The Spectacle Blog

Re: The Next (Bad) Dubai Deal

By on 3.21.06 | 4:50PM

Jed, for what it's worth from the peanut gallery, I'm not sure that the Doncasters buy is a problem. How will they have a view inside the Joint Strike Fighter program?

The Post's report on it earlier this month explained what Doncasters specializes in:

Doncasters' expertise is in forging, fabrication, machining and alloy production. The company owns a plant that makes aerospace turbine blades and components in Farmington, Conn.; a turbine and generator plant in Rincon, Ga.; a steel foundry in Springfield, Mass.; and a metal-rolling plant in Groton, Conn. The company's Web site says the Georgia and Connecticut plants manufacture "engine ready airfoils," for aircraft, helicopter and tank engines.

I'd really like to learn more about this, because my impression from this article is that Doncasters manufactures and fabricates the steel parts for aircraft engines.

The Next (Bad) Dubai Deal

By on 3.21.06 | 3:50PM

I wasn't happy about the Dubai ports deal, given my lack of confidence in the Department of Homeland Security. But now I'm really upset that the Brit aerospace company - Doncasters - is about to be sold to Dubai.

Doncasters is - according to this FT report -- a supplier to very sensitive programs including the Joint Strike Fighter. I'll check with DoD and other sources. But I'm almost positive that we can't risk security by enabling Dubai interests to get a view inside programs such as that one. We cut the Israelis out of JSF as a penalty for their sales to China. I don't favor letting any nation into JSF or other weapon system programs if we can't be entirely certain of maintaining security. With Dubai, that's just not a good bet.

The Wonder of It All

By on 3.21.06 | 3:33PM

CJ -- Back in high school, we had various nicknames for people lacking various traits, whether physical or character-related: "The XXXX-less Wonder." Some were typically adolescent, but one example that's still repeatable is that we'd call somebody the "spineless wonder." Well, this President Bush is quite clearly the Vetoless Wonder. And that's one reason he has lost so much clout on Capitol Hill: because the solons there have no fear that he'll actually stop them from doing just about anything they darn well please. And from the sorry looks of things, they're right.

Re: Reason Not to Veto

By on 3.21.06 | 3:14PM

Could someone please help me understand what sort of "benchmark" the McCain-Feingold legislation met for this president when he signed it in 2002?

Is "Constitutionality" not among these "benchmarks"?

DeLay the Socialist

By on 3.21.06 | 2:20PM

Okay, that headline is a bit of an exaggeration, but the truth is that there is NOTHING in the past several years to show that the House leadership, including the supposedly conservative Tom DeLay, had a fiscally conservative bone in any of their respective (and sometimes corpulent) bodies. Hastert and DeLay gave the spenders (in this case, not the Appropriators but the Transpo guys) cover because the leaders themselves had their snouts buried in the slop tray. Frankly, it's been this way since the Fall of 1998, when Gingrich himself ordered the conservatives to tank on spending in order to hold the RINOs in line on the rules concerning the impeachment inquiry. I repeat that more than half of the congressional GOP members are utterly worthless -- or worse. Frankly, the entire Beltway GOP establishment, at both "ends" of Pennsylvania Avenue, has gone native. A pox on all their houses and their Houses.

Goin’ Down the Highway

By on 3.21.06 | 2:11PM

The situation is even worse than Quin and Dave have discussed. In private meetings with both House and Senate leaders before the notorious "Highway Bill" reached markup status, senior White House officials, and perhaps even the President, made clear that they expected a bill to come in at around $256 billion.

"We made it clear that if the bill did not come in at that level, then the President would veto it," says a former legislative lobbyist for the White House. "It was an outright threat."

So what do the House and Senate leaders do? They ignore the White House. Why? "Because we had made the threat before and never once followed through. They knew they could roll us. And they did," says the lobbyist.

One of the problems with raising the limit was that Congressional leaders Frist, Hastert and DeLay went back to the White House with the numbers. Perhaps had chairmen of the appropriate committees been required to go tell the President his spending limits were being busted, things would have turned out differently. But when someone is giving you cover, it's easy to do what you want to do.

Re: Ford Boycott

By on 3.21.06 | 1:47PM

Dave: When they stop making SVT Mustang Cobras, then I'll join the boycott. And not a millisecond before.

Ford Boycott

By on 3.21.06 | 12:21PM

Ford Motor Co. is funding pro-gay marriage groups again, so social conservatives have launched a boycott, reports Human Events.

Stable and expensive

By on 3.21.06 | 10:47AM

Dave -- Good reporting on the press conference. One note: In the year before the one in which the highway bill was passed, Bush had set the target even lower: $256 billion. So he moved the target not twice, but thrice. Now, as for Bush bragging that he has a "stable" administration: That's precisely part of the problem, on two levels. First, in the meaning of "stable" that he intended, the problem is that the administration is so stable that it has calcified. There's no new blood, no fresh ideas, nobody to break the insularity, because they all seem to live in a hermetically sealed environment. If Maxwell Smart's "cone of silence" actually worked, the administration would be inside of it right now, hearing only its own words in an echo chamber. Which is why so much has gone wrong, even from a president whose basic instincts on most things (spending obviously aside, because his instincts on that front just stink) are conservative. That's what brings up the other meaning of stable, which is a place where horses are kept. Well, sometimes a stable needs to be aired out.

Reason Not to Veto

By on 3.21.06 | 10:07AM

Bush says he hasn't vetoed a bill because "they met the benchmarks we set."

That's false by any common sense understanding of truth.

The back story of the highway bill is that the White House moved the goalposts. It set a benchmark for the highway bill at $270 billion. When it was clear Congress would overspend that, the White House moved the benchmark to $284 billion. Bush said he would veto any bill exceeding that cost. The highway bill exceeded even that higher spending ceiling, and President Bush signed it anyway.