Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for January 29th, 2007

The Seven Deadly Sins Pairwise

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What results when the sins are done pairwise.

Written by LeisureGuy

29 January 2007 at 9:34 pm

Posted in Daily life

The US being transformed into the Soviet Union

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Remember the Political Commissars in the Soviet military–the guy on a sub, for example, who was the political officer: no military duties, just looking over everyone’s should to spot any deviations from the Party line.

Bush must find that model attractive, being able to control absolutely such agencies as the EPA, the FDA, the OSHA, and so on—agencies with professional responsibilities to protect the public, thus agencies that Big Business detests.

Bush is setting up the Political Commissar function in the US government now:

President Bush has signed a directive that gives the White House much greater control over the rules and policy statements that the government develops to protect public health, safety, the environment, civil rights and privacy.

In an executive order published last week in the Federal Register, Mr. Bush said that each agency must have a regulatory policy office run by a political appointee, to supervise the development of rules and documents providing guidance to regulated industries. The White House will thus have a gatekeeper in each agency to analyze the costs and the benefits of new rules and to make sure the agencies carry out the president’s priorities.

This strengthens the hand of the White House in shaping rules that have, in the past, often been generated by civil servants and scientific experts. It suggests that the administration still has ways to exert its power after the takeover of Congress by the Democrats.

The White House said the executive order was not meant to rein in any one agency. But business executives and consumer advocates said the administration was particularly concerned about rules and guidance issued by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

In an interview on Monday, Jeffrey A. Rosen, general counsel at the White House Office of Management and Budget, said, “This is a classic good-government measure that will make federal agencies more open and accountable.”

Business groups welcomed the executive order, saying it had the potential to reduce what they saw as the burden of federal regulations. This burden is of great concern to many groups, including small businesses, that have given strong political and financial backing to Mr. Bush.

Consumer, labor and environmental groups denounced the executive order, saying it gave too much control to the White House and would hinder agencies’ efforts to protect the public.

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Written by LeisureGuy

29 January 2007 at 8:16 pm

Report from the Libby Trial

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Written by LeisureGuy

29 January 2007 at 7:56 pm

Cafferty on the Purge

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Just to remind you: the provision in the Patriot Act that allows Gonzales to make these appointments without Senate confirmation was slipped into the Act by Arlen Spector, who now refuses to talk about it.

Written by LeisureGuy

29 January 2007 at 6:13 pm

What do people without health insurance do?

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This weekend I got refills for my prescriptions. When I went to pick them up, I was stunned to learn that it would be $803. Man, I can’t afford that much per month. Then I realized that I forgot to give them my new health-insurance card (new health insurance as of 1 January). So I gave them the new card and went back today to pick up the prescriptions: $145.

I imagine people without health insurance simply are financially unable to treat chronic disease. Most other countries, less prosperous than the US used to be before Bush, run efficient national health insurance programs with the result that their citizens are freed from financial worries over health-care (and live longer, enjoyed lower rates of infant mortality, and so on).

Written by LeisureGuy

29 January 2007 at 4:18 pm

Posted in Congress, Government, Health

Golf club hits lighter

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Written by LeisureGuy

29 January 2007 at 2:09 pm

Posted in Daily life

How Israel treats its Arab citizens

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I thought the US was bad in how it treated its African-American citizens, but look at this article:

One evening in Jerusalem last February, after working late in the prime minister’s office, I went outside and hailed a taxi. When I got in, I noticed that the driver, an Arab, was gripping the wheel tightly and his movements seemed labored. As we pulled into traffic, he slumped back in his seat, sighing.

“Hard day?” I asked clumsily in Hebrew, with a thick American accent.

He began to answer, but then — apparently registering my poor excuse for the language — asked, “Are you Jewish?”

“No,” I lied, curious about what he had been about to say.

He was an Arab citizen of Israel from the town of Lod, in the country’s center. He was not Jewish — but of the two of us he was the one who spoke Hebrew fluently, his Arabic inflections only barely discernible. A few minutes earlier, he told me, he had picked up a group of religious American Jewish tourists. When they had realized that he was an Arab, they had promptly reopened the door and gotten out. Israeli Jews often did the same thing, he said. It happened frequently, but still always upset him.

We were driving through the area of Jerusalem where the government buildings are located, and he gestured at them as we passed. “I pay my taxes,” he said. “I’m a citizen of the country — even if it is the Jewish state.”

I didn’t tell him that I worked in one of those buildings.

“You know,” he added, “we have a saying: ‘My country is at war with my people.'”

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Written by LeisureGuy

29 January 2007 at 1:50 pm

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