The initial reports from the recent Iraq donor conference in Madrid, Spain, provide plenty of new ammunition for members of Congress who oppose President Bush's request for an immediate $20 billion in new aid. Simply put, Iraq can't absorb that much aid in the coming year. Giving proconsul Paul Bremer a blank check would only feed the worst forms of crony capitalism and wind up lining the pockets of favored U.S. contractors.
So far the opponents of the aid portion of the president's $87 billion package have based their reluctance on a very pragmatic concern: How will they explain to voters that the U.S. government can afford to pay for Iraq's police, firefighters, schools and roads but that the cupboard is bare for similar needs at home?
The energy bill moving inexorably through Congress is like a massive oil spill heading for a pristine coastline -- there's not much one can do except contemplate the eventual cleanup costs.
If September 11 changed everything in politics, you'd be hard pressed to tell from this special-interest giveaway. Two years after the attacks, the Republicans are about to pass legislation that does nothing to wean the United States from foreign oil, next to nothing to build a more fuel-efficient economy and precious little to promote alternative sources of energy -- policies that polls show most Americans would gladly support as the domestic component of the war on terrorism.
Dr. Marcus Horwitz, professor of medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, has devoted most of his career to finding a vaccine for tuberculosis. Though the age-old killer is well controlled in the industrialized world, TB kills more than 2 million people each year among the global poor. It's not a sexy field: Compared with funding for heart-disease, HIV/AIDS or cancer research, National Institutes of Health money for TB research is a minor blip. Applied research into potential TB cures and vaccines is not a priority for the agency, or for drug companies, which see no profitable market among the poor.
About a year ago, the Bush administration began laying the groundwork for war in Iraq with a propaganda offensive based on what now appears to have been a deliberate manipulation of faulty intelligence reports. In recent weeks, there have been a slew of news reports based on leaked intelligence suggesting that North Korea -- another charter member of the president's "axis of evil" -- is galloping full speed toward developing nuclear weapons. Contrary to White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card's dictum, August is the month for new product rollouts.
Who are those guys? Connecticut voters can be forgiven for asking themselves that question after being inundated with radio and television spots sponsored by two senior-citizen groups that few had heard of before. The ads tout the Republican-backed Medicare prescription-drug bill that narrowly passed the U.S. House of Representatives in