What is George W Bush Doing These Days?

When his tenure ended, it seemed that former President George Bush could not wait to leave office. A perfectly understandable sentiment seeing as his approval rating had dropped significantly during his second term in office. Receiving harsh criticism from both sides of the aisle and from the general public due to errors in judgment he made during his tenure, it should not have come as any surprise that the former Governor of Texas moved back home to Dallas and refused to grant interviews or speak to anyone during the two years since his departure.

George Bush These Days

However, recently, George Bush broke the silence with the release of his memoir Decision Points. The book was acquired by The Crown Publishing Group for $7 million and was released to the public November 9, 2010. Not surprisingly, the book has received mixed reviews and brewed a bit of controversy over claims of plagiarism. However, the former president has not allowed that to slow him down and is currently embarking on a national campaign to promote the memoir. He has been interviewed, or scheduled to be interviewed, by heavy media hitters such as Oprah Winfrey, Matt, Lauer, Sean Hannity, and Rush Limbaugh.

The president has also recently broke ground for the George W. Bush Presidential Library. The library will be a repository of papers, records, and other historical materials related to his service as the 43rd President of the United States. The library is being built on the Southern Methodist University campus in Dallas and was designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects. When the library opens in 2013, it will be about 225,000 square feet and contain archives, a museum, policy institute, gift shops, and cafes. The invitation only ground breaking ceremony for the library took place on November 16 and included guests such as Condoleezza Rice and Dick Cheney.

George Bush has also partnered with former President Bill Clinton to do television spots to raise money for the people affected by the earthquake in Haiti. Occasionally, he has been doing some public speaking at business conferences which is arranged through the Washington Speakers Bureau. All in all, the former president is keeping a low profile and focused on promoting his book and defending his actions while in office. While speaking to NBC’s Matt Lauer, he stood by his decision to use controversial interrogation techniques on those suspected to be terrorists. He also remains steadfast about the decision to get rid of Saddam Hussein stating that there are now 25 million people who can live in freedom.

Funny George Bush Quotes

Everyone who lived under during the Bush administration knows that George W. Bush experienced more than a few verbal lapses during his presidency.

George Bush Quotes

Sure, he had his fair share of inspirational messages to give the country, but there are still plenty of comical things that came out the 43rd president’s mouth.  Here are some of the best funny George Bush quotes.

  • “You’re free. And freedom is beautiful. And, you know, it’ll take time to restore chaos and order – order out of chaos. But we will.”
  • “Actually, I…this may sound a little West Texan to you, but I like it. When I’m talking about…when I’m talking about myself, and when he’s talking about myself, all of us are talking about me.”
  • “I love to bring people into the oval office…and say, this is where I office.”
  • “Rarely is the question asked: is our children learning?”
  • “Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.”
  • “[T]he illiteracy level of our children are appalling.”
  • “You teach a child to read, and he or her will be able to pass a literacy test.”
  • “Will the highways on the Internet become more few?”
  • “If you don’t stand for anything, you don’t stand for anything!”
  • “Families is where our nation finds hope, where wings take dream.”
  • “I know how hard it is for you to put food on your family.”
  • “We cannot let terrorists hold this nation hostile or hold our allies hostile.”
  • “We’re concerned about AIDS inside our White House—make no mistake about it.”
  • (discussing decline of French economy with British Prime Minister Tony Blair) “The problem with the French is that they don’t have a word for ‘entrepreneur.’”
  • “When I take action, I’m not going to fire a $2 million missile at a $10 empty tent and hit a camel in the butt. It’s going to be decisive.”
  • “We need an energy bill that encourages consumption.”
  • “I promise you I will listen to what has been said here, even though I wasn’t here.”
  • “People make suggestions on what to say all the time. I’ll give you an example; I don’t read what’s handed to me. People say, ‘Here, here’s your speech, or here’s an idea for a speech.’ They’re changed. Trust me.”

