Sunday, January 08, 2006

The Incompetence, The Corruption, and The Cronyism: Sunday, January 8, 2006

Rethugs in fine form this week:

The Incompetence:

The new Medicare drug plan is an unmitigated disaster. It's impossible to figure out. Seniors can't figure it out. Pharmacies can't figure it out either. As a result, they're refusing to give people their medications. People will die because of this simple fact: The Bush Administration is incompetent. They care more about ideology than good government, and as we saw during Hurricane Katrina, that's often fatal.

States Intervene After Drug Plan Hits Early Snags

WASHINGTON, Jan. 7 - Low-income Medicare beneficiaries around the country were often overcharged, and some were turned away from pharmacies without getting their medications, in the first week of Medicare's new drug benefit. The problems have prompted emergency action by some states to protect their citizens.

Although there are no hard numbers, concerns expressed by state officials and complaints from pharmacists suggest a widespread pattern of problems.

At least four states - Maine, New Hampshire, North Dakota and Vermont - acted this week to make sure poor people received the drugs they were promised but could not obtain through the federal Medicare program.

Gov. Jim Douglas of Vermont, a Republican, said the state would pay drug claims for low-income people until the federal government fixed problems in the new program, known as Part D of Medicare. Michael K. Smith, the state's secretary of human services, said, "The federal system simply is not working."

On Thursday, the Vermont Legislature passed a bill declaring, "There is a public health emergency due to the federal implementation of Medicare Part D, which has resulted in serious operational problems, causing Vermonters to be turned away at the pharmacy without the drugs they need."

The Corruption:

Tom Delay IS the King of All Corruption.

Ethics Issues Snared GOP's Champion
DeLay's Focus on Fundraising Powered Party Gains But Led to Problems

And slowly, Delay is drawing other Republicans down into his sinking ship:

A Donor Who Had Big Allies
DeLay and two others helped put the brakes on a federal probe of a businessman. Evidence was published in the Congressional Record

WASHINGTON — In a case that echoes the Jack Abramoff influence-peddling scandal, two Northern California Republican congressmen used their official positions to try to stop a federal investigation of a wealthy Texas businessman who provided them with political contributions.

Reps. John T. Doolittle and Richard W. Pombo joined forces with former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas to oppose an investigation by federal banking regulators into the affairs of Houston millionaire Charles Hurwitz, documents recently obtained by The Times show. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was seeking $300 million from Hurwitz for his role in the collapse of a Texas savings and loan that cost taxpayers $1.6 billion.

The investigation was ultimately dropped.

The Cronyism:

George Bush appoints unqualified Julie Myers to head the bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Here's the story, under a bad headline by the Times (surprised?) as criticism of this 36-year-old lawyer with no immigration and scant managerial experience is broad and bipartisan.

Democrats Criticize Appointment at Immigration Agency

Ms. Myers, who has held a variety of federal jobs over the last four years, drew attention because of her ties to the White House and some senior officials. She is a niece of Gen. Richard B. Myers, who recently stepped down as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the wife of John Wood, Mr. Chertoff's chief of staff.


Criticism of her nomination was not limited to the comments of Democrats. In September, National Review, an influential conservative publication, urged Mr. Bush to withdraw Ms. Myers's nomination. In an editorial, the magazine compared her to Mr. Brown and called her "another unqualified nominee for a vital position in the Department of Homeland Security."

In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for. As for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican.
H.L. Mencken

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