Politics

Before I Continue, Let Me Just Say Bush Bush Bush

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Nick already blogged the former surgeon general's testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, but a passage in The New York Times' account of the hearing is juicy enough to deserve a post of its own:

Dr. Carmona said he was ordered to mention President Bush three times on every page of his speeches. He also said he was asked to make speeches to support Republican political candidates and to attend political briefings.

And administration officials even discouraged him from attending the Special Olympics because, he said, of that charitable organization's longtime ties to a "prominent family" that he refused to name.

"I was specifically told by a senior person, 'Why would you want to help those people?'" Dr. Carmona said.

The Special Olympics is one of the nation's premier charitable organizations to benefit disabled people, and the Kennedys have long been deeply involved in it.

When asked after the hearing if that "prominent family" was the Kennedys, Dr. Carmona responded, "You said it. I didn't."

To be fair, it's possible that when the official asked why Carmona would want to help "those people," he was referring to the Special Olympians.

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  1. I think the upside of this whole thing is that it shows that these ‘official’ positions of leadership are all hollow bullshit, basically tools for the admin to make statements about itself.

    That line “those people”… is so emblematic of US politics. Its sad that people can’t at least agree to be nonpartisan when it comes to retards.

  2. *Resists urge to say that Ted Kennedy may actually be a special olypmian.*

    Whoops.

  3. And administration officials even discouraged him from attending the Special Olympics……

    I’m not buying. Even Voldemort donates and keeps his luxury box at the Special Olympics.

    To be fair, it’s possible that when the official asked why Carmona would want to help “those people,” he was referring to the Special Olympians.

    Splattered coffee, dude, that was funny. Yer gonna get emails, Jesse.

    It amazes me that you guys continue to be amazed that everything in DC is political. There is no surprise there. It’s all about spin and PR.

    Some people are better at it than others. Old Teflon Ronnie Rayguns was able to deflect every rotten tomato thrown. Clinton was good at it too. Bush, well, he’s pretty much like a Bushitler in a China Shop. No finesse. Plus nobody likes him and he’s an easy target.

  4. Look,when you take a job with any President you voice and support his veiws,not yours.That’s part of’serving at the pleasure’,so don’t be suprised

  5. This shocks me. No it doesn’t. It bores me.

  6. Six wins the thread to date.

  7. “To be fair, it’s possible that when the official asked why Carmona would want to help “those people,” he was referring to the Special Olympians.”

    Gotta dig the best case scenario on that one!

    I can hear Bush Administration bulldogs quoting Clinton Administration bulldogs now…

    “Everyone else has done it.”

  8. Couldn’t he print his speeches in size 8 font, single spaced, with no margins?

  9. To be fair, it’s possible that when the official asked why Carmona would want to help “those people,” he was referring to the Special Olympians.

    Precisely so. Helping them would be just another example of the soft bigotry of low expectations. Contact the White House immediately, Mr. Walker, for your first speech writing assignment. 🙂

  10. Bloo (Cartman) has opinions about the Special Olympics…

    but Jimmy (hier) rises and falls…

  11. Psssst…

    Surgeon General is a Political position.

  12. When the official asked why Carmona would want to help “those people,” he said “I’m trying not to, but they keep elicting sympathy from people. Some of these retards are extremely clever.

  13. Why do we have a Surgeon General anyway? Some goofball puts on a military style outfit with more ribbons than General Patton and admonishes us not to smoke and to look both ways before crossing the street. About as much use as teats on a boar pig…or Chertoff and Homeland Security.

  14. Okay, got it. It is a political position. I think the problem is the “help those people” portion. Who blackballs the Special Olympics?

  15. Why do we need a surgeon general anyway? I mean come on…surgeons are the least likely of the medical profession to assess the facts on health policy for the rest of US…

    To wit:
    Three doctors are in the duck blind and a bird flies overhead. The general practitioner looks at it and says, “Looks like a duck, flies like a duck … it’s probably a duck,” shoots at it but misses and the bird flies away.

    The next bird flies overhead, and the pathologist looks at it, then looks through the pages of a bird manual, and says, “Hmmmm … green wings, yellow bill, quacking sound … might be a duck.” He raises his gun to shoot it, but the bird is long gone.

    A third bird flies over. The surgeon raises his gun and shoots almost without looking, brings the bird down, and turns to the pathologist and says, “Go see if that was a duck.”

  16. Oh wait…you mean the surgeon general isn’t actually, um, a surgeon?

  17. I’ve never heard anything about the Kennedy’s being especially connected to the Special Olympics. That’s not to suggest that it isn’t true–I’m sure it is–but I doubt they gain much traction if the surgeon general attends a function. Either this guy is a disgruntled liar or the administration is even more paranoid than I thought.

