Thursday, April 28, 2005

Great Moments in Self Governance

As the investigation into Senator George Voinovich's history of rage fueled temper tantrums widens it is becoming apparent that the true victim of his behavior may have been the American people.

Voinovich as the Chairman of the critically important Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, Sub-committee on Clean Air, Climate Change and Wetlands has been entrusted with caretaking Mother Earth's bounty for all of us. And when given the opportunity to hear expert testimony on a vital issue the valley filling of residual coal sludge byproduct, he stalks off in an ego driven fit of pique.

Here's a sample of what Voinovich missed, from coal mining expert, Backstreet Boy Kevin Richardson. Who, if not an expert, is at least an eye witness. From 40,000 feet.

I am not a scientist, but I do know what I've seen on flights over the coalfields.

Which I think means he either looks out the window while passing flyover country or that he rented Coal Miner's Daughter for his personal DVD player on his last flight.

Richardson concluded his testimony with this challenge to the Senators:

In closing, I would like to personally invite each of you to take a flight with me over the coalfields and see firsthand how our future is being robbed.

According to a committee spokesman, all attending Senators politely passed on this offer, based on it sounding "a little too delightful."

It's interesting to note that the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, Sub-committee on Clean Air, Climate Change and Wetlands has been somewhat of a magnet for celebrity expert testimony over the years.

Here's supermodel Christie Brinkley on the Reauthorization of the Price/Anderson Act (which, strangely, has nothing to do with the current market rate of Pamela Anderson). Excerpt:

With the advent of deregulation, limited liability corporations are taking ownership of almost half of the fleet of the nation's nuclear power reactors. Many of these limited liability corporations are thinly capitalized.

When asked for corroboration on this assertion, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan replied "yaggada yaggada yaggada".

Rocker Don Henley also made an appearance before Voinovich's committee, in support of something called the Caddo Lake Ramsar Wetlands Science Center Program (which I understand, like most government programs, you can join anytime you like, but you can never leave).

No matter how inarticualte, you do have to respect a celebrity who, unlike Christy Brinkley, writes his own copy:

So we suggest that, as we examine how we accomplish conservation in this country, we should make note of and accommodate the flashes of community brilliance that occur to illuminate and fulfill a federal conservation commitment.

Henley later testified he witnessed those flashes of community brilliance while flying over Muncie, Indiana.

And finally, a real puppet of the Hollywood entertainment-industrial complex, Elmo. (Photos of this seminal moment in democracy found here).

Elmo came before Congress wanting to tickle them to the sum of $2 million for children's music programs or as the line in the puppet's script read: "Please, Congress, help Elmo's friends find the music inside them."

Lobbying Congress to help his friends find the music inside them, right after helps them find access to the wallets of the American taxpayer. Et tu, Elmo?
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