One of the most frustrating things about the Bush administration is that its right hand does not know what its far-left hand is doing.
Even though President Bush leads an allegedly conservative Republican government, Senator John Kerry sometimes seems to stand at its helm. If the Massachusetts Democrat were president, it’s hard to imagine him steering a more liberal course on several underreported issues.
‐ After a Johnson City, New York parent complained that local cheerleaders waved their pom-poms for the boys’ basketball team, but not the girls’ squad, the Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights raced to the rescue. Invoking Title IX, which requires sexual equality in school sports, feducrats demanded that Southern Tier Athletic Conference schools provide equal “publicity and promotional services for both boys’ and girls’ sports.” They also decided that cheerleaders must root equally for boys’ and girls’ hoopsters.
“We are not going to have time to do that because we are going to be out every night of the week cheering for this basketball game and that basketball game,” cheerleader Dalya Shears told Connie McKinney in the November 4 Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin. “The cheerleaders are never going to get a break,” she added, if they must appear at boys’ and girls’ games.
The Elmira and Horseheads school districts argued that team-spirit clubs, such as Elmira’s Courtside Crazies, are de facto cheerleaders for girls’ crews. As Roger Neumann explained in March 3’s Elmira Star-Gazette, Education agreed that these outfits can meet federal guidelines by sending Washington, among other things: their 2007 – 2008 event schedules, their budgets, and the names of their members.
‐ The Bush Justice Department has filed 19 lawsuits charging localities with violating Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act. This burst of litigation exceeds the grand total of such suits filed between 1978 and 2000, including the Democratic Carter and Clinton presidencies.
When more than 5 percent of a municipal population speaks a non-English language, cities the Act covers must offer election materials and precinct workers who talk that language. Justice ignores the fact that naturalized voters must speak English before becoming citizens. Justice bureaucrats do not wait for language-bias complaints. Instead, Edward Blum reported in the March 26 Weekly Standard, they “comb through voter registration rolls in covered jurisdictions, counting Spanish, say, or Chinese or Vietnamese surnames; then they count the number of foreign language-speaking poll workers; and if the ratios don’t comport with their ideal percentages, they sue. No phone calls, no warning letters, no inquiries about extenuating circumstances. They go straight to court.”
Blum estimates that Uncle Sam spent $40,000 deploying 49 federal officials to monitor a primary election last September in Springfield, Massachusetts, even though no one charged discrimination.
“It’s unfair to saddle the city with that type of intrusion,” Springfield City Attorney Ed Pikula lamented to the Associated Press.
‐ As Congress permitted, the Transportation Safety Administration’s first chief, Admiral James Milton Loy, issued a 2003 memorandum forbidding airport screeners from unionizing due to “their critical national security responsibilities.” TSA subsequently has experimented with allowing private companies such as FirstLine Transportation, Inc., to handle airport screening at Jackson Hole, Wyoming; Kansas City, Rochester, Tupelo, Mississippi; and San Francisco. FirstLine’s private screeners and their government counterparts have identical training, supervision, and duties.
Nonetheless, when the Security, Police and Fire Professionals of America tried to unionize screeners at Kansas City’s airport, TSA did not reject this violation of agency policy. Lacking “a clear statement from the TSA that would support our refusal to exercise jurisdiction,” Bush’s National Labor Relations Board voted four to one last June 28 to permit forced unionization of private screeners.
“TSA’s defiance of Bush Administration policy carried the day in this case,” says National Right to Work Foundation spokesman Stefan Gleason. “If the TSA specifically had objected, this national-security threat never would have emerged. Still, NLRB had all the necessary information to do the right thing, and it refused.”
As airports increasingly hire private contractors to screen baggage and passengers for bombs and box cutters, the TSA’s dithering and the NLRB’s freelancing have hastened the day when such unionized employees could arrange sick-outs, illegal strikes, or endless labor grievances that distract from their mission: to keep jumbo jets terror-free.
‐ The U.S. Agency for International Development gave Gaza’s Islamic University $140,000 in 2005-2006, mainly for scholarships. Unlike other aid recipients, grantees need not pledge to avoid terrorist activity. Hamas founder Sheik Ahmed Yassin launched Islamic University in 1978. Sixteen of its instructors are Hamas parliamentarians. Hamas’ prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh, is an Islamic University trustee.
AID last year gave $2.3 million to the West Bank’s Al-Quds University. Just as American schools host College Democrat and College Republican clubs, Al-Quds boasts campus chapters of Hamas and Islamic Jihad. In January, Al-Quds staged a weeklong celebration of Yahyah Ayyash, “the shahid [martyr] engineer” who, in the 1990s, invented the suicide belt and trained Islamofascist bomb makers.
According to a local newspaper translated by Palestinian Media Watch, Al Quds administrator Yusuf Dhiyab opened the festivities by discussing “the mark that the shahids left on the history of the Palestinian nation and how they succeeded in uniting the nation.”
“Providing U.S. assistance to a terrorist-controlled university in Gaza was out of the question and, in fact, violates U.S. law,” Rep. Tom Lantos (D., California) said at a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing last month. “This outrageous support for terrorism must and will end.”
Perhaps Washington bureaucrats sail away as President Bush remains unaware his administration implements these policies. Yes, he is focused on the War on Terror’s Iraqi battlefield. Still, if Bush ran a tight ship — or if bureaucrats applied his principles or feared his wrath — officials might avoid this mischief. With Bush’s popularity, philosophical compass, and lax accountability standards all conspiring against limited government, federal functionaries appear to navigate as they please.
Not surprisingly, things go astray in a $2.74 trillion government. Of course, as Heritage Foundation scholar Brian Riedl notes in Federal Spending – By The Numbers, the national budget was a mere $1.86 trillion when Bush and the GOP Congress converged in 2001. After just six years, Republicans at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue inflated this ever-expanding vessel by 47.3 percent. No wonder the ship of state lists from starboard to port.