Matt's Blog
...religion, politics, and other things you should never discuss at bars (but probably do anyways).
Thursday, April 03, 2003

Trips, Meals Add Up On GOP's Credit Cards

Credit cards issued to the state Republican Party's central committee in late 1997 were used to charge thousands of dollars in apparent personal expenses, from oil changes to meals to vacations, an analysis by The Courant shows.

It is impossible at this point to say who used which of three party cards in all cases, but cards were held by Gov. John G. Rowland and his hand-picked party chairman, former state Rep. Christopher DePino. Another was reserved for the party's executive director.

Rowland has already acknowledged using his card for at least one personal expense, a weekend at a resort in Whitefield, N.H., after the last election. Rowland wrote a check for $1,881.93 to the party last week to cover that trip after the charge was disclosed.

State elections officials have said it is improper for either the governor or the party chairman to have such central committee cards, and have opened an investigation into the charges they said total more than $100,000.

An examination of more than 430 credit card charges documented in party records shows that, between 1998 and 2002, the party's expenses rose dramatically compared to earlier years.


Monday, March 31, 2003

CBS News | Clinton Vs. Dole: A Question Of Money

(CBS) In the latest in a series of two-minute debates for the CBS News magazine 60 Minutes, former President Bill Clinton and former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole consider domestic spending—on Iraq after the war and in the U.S. now. Following is a transcript of their debate:

PRESIDENT CLINTON: Universal health care. Rebuilding the nation's schools. Repair of the road and rail networks. Sounds like a Democratic domestic agenda, right? Actually, it's the Bush administration's plan for the re-construction of Iraq. Now, I'm all for rebuilding Iraq when Saddam's gone. But it's ironic that Republicans don't have plans to stop the rise of Americans without health care. They're not funding the "leave-no-child-behind" education bill. They want to cut 500,000 kids out of after-school programs. They've already eliminated school-repair funding and the program to put 100,000 more teachers in our schools. Let's invest in Iraq and America. We can't be strong abroad if we're not strong at home.

Sunday, March 30, 2003

News & community for expatriates in the Netherlands

The footage was the most disturbing thing on television in some time. There was US President George W Bush, being prepped for his televised declaration of war. It was not the combing of his hair, the only aspect of the coverage reported by any American media outlet (the Washington Post in this case), which was cause for embarrassment; everyone expects that. Rather, it was the demeanour — I would say antics — of the president himself.

Bush, the so-called leader of the free world, was sitting behind his desk going over his speech, as we would expect. But then it got weird. I felt like I was looking behind the curtain, and it was uglier than I ever imagined.

Like some class clown trying to get attention from the back of the room, he started mugging for his handlers. His eyes darted back and forth impishly as he cracked faces at others around him. He pumped a fist and self-consciously muttered, "feel good," which was interestingly sanitised into the more mature and assertive, "I'm feeling good" by the same Washington Post.
He was goofing around, and there's only one way to interpret that kind of behaviour just seconds before announcing war on Iraq: the man is an idiot.

If you missed this program last week, I would strongly suggest that you watch it this Tuesday, April 1 at 8 p.m. You can click on the image for more information

A Budget of Dire Consequences

By David S. Broder

I am about to conduct class warfare -- not because it's my ideological preference but because the facts compel it.
While America and the world focus rightly on the battles in Iraq, House and Senate negotiators this week will try to put the finishing touches on a budget that will set priorities for the federal government.

Neither the House nor the Senate budget truly addresses the needs of the nation. Neither one has the degree of fiscal discipline needed in a country at war and mired in a struggling economy. Either one would add close to $2 trillion to the national debt over the next 10 years.

But there is a big difference between the two versions. The House budget provides twice as big a tax cut, principally for affluent Americans, as does the Senate's. And the House version would deal low-income Americans, particularly children, a much heavier blow. If the House version -- or something close to it -- prevails, expect dire consequences for many Americans.

Advisers Split as War Unfolds

Advisers Split as War Unfolds
One Faction Hopes Bush Notes 'Bum Advice'
By Glenn Kessler and Walter Pincus
Washington Post

The first 11 days of the war have brought back with a vengeance the deep splits that have long existed within the Bush administration and the Republican Party over policy toward Iraq.

Already there is a behind-the-scenes effort by former senior Republican government officials and party leaders to convince President Bush that the advice he has received from Vice President Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz -- a powerful triumvirate frequently at odds with Secretary of State Colin L. Powell -- has been wrong and even dangerous to long-term U.S. national interests.

Citing past public statements by Cheney and others about the prospective ease with which the Iraq war could be won and the warm welcome U.S. forces would receive from the Iraqi people, one former GOP appointee said he and his allies were looking at "whether this president has learned something from this bum advice he has been getting." - 'Freedom toast' served on Air Force One

There are still 41 million Americans who can't afford to see a doctor

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Florida (Reuters) -- On President Bush's Air Force One flight to Florida Wednesday it was au revoir French toast, hello "Freedom toast."

"Stuffed Freedom Toast" topped the breakfast menu, in a subtle slap at the French for helping to confound U.S. attempts to get the U.N. Security Council to authorize military force against Iraq.

The name change for the venerable breakfast dish -- in this case stuffed with cream cheese -- followed similar moves by the U.S. Congress and some restaurants across the country to change "French fries" to "Freedom fries."

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer, asked about the newly titled "Freedom toast," smiled and said, "We're always proud of the men and women of our Air Force."

God writes a lot of comedy...
the trouble is,
he's stuck with so
many bad actors
who don't know how
to play funny.

-Garrison Keillor


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