At least some representative's aides somewhere have read some part of the bill so that should be enough, right? Who says that when you're rejiggering over one-sixth of the US economy and incurring massive future debt that you need to know what it is you're voting on.
Thousand-page bills, unread and indeed unwritten at the time of passage, are the death of representative government. They also provide a clue as to why, in a country this large, national government should be minimal and constrained. Even if you doubled or trebled the size of the legislature, the Conyers conundrum would still hold: No individual can read these bills and understand what he's voting on. That's why the bulk of these responsibilities should be left to states and subsidiary jurisdictions, which can legislate on such matters at readable length and in comprehensible language.
As for optimum bill size, the 1773 Tea Act, which provoked the Boston Tea Party, was 2,263 words. That sounds about right.
MIDNIGHT, JUNE 1991-MAY 25, 2009: A REMEMBRANCE, PART IX. But our sense of tranquility was to be short-lived.
I hadn't even made my first mortgage payment when my grown-up foster daughter Toni, experiencing "problems with reality" with her birth family in Madison (for the umpteenth time), asked if she could move in upstairs until the dust settled. I couldn't see why not. Nobody was living upstairs anyway, now that Meth Mom and her demon spawn had finally vacated the premises.
"I'll tell you what," I said to Toni. "You get that place spruced up and take care of Midnight and Whitney, and I'll give you a hell of a deal on the rent."
She went for it, and that immediately solved two problems for me: Wading through the mess the dope addicts had left upstairs, and providing my two new dogs with some human companionship on a regular basis.
Thus began the "Toni years," which were a mixed blessing from the get-go. It turned out that I had to crate train Midnight, because he'd forgotten that he couldn't go to the bathroom just any old place (strangely, I never had that problem with Whitney—go ahead, ladies, I already know what you're going to say). And it became apparent soon enough that Toni did as little as possible when it came to caring for the dogs; she'd walk them only up to the end of the block, if that far, and half the time I'd have to remind her to do it. The food and even water dishes were often empty when I went upstairs. Finally I confronted her about her shoddy care.
"Well, the truth is," Toni said, "that I'm not a dog person. In fact, I don't even really like dogs."
(Toni owned a cat, a particularly hateful creature that I could not personally abide—even though I generally like cats—and that was currently living with Toni's mother.)
It was another one of the many moments in my life when I've wondered just what in the hell, exactly, I've gotten myself into.
Of course, our president didn't mention al Qaeda's catastrophic defeat in Iraq, where millions of Sunni Arabs rejected the terror organization. Iraq was Bush's war, so it's all bad...
"It was not violence that won full and equal rights" for black Americans.
So much for the Civil War and my ancestor, who volunteered to wear Union blue and paid for it with his life. I thought a half-million Americans died fighting to end slavery. Silly me. Still, it was brave of our president to highlight slavery's "lash of the whip" in his speech, since his own ancestors, as Muslims along Africa's Swahili Coast, would have been complicit - if not actively engaged - in enslaving their fellow black Africans for Arab masters. As a self-proclaimed "student of history," Obama surely knows that.
JUST SAY NO TO SOTOMAYOR: The best thing that could happen at the "Wise Latina's" confirmation hearing is that the Senators would realize that one of the Anointed One's most potent threats—filling key slots all over our government with affirmative-action incompetents like himself—is being realized here, and that they are being asked to sign off on it.
No matter how hard she tries to backpedal, it should be clear from that remark that Sonia Sotomayor is completely unqualified to serve on any bench anywhere, to say nothing of the United States Supreme Court.
AL GORE CAN KISS MY FROZEN ASS, PART 66,223: Y'know, I almost forgot to mention: With the exception of one week late in June, we've never really had a summer here at all.
When I was up in Lac Court Oreilles the other day, the temperature was 48 degrees F. Yes, I know that it's a long way north, but it rarely got that cold even at night when I used to go to canoe camp nearby.
"Must be all that global warming," one of the tribal workers said.
Well, I certainly remember having to wear a coat in the mornings on the last two days of school this year, and a delightful 84-degree day way down in Oxford, Mississippi late in June, and freezing my butt in Lac Courte Oreilles two days in a row.
In short: If you've still got stock in GoreBal Warming Inc., I'd unload it now.
WILD NORTHLAND: As if you probably hadn't guessed, I've been on the road again.
No sooner had we finished spraying herbicides at the Co-op—and I had envisioned my little "vacation" in between the herbicides and the opening salvo of the pesticides, which should commence in a week or so—than I was called in by our fair State's largest vendor of school buses to travel on successive days to the Lac Courte Oreilles Indian Reservation in the northwestern corner of Wisconsin and deliver lease-expired school buses back to the vendor.
I hadn't been up to that part of Wisconsin since I was a kid going to canoe camp around Rice Lake back in the late Sixties (the first place I ever heard Jimi Hendrix), and I don't guess it's changed much. Basically, you're too far north by then for any sort of commerce that doesn't take place in the high summer. The trees are stunted and tundra-looking, the towns shift their ambience between the taverns erected mostly to cater to warm-weather visitors from Illinois ("the Flatlanders") and actual functioning railroad tracks where logging cars are ubiquitous, giving the whole place a kind of "Twin Peaks" feel.
Here's a view of the sunrise on Lac Court Oreilles:
I guess I'd have to say that it's a relief to be getting all this work, and not just from the standpoint of finances (although that's always good); it keeps me from having to stare for too long at the grimness of Obama's America at precisely the time I had completely tired of doing so, and it gets me out and about into the beautiful countryside—the thing I've always liked most about being a professional driver.
There's no doubt that the blog has suffered, and y'all have my apologies for that. But even though we may give the appearance of treading water now and then.......... just like those weekly come-ons from your Rival Cable Provider, we ain't going anywhere (and that's a promise).
And yes, laddies, I haven't forgotten you either. Here's yet another reason to smile, in the personage of Chisato Morishita.