It was a rough week for the Bush Administration. The American death toll in Iraq reached a milestone, 2000. While editorialists claimed “America is grieving,” I did not personally see any individual Americans doing so, just for the record. Mr. Bush himself seemed characteristically unfazed. Senator John Kerry gave his first speech on the quagmire since his failed campaign for the White House, indicating the “soft-launch” of his next failed campaign for the White House. Harriet Miers skittered about the capital trying to win support for her nomination, but legislators remained unimpressed, and so on Thursday she withdrew. It was the right thing to do, Harriet. But it also paves the way for a more stridently, blatantly ideological nominee. Incompetence versus ideology seems to be the question these days. Miers’ withdrawal is being seen widely as indication of the waning power of the executive, and of Mr. Bush himself, in his second term. A Grand Jury indicted His Sublime Evilness Dick Cheney’s right hand man, Scooter Libby on one count of obstruction, two counts of perjury and two of making false statements. That’s five counts altogether for those who are counting. Of Cheney himself, special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald said, "We make no allegations that the vice president conducted any criminal act." Of course, it was Cheney who told Libby about Valerie Plame in the first place, but that's not a crime. Rest assured Darth Cheney will escape prosecution. He has been busy in his underground bunker overseeing the construction of the giant “Death Star” he will be teleported to shortly, and from which he will destroy Earth, and with it the Iraqi insurgency and the Democrats. Ol’ Turd Blossom, Karl Rove, rumored to have been on Fitzgerald’s hit-list, too, slithered away, relatively unscathed, although he remains a slimebag of interest. So the wolves are at the White House door, but Mr. Bush has had plenty of practice being the sacrificial lamb, victim of the liberal media, victim of bad intelligence, victim of the hate-mongers and naysayers. I’m sure he can handle being cannibalized by his own party. Bon appetit, boys! Democrats felt safe to gloat, some gleefully speculating that the Bush Administration may finally be imploding. No thanks to the opposition, who offered no leadership of their own to fill the vacuum in Katrina’s wake. The Democrats are about as bad as those chiliastic evil-gelicals, waiting for their Evil Christ to come. Instead of reacting to crises with an alternate vision, offering solutions that show that good government is still possible, they offer crowing critiques and speculation that this could be the moment the enemy self-destructs. In their version of things, you can lose all the battles but still win the war. That’s why we need more than two parties. I mean, wasn't it nice to see both the Red Sox and the Yankees bumped this year? When you've only got two teams, sometimes one wins by default. One more battle the Democrats are losing on their way to ultimate and glorious victory is on the budget. Last week Congress was busy giddily slashing it, with Mr. Bush revising his old ivy-league daze extracurricular role of cheerleader. Wielding his presidential pompoms and recruiting Harriet Miers, Karl Rove, and Scott McClellan for a human pyramid eerily reminiscent of those depicted in notorious photos from Abu Ghraib, Mr. Bush shouted: "Rah rah sis boom bah! Slash the budget, um, fa-la-la la-LAH la-la-la-LAH!” And after a triple-back-somersault, landing in splits, added: “I encourage Congress to push the envelope when it comes to cutting spending! GO TEAM!” The GOP, supposedly nervous about the cost of the Katrina Recovery earmarked cuts in student loans, on top of $3.8 billion in cuts to child support enforcement. The AP reported: “The bill also would tighten eligibility standards for foster care assistance in nine states and delay some lump-sum payments to very poor and elderly beneficiaries of Social Security's Supplemental Security Income program.” As blatantly evil as these cuts are, for some reason Congress has balked at slashing Medicaid, food stamps and farm subsidies. But to make up for the let-down, there’s a little-reported provision of the budget package to be sent to the Senate, mandating “whoopin’s” for legislators’ servants (and phasing in from 2006 to 2008, constituents) who do not refer to them as “massa.” Democrats opposed most of the cuts. The best offense is a good defense, boys. Rep. David Obey of Wisconsin, stating the obvious, told reporters: "They are targeting programs for poor people to pay for tax cuts for rich people.” Once those tax cuts are passed, Obey added, deficits will be increasing again. So there. In the “looking for trouble” department, the US rattled its sabers at Syria over possible Syrian involvement in the assassination of billionaire Lebanese Premier Rafiq Hariri. Increased calls for sanctions against Syria, if it does not cooperate fully with UN investigators looking into the assassination, came shortly after a meeting, attended by Mr. Cheney, the President himself (for symbolic purposes), and US Ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, in which the latter said (according to the AP) “that the insurgency there remains formidable and will take longer to defeat if neighboring countries such as Syria and Iran continue to play ‘unhelpful roles.’” All in all a big week in the news. Unfortunately, also a week in which NPR was engaged in a ramped-up phase of its increasingly obnoxious never-ending fund drive, which, after all the whining, pleading, and gnashing of teeth, left about three-and-a-half minutes for news, and that was taken up by an interview with the ubiquitous and supremely unnecessary David Brooks. Don't you love it when pundits interview other pundits? And you cunts want me to pay for this?


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