    We now have had two consecutive presidents who had maturity issues. We need a new generation of leaders.

  18. We need to come up with a slogan. You know, like “Life is like a box of chocolates.”, or “Take my hands, boss.” like that monster tard off of “Green Mile.”

    What? Since when did “tard” become politically incorrect?

  19. We now have had two consecutive presidents who had maturity issues. We need a new generation of leaders.

    I agree. I just don’t know if we can wait 20 years.

  20. And it seems like just yesterday that Bush mocked a 13 year old girl in front of cameras and an audience of hundreds…

    If someone was to predict a 48 hour span like this a few years ago, I’d have dismissed him/her as a BDS sufferer.

    I can’t wait to see what he will do for us tomorrow. Putting spokes into wheelchairs? Maybe he’ll invite Warren Beatty over for a news conference and make him “squeal like a pig”. (Yes, I know Beatty wasn’t the one who did that in the movie, but I figure Bush will decide that it’s his time.)

  21. I think the Kennedys association with the Special Olympics dates back to their guilt over that unfortunate lobotomy incident; you know, the one where Rosemary accidentally backed her brain into a surgeon’s ice pick.

  22. “monster tard”?

    wow. what a combo of words!

  23. Oh wait…you mean the surgeon general isn’t actually, um, a surgeon?

    Or a general. Like when you open a box of Grape Nuts…no grapes, no nuts.

  24. OK,Bush tells his SG not to get involved with the Special Olympics because of a connection to the Kennedy’s, but Bush let Ted Kennedy write a goodly portion of the “No Child Left Behind” bill and more recently haevily backed the immigration bill Kennedy was one of the named sponsors of?

    Either the administration has a split personality with regards to the Kennedy’s or what Carmona’s saying is bogus.

  25. Psssst…

    Surgeon General is a Political position.

    This is how we can expect these people to behave. When appointing someone to a position with a great deal of authority and responsiblity over government operations, they will put partisan politics first, and the ability and willingness to handle the nonpartisan tasks of governance come last, if they’re thought of at all.

    They tell you this themselves – it is ok to lean on the Surgeons General, or US Attorneys, like this. It is, in fact, how they are supposed to be treated, and how they are supposed to perform. Because their positions are characterized as “political appointments” rather than “civil service positions,” they will be staffed by partisan operatives, who will be given marching orders that emphasize advancing partisan interests. These people not only operate like this, they state it openly.

  26. Who blackballs the Special Olympics?

    Exactly. Nobody does.

  27. The Censor would never put up with these kinds of political shenanigans.

    You know, MJ, there’s something to what you say. Teddy and George have had their own little bipartisan love fest over the years. Hmm. Must be a gay thing.

  28. So, let me get this straight: I’m being asked to decide whether Richard Carmona is more or less credible than Bush/Cheney, and the main reason given to disbelieve him is that he has accused them of doing immoral things with a high degree of partisanship?

    Nah, they wouldn’t do that. Seriously, does that sound like the Bush/Cheney/Rove White House to you?

  29. I’ve never heard anything about the Kennedy’s being especially connected to the Special Olympics.

    Somewhere along the line is a Kennedy who was developmentally disabled. As a result, the Kennedy family have done a lot to highlight the special needs of people with mental retardation.

    I suppose it’s the one thing I don’t find utterly loathsome about them.

  30. Why are we caring about this?

    I know it’s been mentioned before, but I think it should be brought up again when this topic comes up…

    SENIOR WHITE HOUSE OFFICIALS ARE REFUSING TO TESTIFY UNDER OATH

    Isn’t this obstruction of justice? What are they hiding?!?

    AGHHH! I don’t care if the SG has to dance a little jig every time he says Bush’s name. These guys are committing crimes!

  31. mediageek,

    My less-than-total recall seems to confirm this recollection of yours. In fact, I seem to remember that there was more than one.

  32. Wow, and now that I’ve read the Wikipedia article on Rosemary Kennedy, I have to recant my previous statement.

    NPR can suck it for making them sound so high-minded and altruistic.

  33. Media, Holy Crap, that is HORRIBLE! WTF is wrong with all those people? That’s the most depressing thing I’ve read in weeks.

    You raise the blade, you make the change
    You re-arrange me ’til I’m sane.
    You lock the door
    And throw away the key

  34. Breaking…breaking…

    This just in: the state of neurology and psychiatry in the 1950s was inferior to what is known today, leading doctors and patients to endorse practices that have since been discreditted…

    You know, I heard that George Washington once approved of a doctor putting leeches on one of his children. That son of a bitch!

  35. Um…actually leaches are still used medically in certain cases, also maggots.

  36. “””It amazes me that you guys continue to be amazed that everything in DC is political.”””

