Christmas in October in Congress: Be grateful

October 2, 2008

Senate conservatives, probably hoping to derail the bill, posted the full text of the “bailout” bill today.  It’s a grand gesture.  The bill has turned into a real Congressional “Christmas Tree” bill, with some little bauble to meet the needs of everyone.  I think it was Marketplace that noted earlier today it even includes a provision killing the excise tax on arrows of a particular kind, a tax that probably should have been killed a long, long time ago.

I’m sure you can find something to complain about, and much to be happy about.  The text is posted in .pdf form, so you can search it for specific words.

You might search for “executive compensation,” for example, and find starting on page 102 that Congress has stripped out the tax exemption for high executive salaries and other compensation over $500,000 annually, for executives in “troubled” companies.  In short, Congress has cut the pay of executives at the companies who will be saved from bankruptcy by this bill.  That could not have happened any other way.

Wankers who wail about how business in Congress is conducted, those same wankers who claim they can clean up Washington merely by stopping “earmarks,” will fume.  With luck, perhaps, those wankers who also happen to be Members of Congress will vote against this bill despite their constituents’ needs being met directly by it.  With more luck, their opponents in the election will figure that out and make a campaign issue.  With just a little bit more luck, some of these wankers will lose their seats.

Better they lose their seats than America loses its ass.  (Apologies if your sensitive eyes were offended.)

Real public servants — “politicians” in the spat-out views of crabby people — had their way with the bill that President Bush was too lazy to make workable.  (I don’t blame Treasury Sec. Henry Paulson — he’s a wheeler dealer, a man who probably understands the markets, but not a politician who can make Congress go.  It’s not really all his fault the other bill didn’t pass.)  The real politicians loaded this bill with actions that should have been taken months or years ago.  These actions had no chance in the current Congress, with Republicans holding a large enough minority to stop legislation simply by refusing to work on it, and willing to do so in the hopes they could claim it was the Democrats’ fault.

America will not be crucified on a cross of Republican intransigence.  There’s a goody for everybody.  Everybody should take their goody and rejoice in it.

I hope Americans can figure out who to thank, and will thank them.

Finding our place in the world

October 2, 2008

The exhibit is gone, but the memory, and the on-line educational features still remain.

Spectacular digital map of Africa, showing current development.  Map copyright by Allan Sluis, courtesy of NAVTEQ and ESRI

Spectacular digital map of Africa, showing current development. Map copyright by Allan Sluis, courtesy of NAVTEQ and ESRI

Geography teachers should explore the on-line version of the Field Museum’s exhibit, “Maps:  Finding Our Place in the World.

This exhibit is by itself an argument for live internet links for students.  Take a few minutes to peruse some fo the interactive features, like the world map that leads to photos of the major exhibit pieces.

We need more material like this, freely available in classrooms.

Also, see especially:

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