FUBAR

Don’t close Gitmo: Expand it!

President Bush and his appointees should yank their tails from between their legs, stand up, and fight for Guantanamo.

While suspected al Qaeda associates deployed their Mercedes-Benz bombs in London last week, Congressional Democrats announced plans to halve Gitmo’s funding. On June 29, as alleged Muslim terrorists prepared to ignite their Jeep Cherokee bomb the next day at Glasgow’s airport, the Supreme Court announced it would hear fresh Gitmo lawsuits.

While human-rights groups holler for Guantanamo’s closure, the administration whispers the same message.

Striking a blow for free speech

Conventional wisdom is already gathering around the idea that the U.S. Supreme Court took a sharp conservative turn last week as it completed its latest term. But at least one of the cases cited in that analysis does not support the conclusion.

In Federal Elections Commission v. Wisconsin Right to Life, the court’s 5-4 ruling breathed new life into the First Amendment, finding that Congress had overstepped its authority to regulate political speech.

For GOP, payback will be a bitch

Long after President George W. Bush has retired to his Texas ranch, his fellow Republicans may have to deal with Hispanic voter backlash over his failed immigration reform.

In 2008, in presidential and congressional elections, Latino voters, an increasingly important demographic in US politics, will get their first chance to hand out blame for the collapse of the sweeping immigration bill last week.

Love & marriage? No kidding around

First comes love, then comes marriage — but these two things are no longer inextricably linked to nor necessarily followed by “the baby carriage.”

A new poll by the Pew Research Center finds that Americans are de-linking children as the sine qua non of successful marriages. In fact, they now tell pollsters they rate “having children” as the ninth most important out of 10 markers of successful marriages.

Land of the unfree

America is about slavery. It was this grotesque, anti-human institution that shaped our Constitution, and it was slavery that formed some of our most basic attitudes about government, producing destructive political behavior to this very day.

You can believe that story if you choose this Fourth of July week, or you can believe something else: that the historians who give vent to it are bunkum artists whose sensational revisionism achieves the double objective of getting them noticed and of debasing this remarkable land in which we live.

July 4th: Reflection & renewal

The Fourth of July celebrates community, local as well as national. Parades featuring people in uniform — scouts, firefighters and police as well as the military and others — traditionally are a fixture. Military uniforms remind us of the role of war in our history — and our present.

From ancient times, parades have been vital to the reintegration of warriors into society. War is profoundly disruptive and disturbing as well as dangerous. Even the rare man who finds combat invigorating and rewarding is in severe need of an honoring welcome after the killing ends.

Coverups spawn more coverups

On the night he became president of the United States under the most unprecedented of circumstances, Gerald Ford stood in the East Room of what was officially his new home and nailed the essence of governance in a single sentence: “I believe that truth is the glue that holds government together …” By that standard, the government of President Bush and Vice President Cheney came unglued long ago.

Is the Secret Service stretched too thin?

These are hectic times at the U.S. Secret Service, which faces a big-time security strain as the 2008 presidential campaign heats up.

The agency is planning to hire and train 103 agents to protect President Bush when he leaves office Jan. 20, 2009. And the scramble to replace him is expected to put an unprecedented burden on the Secret Service, which is already spending $44,000 a day on around-the-clock security for Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.

Public fed up with Bush & Congress

Like twin Jacques Cousteaus of the political world, President Bush and Congress are probing the depths of public opinion polling as voters exasperated over Iraq, immigration and other issues give them strikingly low grades.

In a remarkable span, the approval that people voice for the job Bush is doing has sunk to record lows for his presidency in the AP-Ipsos and other polls in recent weeks, dipping within sight of President Nixon’s levels during Watergate. Ominously for Republicans hoping to hold the White House and recapture Congress next year, Bush’s support has plunged among core GOP groups like evangelicals, and pivotal independent swing voters.

Congress is doing about the same. Like Bush, lawmakers are winning approval by roughly three in 10. Such levels are significantly low for a president, and poor but less unusual for Congress.

A challenging time for our military

With little fanfare, in 2000 the U.S. Military Academy abandoned the Army Mule, its mascot since 1893, and reassumed its historical mascot, the Black Knight.

In the late 19th century nearly every soldier was familiar with mules, the ambiguous, long-eared offspring of a donkey and a horse. This sterile, double-natured beast performed much of our country’s hard labor in pre-mechanized days. Its virtues were catalogued by novelist William Faulkner: The mule was powerful, rugged, dependable and tenacious, able to bear almost any burden and endure nearly any abuse.