Dick "Five Deferments" Cheney, our heroic vice president, cut short his trip to inspire the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, to return home in case his vote was needed as a tiebreaker in the Senate. The vote was needed to insure that the tax breaks for those most able to pay would stand, while programs designed to help the least able were cut, in order to balance the budget. Not that it will even come close to doing that. His vote might also be needed to help Senator Ted "Bridge to Nowhere" Stevens open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as a welfare program for Big Oil, and to turn Alaska into a welfare state even greater than the earlier oil drilling already has.
While Dick was doing this patriotic duty, he defended the president's domestic spying as returning rightful powers to the Executive Branch, powers that have been eroded ever since Watergate. Don't you feel safer knowing that this patriotic citizen is on the job protecting us from terrorists, foreign and domestic? He also said that those who question these policies may well pay a political price meaning at the next election, I assume. Karl Rove, get busy with your poison pen.
This group of courageous leaders has done a great job of commingling religion (Christianity) and patriotism. Their scorched earth approach to the environment continues to depend on a finite supply of oil as the answer to our long term energy needs. If, as some believe, the end is nigh, in a Biblical sense, it will probably work. If they should turn out to be wrong, however, and the planet keeps on spinning, we're going to be in a world of hurt.
We rebelled against the policies of George III because, among other things, he established taxes without our approval. Now, George II has decided he should spy on us for our own good
. I don't know if it's true, but I seem to remember that George Washington was offered a crown during the early days of the Republic. He turned it down. Apparently, George Dubya has decided to accept it.
A Class Act
I read recently that the Navy is putting its last two battleships out to pasture. The Iowa and the Wisconsin are scheduled to become floating museums. I hadn't thought about battleships in a long time, but they were, at one time, the queens of the seas. If memory serves, the Iowa was the first of the new battleships built during World War II. The Panama Canal determined how wide they could be, but the new ones were much longer and faster than the ones sunk at Pearl Harbor. Overhead views showed them to be much sleeker and slimmer.
Again, if my memory is still working properly, the new group was originally referred to as the Iowa class of battleships. It is fitting that the first should be the last, the last one remaining that is. Iowa had the misfortune of having a president in office who hailed from Missouri, and when the battleship bearing that name was built, it became the poster child for the class. They were thereafter referred to, mistakenly, as the Missouri class. I have no idea when the Mighty Mo was decommissioned, but apparently it has been.
Battleships began to give way to aircraft carriers during the war. Rockets have given us more firepower than any cannon could deliver, and between the development of air power and rocketry, the battleship's fifteen-inch guns have become obsolete, or nearly so. Hence, the floating museums. I find it a little sad to contemplate their fate, but not nearly so sad as scrapping the Iowa might have been, or the Wisconsin for that matter. Long may they float.