Monday, August 11, 2003

Some political links

A selection of political bits I've chomped lately...

There is a breaking scandal (let's hope that turns into a double
entendre) regarding Pentagon players meeting with a notorious Iranian
arms dealer, an alumnus of the Iran-Contra skull-duggery:

While Rumsfeld said that the contact occurred more than a year ago
and that nothing came of it, his aides scrambled during the day to
piece together more details amid other reports that Rumsfeld's account
may have been incomplete.

Fred Kaplan's columns on Slate are consistently insightful inside scoops on military issues.
He's debunked hype on the past and current generations of
Patriot missile systems
, this Pentagon's flawed War Games, the coalition of the billing and
amongst others, not to mention calling the administration to task for wrong-headed (and contradictory) policy
toward N. Korea. I suggest spending some time with his archives, when you have a chance.

Kaplan's most recent
deals with (the latest) failure in the Missile Defense program.
This one *should* make it clear that is not a practical option any time soon,
and we should stop acting and spending like it was. Should, if
sane minds were in charge; if only sane minds were in charge...

Doonesbury has had some fantastic strips recently pointed toward the
SecOfDef, really nailing Rummy's rhetorical parrying technique and skewering it appropriately. There are about a week's worth of strips focused just on Rummy-speak.

A recent article in the Washington Monthly detailed the Bush administration's distrust & dislike of science and scientists.

The administration's stem-cell stand is just one of many examples,
from climate change to abstinence-only sex-education programs, in
which the White House has made policies that defy widely accepted
scientific opinion. Why this administration feels unbound by the
consensus of academic scientists can be gleaned, in part, from a
telling anecdote in Nicholas Lemann's recent New Yorker profile of
Karl Rove. When asked by Lemann to define a Democrat, Bush's chief
political strategist replied, "Somebody with a doctorate." Lemann
noted, "This he said with perhaps the suggestion of a smirk."

Now there is a formal Democratic inquiry (and website!): The minority staff of the House Government Reform Committee is
continuing to investigate the state of scientific integrity in the
Bush Administration.

We can thank Rep. Henry Waxman who is also the leading congressional watchdog on tobacco policy both then (1994) and now. Time and time again Waxman's name comes up to boldly question industry-oriented policy. More like him, please.

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