Thursday, August 11, 2005

The Jimmy Dean Highway Bill

I haven't had cable TV since the '80's, and I don't feel as if I'm missing much. In fact, the TV has been turned on about three times this year. I've got an 11 year old kid who needs to grow naturally, and not under the stupefying influence of The Box.

But that's my choice, and I respect those who choose to measure out some portion of TV for their kids. There are, no doubt, a few bright spots on the box, even in this age of reality TV and sycophantic, White House-approved newscasts. One thing I know I'd watch constantly if I could would be The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

Fortunately, I get a good enough dose of it courtesy of One Good Move. If you click that link, you'll be taken to a hilarious dose of Stewart, who examines the new highway bill recently passed by Congress and signed into law by Mountain Bike Flash himself. You'll hear about the tobacco road, the $100K traffic lights, and the multi-million dollar bridges that go nowhere.

So as funny as it all is, the effect is in the end nauseating, even if Stewart's treatment of it is gut-bustingly hilarious. What might all that pork do if its value—to say nothing of the $190 billion so far spent on the Iraq war—was directed toward relieving the suffering in Darfur, or the hunger in Niger? Or maybe even a few of our more troubling problems here at home, such as health care and poverty?

And speaking of Niger—is the Bushian disease of psychotic denial of the obvious a contagion that's spreading to other leaders around the world? Check this out: the President of Niger is completely denying that there's any famine in his country,

claiming that his

people "look well-fed" to him. Some people think that we are living in another Dark Age, like the one in Europe over a thousand years back. Looking around the globe and the leaders of its nations, I would tend to call this the "Brain-Dead Age."

So there may or may not be people dying in Niger—every objective international humanitarian organization that's gotten in there certainly thinks so, but to the President, it's a different story: if your ribs aren't actually sticking through your skin, then you're "well fed."

And if you need to get to some island in Alaska where about 40 people live, relax: after about $450 million and another couple of years, you'll be able to get there. If you'd like to thank your leaders in Congress and the White House personally for this favor, by all means go to the links below and start writing.

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