The dog wags back!

A sometimes funny, somtimes angry, but mostly progressive, blog on the politics and issues of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and America.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Oh Big Brother


Today's topic ...let's keep government out of our daily lives... well... maybe how about BIG government for the little person, and LITTLE (or no) government for the big people?

An Important Loss...Bobby Short Dies at 80

In an audio slide show, The Times's Stephen Holden discusses the life of Bobby Short, the singer and pianist. Also, listen to clips of Mr. Short's music.

1. We'd hate to have our pregnant moms, autistic and depressed children and other sufferers hold back big business now, wouldn't we? (DL)

New EPA Mercury Rule Omits Conflicting Data; Study Called Stricter Limits Cost-Effective (The Washington Post)

When the Environmental Protection Agency unveiled a rule last week to limit mercury emissions from U.S. power plants, officials emphasized that the controls could not be more aggressive because the cost to industry already far exceeded the public health payoff. What they did not reveal is that a Harvard University study paid for by the EPA, co-authored by an EPA scientist and peer-reviewed by two other EPA scientists had reached the opposite conclusion. That analysis estimated health benefits 100 times as great as the EPA did, but top agency officials ordered the finding stripped from public documents. Acknowledging the Harvard study would have forced the agency to consider more stringent controls, Health advocates say mercury is so harmful to fetuses and pregnant women that steps are needed to sharply control emissions; industry groups and the Bush administration have warned that overly aggressive measures would impose heavy costs. Hammitt's analysis also factored in recent evidence that mercury causes heart attacks among adults.

2. But then... Bush might call that "some of that there... uh.. trick-er-A-shun..." (DL)
It's 'Private' vs. 'Personal' in Social Security Debate By ROBIN TONER, NY Times

One of the most ferocious struggles is over language, whether President Bush wants to create "personal" or "private" accounts. In the Social Security debate, one of the most ferocious struggles is over language, whether President Bush is proposing to create "personal" or "private" accounts in the program, whether he is really proposing the "privatization" of Social Security. Mr. Bush complained last week that " 'privatization' is a trick word," intended to "scare people." "It's 'privatization,' " Mr. Reid said, adding that "personal accounts" was "the Republican term." Peter Orszag of the Brookings Institution, a critic of Mr. Bush's approach to private accounts, said: "I do find this a bit Orwellian. It's taking a term and saying you're not allowed to use this, even though it was widely used for years."

3. From that Frank Luntz guy again on "priva-" er, I mean "PERSONAL accounts". He's the guy who renamed the Iraq war, "The War on Terror" and coined "climate change" for the actual process of global warming. If it ain't there, it ain't a problem... right? Well.. right?... (DL)

...Oh.. and I hope you read his 160 page game plan for the Republican party. His specialty is marketing and how to change people's minds with proper terminology. Sounds Orwellian... or is that Goebbel-esque?

From the NY TImes....Frank Luntz, a Republican consultant who has performed extensive work with focus groups on language, said: " 'Private' is exclusive. 'Private' is limiting. 'Private' is something that's not available to all. " 'Personal' is encompassing. It's individual. It's ownership. In the end, you need the combination of 'personal' and 'security.' " (Republican spin doctor Frank Luntz examines the lessons learned from last year's GOP victory in a playbook and a related article Luntz Watch: Keep Lying, It Works

4. Go, Bishops! And they didn't even ask for a Blue Light special law from Congress... you know.. the ones that re-write the Constitution to save one person only. But I'll bet they GET one.......that's um....the OPPOSITE?!? (DL)

Bishops Fight Death Penalty in New Drive By NEELA BANERJEE, NY Times

The country's Roman Catholic bishops on Monday announced a more prominent effort to bar the death penalty. "We cannot teach killing is wrong by killing," Cardinal McCarrick said at a news conference here. "We cannot defend life by taking life."

5 Maybe we can use this tour to ask them in person about the sanctity of life, whether it's one law for Terry Schiavo, or the death penalty.. but that might be "off message" (DL)

Bush and Cheney Go West to Promote Proposal for Social Security Overhaul By ANNE E. KORNBLUT, NY Times

President Bush resumed his traveling sales pitch for personal Social Security accounts with a boost from Vice President Dick Cheney.

6. Hmmmm... let's see.... sessions of Congress to create actual laws for single individuals...getting into our Social Security...limiting remedies for poor people in financial trouble... asking for records on individual abortions from hospitals ... sounds kinda like BIG government getting involved in individual lives, doesn't it? Unless of course you want them to do things like ask the credit card companies to cap interest rates to sub-usurious, limit the expulsion of poisonous mercury into the atmosphere (leading to autism and youth depression)...limit remedies for wealthy people in financial trouble. Sounds like BIG government for little people.. and little.. or should I say NO government for big people. (DL)

A Blow to the Rule of Law, NY Times

When the commotion over Terri Schiavo is over, Congress and the president will have done real damage to the founders' careful plan for American democracy. Ms. Schiavo's case presents heart-wrenching human issues, and difficult legal ones. The Bush administration and the current Congressional leadership like to wax eloquent about states' rights. But they dropped those principles in their rush to stampede over the Florida courts and Legislature. In the Schiavo case, and in the battle to stop the Democratic filibusters of judicial nominations, President Bush and his Congressional allies have begun to enunciate a new principle: the rules of government are worth respecting only if they produce the result we want. It may be a formula for short-term political success, but it is no way to preserve and protect a great republic.

Congress's Midnight Frenzy, NY Times

Congressional Republicans have used one family's pain to score points with evangelical and fundamentalist conservatives. Most Americans appreciate the complicated and sensitive concerns at stake here far better than the politicians.

A Damaging Intervention, Wash. Post,

Most Americans appreciate the complicated and sensitive concerns at stake here far better than the politicians. The U.S. legal system is not supposed to be one of legislative "do-overs" in which Congress, if it doesn't like the outcome in a high-profile case, changes the rules on behalf of politically favored parties. It is supposed to be a system where litigants know the rules in advance and understand the jurisdictional boundaries of the courts that decide their cases. Lawmakers may believe that they acted this weekend to save a life, but they also took a step that diminishes the rule of law.

'A Great Political Issue' , By Richard CohenWash. Post,

Sen. Bill Frist watched a videotape last week of Terri Schiavo made by her parents in 2001. He did this in his capacity as Senate majority leader and as a renowned physician. In both roles he performed miserably. As a senator, he showed himself to be an unscrupulous opportunist. As a physician, he was guilty of practicing medicine without a brain.