When it comes to the AIG bonus bonanza, a Tennessee constituent of Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn said it best when he told the congresswoman: “I’m tired of the government spending money I have not made yet for programs I don’t want.”
HERE WE GO AGAIN
Once again, as often happens when the going gets tough, France and everything “French” gets a share of the blame.
When President Bush marched into Baghdad and France didn’t follow, the French became adversaries. To the extent that potato-loving Americans stopped ordering “french fries” in favor of “freedom fries.”
Now here we bob in the turbulent wake of the AIG bailout and the French are again the enemy.
“AIG took bailout money and then gave millions to executives in bonuses,” Rep. Ted Poe, Texas Republican, noted this week. “To make matters worse, AIG gave bailout money to foreign banks, like in France.”
“The French are the same people who vilify the United States, blame the world’s problems on us, and have a disdain for everything American,” he said. “I think the U.S. has bailed out France enough. We helped save France in World War I, saved them again in World War II, and took over in Vietnam after they failed there - but with little or no gratitude from the French!”
It should not go unnoticed that 45-year-old actress Natasha Richardson died of her head injury during Brain Awareness Week.
Rep. Joe Sestak, Pennsylvania Democrat and a military veteran, pointed out the same day Miss Richardson succumbed to her ski-related injury that out of the 1.8 million American men and women who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan, an astonishing 360,000 “have returned with a brain injury.”
Approximately 90,000 of the troops will have “lasting” brain damage, the Pentagon confirms.
Speaking of the U.S. military, as of this week there are 100 congressional co-sponsors of legislation to redesignate the Department of the Navy to be the “Department of the Navy and Marine Corps.”
The Marine Corps is a legally distinct military service within the Department of the Navy, although the National Security Act of 1947 defines the Marine Corps, Navy, Army and Air Force as the nation’s four services.
“The Marine Corps has not asked for complete autonomy,” says Rep. Walter B. Jones, the North Carolina Republican who introduced the legislation. “Nothing structurally needs to change in their relations with the Navy, which has served both branches well. The Corps only asks for recognition. Having served their nation proudly and courageously since colonial days, the leathernecks have earned a promotion.”
We were listening to Sen. James M. Inhofe, Oklahoma Republican, discuss President Obama‘s first federal budget, which as he pointed out this week includes an enormous redistribution of wealth for pet projects and programs under the “umbrella of clean energy.”
He revealed that the number of lobbyists seeking to influence federal policy on climate change - “That is what we are talking about here,” the senator said - has grown more than a whopping 300 percent in five years.
“This represents more than four lobbyists for every member of Congress,” he says, every one of them “clamoring for new taxpayer-funded subsidies.”
ALL IN THE FAMILY?
Given the current economic crisis, numerous headlines of late have asked: “Could Obama be the new Roosevelt?”
There’s nobody better able to answer that question than James Roosevelt Jr., grandson of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
American University’s School of Public Affairs is celebrating its 75th anniversary with a two-day conference next Thursday and Friday, with the opening keynote address by Mr. Roosevelt.
The grandson of the 32nd president of the United States is president and CEO of the Tufts Health Plan.
• John McCaslin can be reached at 202/636-3284 or James Morrison.