Nothing but Time

The president has yet to pencil anything in about stimulating things in the year 2525, but keep checking Recovery.gov.
The president has yet to pencil anything in about stimulating things in the year 2525, but keep checking Recovery.gov. (By Gerald Herbert -- Associated Press)
By Al Kamen
Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The White House is pledging to make sure all taxpayers know exactly how the money in that nearly $1 trillion stimulus plan -- also known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act -- is being doled out. To that end, it has set up a Web site -- Recovery.gov -- featuring a short video explanation from President Obama saying that the site "will be the online portal for these efforts."

The site will "provide projections, based on the planning that went into the legislation," he says, and "once the money starts to go out . . . you will be able to see where and when it is spent." Obama urges us to "take a look now, but come back often," because the site "will be changing and growing a lot in the weeks and months ahead." Or maybe the years ahead.

There's a handy timeline at the bottom of the home page to chart the milestones.

For example, on March 3, federal agencies were to "begin reporting use of funds." In May, the agencies are to report on "allocations for entitlement programs" and begin reporting on grants and contracts. On July 15, recipients are to start reporting on their use of the money.

After that, the dates are not filled in -- not even a date for an annual report. But the timeline goes on and on. And on. And on. All the way to at least the 50th year of the Obama presidency. Exhaustion prevented us from scrolling further, but it looks as though this economy is going to need stimulating for a long time to come.

BUSH'S LEGACY IS SAFE

We all know that history is written by the winners. But the historical revisionists in the Obama White House, in their just-finished update of President George W. Bush's biography on the White House Web site, seem more interested in good writing than in political score-settling.

The tone of the latest version is less breathless and more scholarly than an earlier Bush administration version, as if it were pushed through the No-Drama Obama filter. But there are some important changes.

The prior Bush White House version makes no mention of Bush's parents; the latest one, posted on March 5, notes that lineage. There is an addition of son-in-law Henry Hager. There is a deletion of any mention of the recently deceased cat, Willie. There is the odd insertion that Bush met his wife, Laura, "at a friend's backyard barbecue." (Hey! Just like in the movie!)

If anything, the updated version substitutes some political cant with a more scholarly, but quite positive, tone.

For example, this is from the Bush White House version:

On the morning of September 11, 2001, terrorists attacked our Nation. President Bush took unprecedented steps to protect our homeland and create a world free from terror. He was grateful for the service and sacrifice of our brave men and women in uniform and their families. The President believed that by helping build free and prosperous societies, our Nation and our friends and allies can succeed in making America more secure and the world more peaceful.

Here's how the Obama White House puts it:


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