 

Decision Points by George W. Bush

George W. Bush jr. describes the critical decisions of his presidency and personal life. Decision Points is the extraordinary memoir of America’s 43rd president. Shattering the conventions of political autobiography, George Bush jr. offers a strikingly candid journey through the defining decisions of his life.

In gripping, never-before-heard detail, President Bush brings readers inside the Texas Governor’s Mansion on the night of the hotly contested 2000 election; aboard Air Force One on 9/11, in the hours after America’s most devastating attack since Pearl Harbor; at the head of the table in the Situation Room in the moments before launching the war in Iraq; and behind the Oval Office desk for his historic and controversial decisions on the financial crisis, Hurricane Katrina, Afghanistan, Iran, and other issues that have shaped the first decade of the 21st century.

George W. Bush writes honestly and directly about his flaws and mistakes, as well as his accomplishments reforming education, and safeguarding the country amid chilling warnings of additional terrorist attacks. He also offers intimate new details on his decision to quit drinking, discovery of faith, and relationship with his family.

A groundbreaking new brand of memoir, Decision Points will captivate supporters, surprise critics, and change perspectives on one of the most consequential eras in American history – and the man at the center of events.

I am looking forward to getting this book. I know George W. Bush had hard decisions to make and I truly feel he did a great job. I may not of agreed with everything he did but I believe God put him in office at just the time we needed him. I appreciate his faithfulness to God, family and his country. Thank you for serving and for doing a great job at it.

Seriously?

Did John Quiggin just write that it doesn’t matter whether the New Republic ran a false story? I doubt Frank Foer feels that way, for which we may humbly thank God, but perhaps in Australia, where everything is, after all, upside down, journalists are supposed to have higher standards of evidence and accuracy than academics.

Nor does it make any sense to compare this to the Ken Pollack and Michael O’Hanlon story. We will leave aside the rather idiosyncratic belief that two think tank scholars should have formed their judgement not by wandering around with military brass, but by spending a night in Mosul so that they could say “Yup, sure does look peaceful here!” Civilian defense experts–Democrats too!–are generally strategists, not military tacticians. They’re not there to count tanks.

But that’s irrelevant. Mr Quiggin is confusing two different kinds of “wrong”. Lots of experts are wrong–indeed, given the style of US journalism, just about half of the ones quoted on any story. That’s not the same as a story being wrong–i.e. having printing major facts (or quasi-facts, such as technical jargon or scientific theories) that were/are not as described in the story.

The significance of the latter is not that a) there is a media conspiracy to discredit the war or b) that right wing bloggers are on a savage tear against disconfirming evidence. The significance is that, if journalists do not care avidly about only printing things that are, to the best of their ability to determine, true, then it doesn’t really matter whether they please John Quiggin by editorialising about the various people making domestic and foreign policy claims. That is because no one will be able to trust that there even was a trip to Iraq or a Michael O’Hanlon, so they won’t read the story in the first place.

 

Giuliani’s Health Care Plan

Ezra Klein goes off on Giuliani’s health care plan, and Andrew Sullivan’s support for it:

I wonder how Sullivan would really feel in a world where the tax incentives were set-up to incentivize sparse health care coverage and high deductibles. That’s a land that’s very good for the healthy, and quite bad for the chronically sick. Sullivan increasingly strikes me as a first order idealist who ably sees the principles behind things (freedom! choice! equality!) and is stunned when policies based on those concepts don’t appear to work.But here’s why they don’t work. Take Giuliani’s health care plan, which basically rests of tax exemptions to help purchase care. It sets a standard deduction of $7,500 for individuals and $15,000 for families. Everyone will get precisely those deductions no matter what they spend. If you’re 23 and your health care costs $2,000 a year, you still deduct $7,500, pocketing the difference. And that’s the actual point of the plan. That’s the incentive the plan is hoping will change health care — it will incentivize everyone to buy less of it, and pocket more of their exemption.

