Monday, October 03, 2005

Vacancy and Then Some 

The best thing about President Bush's nomination of White House counsel Harriet Miers to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court: no one can possibly complain about the lack of a paper trail. Although Ms. Miers has never worked as a judge, nor argued a case before the Supreme Court, you will certainly learn all that you need to know about her acute legal mind and carefully-reasoned judicial philosophy by perusing the "Ask the White House" archives (here and here) at Whitehouse.gov:
Harriet Miers: Good afternoon! I am Harriet Miers, Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy for the President. I am pleased to be here to take your questions about President Bush's domestic policies. I know we have a lot of questions coming in. So why don't we get started.

Chris, from Germantown,TN writes: Mr. President I am 65 years old,Female, have a low paying job and a small social security check. What will your tax breaks do for me? So far, I have seen nothing from the tax break. My social security check has been reduced by $68.00. I am a republician, never voted a democratic ticket. Please address the issues that will help the average person.

Harriet Miers: Chris, the tax relief that the President proposed and the Congress passed has lowered the taxes for every American who pays income taxes and has entirely eliminated the tax burden of 5 million low-income Americans. The President’s efforts helped create a 10% tax bracket. His tax relief is helping the economy grow and has helped create more than 1.9 million new jobs since August 2003.

The President has also led the way in modernizing Medicare by adding a prescription drug benefit, increasing payments to rural hospitals, and providing preventative medical screenings. For more details on the improvements the President has made to Medicare check out the White House website (http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/08/20040811-3.html).

Joshua, from Albany, GA writes: how is Pres. Bush's plan for healthcare going to provide better healthcare policies, and extend coverage? In Britain they have national coverage. Why wouldn't that work here?

Harriet Miers: Thanks for the question, Joshua. The American medical system is the envy of the world because it provides the best care and provides patients with the most choices. The President firmly believes that medical decisions should be made by patients and their physician, not by government bureaucrats. President Bush has proposed a comprehensive and affordable plan to make health care more affordable and more accessible for all Americans. See my answer to the question from Justin from Oklahoma City for more details or http://www.whitehouse.gov/infocus/healthcare/. Have a great day!

hello, from goodbye writes: What would President Bush do to protect America from further terrorist attacks?

Harriet Miers: You have a very interesting name and a very good question! President Bush believes that his most solemn duty is to protect the American people. He wakes up every morning trying to figure out how to better protect America from attack, and he will never relent in defending the security of America. His strategy is clear. We're defending the homeland. We're transforming our military. We're strengthening our intelligence-gathering services. We're staying on the offensive. And we are striking the terrorists abroad so we do not have to face them here at home.

On national security and homeland security, President Bush has increased defense spending by more than one-third, which is the largest increase in a generation. He doubled investment in a missile defense system. The President has nearly tripled homeland security funding. And more than $18 billion has been awarded to state and local governments to protect the homeland.

If you would like to learn more about these efforts to make us all safer, here's a link for you to visit: http://www.whitehouse.gov/homeland/

Julie, from New Hampshire writes: Hi, I know that you are probably going to be bombarded with questions, so I will try to keep it short...Do you think that it would be possible to cut off oil imports from the Middle East and replace it with ANWR? Also, do you think that it would be a good idea to use ethanol as an additive? Thank you for your time.

Harriet Miers: Julie, that's a great question. As you probably know, the US Geological Survey estimated that there is between 5.7 million and 16 billion barrels of oil available in the Artic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), which could be accessed from about 2,000 acres of the 19,000,000 acre refuge. At its peak, production from ANWR would account for more than 20% of total U.S. oil production.

Environmentally responsible development of the resources in ANWR is one part of the President's comprehensive energy plan, which calls for a responsible mix of increased domestic energy production (like ANWR and clean coal), alternative and renewable fuels (like ethanol and biodiesel), and conservation and efficiency to reduce the growth of American energy consumption. The President's plan is essential to increasing America's energy security.

