Mourning In America

A New York Democrat on politics, journalism, and the Mets

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Friday, January 21, 2005
We Read the Inaugural So You Don't Have To! For those of you who, like me, were working yesterday and missed the President's address, but want to catch up on what he said, Mourning in America is proud to present an abridged version:
We will persistently clarify the choice before every ruler and every nation: The moral choice between oppression, which is always wrong, and freedom, which is eternally right. America will not pretend that jailed dissidents prefer their chains, or that women welcome humiliation and servitude, or that any human being aspires to live at the mercy of bullies...

America's influence is not unlimited, but fortunately for the oppressed, America's influence is considerable, and we will use it confidently in freedom's cause.

I say to freedom's enemies:

You better think (think)
Think about what you're trying to do to me
Yeah, think (think, think)
Let your mind go, let yourself be free

People walkin' around everyday,
playin' games and takin' scores

Tryin' to make other people lose their minds --
Well be careful you don't lose yours

Oh freedom (freedom)

Freedom (freedom)

Oh freedom

Yeah freedom

On a somewhat more serious note, would anyone with even a passing knowledge of American history utter words like this:
From the day of our founding, we have proclaimed that every man and woman on this earth has rights, and dignity, and matchless value, because they bear the image of the maker of heaven and earth. Across the generations we have proclaimed the imperative of self-government because no one is fit to be a master and no one deserves to be a slave. Advancing these ideals is the mission that created our nation.

Um, the thousands of slaves in the American South at the creation of our nation -- slaves whose existence was codified and blessed in the Constitution itself -- might beg to differ. The United States' fight to emerge from the shadows cast by its history of slavery makes us stronger. We know how hard it can be, and we know how worthwhile the cause is.

Denying that history simply strengthens the hypocrisy charges of our opponents, and robs the President's words of any moral authority.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005
If He's Lost Thomas... Very bad news for the President's efforts to shred our social safety net. Rep. Bill Thomas, chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over the program, says Bush's plan is "a dead horse." Not sure what that means, but it can't be good.

Of course, bad news for the President's "plan" is good news for the rest of us. Thomas' statements don't necessarily mean the program is safe -- he goes on to call for "a broader review of the problems of an aging nation," but I'm willing to take my chances on that debate.

There are ways to improve Social Security (and Medicare, which is a more pressing issue), and an honest Congressional debate can get there. Bush's strategy of manufacturing a "crisis" and ramming his preordained "solution" into law will not.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005
NEWS FLASH: Bush Calls for Sacrifice From the President's remarks to the Inaugural Youth Concert in Washington this evening:
“My call to you all is that as you enjoy the great freedoms of America and as you enjoy yourself at this inauguration, I hope you take away the lesson of helping somebody in need,” said Bush.
Of course, some cynics would note that Bush's call for service to others comes on the same day that the tab for his inaugural parties was tallied up to a record $40 million (not including security expenses) and ask where, exactly, the "Youth" at the concert are supposed to learn that lesson -- but they'd be guilty of ignoring the President's "accountability moment" last November, when the voters gave him carte blanche, right?

The Edukashun Governor "Gov." Pataki's office set up a special web page from which you can access his budget address. Here's the opening line:
Governor George E. Pataki's 2005 Budget Address was broadcasted live worldwide on the Internet, at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, January 18th. [emphasis added]
Apparently the $500 million in additional school aid the "governor" proposed is coming too late for the staffers in his press office...