Monday, November 05, 2007
The Club For Growth released its annual RePORK Card today and you'll never guess who ranks at the bottom of the list of 100 senators based on "all senators’ votes on fifteen anti-pork amendments throughout 2007."
Compared to a perfect score of 100 garnered by three senators who fight tooth and nail to maintain fiscal sanity in an increasingly insane Congress, Webb scored ... 13. He fits right in with Murtha, Young, and the other profligate spenders (of your hard-earned income) in Washington.
A rising star in the Democratic Party. Remind me to seek out his autograph next time he's slumming down here in Southwest Virginia.
They don't do good deeds of course. No time. No real motivation. They simply want to have recognition bestowed upon them for having meant to do good deeds. Had they had the time. And the inclination. Like in the movies.
Travel back in time with me for a moment. A time 500 years ago, when the rich and powerful found it necessary to get right with God before their day of judgement was upon them. They understood that the sins they had committed throughout their lives - and the sins they continued to commit - would cause them to be banished to the infernal regions of hell. They had to gain God's good graces.
But they knew they needn't do good deeds, you see, to win themselves a place in heaven. They had cash.
So the practice developed whereby the rich and powerful would approach the Pope (in the late 1500's it was Pope Leo X), a monarch in need of funds to rebuild his Church's St. Peter's Basilica, and obtain what were called indulgences, the granting of full or partial remission of the punishment of their sin, in exchange for donations to the Catholic Church.
Nice plan. Convenient for all involved. In exchange for desperately needed cash, the Pope granted absolution. The sins of the rich and powerful were washed away. They went back about their business. All was well.
In 2007, the practice continues. Though the Pope doesn't involve himself any longer in the forgiveness of the sinful ways of the rich and powerful. Today the rich and powerful have cut out that middle man. They simply forgive each other. Ironically - or not - there's still a whole lot of cash changing hands in the process of forgiveness and salvation.
In today's news:
Capitol to Buy Offsets in Bid to Go GreenIs the air over our capitol any cleaner? No. Are the consciences of the rich and powerful cleaner this morning? You bet.
By Jonathan Weisman, Washington Post Staff Writer
Daniel Beard, the House's chief administrative officer, will cut a taxpayer-funded check today for $89,000 to buy credits that will offset the impact of 30,000 tons of carbon belched into the atmosphere by the U.S. Capitol's antiquated, coal-burning power plant every year.
That is not much -- out of a $2.7 trillion federal budget -- to strike a blow against climate change, but Republicans are hot under the collar about it precisely because they are not sure it will do anything about global warming.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) vowed this year to make the gleaming sandstone-and-marble Capitol "green" by the end of 2008.
Shutting down the only coal-burning power plant in the District of Columbia is a priority, Beard says. But with powerful coal-state lawmakers protecting it, deep-sixing the plant will not be easy.
Buying pardons for its offenses is, however, thanks to the growing market for carbon offsets. You simply turn over some money, and the offsetters promise to absolve your sins by putting it to use on green technologies, planting trees, pumping carbon dioxide underground and the like. (link)
They bought their absolution. Just like days of old.
Here's the neat trick. Now they're buying forgiveness with your money.
The civilized world makes progress.
One parent worries about students returning to William Byrd following illnessActually they have.
As students at William Byrd High School get ready to go back to school Monday, the district said last week it would try to have more answers about mysterious symptoms that are making several students twitch.
That's according to one witness who also says this has been going on for at least two weeks, though most parents just found out about it Friday.
So far school administrators have made the decision not to close the campus. They say however, they've brought in professionals to test the air quality and water.
Officials have not specified what these symptoms are or how many students have them, but they did say whatever it is, it doesn't appear to be contagious. (link)
That's why my heart particularly goes out to this guy:
The problem at our house (not remotely close in magnitude to what Mr. Pollack is dealing with) has gotten worse this year. With the severe drought that has occurred, and with the many pools and mountain streams long dry, we've gotten quite a few deer each day to show up in the back yard to drink out of the bird bath. Yesterday it was a doe with fawn and a mother raccoon and three babies all gathered at the same time. It was a remake of the movie Bambi, in real life (without the raging forest fire, we hope). Along with countless female deer, we routinely chase off two fabulous bucks each day as well.
Farmer says deer costing him a fortune
By Rebecca Blanton, Danville Register & Bee staff writer
Someone told Bob Pollack that shooting 120 deer in one year sounded like fun. It isn’t fun, was his reply.
“It’s totally depressing,” Pollack said.
Pollack, a soybean farmer who lives just north of Danville, said he lost nearly one-third of his soybean crop - nearly 50 acres out of 150 he planted this year - to deer damage.
“With as much crop damage as I’ve had, we had to do it,” Pollack said. “They cost me at least $25,000 this year. (link)
In any case, despite the hordes of hunters that show up annually to cull the herds, we get more and more deer around the property each year. Every bush and flower on my place is a testament.
I gotta tell you. I enjoyed the movie as much as anyone when I was young, but ...
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Then too there's this problem.
When you folks in extreme Southwest Virginia go to the polls, you'll ... well, you almost need not even go. It's election by acclamation, it appears.
Click on the image below to better see the choices facing you in delegate and senate races.
I don't think this is how that whole democracy thing was supposed to work.
There are 90,000 little Afghan kids, however, who would probably like to kiss his feet in appreciation for his having helped make the world a better place - in spite of our near-universal opposition:
Death Rate for Afghan Kids DropsWe don't give a damn about that. Why hasn't Bush killed Osama? Why did he lie us into this war? What will the French think? Why do others hate us so? What about waterboarding? Gitmo? Cheney ...
By Jason Straziuso, Associated Press
Kabul, Afghanistan (AP) — Six years after the Taliban's ouster, medical care in Afghanistan has improved such that nearly 90,000 children who would have died before age 5 in 2001 will survive this year, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Sunday.
Saddled for years with one of the world's worst records on child health, Afghanistan has seen access to health care rise dramatically since the U.S.-led invasion.
Thousands of health clinics have been built across the country, and the Afghan government and aid agencies have trained tens of thousands of doctors, vaccinators and health volunteers who now reach into some of the country's most remote areas.
Access to health care for Afghans has jumped from 8 percent of the population in the 1990s to close to 85 percent today, thanks in large part to efforts by USAID, the World Bank and the European Commission. (link)