precious: Arthur Miller, who died at 89.  Said his greatest creation, Willy Loman: "After all the highways, and the trains, and the years, you end up worth more dead than alive."  But not you, Mr. Miller.  With your insight and wisdom, you were always worth more to us alive.  We are the lesser for your passing.

Saturday marked one small vote for Howard Dean, but possibly a giant leap for Democrats as the good doctor became the head of the DNC.  That this selection should arouse controversy is bizarre, but controversial it has been.  Although Dean was a legitimate early candidate for 2008, he has decided to park himself in a post formerly reserved for party apparatchiks (quick: name any DNC chair other than Terry McAuliffe), all to help his party regain power.  So timid have Dems become that Howard Dean causes them to tremble.  Feeling confident yet?

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