Scholars studying military personnel policy have discovered a document halting the discharge of gay soldiers in units that are about to be mobilized.
The document was made public Tuesday by Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military (CSSMM), a think tank at the University of California, Santa Barbara. It was found during research for a story for the ABC news program Nightline.
The regulation was contained in a 1999 “Reserve Component Unit Commander’s Handbook” and is still in effect, according to the Center.
It states that if a discharge for homosexual conduct is requested “prior to the unit’s receipt of alert notification, discharge isn’t authorized. Member will enter AD [active duty] with the unit.” […]
“Are we capable of dealing with a severe attack? That’s a very important question and it’s in the national interest that we find out what went on so we can better respond.”
— President Bush, today.
FEMA’s “average” grade: A report issued by the Office of Management and Budget as part of the federal budgetary process detected shortcomings in the Federal Emergency Management Administration that became all too apparent in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
The assessment was published as part of the Bush administration’s fiscal 2006 budget request, and the OMB rated FEMA’s disaster response program “adequate” — effectively giving it a “C” grade. “Adequate” is the middle of five ratings agencies can be given on OMB’s annual evaluations that are used to make budget decisions.
Of 607 programs rated in the fiscal 2006 budget request, 15 percent ranked as “effective,” 26 percent earned marks of “moderately effective,” 26 percent ranked as “adequate,” 4 percent were rated “ineffective” and 29 percent could not demonstrate results.
Nothing like anti-gay hysteria to get out the vote, said the Daytona News Journal in editorial exposing the real purpose of Florida’s so-called “marriage amendment.”
Florida law already prohibits same-sex couples from marrying. The state doesn’t need a constitutional amendment to do the same — unless, of course, the rationale is to stampede conservatives to the polls.“The rationale is to stampede conservatives to the polls.”
… the group’s premise: Allowing gay men and lesbians to marry somehow threatens other Floridians. In support of that premise, they offer no data, no factual analysis, no case studies. Just rhetoric, often misleading rhetoric. For example, statements on the site speak to “establishing marriage” as if hundreds of Floridians aren’t already marrying every day.
The proposed amendment doesn’t stop at marriage. It also would prohibit state lawmakers from creating any “substantial equivalent” of marriage. In other words, the state could not pass a law legalizing civil unions…
A wiser, more compassionate move would take the state in the other direction, realizing that gay people — like any other Floridians — deserve the chance to formalize permanent bonds and create their own families.
Floridians may not be ready to go there. But this amendment tricks them, by also banning civil unions…
Unfortunately, it’s likely that Florida voters won’t understand how broad this proposed amendment is unless they realize how cynically they’re being played. Voters — and Florida’s substantial gay population — deserve better.
Bush and Iraqi President Jalal Talabani reiterated today that there will no timetable for U.S. troop withdrawal (whatever happened to the very quaint phrase “coalition troops”?) from Iraq. Reuters:
“We will set no timetable for withdrawal, Mr. President. A timetable will help the terrorists, will encourage them that they could defeat the superpower of the world and the Iraqi people,” Talabani said in remarks that aligned him with Bush’s often-stated view that a timetable for withdrawal would embolden the insurgency in Iraq.
This puts them in step with less than 10 percent of Floridians, according to a poll that appeared yesterday in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. That paper, based in Sarasota (read: retirees), and the Florida Times-Union, based in Jacksonville (read: navy town), conducted the research.
Only 8 percent said troops should remain until “whenever the job is done.” Twenty-four percent said the withdrawal should come within six months, 25 percent said within one year and 23 percent said within two years. The rest were unsure.
P.S. More evidence that something bad has happened to Bush’s brain (his real one, and maybe Rove as well). When asked about Syria’s role in Iraq, here’s what the president, who will attend the U.N. General Assembly in New York next week, said:
“And this is a subject of conversation, of course, I’ll have with allies in places like New York and on the other times I communicate with our allies: that Syria must be a focus of getting them to change their behavior, particularly as it regards to democracy and trying to prevent democracies from emerging,” he said.
Just this side of incoherent, don’t you think?
MEA CULPA: CNN is reporting that President Bush has come right out and said he’s responsible for the failure of the federal government to prepare and react quickly and effectively to Hurricane Katrina. Of course, he still didn’t say he was sorry.
President Bush on Tuesday acknowledged “serious problems” in the government’s response to emergencies, and said he takes responsibility for the federal government’s failures in responding to Hurricane Katrina.
“Katrina exposed serious problems in our response capability at all levels of government and to the extent the federal government didn’t fully do its job right, I take responsibility,” Bush said during a joint news conference with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani.
