Things are not always, or even often, what they seem: so before you see a victory for humanism in today's action at the Senate regarding immigration reform, remember: this has to make it all the way through both houses and their various committees, paper mills, spin shops, and bureaucracies, before anything can be deemed final. You might say that it's time to wait for all the Cards to fall. Sorry, couldn't help that.
Meanwhile, have you ever wondered why nothing seems to get done in government, especially Congress? Here's Arlen Specter on the urgent need for reform of judiciary review of NSA-style domestic spying: “I’m going to bring it up as the priority item when we come back after the Easter break,” Specter said.
Now hold your egg baskets there a moment: these people just returned from a week off for Spring Break. Now see if you can swallow this, from a recent article in USA Today (click the graphic above for the full text):
Through Friday, the House was in session for 19 days, compared with 33 for the Senate. If they stick to their current schedule — including two weeks off in April, a week in May and July, plus all of August — House members will spend 97 days in Washington this year.
That's compared to the 250 or so days per year that the rest of us spend at work. By the way, the least of them make $165,000 for their 97 days of work per year. That's a hundred and sixty five grand. $1,700 per day worked. Add benefits and other perks and that's about triple my salary (I'm a consultant, so I get exactly zero paid days off per year).
So to my mind, the wonder is not that half a million people descended on L.A. this past weekend to defend their rights to basic human dignity and the chance to work; what I'm baffled about is why millions of us aren't descending on Washington to take back our government from these wheedling, contemptible slackers that are stealing our money—another stack of it in about two weeks' time (unless you're making half a million a year or so). This is beyond repulsive—these people are so incompetent, their system so locked in corruption, that they've stopped bothering to show up for work!
Now, in case I haven't made myself clear enough so far, I want there to be no mistake on my position here: this goes for both Democrats and Republicans. The only difference between them, to my mind, is that Democrats are full of shit, while Republicans are made of it. And just so you know I'm not just pissing on America, the same is true over in England, where the Labor Party impoverishes its people while sending its youth to die in a war built on lies.
So while I'm busy throwing up my Ramen noodles dinner, my good buddy Red Hook Red will continue the venting of spleen. I got this note from him today:
Sheez, if you wanna get depressed, read the new issue of Time – all about global warming and the ecological disaster that is already in progress while our noble mealy-mouthed leaders can’t find the cojones to act. Meanwhile, the suicidal jihadis are on the verge of getting The Bomb and using it to hasten the return of a 12th century prophet who vanished into a cave (probably to take a leak) and never came back…The human race is certifiably insane. I can see all these fat ass corporate muckety mucks floating through the Hamptons in their Lincoln Navigators while Long Island disappears under the waves…I have no idea what planet they and our illustrious, intrepid leaders, those proud defenders of “values”, are planning to flee to, or even which one they came from; but as Roger Waters would say, I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon.
Here's why I read Alterman every day: the man often shoots out gems like this one. Bookmark it.