By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
By Roy Edroso
By Jon Campbell
By Albert Samaha
By Zachary D. Roberts
WASHINGTON, D.C.Here in la-la land, life proceeds as usual. Hundreds of thousands running from Category 4 Hurricane Rita in Texas? The threat of another killer storm swamping cities and the federal budget? Renewed questions about the role of global warming in the recent natural disasters? You wouldnt know it inside the Beltway.
There was a nice book party a couple of nights ago for Jesse Helms, across the river in Virginia. Jerry Falwell said that next to Ronald Reagan, Helms was the greatest man around. Right wingers are a little worried about all the commies and queers pouring into town for Saturdays march, whom John Tierney of the Institute for World Politics described to the Washington Times as ideologically very hard core left.
The conservative controlled Congress sent a tough message to hurricane evacuees, current and future, by setting into motion plans to finance the Presidents hurricane bailout by cutting Amtrak, U.N. contributions, raising Medicare costs, and postponing the new drug programall under the rubric of making hard choices.
The cuts in social services amount to $340 billion over 10 years, said Robert Greenstein, head of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities ,a Washington think tank that follows social welfare legislation. Nearly 40 percent of the savings in the package would come from cuts in assistance for Americas low-income citizensincluding children and seniors.
Meanwhile, the right-wing Congress and Bush will keep the new all tax cuts for the wealthy in place. They will also extend a 50 percent tax break to casinos rebuilding in Mississippi.