If you’re healthy, a world in which Giuliani’s plan was law would be a world in which it was economically foolish of you to purchase high quality, comprehensive coverage. And that would be fine — for the healthy individual. But insurance works based on risk pooling. If our hypothetical 23-year-old only uses $10 of health care a year, but is now paying $80 rather than $100 for his plan, that’s less money that can subsidize someone with a chronic illness. Their costs go up. Their ability to cover their treatments go down. And they get sick and they die. And one day, ironically, this happens to the 23-year-old, too, because he’s now 55 with heart disease, and the current generation of 23-year-olds are purchasing $50 plans.

I think it’s a little misleading to talk about insurance pooling here. This isn’t really insurance we’re arguing about; insurance is voluntary. What we’re really talking about is a tax. Single payer advocates are looking for the most politically palatable way to tax the young and healthy in order to pay for the health care of the old and sick*.

In this context, it is trivially obvious to state that any change that benefits the young and healthy will disadvantage the old and sick; if the young and healthy are paying less, the old and sick must pay more. But Ezra seems to assume, a priori, that this is morally objectionable. I’m not sure this is the case.

Assuming, arguendo, that we believe in making social-justice-enhancing forced transfers, I’m not sure that this particular transfer meets the needs of social justice. One might argue that the transfer should flow to those whose need is greater, but as a class, the old and sick are wealthier than the young and healthy. They have more assets, many have a guaranteed income, and few have children to support. Moreover, a need-based transfer would argue for some sort of means-tested programme, not an indiscriminate giveaway to anyone who happens to be sick.

Moreover, as a class, the old and sick have some culpability in their ill health. They didn’t eat right or excercise; they smoked; they didn’t go to the doctor as often as they ought; they drank to much, or took drugs, or sped, or engaged in dangerous sports. Again, in individual cases this will not be true; but as a class, the old and sick bear some of the responsibility for their own ill health, while younger, healthier people have almost no causal role in the ill-health of others.

Perhaps they deserve it by virtue of suffering? But again, most of them are suffering because they have gotten old, often in high style. The young of today have two possible outcomes:

1) They will be old and sick too, in which case they are no less deserving of our concern than today’s old and sick2) They won’t ever get to be old and sick, which is even worse than being old and sick.

As a class, the old and sick are already luckier than the young and healthy. Again, for individuals within that class–those with desperate congenital conditions, for example–this is not the case. But I’m not sure it’s terribly compelling to argue that we should massively disadvantage a large group of people in order to massively advantage another, equally large group of people, all to help out the few who are needy, or deserving, or unlucky.

* Yes, there are other arguments in favour of single-payer health care; but this particular argument is about taxation.

California Legislators Show Support for Treatment-not-Incarceration

In late May, two California legislative subcommittees sent a message of support for treatment when they rejected Governor Schwarzenegger’s plans to slash funding for Prop. 36, the state’s voter-enacted, treatment-instead-of-incarceration law. The six-year-old program makes drug treatment available to tens of thousands of people convicted of nonviolent drug offenses each year and has already saved taxpayers over $1.7 billion.

At separate hearings in late may the Assembly Budget Subcommittee voted to keep funding flat at $145 million and the Senate Budget Subcommittee voted to increase funding to $180 million. The subcommittee’s recommendation to increase funding for Prop. 36 suggests that legislators are heeding the advice of policy experts and treatment providers who say that more resources are needed.

In a study released in April, researchers from the University of California at Los Angeles showed that Prop. 36 needs a minimum level of funding of $228.6 million to provide adequate treatment to generate greater cost savings. More funding translates into more treatment options, longer treatment durations and, if the money is spent in the right way, higher rates of success.

Governor Schwarzenegger Proposes Slashing Funding — Again

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s budget proposal, released January 10, recommends a deep funding cut for California’s landmark, voter-approved treatment-instead-of-jail program, Proposition 36. Program supporters worry that the governor’s budget, if accepted by the Legislature, would undermine the success of the program and its 36,000 participants each year.
In just the first five years of the program, Prop. 36 helped over 140,000 Californians enter drug treatment and has already saved taxpayers over $1 billion.

