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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June 2, 2001

Bush budget imperils nuke cleanup — San Francisco Chronicle
Some of the nation’s most secretive Cold War nuclear weapons research took place just outside Tracy, Calif., at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Now the town is facing the legacy of that research — plumes of radioactive contamination moving through the groundwater toward its wells. President Bush’s proposed budget would halve funding for Energy Department cleanups of nuclear weapons sites, including the Lawrence site, which is contaminated by radioactive hydrogen, uranium-238, and other toxic substances.

Jenna’s third strike — Houston Chronicle
The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission confirmed Thursday that Jenna Bush is listed in its database for an alcohol-related incident on Dec. 31, 1997 — just months after her father, then governor of Texas, signed a package of bills toughening sanctions for underage drinking violations (see yesterday’s Bush Files).

Several Democrats considering 2004 run — Washington Times
Tom Daschle may be the most powerful Democrat in elected office, but should he choose to run against Bush in 2004 he could have plenty of competition. Among the senators rumored to be considering a presidential bid: Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, John Kerry of Massachusetts, Joseph Biden of Delaware, John Edwards of North Carolina, Evan Bayh of Indiana, Paul Wellstone of Minnesota, and even Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York. “With all those Democrats vying for the attention of the party’s liberal base, congressional analysts say Mr. Daschle will be hard-pressed to keep Senate Democrats focused on the political center,” says the Times.

Bush to snub gays — Associated Press
Every June for the past eight years, the White House has issued a proclamation marking National Gay and Lesbian Pride Month. George W. Bush, however, is opting out. “The president believes every person should be treated with dignity and respect,” a Bush spokesman told the AP, “but he does not believe in politicizing people’s sexual orientation. That’s a personal matter.” Since January, Bush has issued proclamations honoring Women’s History Month, Black History Month, and Irish-American Heritage Month.

June 1, 2001

Scientists sue over stem cell funds — Associated Press
Seven scientists and actor Christopher Reeve have filed a federal lawsuit accusing the Bush administration of illegally withholding funding for stem-cell research. The lawsuit claims that Bush officials bypassed administrative procedures because of political pressures from anti-abortion groups who object to the use of human embryos in such research. (Thanks to Mark Chapman for the tip.)

EU wants US energy stats published — Reuters
Leaders of the European Union want the US to put its environmental statistics where its trading interests are. The EU has called on the US to release statistics on energy consumption, pollution, and other environmental impacts so the world can compare and contrast. The leader of the EU’s Environmental Agency says that the US “uses 70 percent more energy per million dollars (generated by the economy) than the EU.”

Bush tough on Texas teen drinkers — Texas Department of State
Jenna Bush has been busted twice for alcohol-related infractions (first she was nabbed in an underage-drinking sting in an Austin bar, and this week she and her twin sister Barb allegedly tried to use a fake ID to buy drinks. Back in 1997, then-Texas Governor George W. Bush and the Texas Legislature cracked down on teen drinking and drug use; at the time, Bush said: “We want our young people to make healthy choices by avoiding drugs, alcohol, and tobacco.” (Thanks to BuzzFlash for the tip.)

May 31, 2001

Daschle: GOP Enemy No. 1 — Roll Call
“House GOP leaders and other party operatives are already targeting [incoming Senate Majority Leader] Tom Daschle as the newest and biggest threat to the Republican Party since former President Bill Clinton left the White House,” says Roll Call. The House GOP is readying a campaign to paint Daschle and his Senate Democrats as political spoilsports who want to stop President Bush and GOP leaders from enacting an agenda favored by the American public.

No blame, no game — Capitol Hill Blue
As Bush Files readers may recall, last week the Senate GOP was pointing fingers at White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card for leaning on Sen. Jim Jeffords too hard. Now the White House is saying it was the conservative leadership in Congress that made Jeffords feel “ostracized.”

Hey White House, take off the blinders — Michael Kelly
The unexpected defection of Sen. Jim Jeffords marked the second time this month, notes Michael Kelly, that the administration has been blindsided by a major political development. (The first was the UN vote to deny the US seats on the Human Rights Commission and the International Narcotics Board.) Kelly says such myopia is reason to question the administration’s basic competence.

Carter says Bush doing a “good job” — Atlanta Journal-Constitution
At a CNN event Tuesday, former president Jimmy Carter said, “So far, President Bush has done a good job. I think he’s related well to the American people. … My hope is that there will be a genuine reaching out to the Democratic leadership in the Senate, which hasn’t been the case, I understand.”

May 30, 2001

Florida revenge plan backfires — Palm Beach Post
Mary McCarty, chairwoman of Palm Beach County’s Republican Party, has been busy since the election. She attached her name to the Committee to Take Back Our Judiciary, which campaigns against Florida Supreme Court justices who voted in favor of a recount in tightly contested counties after the November presidential vote. Several of the justices are up for reelection in 2002. A letter, signed by McCarty and sent to 350,000 Florida voters, asked for contributions of up to $1,000, reports the Post, even though Florida law limits donations to $500. The fund-raising campaign itself was financed by a Virginia-based firm to the tune of $150,000 — 30 times the maximum allowable “in-kind” campaign contribution. Confronted with these revelations, McCarty now says she “regrets” her involvement.

Nuke push brings Yucca back into spotlight — Christian Science Monitor
Dick Cheney likes to remind us that nuclear power doesn’t pollute the air — well, at least not as much as coal. But the debate over how clean nuclear energy is inevitably circles back around to the waste question — what do you do with a byproduct that lasts millions of years and poses massive environmental and human health risks? That question rages on at Yucca Mountain, where the feds have been trying for years to establish a repository for waste that could stay dangerously radioactive for tens of thousands of years.

The Grand Old Petroleum Party — Democratic National Committee
The Democrats, who already use as a central launching pad for sarcastic grenades aimed at the GOP, have unveiled a new site, to attack the White House’s new energy plan. Specifically, the site makes not-so-thinly-veiled charges that Bush’s tax cut — which he has said will help Americans pay for higher gasoline prices — amounts to a money-laundering scheme to funnel federal dollars to GOP heavies in the oil industry.


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