Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Image is Everything

Everyone knows about the preparations that are made when the president comes to town. Just yesterday we experienced it right here in Milwaukee. But what happened to 32 workers at the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado takes the cake.

Bush's poll numbers on energy are down (to go along with everything else), so his latest tour is aimed at pumping the need for finding renewable energy technologies--the exact type of technologies that the Colorado laboratory develops. However, two weeks ago the lab had to fire 32 workers because $28 million it expected to get from the federal government never made it.

So here was Bush, all set to come talk at the lab today about how important renewable energies are to his administration and to US national security, and the lab just canned 32 employees for a lack of federal funds.

Oops.

Never fear, though, because if there's anything this administration will work to protect at the drop of a hat, it's the president's image. All it took was one call from Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman over the weekend and miraculously $5 million was sent to the Colorado lab to re-hire the 32 workers just in time for the president's big speech.

In his speech to the lab today, Bush said the missing appropriations must have been the result of a mix-up. "Sometimes, decisions made as the result of the appropriations process," Bush explained, "the money may not end up where it was supposed to have gone."

Too bad they haven't been able to locate the remaining $23 million the lab was shorted.

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