(Took awhile to finish this - sorry...).
PHILADELPHIA – The United States should establish a capital budget to pay for about $1.6 trillion in national infrastructure repairs to ensure the work gets down and prevent the risk of becoming a “third-rate” economic power, (Rendell) said on Monday.This takes you to similar warnings from the American Society of Civil Engineers in 2005, and this post from early February tells us that America’s governors requested the same thing from Captain Clueless at that time as well, and I’m sure Rendell’s request today will be met with the same result.
In his first speech as 2008/09 chairman of the National Governors Association, Rendell said U.S. spending on facilities such as roads, bridges, and passenger rail is only 0.6 percent of gross domestic product, compared with 9 percent in China and 3.5 percent in the European Union.
According to a 2005 report by the American Society of Civil Engineers, the U.S. has a shortfall of $1.6 trillion in infrastructure funding over a five-year period.
Without those repairs, the U.S. risks becoming a ”third-rate” economic power in 50 years' time, Rendell warned.
189 days, people…
In (Mayer’s) telling, a major incentive for (Dick) Cheney’s descent into the dark side was to cover up for the Bush White House’s failure to heed the Qaeda threat in 2001. Jack Cloonan, a special agent for the F.B.I.’s Osama bin Laden unit until 2002, told Ms. Mayer that Sept. 11 was “all preventable.” By March 2000, according to the C.I.A.’s inspector general, “50 or 60 individuals” in the agency knew that two Al Qaeda suspects — soon to be hijackers — were in America. But there was no urgency at the top. Thomas Pickard, the acting F.B.I. director that summer, told Ms. Mayer that when he expressed his fears about the Qaeda threat to Mr. Ashcroft, the attorney general snapped, “I don’t want to hear about that anymore!”I would ask that you remember that when you read about Asscroft’s opposition to the warrantless surveillance here; to say he “got religion” too late is an understatement.
By the way, Rich’s column expounds on the following topic…
So hot is the speculation that war-crimes trials will eventually follow in foreign or international courts that Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell’s former chief of staff, has publicly advised (Doug) Feith, (David) Addington and Alberto Gonzales, among others, to “never travel outside the U.S., except perhaps to Saudi Arabia and Israel.” But while we wait for the wheels of justice to grind slowly, there are immediate fears to tend. Ms. Mayer’s book helps cement the case that America’s use of torture has betrayed not just American values but our national security, right to the present day.If you are registered with the New York Times, I highly recommend Rich’s column (even if you're not, I'm sure it is reproduced in some other form out there somewhere).
You’ve been described as “a person in a hurry.” Are you?Well, that’s interesting, given that Jindal’s treasurer has called for denying funding to schools in Baton Rouge (here), and according to this, “When Bobby Jindal ran the Department of Health and Hospitals, he cut his budget by shutting down local clinics that many of our citizens depended on for their health care.”
Yes. We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to improve Louisiana. The hurricane gave us the chance to completely redesign our health-care and education systems. I’m not saying the storms were good, but out of that destruction we have been given a choice. We would be doing a disservice to the people who lost their lives and property if we rebuilt failing structures.
And did I mention that Jindal voted against access to the TRICARE program for Louisiana’s National Guard, and he also voted for a budget that cut veterans’ health care by $13.5 billion, as well as curtailing debt assistance for our troops (here; Jindal had company on the TRICARE vote, though, including our own former U.S. House Rep Mikey Fitzpatrick).
But if I ever need a Catholic Republican governor of Indian ancestry in charge of a Southern state to perform an exorcism for a college roommate, then I have to tell you that Jindal is my guy (and so tolerant of other faiths too).
Our intrepid columnist fawns in the appropriate manner over former Patrick Meehan (pictured), who resigned recently as the U.S. attorney for the eastern district of Pennsylvania (Meehan is a fellow Repug, of course), leading to speculation that Meehan may run for governor.
And Smerky takes this opportunity to recall one of Meehan’s highest-profile cases…
Meehan's tenure will be best remembered for the Oct. 7, 2003, discovery of a small electronic listening device in then-Mayor John F. Street's City Hall office. The FBI confirmed it had planted the bug but would not immediately elaborate on its purpose. Neither would Meehan.Basically, Smerky takes this opportunity to bemoan in “what might have been” fashion the fact that Meehan’s little gambit, though it ended up generating some incriminating headlines against former mayor John Street, identified as a “person of interest” in a Meehan corruption investigation (repeatedly in the media, of course), basically blew up in the face of Sam Katz, who was the Republican running for Street’s job (the discovery of the bug occurred a few weeks before the election – true “Rovian” timing, if you will).
But when Smerky talked to Katz about this, who do you think they blamed?
Katz also noted the irony that the presidential candidate running as an outsider and agent of change today has David Axelrod as his chief political strategist. The same David Axelrod guided Street in what Katz called "the now familiar-sounding playing of the race card."Uh, wait a minute…
Funny, but from what I can read from here, Axelrod's influence had more to do with emphasizing experience and an "everyman" quality to Street, whatever you may think of that, as opposed to Street's "blackness" or whatever (and as far as the Obama campaign is concerned, I recall that A Certain African-American Preacher complained that Axelrod was trying to make the Illinois senator “too white”).
Also, this post noted that one of Axelrod’s tasks was to emphasize Street’s connection to former Philadelphia mayor (and current PA governor) Ed Rendell – bringing this post “full circle” a bit (sorry that the nested link to reporter Thomas Fitzgerald’s story has expired…good one, Inky).
We don’t know what will happen this November, of course, but it looks like Smerky is “greasing the skids” a bit on behalf of his boy Pat Meehan in the hope that he’ll end up in the Harrisburg governor’s mansion after another future election. That’s OK. And congratulations to Meehan for racking up such an impressive political “body count.”
Because as all good Repugs know, only Democrats commit acts of political malfeasance.