The Bush Files

A sampling of the day’s best independent news, views, and resources on US politics, keeping an eye on the Bush Administration. Updated each weekday.

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July 21, 2001

Looking for greener judges — NRDC
A study of a decade’s worth of federal court rulings shows what the Natural Resources Defense Council calls “a pattern of anti-environmental judicial activism.” The trend has prompted a coalition of environmental organizations to demand close scrutiny of President Bush’s list of judicial nominees. “We will be urging our senators to look for judges who won’t substitute their personal views for democratically adopted environmental laws,” says Greg Wetstone of NRDC.

Dress ‘Em Up Dubya — Oddcast
If you ever wondered what George W. Bush would look like in a red smoking jacket, ski goggles and a sombrero, then this is the interactive web site for you. Choose from a number of get-ups, then add props, a background, and your favorite Bush-ism. CEO Adi Sideman says that the company has nothing against the president, but “he’s just such an inviting target.” And free publicity never hurts either.

July 20, 2001

Bush camp pitting Arctic against national parks — National Parks Conservation Association
Environmentalists are outraged by Interior Secretary Gale Norton’s recent comments before the House Resources Committee, which is considering a version of the Bush/Cheney energy bill. Norton suggested that the government spend a portion of proceeds of drilling contracts in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge on conservation and improvements in the National Park System. The National Parks Conservation Association says it wants more funding for parks, but will not support “any plan that involves diminishing the public’s pristine wild lands, like the Arctic refuge, in order to fund parks.”

Bush = Harding redux — Alternet
Forget how much Bush appears to be recreating his father’s, Ronald Reagan’s, or Gerald Ford’s administrations. If Bush is similar to any previous president, it’s Warren Harding, says David Helvarg. Harding “was an affable but not too bright politician” with a penchant for mangling the language. He cut taxes for the extremely rich, enjoyed the campaign support of big business, and appointed industry officials to top administration posts. Eventually cronyism and corruption took Harding down in the Teapot Dome scandal, in which Harding’s Interior Secretary and best friend secretly leased Navy land for oil drilling in Wyoming in return for a hefty oil-industry bribe.

July 19, 2001

Bush moves to suspend roadless rule — San Francisco Chronicle
The loggers (suprise!) complained, so George W. Bush has decided to “re-evaluate” a late-Clinton-era rule that banned logging in roadless areas of national forests and grasslands. The Bush team is soliciting more opinions about the logging ban (despite the fact that the Forest Service conducted 600 public meetings and gathered 1.5 million public comments before instituting the rule), a move environmentalists say is the first step to junking it altogether.

Cheney sued over energy panel secrecy — Judicial Watch
The public interest law group Judicial Watch has sued Vice President Dick Cheney for refusing to turn over details of the closed-door meetings of the White House Energy Task Force. The complaint, which was filed in a Washington D.C. federal court Monday, claims that Cheney’s refusal to name members of the Task Force, turn over related documents, or make meetings public is in violation of the Federal Advisory Commission Act, the Sunshine Act, and the Freedom of Information Act.

July 18, 2001

Cheney’s energy bill — Associated Press
Dick Cheney knows that many Americans’s electricity bills are skyrocketing. In fact, the bill for electricity at his official residence was so high, he wants the Navy, rather than his office budget, to bear the cost. Yesterday the House Appropriations Committee approved a bill that included $186,000 to cover energy costs at Cheney’s house on the grounds of the Naval Observatory. The residence was the site of a hugely lucrative GOP fundraiserin May.

Harris denies computer cover-up — St. Petersburg Times
Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris’ attorneys have acknowledged that staff in her office destroyed material on state computers, the Times reports, but Harris says neither she nor her staff broke any laws or erased any public records pertinent to an investigation of absentee-ballot irregularities. Reporters have been refused access to several hard drives in Harris’ office, which they suspect may reveal evidence that the secretary of state issued a fuzzy interpretation of Florida law specifically to justify the lopsided treatment of late absentee ballots.

Bush wants climate aid cut — Associated Press
In nixing the Kyoto treaty on global warming, George W. Bush said it was unfair to hold developing nations to a lower standard on emissions. But instead of helping Third World countries build climate-friendly programs, Bush has asked Congress to slash what little US aid now goes to such causes. Last month the president sent a report to House Speaker Denny Hastert requesting $4 billion in appropriations for domestic climate change programs — roughly the same amount Congress alotted last year — but asking that $41 million be cut from aid to developing nations for anti-global-warming efforts.

July 17, 2001

Where words go to die — San Jose Mercury News
The primary reason George W. Bush has found it so tough to convince the American public — never mind the international community — that he is a bona-fide leader is his lack of public speaking ability, says columnist Steven Thomma. Bush himself has said that his mouth is where words go to die; if he doesn’t improve as a communicator, says Thomma, it may also be where Bush’s policy agenda goes to die.

Florida absentee controversy boils over — St. Petersburg Times
A New York Times investigation into the treatment of Florida absentee ballots has revived the controversy over last year’s election. The Times reports that Bush loyalists persuaded local canvassing boards in Florida to accept a disproportionate share of late ballots in Republican-dominated counties. Had all late absentee ballots been treated equally, some experts believe, Gore could have won Florida by as many as 202 votes. (By the official tally, Bush’s margin of victory was 537 votes.)

Cheney’s energy plan favors a friend — Boston Globe
A stealth provision in the House Resources Committee’s version of the Bush/Cheney Energy Plan proves that it pays to have friends in high places. Anadarko Petroleum, a Houston-based oil services company that contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Bush campaign and other GOP races last year–and for good measure has close ties to Dick and Lynne Cheney–would benefit substantially if the bill passes in its current form. The provision would extend leases for drilling in several environmentally sensitive areas where Anadarko has concentrated interests.


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