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Friday, May 27, 2005

Poop from Progress

Factoids from the Center for American Progress from this week:

* A CBS poll reveals, "Six in 10 Americans don't think the President shares their priorities for the country."

* For the first time in 14 years, American workers saw an across the board pay cut that certainly didn't extend to our nation's multi-millionaire CEOs.

* "It doesn't take a medical degree to know that drinking poop is bad for us," writes Jeffrey Griffiths, a member of the EPA's National Drinking Water Advisory Council, in the Boston Globe. That hasn't stopped the Bush administration from proposing a new policy that "would allow sewage treatment plants to discharge inadequately treated human waste into lakes, rivers, streams, and coastal waters," which ends up in our tap water.

* A recently discovered memo for an upcoming Social Security event in New York shows just how far the White House will go to get the "right" mix of people in the audience. Circulated by the group Women Impacting Public Policy, the memo didn't just announce the president's visit but "went on to solicit several types of people 'who he would like to visit with' –including a young worker who 'knows that [Social Security] could run out before they retire,' a young couple with children who like 'the idea of leaving something behind to the family' and a single parent who believes Bush's proposal for individual investment accounts 'would provide more retirement options and security' than the current system." Wait a second; it seems that the people solicited each represent "various arguments that Bush has been making for why Social Security should be overhauled."

* The file (on Abu Ghraib, from the NY Times) "depicts young, poorly trained soldiers in repeated incidents of abuse," often "driven by little more than boredom or cruelty, or both." Detainees are regularly shackled or tied from the ceilings by their wrists and beaten "with virtual impunity." Frequently, harsher methods are used – the report describes how one detainee is forced to "pick plastic bottle caps out of a drum mixed with excrement and water as part of a strategy to soften him up for questioning."

* The Wal-mart bill rejected by Governor Ehrlich recently “would have helped nearly 600,000 Maryland residents who lack health care.”

* The New York Times reports that the percentage of the unemployed out of work for six months or more has not been so high for so long after a recession has ended since World War II.

* Yesterday, the White House press corps was given the opportunity to attend a "question-and-answer session in the East Room with President Bush and Afghan President Hamid Karzai." However, so few reporters turned up that the overly image conscious White House was forced to pack the room with interns. Well, since the president takes such few questions, one member of the press corps "equated reporters at such staged White House functions with 'props'" and went on to point out, "Since we can't ask questions, why schlep over there?"

and one from a recent study by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press:

Asked whether they would like to have Bush run for a third term if that was not prohibited by the Constitution, 27% said yes. By contrast, 43% said they would like Bill Clinton to serve a third term in the White House.