3/08/2005

Department of encouraging news

From the Center for American Progress, a few items:
1. Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX) is in trouble. In court, in Congress, even in his hometown of Sugar Land, the scandal-plagued House majority leader is facing increasingly serious accusations. Sunday night on CBS's 60 Minutes, Texas prosecutor Ronnie Earle said DeLay may yet be indicted for his role in the Texas criminal investigation involving alleged illegal corporate campaign contributions and money laundering. 
2. Former Secretary of State James Baker "broke ranks with the Bush administration on Thursday and called for the United States to get serious about global warming." Baker told an audience that included a number of oil executives, "It may surprise you a little bit, but maybe it's because I'm a hunter and a fisherman, but I think we need to a pay a little more attention to what we need to do to protect our environment.…When you have energy companies like Shell and British Petroleum…saying there is a problem with excess carbon dioxide emission, I think we ought to listen." Reversing an explicit campaign pledge in 2000, President Bush has opposed mandatory limits on carbon dioxide, and the White House refused to sign the international Kyoto treaty to combat global warming. Over the weekend, Lord Robert May, the president of Britain's National Academy of Sciences, called Bush "a modern day Nero over climate change, fiddling while the world burns."
3. Widening deficits and an inability to reign in spending are forcing congressional conservatives to rethink their position on making President Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy permanent. The Washington Post reports, "Bush's call for Congress to make permanent all the tax cuts enacted in his first term faces increasingly strong resistance among some Republicans concerned.… Senate Finance Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-IA) said at least six Senate Republicans have signaled opposition to extending the cuts." Kevin Hassett of the conservative American Enterprise Institute said large deficits and the "apparent inability of Republicans to constrain spending" has made it "'impossible for sensible folks to advocate' big tax cuts. 'Sooner or later, government has to pay for everything,'" he said. That reality is "playing out around the country," as conservative ideology comes up against the real problems of state and federal budgets shortfalls.

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