Poll: Karl Earned His Pay – Half Approve of Bush’s Katrina Performance

Boy Genius : Smear ‘N Spin works! Karl Rove earned his pay over the last two weeks. In the new NBC/Wall St. Journal poll, 48 percent approve of President Bush’s handling of the Hurricane Katrina disaster, while another 48 percent disapprove.

On a more realistic note, Mr. Bush’s overall approval level is the lowest ever tracked by this poll – but still ridiculously high, in our humble opinion – 40 percent.

We’ll Second That: Waxman Gets Buzzflash ‘Wings’ Award

More like him: Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) happens to be our Congressman, and we could only be happier about that if he were the chairman, not the ranking member, on the Committee on Government Reform and in other leadership positions. This week Buzzflash has awarded Congressman Waxman with their Wings of Justice Award. We wholeheartedly second that resolution:

He’s a congressman from Los Angeles, but we prefer to call him the Democratic “Bulldog.” While many Democratic Representatives are fearful of outing the incompetence, corruption, and deceit of the Bush administration, Henry Waxman has daily demanded accountability from a White House that never accepts responsibility.

As the Ranking Minority Member of the Committee on Government Reform, Waxman uses his position as a bully pulpit to stand up for democracy. The “Bulldog” has some very simple requests: he asks that the Busheviks be subject to the rule of law, to norms of civilized behavior, to transparency in government, and to leveling with the American people. That’s not a lot to ask for, is it?

But because Tom DeLay runs the House of Representatives as if he were Joe Stalin conducting a meeting of the Politburo, Waxman’s calls for responsible government go uninvestigated and unheeded. But that doesn’t stop Henry from speaking out.

Henry Waxman believes that “you do the right thing” one day, and the next day you wake up and start all over again. With 100 Henry Waxmans in the Congress, there’d be nothing left of the corrupt Republican leadership except shreds of DeLay’s sharkskin suit.

Congressman Henry Waxman, you are this week’s BuzzFlash “Wings of Justice Award” winner. Keep chomping away, “Bulldog.”

Credit Card Minimum Monthly Payments To Double This Fall

Economic blowback: You may have prepared yourself to pay nearly twice as much for gasoline this fall but, like most Americans you may be unaware that the Bush government has another big ugly surprise in store.

New regulations coming online over the next few weeks will force credit card companies to double your minimum monthly payment. It’s for your own good but if you’re living check to check and currently paying $200 a month, your new amount due could be $400 a month.

Politically, the timing of this could not be worse for President Bush. Millions of middle-income families are going to find their household budgets are upended by $3 per gallon gasoline, spiking home heating costs and now credit card payments that jump from $200 to $400 – just in time for the holidays.

The motivation behind this has merit. The credit card companies have gamed the system with the low rates – usually 2 to 2.5 percent of the monthly balance – so that people who can only afford the miniumum monthly payment never make any progress paying off their nut.

New regulations from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency in the Treasury Dept., that will increase to around 3 or 4 percent during the last half of this year.

Thank God the Republicans took over and got rid of The Big Nanny Government!

But seriously, this being a Republican government, the motivation for the new regulation is meant to help the banks, not the customers. This new fees will prevent lower income people from getting credit, which will lower the rate of defaults on their credit card bills.

Of course, the banks could have just raised the fees themselves – except that some of them would be greedy and lower their rates to snap up customers desperate for the lower rate. Damn you, Law of Supply and Demand!


DeLay: Government Spending Is Pared to Minimum

Now Tom Delay is not even bothering to make his lies believable:

“My answer to those that want to offset the [Katrina relief] spending is sure, bring me the offsets, I’ll be glad to do it. But nobody has been able to come up with any yet,” the Texas Republican told reporters at his weekly briefing.
Asked if that meant the government was running at peak efficiency, Mr. DeLay said, “Yes, after 11 years of Republican majority we’ve pared it down pretty good.”

But not all conservatives have sipped his Kool-Aidt:

“This is hardly a well-oiled machine,” said Rep. Jeff Flake, Arizona Republican. “There’s a lot of fat to trim. … I wonder if we’ve been serving in the same Congress.”

American Conservative Union Chairman David A. Keene said federal spending already was “spiraling out of control” before Katrina, and conservatives are “increasingly losing faith in the president and the Republican leadership in Congress.” “Excluding military and homeland security, American taxpayers have witnessed the largest spending increase under any preceding president and Congress since the Great Depression,” he said.

FEMA Failure: It Was Chertoff’s, Not Brown’s Fault

According to today’s Miami Herald, federal documents reviewed by Knight Ridder show that it was Michael Chertoff, not Michael “Brownie” Brown, who did not mobilize the Federal Emergency Management Administration soon enough. Apparently, it was well within Chertoff’s purview to mobilize the federal relief effort as early as Aug. 27 — well before Katrina struck the Gulf Coast. Brown couldn’t have done it without Chertoff’s direct order, which only came 36 hours after the hurricane hit.

While critics assailed Brown’s failure, it was actually Chertoff who didn’t move to avert disaster:

But Chertoff — not Brown — was in charge of managing the national response to a catastrophic disaster, according to the National Response Plan, the federal government’s blueprint for how agencies will handle major natural disasters or terrorist incidents. An order issued by Bush in 2003 also assigned that responsibility to the homeland security director.

A memo Chertoff issued Aug. 30 to the secretaries of defense, health and human services, and other key federal agencies demonstrated that he might have been confused about his own role and the role of his department:

“As you know, the President has established the `White House Task Force on Hurricane Katrina Response.’ He will meet with us tomorrow to launch this effort. The Department of Homeland Security, along with other Departments, will be part of the task force and will assist the Administration with its response to Hurricane Katrina.”


NC 08: War Vet Dem Challenges GOP Aristocrat Incumbent

Rep. Robin Hayes (R-NC) broke his word to his constituents last year by voting for CAFTA.

Now an Iraqi war Democrat has:

Tim Dunn, a trial lawyer and military veteran from Fayetteville who served recently in Iraq, announced his intention Wednesday to challenge four-term Republican U.S. Rep. Robin Hayes for his seat in Congress.

Dunn, a Democrat, cited Hayes’ July vote switch on the Central American Free Trade Agreement as a key motivation for his campaign. Hayes had said repeatedly he opposed CAFTA, then changed his vote at the last moment to ensure passage of the agreement.

“He broke his promise to the people of the 8th Congressional District,” Dunn said in a telephone interview. “With NAFTA, fast-track and now with CAFTA, those are things that … will severely hurt our jobs here.” […]