Sunday, February 12, 2006

This and That Feb.

Rules for thee but not for me.

In today's (Feb 12th) print edition of the Detroit News there is a New York Times article by Anne E. Kornblut titled "Smoking ban gives mercy to Congress." The first paragraph reads:

"WASHINGTON-When the citywide smoking ban takes effect here next month, at least one workplace in town will be spared: Congress, the beneficiary of a kind of diplomatic immunity for federal lawmakers."

Ok. So both houses of congress are full of hypocrites. In light of recent scandals and normal operating procedures, we know that. But then there is this:

"That is excellent news for Rep. John A. Boehner of Ohio, the new Republican majority leader, who regularly smokes cigarettes between votes in the house."

Isn't this the guy who was just picked by the Republicans to restore honesty to that party?

I for one don't want any bans on smoking. Government bans violate rights. Mr. Boehner can puff away to his heart's content as far as I'm concerned. But how is a policy of "Rules for thee but not for me" going to return integrity to the party? I'm beginning to think that graduates of today's law schools not only don't want to think in terms of principles, they can't.
They've been dumbed down too much!

The News story can be found here.


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Right below that article is another NYT article this time by Philip Shenon and Lowell Bergman titled "Lobbyist, Bush pic released." It shows a close up of the back of Bush's shoulders and head and in the background, standing against a wall next to a window, is a face that's supposed to be Abramoff's. Bush is said to be greeting "an American Indian Chief from Texas in 2001." The article continues:

"By itself, the picture hardly seems worthy of the White House's efforts to keep it out of the public eye." Obviously, good PR people would want to keep bad PR photos from being used for well, bad PR. The next sentence:

"Abramoff, a leading Republican fundraiser who pleaded guilty last month to conspiring to corrupt public officials, is little more than a blurry, bearded firgure in the background at a gathering of about two dozen people."

The "blurry" part is true. I can't tell, just by looking, who that is in the background. But notice the crime of "conspiring to corrupt public officials."
I've always been taught that taking bribes is just as bad as offering them. But now, I guess, only offering them--conspiring to corrupt--is a crime.

The last sentence of the last paragraph says:

"It is not clear what contact, if any, Abramoff had with Bush during the 20 minutes or so the session lasted."

So, with all these caveats-"hardly seems worthy," "blurry," "not clear" why did these reporters even bother writing the article? To do that which the White House obviously didn't want done: provide the media with another opportunity for a guilt-by-association smear.

The caption just below the photo reads:

"Disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff is visible next to the window over President Bush's left shoulder in this 2001 photo."

Just a thought: how come Bush can't just say his visits with Abramoff and Indians was "routine" like Senator Reid is doing?

The article, without the picture, is here.

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