Saturday, March 31, 2007

Bush’s AIDS Effort Limited by Restrictions

By DONALD G. McNEIL Jr. Published: March 31, 2007

President Bush’s $15 billion plan to fight AIDS globally is seriously hampered by restrictions imposed by Congress and the administration, a panel of medical experts said yesterday.

The country’s most prestigious medical advisory panel, the Institute of Medicine, was asked by Congress to assess the five-year plan at midway. The 13 members of the panel praised the efforts, saying the plan had “demonstrated what many doubted could be done.” But it needs to move from an emergency response to a long-term battle plan, the panel said, and its members listed these three restrictions that they felt were the most hindering:

¶The requirement that 33 percent of all money for prevention be spent teaching chastity and fidelity, even in countries where most cases are spread by drug injection.

¶The need for separate Food and Drug Administration approval of AIDS drugs that the World Health Organization has already approved.

¶Laws forbidding the use of taxpayer money to give clean needles to drug addicts.

Ruth Macklin, a bioethicist at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx and a panel member, called the restrictions “hamstrings or shackles,”…..

Another beneficial contribution from President Bush and the Republican religious right.

Friday, March 30, 2007


Some of the News
That may be True

Washington March 30 President Bush visits Walter Read. This was Mr. Bush's first visit since the scandal about the shoddy facilities and treatment had unfolded several months ago.

Acting Press Secretary Dana Perino noted, however, that, shortly after the news broke about the scandal, the President had looked at the location out the window of his airplane.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


John and Elizabeth Edwards have a given full, candid, and heartfelt account and explanation of their decision to continue the quest for the presidency despite the cancer threat to Mrs. Edwards. No one can reasonably doubt their sincerity in concluding that this route is best for them and for their belief that it could be best for the nation.

So what more need be asked about this personal decision? Nothing really, but the media seem determined to hype this story with reporters and pundits offering opinions and asking questions in poor taste. The hype is nowhere near the Anna Nicole Smith level, but the interrogation by Katie Curic on 60 Minutes went beyond the bounds of good taste and respect.

The Edwards demonstrated their love of family, each other, and the country. The media need to respect their judgment and refrain from further exploitation.

Monday, March 26, 2007


The Iraq invasion blunder has led to a seemingly unsolvable dilemma. Continue the debacle or withdraw and risk chaos in the region that we have made more dangerous.

Two obstacles repeatedly claimed by Republicans are clearly false. Setting a timetable will not amount to a signal for insurgents and other malcontents to lie low and plan their nasty deeds for the day we leave. What do we think they are doing now? Everyone knows that we will leave sometime and can plan for that. Moreover, withdrawal is not a one day affair; it will be planned for and executed over a period of time that can be used to hatch new plots.

Also, stopping combat in Iraq and "fighting them over there" will not keep them from "attacking us over here". First, the Iraqi civil war fighters are not going to swim over here to get us. Secondly, the real terrorists. in Iraq and elsewhere, are surely planning daily to do everything they can to harm us here.

So, what do we do now? The surge goes on and its results should be known by September. That is when withdrawal and redeployment should start. If the surge achieves some success, the Iraq government should be in a better position to govern and provide security. If the surge provides little or no improvement, we can conclude that there is no reasonable way that we can succeed in making work Iraq through our continued occupation. Iraq has a government. Leave Iraq to the Iraqis.

It is too bad that we can't trust this president to make intelligent decisions about Iraq. If possible, the funding on Iraq should be continued past September only if withdrawal and redeployment has begun. There is right now a seemingly irresolvable impass on funding conditions. Let's hope that a wise compromise can be reached, allowing for changes if on the ground conditions warrant, but keeping the pressure on for withdrawals in the Fall.

What is clear is that we must leave Iraq to the Iraqis, whether that leads to more internal strife or a united society. We will have to take on the burden of guarding against regional involvement.

It is also clear that we need to provide advice and financial support for reconstruction and funds to help refugees and others displaced as a result of our invasion and occupation. We owe Iraq this; what we don't owe Iraq are more American lives.

Sunday, March 25, 2007


Question: Will President award Gonazles with the Medal of Freedom before or after he is forced to resign?