Monday, March 20, 2006

Got a stick?

Then get it out, because tonight we have more stories than you can shake a stick at.

First, from The Legislative Gazette, this report on last week's Public Policy Day.

Then we have this from Gannett News Service Bureau Chief Jay Gallagher, who was not impressed when Albany’s legislative "conference committees" met, ostensibly to discuss the New York budget.
Because while the sessions have been billed as an important reform in "opening up the process," they were for the most part a sham, as they have been in past years, with little of real importance taking place.

The federal budget process was the subject of this editorial from The Washington Post:
WHAT WOULD IT take to get the federal budget in balance -- honest, no-gimmick, no-fooling balance -- without raising taxes? This is a question the Bush administration would prefer not to discuss, and for good reason: It would require cuts so deep and wide as to be unimaginable as a matter of politics and unwise as a matter of policy.

How can we be sure? Well, the Republican Study Committee, a group of conservative House members, has produced an alternative budget that treads where Bush will not. And it is a helpful document, not in the sense of being realistic but for exposing the airiness of administration claims of fiscal prudence. Balance could be achieved by 2011, it shows, but only if Americans are willing to sacrifice a good chunk of their health care, education, energy, transportation and foreign aid -- in fact, pretty much all of the federal budget outside defense and veterans.

And speaking of money, The New York Times has this book review of Why the West's Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good, by William Easterly, who says about foreign aid:
"the tragedy in which the West spent $2.3 trillion on foreign aid over the last five decades and still had not managed to get 12-cent medicines to children to prevent half of all malaria deaths. The West spent $2.3 trillion and still had not managed to get $4 bed nets to poor families. The West spent $2.3 trillion and still had not managed to get $3 to each new mother to prevent five million child deaths." The West is not stingy. It is ineffective.

Finally, if you wonder why we are fighting in Afghanistan, this article from USA Today might not provide the answer you desire:
A man in Afghanistan is being prosecuted in a Kabul court and could be sentenced to death after being charged with converting from Islam to Christianity, a crime under the country's Islamic sharia laws, a judge said Sunday.