The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Thursday, June 24, 2004  

Together With Media Miscellany

Iacocca’s On Board [*]
Former Chrysler Corp. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Lee Iacocca this afternoon publicly endorsed the presidential candidacy of Sen. John F. Kerry. Iacocca was a prominent backer of President George W. Bush during the still widely disputed 2000 election.

Sitting President Questioned by U.S. Attorney [*]
Bringing still more shame upon the integrity of the Oval Office, President George W. Bush today was questioned for more than an hour by U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald and his associates in the ongoing Justice Department investigation into the White House leak, through right-wing columnist Robert Novak, of the name of a CIA operative, Valerie Plame, a flagrant violation of federal law apparently motivated by nothing other than a dirty attempt at revenge against the Plame’s husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson.

As the Associated Press observes: “The investigation has been an embarrassment for a president who promised to bring integrity and leadership to the White House after years of Republican criticism of the Clinton administration.”

Patients’ Bill of Rights [*]
Do HMO customers need and deserve a “patients’ bill of rights”? The Democratic Party does. Most Republicans don’t. You’re not going to get your rights by sitting there doing nothing. Do something!

It’s Not Over Until the Fat Man Sings
Secretive and wilting Vice President Dick Cheney and the gang “won” the latest round in Cheney v. U.S. District Court when the Supreme Court today refused to order the Bush administration to reveal secret details of Vice President Cheney’s mysterious and donor-heavy energy task force. But it’s not over yet. According to the Associated Press, the Justices in a 7-2 decision (Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and David H. Souter dissenting) said a lower court should consider whether the Federal Advisory Committee Act could be used to make the task force documents public.

Larry Didn’t Get the Memo
It looks like Larry McMurtry, a novelist not on the regular payroll of the New York Times, didn’t get the memo. In a lengthy review of former President Bill Clinton’s memoirs in today’s paper, McMurtry writes: “William Jefferson Clinton’s My Life is, by a generous measure, the richest American presidential autobiography -- no other book tells us as vividly or fully what it is like to be president of the United States for eight years.”

It’s a good thing Michiko Kakutani called in sick today.

Florida is a Blue State
The Republicans are worried about Florida. How can you tell? They’re playing kooky Cuba politics with educational programs that send American students to the island. The Associated Press reports:

[T]rips [to Cuba] are expected to drop dramatically after new U.S. measures aimed at pushing out Cuban leader Fidel Castro and squeezing the island’s economy take effect on June 30.

Despite a restrictive U.S. travel ban, American universities with a U.S. government license can bring undergraduate and graduate students for study programs generally lasting from a week to a month. But under the new rules, such trips must be at least 10 weeks long -- a requirement critics say will make it impossible for many students to study here.

The Bush administration, relying on recommendations from the U.S. Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba, is concerned students and professors are abusing current travel regulations and engaging in “disguised tourism.”

The A.P. reports one example of spring-break madness in Castro’s tourist paradise:

A group of 19 graduate students from Tulane University spent two weeks here in June studying Cuba’s public health system. They spent time with children with Down’s Syndrome at a mental health center, visited a maternity home for pregnant women with high risks, and traveled to a rural clinic in central Cuba. They learned about alternative medicine, biotechnology development and the country’s battle with HIV and AIDS.

Sounds like a blast. Can’t have that kind of thing happening, can we?

Still Watching After All These Years
I can’t decide whether Human Rights Watch has the most interesting or the most depressing web site in the world.

[* Note: Additional items may be posted to “Political Notes” after initial publication but only on the day of publication, excluding post-publication addenda.]

| HOME |

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |