New Rule: In the next fifteen months, President Bush has to perform at least one act that doesn't make money for someone he knows.
Take "No Child Left Behind." At first it just looked like gentle empty bullshit, a way to neutralize the Democrats edge with voters on education issues. What did it even mean? And how could you be against it? Education. It was a perfect cause that would honor the legacy of any president...'s wife. Which made it even more perfect for pre-9/11 Bush. And who could it hurt? No one. It made Lady Bird Johnson's wild-flowers-by-the-highways project look like the fucking Marshall Plan.
Except, like all Bush ideas, there was more to it. To meet the requirements of "No Child Left Behind" America's public schools have ordered more than eleven million standardized tests in the last two years. (New York State alone ordered 1.7 million.) The cost of the tests -- and the testing industry, including test prep -- now exceeds two billion dollars a year. And 90% of the industry is controlled by five corporations. And the largest of them is McGraw-Hill. And the McGraw family just happens to go back 80 years with the Bushes.
Another beneficiary of No Child Left Behind? Neil Bush's educational software company. The one funded by the United Arab Emirates. The one Barbara Bush said the Katrina victims had to spend her donation on.
Which is, of course, all blood under the bridge. But when Bush does anything, there's always some profit motive behind it. Nothing is free but the hookers. So it wasn't surprising that he announced his post war plans were to replenish the coffers with speeches. But before that, he has to do one purely altruistic thing. Just one.
Bill Maher is the host of HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher" which airs every Friday at 11PM.