If the governor’s budget is approved, this would be the second year in a row that Prop. 36 drug treatment programs would have less money to operate than in the previous year. Last year, the Legislature approved $145 million in total for Prop. 36-related programs, but the governor now proposes only $120 million, to be divided between two separate Prop. 36 funds.

Of the $120 million proposed by the governor, $60 million would be channeled through a one-year-old fund called the Substance Abuse Offender Treatment Program (OTP), which requires county funding matches before state money is distributed.

According to a recent survey by the Coalition of Alcohol and Drug Associations, Prop. 36 needs at least $209.3 million to “adequately address the treatment needs.” The Governor’s proposed funding for Prop. 36 falls almost $90 million short of that target, which would allow counties to better meet the range of needs in treatment, support services and criminal justice supervision for the over 36,000 clients enrolling in Prop. 36 programs each year.

About the Prop. 36 Budget Figures

For five years (FY 2001-02 through FY 2005-06), Prop. 36 was guaranteed funding of $120 million per year from the state general fund. Counties actually spent $143 million to implement Prop. 36 in FY 2005-06, according to the Legislative Analyst’s Office, which was possible because some counties had carried forward money from earlier years with fewer clients.

Last year was the first in which legislators set the Prop. 36 program’s budget. The legislature approved $120 million for the main Prop. 36 fund, and $25 million in supplementary funds under the auspices of the OTP program. Due to delays in distributing that money, only $132 million is expected to be available to counties in fiscal year 2006-07, a reduction of $11 million from the previous year.

A simple adjustment for inflation, using statistical methods employed by the Department of Finance, would call for a Prop. 36 budget of at least $152.4 million to match the dollar value of the program’s first-year funding. By this measure, the governor’s newest proposal is at least $32.4 million short of the amount first allocated for Prop. 36.

Prop. 36 Generates Savings

Analyses conducted by researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles show that for every $1 invested in Prop. 36, the state saves $2.50. For program completers, every $1 invested leads to $4 in savings. In the program’s first five years, taxpayer savings reached $1.3 billion, according to figures from the Justice Policy Institute. A recent UCLA analysis on Prop. 36 cost savings showed that the state enjoys 93% of the savings from Prop. 36, with counties receiving the remaining 7%.

Prop. 36 Background

Prop. 36 was approved by 61 percent of voters in November 2000. A June 2004 poll by the Field Institute showed support for the law at 73 percent. Nearly 12,000 people have successfully completed substance treatment during each year of Prop. 36’s existence, putting the program on track to graduate 72,000 Californians in its first six years.

Social Justice Advocates Tackle Tough Questions in L.A.

On October 10, social justice advocates and community members gathered to discuss the state of social justice reform in California.

The state legislature cut funding this year to Prop 36, California’s treatment-instead-of-incarceration law, which won 61 percent of the vote in 2000. In 2004, the people rejected Prop 66, a Three Strikes reform initiative. In order to examine the barriers to social justice reform, advocates gathered at the Drug Policy Alliance’s Southern California office, where they looked back on attempted reforms as well as ahead to momentum-building and the movement’s next steps.

Over dinner, about 25 advocates and community members spent the first part of the evening venting their frustration at recent failed reforms. The group noted all that went wrong with Three Strikes reform in 2004: an imperfectly drafted initiative, a troubled pro-reform coalition, and finally, in the last moments of the campaign, an unprecedented multi-million dollar opposition ad campaign.

Treatment providers in the audience then analyzed the under-funding of Prop 36 this year: treatment providers were distracted and divided, law enforcement was pushing hard for zero funding, and legislators fell back on politics as usual rather than sound policy.

With the past failures and problems out in the open, the discussion turned toward next steps. The refunding of Prop 36 in June 2007 surfaced as the movement’s next opportunity for victory. Margaret Dooley of DPA Southern California, who led the discussion, said, “This meeting gave us an important opportunity to regroup, reassess and reenergize. After the discussion, our consensus was that we can learn from our experiences this year and do better in 2007, when Prop 36 funding is up for renewal again.”

