All Is Not Lost

Posted: Jul 11, 2007 11:00 AM
All Is Not Lost

Cheney unplugged

Vice President Dick Cheney is about to come clean on his "run-ins with the law."

That's right, Mr. Cheney has a rap sheet: convicted not once, but twice, of drunken driving — and within an eight-month period — in 1962 and 1963, when he was 21 and 22.

It is just one of the intriguing subjects the vice president expands upon during 30-plus hours of interviews with Washington journalist Stephen F. Hayes for his upcoming book, "Cheney: A Revealing Portrait of America's Most Powerful Vice President."

Mr. Cheney also discusses the "incident" that nearly got him blackballed from working in Gerald Ford's White House; how he flunked out of Yale; his strained relationship with the Fourth Estate; his disagreement with President Bush on the dismissal of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld; the costliest mistakes in postwar Iraq; and how it came to be that he was chosen in the first place as Mr. Bush's running mate.

You can buy the book later this month.

Who needs a crowd?

"One man, standing by himself on a corner, wore an Uncle Sam suit and carried a small sign reading 'Impeach Bush.' "

So reads the White House pool report covering President Bush's visit yesterday to Parma, Ohio. Oh well, if nothing else, the lone protester certainly stood out.

Step right up

Tired of taking it on the chin when it comes to press coverage, much of it stateside, of the situation in Iraq, the White House is now regularly "responding to key myths" about the unpopular war.

No. 1 myth on yesterday's list of 13: "The war is lost."

Not so, says the White House, quoting Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of Multi-National Force-Iraq, as saying, "There is good prospect for progress in the months ahead." Meanwhile, Iraq's U.S. ambassador, Ryan Crocker, reports that "the level of violence is down in the two areas where the 'surge' is focused: Anbar and Baghdad."

The list also cites a "substantial drop" in sectarian slayings in Baghdad since January; arms caches being found at more than three times the rate of one year ago; tribal sheiks in Anbar and other provinces cooperating with U.S. and Iraqi forces against al Qaeda; attacks in Anbar at a two-year low; the recruitment of Iraqi police drawing thousands of candidates; and, perhaps most importantly, "signs of normalcy" in Baghdad and beyond, including "vibrant markets, professional soccer leagues and amusements parks."

Sell, sell, sell

So President Bush says he is looking for ways to reduce the federal deficit. We wonder whether he realizes that U.S. government agencies are in possession of 21,000 obsolete properties worth a whopping $18 billion.

"It is obscene that the value of our government's vacant or unused properties exceeds the annual gross domestic product (GDP) of half of the nations on earth," says Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican.

So he and Sen. Thomas R. Carper, Delaware Democrat, have introduced legislation to eliminate the "enormous backlog" of unneeded federal property.

In the meantime, Mr. Coburn says, Congress "should not earmark a single dollar for a new building until we take steps to get rid of the 21,000 properties we already have but aren't using."

We're outraged

By the way, today — July 11 — is the first day of 2007 that "Americans can now begin to provide for themselves and their families."

So says Citizens Against Government Waste President Tom Schatz, who observes Cost of Government Day by expressing outrage at the federal, state and local governments' continued abuse of hundreds of billions of tax dollars.

The date each year is when the average American worker has earned enough to pay off his or her share of tax and regulatory burdens imposed by all levels of government, according to Americans for Tax Reform.

Americans now work more than half of the year — 192 days — to pay their share of the cost of government, with 85 of those days a result of federal spending alone.

"Taxpayers should be outraged by the government's refusal to be responsible guardians of their hard-earned money," Mr. Schatz says.