By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Written off as a dead duck a month ago by sneering Democrats, George W. Bush is back to being his old cocky self, signs of victory all about. As an indication of confidence, the president spoke enthusiastically last week of endorsing "intelligent design," the new code phrase for creationism, as an idea that ought to get a fair hearing in American schools. Once regarded as beyond-the-pale kookery, creationism is now just smart politics. It makes the liberals mad, enthuses the Christian-right base, and radically alters public education by furthering the entrance of religious mysticism into education at the expense of rational thought. A CNN poll claims that three-quarters of the American people think we came from God, not monkeys.
Bush successfully passed an energy bill, which doesn't do much in providing more energy at cheaper costs, but provides a jump start for the nuclear industry and boosts the business of importing liquefied natural gas.
The Roberts appointment to the Supreme Court seems assured. Finding out he helped gays win a lawsuit rattled conservatives while showing the Democratic opposition that he could give the right's most popular enemy a fair shake.
Bush has seemingly converted Capitol Hill's fiscal conservatives into a group of silly teenagers by lavishing them with pork to take home to their constituents, wildly throwing money around with no concern for the deficit. "If you look at fiscal conservatism these days, it's in a sorry state," Arizona Republican congressman Jeff Flake told The Washington Post. "Republicans don't even pretend any more."
Bush is master of the war on terror and the dreamboat of the NRA. We have the London police to thank for the new policy now being introduced that gives cops permission to shoot a suspected terrorist in the head on sight without cause. A suspect could be a person walking slowly down a street like a window shopper but looking at the rooftops instead, or someone wearing a bulky coat in summer, or allowing a cell phone charger to dangle out of her knapsack. Chemical stains on clothes or heavy sweating are other signs of a terrorist. When these signs are observed, and the person fails to heed a cop's warning, she can be shot dead in the head. The Capitol police, who long have had the reputation of being a bunch of armed maniacs, now follow this policy.
Bush's opponents try to edge him toward leaving Iraq with calls for an exit policy. But there are signs that he's already decided to get out. General George Casey, the top American commander in Iraq, told reporters in late July, "I do believe that if the political process continues to go positively, if the developments with the [Iraqi] security forces continue to go as it is going, I do believe we will still be able to make fairly substantial reductions after these [December] elections, in the spring and summer of next year." In Britain, Tony Blair's government is preparing to withdraw.
There are even signs that Republican dissidents are sheepishly coming home. Ohio GOP senator George Voinovich, who agonized and then opposed John Bolton, and was unhappy when Bush gave him a recess appointment as U.N. ambassador, now seeks to embrace Bolton as a Christian act. The senator is sending Bolton a copy of one of his favorite books, The Heart and Soul of Effective Management, by business consultant James F. Hind. It urges corporate executives to take the Christian way and says things like "The corporate culture of Christ was built around concern and care for others, not himself" and "Power can be good or evil, according to the heart of the person who used it. This is management at its best."
Voinovich was quoted as saying, "I hope that Bolton will read it and put it into practice. I also hope that Bolton will take seriously his role as a public diplomat representing our country."
Bush and 'intelligent design'
Last week, in an interview with Texas reporters, Bush answered a question about "intelligent design" by referring obliquely back to his time as governor, saying, "I felt like both sides ought to be taught." Pressed by a reporter whether both evolution and intelligent design should be taught, Bush indicated yes, adding, "So people can understand what the debate is about." And later, The New York Times reported, he said, "You're asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, and the answer is yes."
In Dover, Pennsylvania, next month the issue will come to a head in what some are calling "Scopes 2." It's an ACLU court challenge to a school district's decision to require "intelligent design" 's being taught as an alternative to evolution.
As for evolution, Henry Kelly, president of the Federation of American Scientists, argued in an interview last week, "Evolution is extraordinary in that it's the most robust theory in the history of science. It's 150 years old and it extended into a world on a molecular level. Darwin had never heard of DNA, but it is precisely what the theory of evolution would have predicted."