Jeff, from Groton, NY writes: Good afternoon Harriot. Thank you for taking my question. Why is it hard for your administration to get the word out that the economy is not bad at all. The current numbers look fantasitic. Why are people ignoring the fact that this President is doing a tremendous job with the economy?

Harriet Miers: Thank you for your question. The current numbers do look great, and we are encouraged the economy will continue to get better and better. As you probably know, though, we are not going to be satisfied until every American who wants a job can get one. We have seen signs recently that people across the Nation are learning more and more that the economy is strong and getting stronger. That is encouraging also. Thanks for helping us get the word out by sending your great question. For more, www.whitehouse.gov/economy.

Amy, from Tulsa, OK writes: There are four women from Tulsa who are making a "Barney Pillow" for Laura.

We love Barney and the First Family so much we wanted to send them something they all would enjoy. Please be watching the mail delivery as it should arrive about Nov. 1st if all goes as planned. Right now we are getting the right color trim for it. We think Barney loves red.

Harriet Miers: We all love Barney, too. I am sure you check out Barney's website to see the photo of the day. Today he is in outer space! We better get him back before the President returns to the White House or we will be in big trouble. Thank you for thinking about the President and Mrs. Bush.

Harriet Miers: I very much appreciate all the very good questions I received today. We have discussed some critic questions for our people and Nation. Thanks to all of those who wrote and those of you who have been following along. I hope you have a great rest of the week. Harriet
No one can deny that we will be fortunate indeed to have Ms. Miers serving on the highest court in the land for the rest of her natural life. You may, however, be surprised to learn that Mr. Bush originally planned to nominate another, equally-qualified candidate who was, for personal reasons, unfortunately compelled to withdraw her name from consideration. Although it is pointless to dwell on what might have been, you may sample some of her extremely influential legal writings here:
Dear Heloise: Following a hurricane and/or flood, what should I do to get rid of the nasty stench of death in my pantry? My husband expects a nice hot meal on the table when he gets home from a long day's work skimming the chemical scum off Lake Pontchartrain, but I find it hard to adjust the seasoning properly when I am fighting back the urge to gag. Signed, Holding My Nose in New Orleans

Heloise: After a Hurricane has run its course, the insurance adjusters have come and gone and it’s time to start the cleanup process, here are a few helpful hints.

If you lost electricity and the food in your freezer probably spoiled, here’s what to do.
  • Wash the freezer with a strong solution of baking soda and water (5 to 6 tablespoons per quart of warm water) or use baking soda directly on a damp sponge. Allow to air out with the door open for a while.

  • For lingering odor, try placing cat box filler or activated charcoal (the kind used in aquariums) in a small open box (a shoe box is perfect) in the freezer. Close the freezer and let it sit for a couple of days before removing.

  • If any odor is still hanging around, as a last-ditch effort, you might want to consider using a dry-chemical fire extinguisher. Simply spray it into the freezer, close the door and wait a few days. Clean the freezer and let it air out for a while before refilling.
Need some help getting those dirty windows clean? Make a special window cleaning formula, mix 1 cup of vinegar in 1/2 gallon of hot water.

Now to get started, wipe the windows to remove any dust. Remember that wet dust will become mud.

Spray the window with the cleaning formula you prepared. Now wipe the windows down with a squeegee or crumpled newspaper.

When doing exterior windows, a garden hose and mop can be invaluable. First rinse, then use a mop to wash using the window-cleaning formula. For a final rinse, simply hose the windows off.

For best results, don’t wash a window when the sun is shining on it or during the hottest part of the day, because this can cause streaking.

Good luck with all your cleanup efforts, and be sure to send me any questions you have that I didn’t answer to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Texas 78279. Due to the large quantities of mail my office receives, I can’t answer all your letters personally, but will try to answer as many as possible in my newspaper column.
And don't forget: Mr. Bush may yet have the chance to nominate a third Supreme Court justice. Visit our august colleague Swopa at Needlenose to find out which candidate has the inside track.

(Thanks to Tim Grieve of Salon's War Room for the link.)

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