is older than it's ever been and now it's even older


Head for the mountains. . . it's Bush

During the campaign the press corps complained that they had less access to Bush than any candidate in modern memory. Some speculation was raised that this was because Bush's handlers were afraid of him saying or doing anything off the cuff. Well, consider the trend continuing.

This week's official presidential theme is the military. Bush will traverse portions of the country visiting troops and promising a pay raise and increased military spending. Last week's theme was pushing his tax cut. So, it seems pretty obvious to me that Bush will be used primarily for public relations and tightly scripted domestic and foreign policy photo ops. We already know that Bush doesn't always even read his own executive orders, so it seems the real question is: who's in charge here?

In foreign policy, the troika of Condoleeza Rice (former Soviet Union specialist under Pappy Bush, and current National Security Adviser), Colin Powell (Secretary of State) and Dick Cheney (co-, I mean vice-President) obviously will be running the show. A London newspaper reports that Cheney and Powell seem to be "winning" the battle for control over US policy over Rice, which shouldn't surprise anyone considering the way Cheney ran the transition and Powell's reputation as a control freak. Cheney in particular seems to be using his political muscle:

Instead of shrinking into the background, like most Vice-Presidents, Mr Cheney has altered the job to become, in the words of The New York Times, “de facto chief of staff, an über-national security adviser, a shadow Secretary of Defence and even, perhaps, a demi-president”. Citing Mr Cheney’s cardiac problems and his unparalleled power, Washington wags have taken to pointing out that Mr Bush is “only a heartbeat away from the presidency”.

This conversation backs me up in my claim that when Mr. Bush conducts foreign policy, the results are banal at best. Does it not bother anyone else that our president isn't running the executive branch, that a passel of unelected bureaucrats are? Anyone who dares to set me straight can try.

Updates and Valentine's Week LAPI

Update on last week's race link: a new look at why people's skin colors evolved. Pretty cool explanation. From Robot Wisdom.

Another writeup of the big hoax about the Astoria Nuke Plant from the Portland Mercury.

Finally, how to get online sex. Apparently we men are easy. From the fabulous VD edition of the Guardian Weblog. Many articles of various intellectual appeal about online sex and love. Worth a peek.



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