Anniversary special

FOIA luv: Just in time for the 40th anniversary of the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), a coalition of media groups has discovered that we are neither free nor informed as much as we should be.

In fact, according to a study by the Coalition of Journalists for Open Government, secrecy in government is at an all-time high. This is particularly true of the executive branch, where the number of successful uses of FOIA to obtain information is falling faster than Dick Cheney’s popularity as a hunting companion.

Even before ascending the throne, King George Jr. held his secrets close—allegedly snorting cocaine, avoiding service in Vietnam and consorting with a dominatrix (Bites read about it on the Net, so it must be true!) yet managing to hush it all up. Not long after being elected, the Skull ’n’ Bones member issued an executive order asserting the executive’s right to blindfold the public.

But things didn’t really start getting kinky till after 9/11, with the launch of the so-called war on terror. Bush put the Constitution on the rack, stretching it beyond recognition, finding in it privilege to eavesdrop on phone calls and e-mails in the United States without court approval, in total secrecy. Poor old FOIA just can’t seem to get it up.

“The [FOI] law is having a midlife crisis at age 40,” said Rick Blum of the Sunshine in Government Initiative.

In other words, if FOIA was a dude, we’d buy it a stripper.

Must we trust? Hallelujah! “In God We Trust” is celebrating its 50th anniversary as official motto of the United States. What’s that? Sean Hannity told you it’s always been the motto? What’s he know? Bites hears Hannity also thinks Ann Coulter is a chick.

Sorry, Hannity, Ann’s no woman (no woman Bites wants to know, at any rate), and “In God We Trust” has been the country’s official motto only since the Eisenhower years. Ike also ushered in the phrase “military-industrial complex,” and in a strange way, the two phrases are related. “In God We Trust” has been stamped on U.S. coinage since the Civil War, thanks to increased religiosity associated with the advent of the Gatling gun in that bloody conflict.

A 2003 Gallup Poll found that 90 percent of adult Americans approve of keeping the motto on money, but Sacramento’s best-known public atheist, Michael Newdow, will have none of it and brought suit to have the phrase removed. The case was dismissed at the end of last month, and last week, the Senate passed a resolution affirming “In God We Trust” and asking Americans to “commemorate, celebrate and reaffirm” it on the 50th anniversary of its passage.

Thinking of this phrase’s violent lineage, Bites is reminded that there are no atheists in foxholes. Or on Fox News for that matter.

Social insecurity: It’s been roughly a year since the Bushman dropped his idiotic scheme to destroy Social Security, thanks to an angry populace that for once knew where to draw the line when it comes to the dismantling of the New Deal. That can only mean it’s time for seriously brain-dead Representative John Doolittle, R-California, to resurrect the plan, with its dubious concept of voluntary personal accounts, i.e., you get to bet the entire nest egg on, say, the integrity of the late Ken Lay.

But don’t expect the incumbent congressman to defend his lame proposal when he debates Democratic challenger Charles Brown before November’s election. Kudos to Doo-Doo for picking up the debating gauntlet, but a big Bites thumbs down to the press release stating he’s anxious to discuss illegal immigration, lowering taxes and same-sex marriage. We would much rather hear John defend those breathtaking budget deficits and the quagmire in Iraq, but perhaps that’s the trick. What could he really say to defend such atrocious policies?

So, it’s back to smear the queer, one more time.