From the speech Bush gave on Thursday, which was statecraft as stagecraft. The electricity for Bush's visit was turned on 30 minutes before his speech (his advance team brought military generaters to light the area) and turned off again after he left, to audible groans.Mercury News:
For most Americans, the tidy, historic backdrop to the president’s speech won’t correspond with the images of destruction they’ve seen from New Orleans. But like much of the French Quarter, Jackson Square never flooded, and it saw only moderate wind damage from Katrina. ...
Crews had begun to tidy up the square by Tuesday and continued that work Thursday afternoon. At least a dozen trees fell inside the square during the storm, but other than fresh stumps, there were no limbs, leaves or debris left inside.
Outside the main entrance, dozens of brown trash bags were filled with leaves and other debris. Dozens more were stacked behind the main entrance. Advance crews set up floodlights to illuminate the statue of Andrew Jackson for Bush’s speech, as well as the Cathedral of St. Louis in the background.
Bush plans to earmark $50 million dollars for private school vouchers.
The Bush administration yesterday proposed nearly $500 million in federal funding to help displaced private school students from the Gulf Coast enroll in private schools elsewhere in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
The proposal, fleshing out a goal President Bush had announced in a speech to the nation Thursday night, would amount to the largest federal school voucher program ever, if enacted. A groundbreaking school voucher program in the District receives about $14 million a year in federal funding.
Italy and Norway are continuing to withdraw troops from Iraq. 1899 US military have died so far.
Italy-Premier Silvio Berlusconi on Friday declared Italy's mission in Iraq "an absolute and total" success, and said Italy would continue to reduce its military presence there.
Berlusconi said Italy now has 2,900 troops in southern Iraq and noted that the withdrawal would continue gradually in consultation with allies and the Iraqi government.
Norway-Stoltenberg took the opportunity to assure Bush that Norway would continue its existing defense and security policy under the new left-center coalition, and take part in the global struggle against terrorism - but that they would also be withdrawing their remaining officers in Iraq
Government is raising Medicare premiums again
Senior citizens and the disabled will have to pay a monthly Medicare premium of $88.50 next year for doctor's visits and other services, a $10.30 boost in the fee.
The 13.2 percent increase in premiums for Medicare Part B was in line with what government actuaries had been predicting. Even so, the Bush administration tried to lessen the pain of the announcement by touting the prescription drug benefit that begins Jan. 1.
Governor Jeb Bush's son was arrested for drunkenness and resisting arrest in Austin.
It's not the first time Florida's first family has experienced legal problems with one of their children.
Noelle Bush, the governor's daughter, was arrested in January 2002 and accused of trying to pass a fraudulent prescription at a pharmacy to obtain the anti-anxiety drug Xanax. She completed a drug rehabilitation program in August 2003 and a judge dismissed the drug charges against her.