Friday, May 26, 2006
President Bush on Wednesday named Karl Zinsmeister as his chief
domestic policy advisor. The position had been vacant since
February when Claude Allen resigned the position "to spend more
time with his family." During visiting hours? Allen was caught
stealing from Target department stores in a fake return scheme.
It's hardly Ken Lay stuff, but it's still criminal. Allen's
replacement, Karl Zinsmeister, was editor of The American
Enterprise, the magazine of the American Enterprise Institute.
In 2003, he was embedded as a military reporter with the 82nd
Airborne in Iraq. His Iraq experience is chronicled in Combat
Zone: True Tales of GI's in Iraq, which Zinsmeister wrote for
Marvel Comics - a perfect background for the Bush White House.
President Bush in March nominated the director of the National
Cancer Institute, Andrew von Eschenbach, a Bush family friend, to
head the Food and Drug Administration. His qualifications? Like
the last two FDA commissioners picked by Bush, von Eschenbach
opposes Plan B, the emergency contraceptive or "morning-after"
pill (WN 2 Sep 05) , and for
that matter, anything else that might reduce the incentive for
abstinence, such as human papilloma virus vaccine. His move to
FDA was cause for a celebration at NCI. A Washington newsletter,
The Cancer Letter, ran a copy of the invitation: "$25 per person.
Gift contributions also welcome." The party has been postponed
(something about the law), but people at NCI seemed willing to
pay just about anything to see the last of von Eschenbach.
The Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA), one of
the countless independent, nonprofit, public policy research
institutes in Washington, reported last week that the Pentagon
will spend $30 billion on classified programs in FY 2007. Why?
In a new book, Imaginary Weapon: A Journey Through the Pentagon's
Scientific Underworld, Sharon Weinberger peeks behind the curtain
at hafnium bombs, "remote viewing," telepathy and all the rest
and concludes secrecy is mostly to avoid rational oversight.
The libertarian Competitive Enterprise Institute, another of the
nonprofit public policy organizations based in Washington, has
been airing two 60-second television spots in 14 cities across
the nation this week. "Nonprofit" does not mean they don't keep
cash in the freezer. Most of CEI's $3 million budget comes from
oil companies, particularly ExxonMobil. CEI argues that we all
have a responsibility to make as much CO2 as possible.