Tuesday, August 27, 2002

Liberal Lighthouse - Paul Krugman is one of my all time favorite columnists, precisely because he rankles soooo many conservative pundits (even if his arguments are at times specious). Any person that can consistently get under the skin of Mickey Kaus AND Andrew Sullivan, two conservative-leaning webloggers for whom I have a healthy respect and admiration, deserves some kudos. And it's not just that he gets under the skins of pundits, but that he elicits such uncharacteristic outrage from these normally even-keeled pundits, that makes me take note and ALWAYS read his column. Anyway, Krugman's latest editorial in the New York Times discusses the Bush plan for fighting forest fires - which, I must agree with Krugman, amounts to a weakly-fashioned excuse for corporate welfare - which is a theme of non-market based upwards redistribution of income that I have harped on before. I normally wouldn't take much of an interest in this topic, except that I have recently heard (admittedly through the rumor grapevine) that when Bush and his entourage travel through the forest areas most susceptible to brush fires, the "no smoking" ban in these fire-prone areas is lifted to accommodate the filthy habit of the smokers in his crew. This little bit of news comes to me from an employee of the National Forest Service who works in these forest areas currently burning. Who knows, perhaps the Tobacco farmers (who love and need the government welfare program of federal subsidies) are bribing some ciggy-butt-heads in the Bush administration to flick still-burning cancer sticks in fire-prone forest areas to help out the Timber farmers (loggers) ( - who also thrive on federal corporate welfare - ). Just a thought that some "independent, non-partisan" journalist or blogger - a la Mickey Kaus or Andrew Sullivan - might want to explore.

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