Bush was responding to a reporter’s question about whether Americans should be concerned that the government is not prepared to respond to another disaster or terrorist attack after it took several days for aid and troops to arrive in New Orleans and other areas devastated by Hurricane Katrina.
The presence of Iraq’s president at the news conference led this observer to conclude that while Bush was “taking responsibility,” he was also attempting to connect the Iraq War, and by extension, Osama bin Laden, to Hurricane Katrina.
Man of mystery: What is going on with our Vice President? Rumors have been swirling around our international man of mystery for weeks now. Speculation ramped up in the wake of Katrina when he failed to arrive on the scene until four days after the disaster.
Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY), who is a reliable source, told an interviewer that the Veep was so ill he could barely talk, and that Donald Rumsfeld was really running the country. (Which would certainly explain why the response to Katrina was such a disaster.)
Nora Ephron posits that Cheney and President Bush may have had a falling out. Her premise is spot on. She says Gop honchos knew from the getgo that Bush was dumb as a post but that his good ol’ boy act could get him elected, so they brought Cheney in to run the show. Now perhaps Bush is mad that Cheney led him into invading Iraq but is currently unforthcoming with brilliant ideas for leading them out.
Or is Cheney tired of playing nursemaid to his pampered aristocratic lout of a boss? That’s the jist of a rumor in D.C. reported by TalkLeft:
Bad Brain: I think it’s time the American people stood up and demanded that our Moron-In-Chief have a full psychological examination, a full battery of intelligence tests and be forced to take the FCAT (Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test) that his brother puts so much stock in. And we need to have all the results made public.
Is idiocy an impeachable offense? If it ain’t, it ought to be.
George Bush is beyond out to lunch. He exhibits symptoms of severe dain bramage. He lacks appropriate emotional responses, what psychologists call “flat affect.” He displays an insouciance born of major cerebral cortex malfunction — he’s as oblivious as his famous twin, Alfred “What, Me Worry?” E. Neuman. He makes Ronald Reagan look like a mental giant. He’s the Rain Man without the math ability.
I mean, I’m all for the spirit of the Americans with Disabilities Act, I just don’t want a developmentally challenged president with his finger on THE BUTTON.
Seriously, something is wrong there, and it can’t be fixed by wearing an electronic device between the shoulder blades or by rereading “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.” Bush’s brain is bad, and the sooner we find out how bad, the sooner we, as a nation, can take the necessary steps to put him in a safe, happy place where he can’t hurt people anymore.
Bullets Dodged: On NPR’s “All Things Considered” last night, George Bush was allowed to babble to reporters who had the presence of mind to tape record the blatherings of an idiot. He was in New Orleans on his third visit since Katrina hit town.
In response to a question about the government’s response:
I know there’s been a lot of second-guessing. I can assure you, what I’m interested in is solving problems. And there will be time to step back and take a sober look at what went right and what didn’t go right …. It’s important for people in this country to understand we all want to learn lessons.
Regarding his idiotic statement that no one told him the levees were in danger of breaching:
What I was referring to was this: Uh, when that storm came by, a lot people said we had dodged a bullet. When that storm came through at first, people said, Whew! There was a sense of relaxation. And that’s what I was referring to. And I myself thought we dodged a bullet. You know why? I was listening to people — probably over the airwaves — who said the bullet had been dodged. And that is what I was referring to. Of course there was a plan in case the levees broke ….
On whether he was even aware of the storm:
I knew a big storm was coming on Monday, so I spoke to the country on Monday morning, and I said there’s a big storm coming. I pre-signed emergency declarations in anticipation of a big storm coming. Which is, by the way, extraordinary. In most emergencies, the president signs after the storm has hit. It’s a rare occasion for the president to anticipate the severity of the storm and sign documentation prior to the storm hitting. So we anticipated a serious storm coming. So what the man’s question implied, there was a moment where everybody said we dodged a bullet, but the bullet had not been dodged.
The White House later clarified that the Moron-In-Chief had addressed the nation on Sunday morning, not Monday. It is unclear where the president will be dodging bullets today.
The bungled response to the hurricane has helped drag down Bush’s job-approval rating, which now stands at 42 percent — the lowest of his presidency — in the Post-ABC poll and down three points since the hurricane hit two weeks ago. Fifty-seven percent disapprove of Bush’s performance, a double-digit increase since January.
Even some members of Bush’s own party appear to have lost faith in their leader: The president’s overall approval rating among Republicans has declined from 91 percent in January to 78 percent in the latest poll.
Overall, half the country now characterizes Bush as a “strong leader” — down 12 points since May of last year. And the proportion who say he can be “trusted in a crisis” likewise has fallen from 60 percent to 49 percent now.