Just As I Thought

News Roundup

Rather than post a half-dozen rants about today’s news, I’m just going to list some stories here that you can read or not, according to your whims. I really should stop reading the Sunday Washington Post in bed – it just means I never get out of it. So, join me as I read the paper:

Military Record May Gain Role in 2004 Presidential Race
By Lois Romano, Page A04
   Since the election of Bill Clinton in 1992, a candidate’s military service has seemed an issue of the past, one that intrigued the news media but not necessarily the voters, who in the past three presidential elections rejected war veterans in favor of candidates who managed to avoid combat at the height of the Vietnam War.

Faith-Based Charities May Not Be Better, Study Indicates
By Alan Cooperman, Page A07
   The assumption behind President Bush’s faith-based initiative is that religious charities can do a better job, at a lower cost, than secular organizations in providing many social services, from drug treatment to employment training. But an Indiana study suggests it isn’t necessarily so.

A Tax Cut, and Then What?
Page F02
   Acting with uncharacteristic speed, the Republican-controlled Congress pushed through a compromise tax-cut bill, handing a major political victory to President Bush.

A Familiar Odor
Page B06
   WHEN PRESIDENT BUSH was running for office, he spent a good deal of time promising to restore dignity to the White House. No Lincoln Bedroom sleepovers or White House coffees. But it didn’t take too long for the Bush White House to make the same discovery as its predecessors: the enormous money-raising potential of an incumbent administration. Vice President Cheney soon opened the vice president’s mansion to big givers. Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson briefed donors in his government office. Now, with the 2004 campaign officially underway, and the president poised to vacuum up $170 million or more, a new lure is being dangled to those who can raise the big bucks: lunch with presidential adviser Karl Rove. As The Post’s Mike Allen reported the other day, supporters who agree to raise $50,000 and up will qualify: “Details regarding the luncheon will be provided upon the receipt of your commitment pledge,” the solicitation letter promises. It may be that this is business as usual, but that’s precisely the problem; the notion that it’s only natural to offer lunch with one of the most important people on the government payroll — if the price is right — is exactly what’s troubling here.

Flight Plans on the Hill
Page B06
   THERE’S STILL A CHANCE of some political turbulence, but thanks so far to some skillful legislative piloting by Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), the latest attempt by Congress to take over the controls of Reagan National Airport may subside. This year’s congressional overflights began much as they have for decades, with calls for 36 more flights to and from selected home districts — and never mind that Congress turned over management of both National and Dulles airports to a regional authority in 1987. Each time, the intrusion is similar: A high opening bid is lowered and then approved on the Hill, usually with a paper-thin promise that this is the last time Congress will pile on more traffic at the terminal.

Weapons for Terrorism
Page B06
   SOME OF THE MOST efficient firearms sought by terrorists — international as well as domestic — may flood the markets of this country if Congress fails to renew a federal ban on semiautomatic assault-style weapons. The ban is scheduled to expire next year after a decade in force; House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) announced at one point recently that the House would not even have a vote on the matter. But House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) then insisted that no final decision had been made, noting that he first wants to talk to President Bush, who has been on record as supporting the ban. That’s the right position, but it will take more than presidential lip service to uphold it in an election year.

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