The Week in Review (May 9-13)

Jeff Alworth

To fully appreciate Monday's news, we must recall the preceding Monday.  On that day, you'll recall, the Speaker of the House pulled out of the joint budget-writing process, despite having full agreement on 99% of the funding levels, because the GOP claimed they couldn't afford the additional $150m the Dems wanted for schools.  Too damn expensive, said they.  What about the old folks, worried they?  Given that House GOPsters had taken such a hard line, what do you think their next move was?  You are correct: tax cuts, which they passed on Monday.  Nearly as surreal, Dubya appeared in Red Square with Vlad "Pooty Poot" Putin to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany.  (It was surreal to me, anyway.)  Finally, a pop quiz to round out Monday.  What issue brings together Christian conservatives, enviros, and the restaurant lobby?  Answer: their antipathy to the tribal casino planned in Cascade Locks.  Now we know.

A little bit of the Monday surrealism spilled over to Tuesday, as the Oregon House voted to shield gun makers from lawsuits.  If you were going to exempt one product from liability, you'd go with semi-automatics, right?  In Washington, a federal appeals court decreed Dick Cheney king.  Well, sort of.  It ruled that the Veep doesn't have to submit himselves to the prying eyes of those who elected him.  Energy policy may now be drafted in Houston and sent straight to the White House for signature.  The Oregon Senate almost banned junk food from schools, but were ultimately pursuaded against it on the argument that a lunch of Cheetos and Coke is "hella good."

Sixty-four Iraqis were killed and 120 wounded in a series of bombings on Wednesday. That brings the fortnight's total to 350.  The insurgents are no longer killing Marines--now they're targeting anyone associated with the new government.  Good news: Iraqis are no longer thinking of Americans as occupiers.  Bad news: they're apparently starting a civil war.

FoxJeff Gannon was joined by other moral and political luminaries in a celebration of Tom DeLay on Thursday.  Few of the guests included actual elected Republicans, who were perhaps more alarmed by being seen in the company of the House Majority Leader than a gay male prostitute.  In other not-quite news, most of DC emptied out as a Cessna wandered into Capitol airspace.  Fox News flashed--I kid you not--"RNC Headquarters Evacuated" across their newscrawl.  Of course, they didn't mention the evacuation of the nearby DNC.  A case of accidental truth in advertizing.  If anyone can be said to be more tepidly supported than Tom DeLay, it must be John Bolton, who was passed out of committee (once the fear of an RNC assault had abated) with a "no recommendation." 

We've got good news and complex news on Friday.  The complex news came from the Pentagon, which recommended closing 180 military installations across the country.  It was complex because of the politics involved.  Take South Dakota, for example.  There, Ellsworth Air Force Base, the second-largest employer in the state, got the kiss of death.  During the election last fall, gullible South Dakotans ejected sitting Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle on the improbable promise by John Thune that Ellsworth would be protected.  As Minority Leader, Daschle would have been on the review committee like Harry Reid, whose Nevada installations emerged unscathed.  Essentially, Thune and the good people of South Dakota just got a massive wedgie from George Bush.

The good news?  State economist Tom Potiowski forecast an addition $218 million in revenues for the biennium, obviating any need by the GOP to stand in the way of full school funding to protect elders.  Right?

  • Gregor (unverified)

    In a representative democracy, we should have a transparent government. Keeping this meeting closed merely underscores the capture of our government by Halliburton. Glad I had a chance to live in a free country once. Bummer we let it go.

  • Feeling Blue (unverified)

    In other news...

    Willamette Week, The Oregonian, and Thom Hartmann have continued to raise awareness about the fact that other Senate Democrats appear to be scuttling Sent Metsger's efforts to stop PGE and other utilities from steaking millions from Oregon rate payers by allowing them to collect money for taxes that they are not, in fact, paying.

    If Democrats won't stand up and go after lawmakers who have taken ten's of thousands of dollars from PGE, then can we really make a case that Democrats are the party of working people in this state? Even Kevin Mannix is taking a decent position on this issue.

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