Participants in the discussion represented the range of groups working on this issue: Dave Fratello, co-author of Prop 36, Campaign for New Drug Policies; Luis Lozano, Executive Director, The Beacon House; Susan Burton, Executive Director, A New Way of Life; Cheryl Branch, Chair, AAAOD; Gretchen Bergman, Executive Director, A New PATH; Peter Laarman, Director, Progressive Christians Uniting; Cynthia McDonald, Prop 36 graduate, San Diego County; Tony Jackson, Prop 36 graduate, Orange County; Alberto Mendoza, DPA Southern California Director.

Laura Bush Unplugged

Hi gang, I’m Laura Bush. Or, as the press calls me, the First Footstool. Stepford Lite. Chicken-fried Barbie. Arianna Huffington called me Harriet Nelson. Please. At least I didn’t marry Richard Simmons. What happened, Arianna, get tired of sleeping on your stomach?

Someone get Dick Cheney some water, we don’t want to run a Help Wanted ad. It’s not easy being a heartbeat away from the Presidency when you can’t walk past a microwave without needing jumper cables. And yes, they call him Big Dick Cheney for a reason. Let’s just say he doesn’t park with the compacts.  And that’s why Lynne is standing tonight. Oh STOP IT! GROW UP!

Talking of reptiles, my mother-in-law couldn’t make it tonight, she’s molting. No seriously, for moisturizer she uses Pennzoil 10/30. For sunscreen, she prefers Armor All. For a bikini wax, she uses a sander. She thinks the LaBrea Tar Pits are a spa. You know they say a meteorite wiped out the dinosaurs? Where do I sign up? Oh STOP!

Did I mention I’m not wearing any panties? It’s true, the guys in the front row would kill for some clam dip. Makes those state functions a lot more fun. You’re sitting there opposite some human chlamydia like Yasser Arafat or Jacques Chirac, you flash a little Venus flytrap& watch them flatline! I LOVE that!

No really, guys, do you like your peaches peeled or fuzzy? Clay court or Astroturf? Of course, now that I’m Queen Shit of Turd Island, I have someone who mows it for me. And that’s why Tom Delay is flossing in the back. Oh STOP IT! STOP IT!

And The Winner Is…

So, my law school application process is complete — not that I’ve heard from every school, but I’ve made my decision.

In the end, I withdrew from Emory Law School, Duke Law School, and Vanderbilt Law School because, well, they were too slow (and in the case of Duke, they just really sucked).

I ended up perpetually waitlisted at Georgetown University Law Center — which I lost all desire to attend after their turn-your-back-on-the-Attorney-General stunt, and Northwestern School of Law, which was just too hippie for me anyway (even with Steven Calabresi and John McGinnis on faculty).

Fortunately I have had a number of great options to choose from. I was accepted at George Washington University Law School, University of Virginia School of Law, University of Michigan Law School, and, making it very difficult, University of Chicago Law School — home to such geniuses as Judges Posner and Easterbrook.

This all might’ve left my final destination up in the air still given that I haven’t yet heard from Columbia Law School, Penn Law, Stanford Law School, and of course, the much revered Yale Law School.

But in the end none of that matters. Why? Because in the fall, I’m heading up to:

Harvard Law School

Yes, yes, this lucky bastard is in, and all the other schools are out. Even Yale. In fact, I’m already beginning to despise that small school in New Haven. Give me some time — in fact, give me to this weekend when I go visit HLS, my new home — and I’ll be the most obnoxious Yale Law hater around. HLS all the way, and nobody can’t tell me nothing!

Just figured I’d put that out there, as if anyone cared. I still needed an outlet for my hyper-pretentiousness.

I might blog while up there; either here (and this blog will be transformed into a Claudio-is-in-law-school-and-Pat-has-a-real-job blog) or one some other site of my own (less likely). But it all depends. Some little birdy told me that the first year of law school SUCKS ASS.

We’ll see. Next on the docket: Simpkins v. Harvard Law School.