the blog of DC Drinking Liberally

January 2, 2006

More Inappropriate Humor From Bush


One fault George Bush has that isn’t directly dangerous to the country or the world at large is his knack for making callous jokes about other people’s losses. For example, at a March 2004 dinner for journalists he presented a slide show joking about his search for weapons of mass destruction in the Oval Office. When he was governor of Texas and starting to run for president, Bush ridiculed a woman who was asking to have her death sentence commuted.

When not joking, Bush manages to demonstrate insensitivity in a different way, by comparing relatively minor problems he’s having to other people’s life-and-death matters.

Via Olaf at Catch.com, I see that yesterday Bush managed to combine the insensitive joking and the trivializing comparison into a single remark, when he appeared at a military hospital to award Purple Hearts. He was sporting a scratch on his forehead, the result of a freak brush-clearing accident, so he decided this was an appropriate thing to say to the wounded soldiers:

As you can probably see I was injured myself, not here at the hospital but in combat with a cedar… I eventually won.

The reaction to his humor from patients in the Army Burn Center and the Amputee Care Center is not recorded.

January 1, 2006

From Daschle, With Love


While I was killing time last night before I had to leave to catch the bus, I found something y’all definitely need to see, if you haven’t already:

The Bush administration requested, and Congress rejected, war-making authority “in the United States” in negotiations over the joint resolution passed days after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, according to an opinion article by former Senate majority leader Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.) in today’s Washington Post.

Daschle’s disclosure challenges a central legal argument offered by the White House in defense of the National Security Agency’s warrantless wiretapping of U.S. citizens and permanent residents. It suggests that Congress refused explicitly to grant authority that the Bush administration now asserts is implicit in the resolution.

You don’t say!!

“Literally minutes before the Senate cast its vote, the administration sought to add the words ‘in the United States and’ after ‘appropriate force’ in the agreed-upon text,” Daschle wrote. “This last-minute change would have given the president broad authority to exercise expansive powers not just overseas — where we all understood he wanted authority to act — but right here in the United States, potentially against American citizens. I could see no justification for Congress to accede to this extraordinary request for additional authority. I refused.”

Daschle wrote that Congress also rejected draft language from the White House that would have authorized the use of force to “deter and pre-empt any future acts of terrorism or aggression against the United States,” not only against those responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks.

I’m assuming that “suggests” is shorthand for “makes it glaringly obvious.”

Now what were you saying about that authorization, Mr. President?

“When John Ashcroft Thinks You Have a Civil Liberties Problem…”


Gary Farber at Amygdala takes the early lead in the contest for best post title of 2006. Read.

You may remember John Ashcroft from such remarks as

To those who pit Americans against immigrants, and citizens against non-citizens; to those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty; my message is this: Your tactics only aid terrorists — for they erode our national unity and diminish our resolve. They give ammunition to America’s enemies, and pause to America’s friends. They encourage people of good will to remain silent in the face of evil.

But in the good old days, when there was a Democrat in the White House, Ashcroft used to worry a lot about government intrusion into our communications:

There is a concern that the Internet could be used to commit crimes and that advanced encryption could disguise such activity. However, we do not provide the government with phone jacks outside our homes for unlimited wiretaps. Why, then, should we grant government the Orwellian capability to listen at will and in real time to our communications across the Web?

The protections of the Fourth Amendment are clear. The right to protection from unlawful searches is an indivisible American value. Two hundred years of court decisions have stood in defense of this fundamental right. The state’s interest in effective crime-fighting should never vitiate the citizens’ Bill of Rights.

Maybe there was still a little bit of the old Ashcroft left when Bush’s people came to him in the hospital to get his blessing on their illegal use of the NSA to spy on Americans.


DCDL is a blog by Washington, DC-area members of Drinking Liberally. Opinions expressed are the writers’, not those of Drinking Liberally, which provides no funding or other support for this blog.

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