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The Next 10 Bush Midnight Regulations

December 17, 2008

As the clock ticks down on his failed presidency, George W. Bush has issued a torrent of midnight regulations. Whether the topic is curbing consumer safety and product liability lawsuits, mining on public lands, mountain-top removal, endangered species, clean water or power plant emissions, Bush will try to saddle Barack Obama with last-minute rule changes invariably favoring business interests over health and environmental concerns. With other difficult-to-undo policy pronouncements, faith-based charities receiving federal funds now have Bush's blessing to discriminate in hiring, while the nation's health care providers must retain workers who on religious grounds refuse to provide abortion services, artificial insemination procedures and even birth control.
And it's only mid-December. With 30-plus days left until Barack Obama takes the oath of office, George W. Bush still has plenty of time to inflict more damage.
Here, then, are the next 10 Bush midnight regulations:
Jesus Month Proclamation. As Governor of Texas, George W. Bush declared June 10, 2000 as "Jesus Day." ("Throughout the world," Bush announced that March, "people of all religions recognize Jesus Christ as an example of love, compassion, sacrifice and service.") Now, Bush has signed an executive order declaring February "Jesus Month." In that same proclamation, Bush moved Black History Month, historically celebrated in February, to a five minute time slot on Barack Obama's inauguration day.
Perchlorate to Be Declared a Vegetable. The Bush White House isn't content to merely allow potentially toxic levels of the rocket fuel ingredient perchlorate in Americans' drinking water. Expanding the Reagan administration's proposed 1981 cost-cutting policy which declared ketchup is a vegetable, the Department of Agriculture plans to add perchlorate as a staple on the lunch menus for American school children.
Fetal Firearms Act. By administrative fiat, Americans can now carry concealed weapons in U.S. national parks. Now President Bush wants to let fetuses pack heat in the womb. His goal with this latest addition to HHS regulations, a White House spokesman revealed, is to "let innocent life protect itself."
Shoes Now Considered WMD. In the wake of Sunday's footwear assault against President Bush in Baghdad, official DoD guidelines now state that shoes are weapons of mass destruction. Pentagon estimates now put Iraqi stockpiles of biped-delivered WMD at 50,000,000, retroactively confirming Donald Rumsfeld's claim that "we know where they are."
New Unlawful Enemy Combatants. In a new ruling originally drafted by disgraced Interior Department official Julie MacDonald, the Bush administration will announce that polar bears and baby harp seals can be detained indefinitely as unlawful enemy combatants. As with the waterboarding of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed he previously blessed, Vice President Cheney said of the new policy, "I was aware of the program, certainly, and involved in helping get the process cleared."
Revised Wildlife Protection Guidelines (a.k.a. "Santorum's Rule"). Speaking of endangered species, President Bush's Interior Department also plans to issue guidelines enacting the failed Wildlife Protection Act co-sponsored in the Senate by Rick Santorum (R-PA) and John Cornyn (R-TX). The bill "bans marriage between a man and a dog, box turtle, mammal, fish or bird."
Judicial Wardrobe Act. Just in time for Barack Obama's swearing-in, the Justice Department is advocating a new dress code for American judges. The rumored new guidelines apparently specify that U.S. judges should now wear white robes - and hoods.
The Terri Schiavo Award. Bush is also expected to announce the new Terri Schiavo award just after the New Year. The first recipient is said to be former Republican Senator, McCain adviser and UBS vice-chairman Phil Gramm, who is to be recognized for helping leave the economy in a persistent vegetative state.
Carbon Dioxide Emissions. Back in 2001, the just-inaugurated President Bush violated his campaign promise to regulate CO2 greenhouse gas emissions. Now, after seeing the memorably comical "We Call It Life" ad from the energy industry front group the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Bush has issued a proclamation declaring that Americans should "protect innocent carbon dioxide as part of our culture of life."
Redacted Bin Laden Intelligence. Repeating his past practice of retroactively redacting statements previously made public by his administration, President Bush has classified a series of intelligence findings regarding Osama Bin Laden. Following Monday's revisionist history that "I never said the Taliban was eliminated," the President has instructed the CIA to withdraw his March 13, 2002 statement on Bin Laden that "I just don't spend that much time on him...I truly am not that concerned about him." Also, the infamous August 6, 2001 presidential daily brief (PDB) has been retitled, "Bin Laden determined to vacation in Afghanistan."


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Jon Perr
Jon Perr is a technology marketing consultant and product strategist who writes about American politics and public policy.

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