Thursday, May 20, 2004

Campaigning on failures

I guess when you have nothing but failures to show for your four years in office you have to make the best of them. In this New York Times story from yesterday, the Bush administration is sending its minions out to campaign by touting programs that Bush tried to cutback or eliminate:

- Justice Department officials recently announced that they were awarding $47 million to scores of local law enforcement agencies for the hiring of police officers. Mr. Bush had just proposed cutting the budget for the program, known as Community Oriented Policing Services, by 87 percent, to $97 million next year, from $756 million.

- Tommy G. Thompson, the secretary of health and human services, announced recently that the administration was awarding $11.7 million in grants to help 30 states plan and provide coverage for people without health insurance. Mr. Bush had proposed ending the program in each of the last three years.

- The administration also announced recently that it was providing $11.6 million to the states so they could buy defibrillators to save the lives of heart attack victims. But Mr. Bush had proposed cutting the budget for such devices by 82 percent, to $2 million from $10.9 million.

In each case, the additional spending that is being touted represents a failure by the Bush administration to curtail or end a program that it was opposed to. They were unable to accomplish these cutbacks even with total Republican domination of all branches of the federal government. That is what I would call incompetent. Bush can’t even even lead within his own party, much less so on the world stage.

That brings us to another recent news story where the U.S. Faces Growing Fears of Failure in Iraq.

This really should not be a surprise to anyone who has followed Bush’s career over the years. He almost always fails in his various ventures and then sits back and waits for his daddy’s wealthy friends to come and bail him out. I’m just not sure who is supposed to bail us out this time, other than the U.S. taxpayers, of course, who get stuck with another $25 billion for Bush’s Iraqi Quagmire.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

"357 Channels and Nothing On"

It looks like I might still have a few programming options on next season’s television schedule - but not many.
The number of shows that I watch regularly has been slowly dwindling and the shift away from quality television programming to cheap, brainless “reality” shows means I will have that much more free time in the evenings.

With the series finales of “Friends” and “Frasier” now past and the finale of “Angel,” the “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” spinoff, later tonight one might think the networks would be scrambling to come out with some worthy replacement shows. But on first glance at the new fall schedules being announced this week, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Other than the “Friends” spinoff “Joey,” while I will check out, the only new show on the schedule that even looks remotely interesting is “Lost” scheduled for Wednesdays on ABC. It is some kind of adventure series set on a deserted island and stars Matthew Fox of “Party of Five” fame as well as Dominic Monaghan who was a hobbit in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. I’m sure ABC will axe the series after airing only a handful of episodes since I have shown some interest in it now.

Other than that, there are no shows on ABC that interest me (except possibly the “Wonderful World of Disney” depending on what is showing). I haven’t watched anything on Fox since I got bogged down with the second season of “24” and the cancellation of “Angel” means I won’t be wasting my time tuning into the WB Network again.

I understand that UPN has decided to renew “Star Trek: Enterprise” for one more season so I will continue to faithfully tune them in once a week as a devoted Trekee.

NBC still has “ER” on Thursday nights and CBS has renewed “Judging Amy” and “Joan of Arcadia,” and that is about it. There are a few others shows that I would normally find worthy but for various reasons I have not found the time or the desire to watch them regularly. They include “The Simpsons,” “West Wing,” and “Alias.”
I also watch “60 Minutes” on occasion depending on the topic.

Finally, I have a friend who is such a devoted fan of “The Amazing Race” that he has applied to be on the show for its sixth season. So I will probably break down and watch an episode or two next season to see what it is all about.

Here is my tentative viewing schedule for next fall:

Monday: Nothing
Tuesday: “Judging Amy”
Wednesday: “Lost”
Thursday: “Joey,” “E.R.”
Friday: “Star Trek: Enterprise,” “Joan of Arcadia”
Saturday: “Amazing Race”
Sunday: Nothing