25 February 2006

How much is it worth to look good?

If you're the preznit, about $5 million. From the NYT story:
On Tuesday, Bush plans to visit the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colo., to talk about speeding the development of biofuels

The lab, with a looming $28 million budget shortfall, had announced it was cutting its staff by 32 people, including eight researchers. But in advance of Bush's visit, Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman over the weekend directed the transfer of $5 million to the private contractor that runs the lab, so the jobs can be saved.

The department ''has been informed that the NREL lab director will use these funds to immediately restore all of the jobs that were cut earlier this month due to budget shortfalls,'' the department said in a statement Monday.

Nice save.

Wonder what staffer, where, noticed that one of El Presidente's irresponsibly short-sighted budget cuts was stalled on the tracks of his latest empty photo op? We can probably just wait to see who gets appointed to the next vacancy atop a cabinet-level agency. In all likelihood, they're one and the same.

The pannicked urgency of the damage control efforts must've been something to behold. WE can't overcome bureaucracy while New Orleans drowns, but now, in a couple days--over the weekend, nonetheless--proposals are made and executed, red tape dissolves, and the vault doors swing wide.

All to keep Forrest from falling off the shrimp boat when the cameras are rolling.

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