    Don’t count me as a “you guys”. I get semi-offended when someone say a politician is “playing” politics. We pay those SOBs, they don’t PLAY politics, they WORK politics.

  37. I’m watching Robert Kennedy right now, and he obviously has some sort of disability. As a parent of a future special olympian, I’ll continue to support the organization, and appreciate all the donations the Kennedy clan contributes despite my GOP leanings. I’ll even say Fuck Bush on this one.

  38. ktc2,

    Lobotomies are still used medically in certain cases. Electro-convulsive therapy, too.

    Just not like they used to be.

  39. We pay those SOBs, they don’t PLAY politics, they WORK politics

    Tricky, while I agree with you in spirit, the reality is that everything in DC is politics and spin and PR.

    I may be perpetually outraged–maybe I need a prefrontal lobotomy–except a bottle in front of me seems to work better [apologies to Tom Waits]–but I am never surprised that some politico is elbowing his way to the front and shouting lookit me. Literally or figuratively or using the Surgeon General to do so.

    I don’t mean we have to like it, just we need to understand that just because it doesn’t make the NYT front page (above the fold) that it is still happening. Every day. Every hour.

    Which is why we need to scale the scope of the feds back to about 1886 levels.

  40. This just in: the state of neurology and psychiatry in the 1950s was inferior to what is known today, leading doctors and patients to endorse practices that have since been discreditted…

    Swear To GAWD?

    It’s still the most depressing thing I’ve read in weeks.

    Besides, even in those days, performing a lobotomy on a retarded person was considered medical malpractice.

    “We put an instrument inside,” he said. As Dr. Watts cut, Dr. Freeman put questions to Rosemary. For example, he asked her to recite the Lord’s Prayer or sing “God Bless America” or count backwards. … “We made an estimate on how far to cut based on how she responded.” … When she began to become incoherent, they stopped.

    How do you feel when you are finished having your daughter’s brains scrambled?

  41. joe: What would a year-2007, physician-approved “lobotomy” entail? Would this be the removal of a normal portion of the brain or just of some cells within it? In short, why would it be called a “lobotomy” and not just “surgery”?

    (I’m not being snarky, I’m genuinely short of knowledge on this topic)

  42. HUMPERDINK!!!!!

    HUMPERDINK HUMPERDINK HUMPERDINK

  43. TWC,

    Yes, depressing as hell.

    I imagine that one feels like shit in that circumstance.

    David Ross,

    Beats me.

  44. C. Everett Koop is rolling in his grave.

  45. David Ross writeS: “What would a year-2007, physician-approved “lobotomy” entail? Would this be the removal of a normal portion of the brain or just of some cells within it? In short, why would it be called a “lobotomy” and not just “surgery”?”

    Note that even a ‘lobotomy’ wasn’t the removal of a ‘lobe’, just mechanically causing localized damage. Often with an icepick-type instrument inserted through thin bone in the back of the eye socket.

    In severe cases of epilepsy, surgeons will remove sizeable portions of the brain (the areas where the seizures originate). There have been reports of neighboring areas eventually starting to pick up the

    In children with truly severe epilepsy, surgeons will sever the corpus callosum, a thick highway of nerves that connects the two hemispheres of the brain. That leaves the person pretty much normal, unless you test things in such a way that differentiates the hemispheres. If an object is hidden from the side of the brain that handles speech, and the patient is asked about the object, he’ll say there is no object, but would write a perfect description. Or something like that, I may have mixed something up. That’s the general idea. It’s freaky.

    In even more severe cases, surgeons will remove an entire hemisphere of the brain (hemispherectomy). According to wikipedia, the space left by a full hemispherectomy is problematic so nowadays they remove a temporal lobe (on the side) but not the one that controls speech; they cut the corpus callosum, and the disconnect some other lobes on the same side but leave them in place.

    When done to a child, the remaining brain will take over for the removed brain tissue. The younger the kid is, the better the recovery is likely to be.

    For finer modifications, there are any number of ways of creating a tiny lesion in the brain (ie, killing the cells). A very thin probe can be inserted to a precise location and used to freeze a tiny spot. Or it could inject a small amount of neurotoxic substance (that might only be done on lab animals, though.)

    Hm. A lot of our vets from Iraq and Afghanistan are coming back with what are essentially randomized lobotomies, where the damage is not done at a surgically selected location.

    I wonder how long it’ll be before someone lobbies for stem cell research in order to obtain brain stem cells to, perhaps, fill the gaps left by injury and give them a shot at recovering like a child treated for epilepsy whose brain is still highly plastic.

  46. One has to wonder where Bush’s approval ratings would be without this relentless PR campaign.

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