Thursday, March 16, 2006


Right-Wing Blocks Funding For Port Security, Disaster Preparedness:
Moments ago, the House of Representatives narrowly defeated an amendment proposed by Rep. Martin Sabo (D-MN) that would have provided $1.25 billion in desperately needed funding for port security and disaster preparedness.…

Meanwhile, the Bush budget – which most of the members who voted against this bill will likely support – contains an increase of $1.7 billion for missile defense, a program that doesn’t even work.
And Kevin Drum notes "They also blocked consideration of an amendment to require 100% scanning of shipping containers entering the United States." As Congress passes on more debt to our children, they are taking no measures to ensure that I actually survive long enough to have children.

Meanwhile, Gale Norton's reign of terror at the Interior Department is over, and after an exhaustive search through the files of people too extreme to replace Christie Whitman at the EPA, the White House announced that Idaho's Gov. Kempthorne will take over as steward of federal lands, meaning that if I survive the dirty bomb that isn't in the one container in 20 that's inspected, and assuming I'm not sterilized by the fallout when a western port is nuked, my kids won't have wild lands to play in.

The excellent New West pre-emptively wrote "Please, Not Kempthorne":

Kempthorne prides himself as a consensus builder, but a few years ago, an amazing committee of timber companies and environmentalists reached a consensus and hatched a plan to restore grizzly bears in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, but Kempthorne was primarily responsible for influencing Norton to kill it, even though her own scientists in her own agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, favored it.

Gale Norton has been oft criticized as the fox guarding the henhouse. We really need to get out from under this cloud, but Kempthorne will be viewed in the same light.
Kempthorne's priorities are not the future and are not for wild spaces.

Republicans don't care about poor peopleAnd Crooked Timber points out new research which shows clearly what the economic priorities of Republican administrations have been, compared to Democratic priorities. One one hand, policies that raise all boats, on the other, policies that strongly favor the rich.

For some reason, the graph doesn't instantly click for me, but once you understand what it shows, the meaning is shocking. When you average income growth under Republican or Democratic administrations between 1948 and 2001, you find that low income families barely experienced economic improvement under Republican rule, while the wealthiest people did quite nicely.

Bartels writes:

The political significance [of the data] can only be gainsaid by supposing that the apparent pattern is the result of a massive historical coincidence. Elsewhere, I have provided extensive checks on the robustness of the partisan disparity evident in Figure 2, including comparisons based on alternative economic units, time periods, and income definitions, statistical controls for historical trends, nonparametric tests, and the like ( Bartels 2004 ). It seems hard to escape the conclusion that, over the past half-century, Republican presidents have been consistently bad for the economic health of middle-class and poor people.
But their priorities have been elsewhere.