Ask Not What Ted Kennedy Can Do For You, But What You Can Do For Ted Kennedy's Sense of Paid Voluntarism

Yesterday, President Barack Obama delivered (finally!) on arguably his most hope-changiest of all his campaign promises to use your tax dollars to support make-work jobs that will (finally!) allow America's vast, all-ages reserve army of the unemployed to be paid volunteers with AmeriCorps.

The Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act

reauthorizes and expands national service programs administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency created in 1993. The Corporation engages four million Americans in result-driven service each year, including 75,000 AmeriCorps members, 492,000 Senior Corps volunteers, 1.1 million Learn and Serve America students, and 2.2 million additional community volunteers mobilized and managed through the agency's programs.

Channeling the legislative history of, I don't know, The PATRIOT Act and authorization of force in Iraq, the current head of AmeriCorps boasts that "its remarkably swift journey through Congress" and its bipartisan heritage (GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah cosponsored the Senate version, don't you know, apparently between belting out tunes as a solo artist ever since the Singing Senators lost more band members than Spinal Tap over the past decade) proves it's a fan-fucking-tastic indicator of the "growing national consensus that service is a powerful response to the economic and social challenges facing America today" (I must have been out working when the pollsters called my house about that one).

The law shovels out $5.7 billion of your taxes over the next five years to "boost volunteerism" at AmeriCorps and elsewhere. In an era of trillons of dollars in wasteful spending, that's a real bargain.

And just in case you're wondering how the new dough is going to be spent, here's a Mad-Lib press release explainer from AmeriCorps, which seems to be ripped from the ramblings of a straw-man Army bureaucrat from the early seasons of M*A*S*H:

The Serve America Act, which goes into effect on October 1, would increase and enhance opportunities for Americans of all ages to serve by increasing AmeriCorps from 75,000 to 250,000 positions over the next eight years, while increasing opportunities for students and older Americans to serve. It will strengthen America's civic infrastructure through social innovation, volunteer mobilization, and building nonprofit capacity. The new law is also designed to strengthen the management, cost-effectiveness and accountability of national service programs by increasing flexibility, consolidating funding streams, and introducing more competition.

As an interesting side note, AmeriCorps already got an extra $200 million from the stimulus bill. But it's good to know that they are now getting enough cash to consolidate funding streams and delve into the thorny question of strengthening "management, cost-effectiveness and accountability." Hope and change. Obama, you've done it again!

More on the bill here.

A few things regarding this piece of self-congratulatory lard every bit as bloated and morally compromised as the man for whom it is named (as it happens, Obama seemed to be confusing Teddy K with JFK, proclaiming ""I want all Americans to take up that spirit of the man for whom this bill is named; of a president who sent us to the moon; of a dreamer who always asked 'Why not?'").

First, public or national service is profoundly un-American as a historical concept and comes always and everywhere slathered in the stink of trench warfare and rhetorical horseshit. This is especially true when it is paid service even as those participating and spending your tax dollars luxuriate in the silky-smooth language of altruism. Which, last time I checked, was supposed to be free. Jesus rendered unto Caesar; he didn't ask for a block grant from Pontius Pilate in return. That Obama pushes national service and voluntarism even as he works to limit tax breaks for charitable giving that drives all sorts of philanthropy is a classic screw-you, my-way-or-the-highway move.

Second, AmeriCorps is a program with a long and distinguished history of sucking even by government standards. It effectively comes in second to the standard-issue DMV bureau, with its director in 2003 dubbing it "another cumbersome, unpredictable government bureaucracy." Yeah, yeah, they can fix all that and become squeaky clean, yadda yadda yadda, and that still doesn't address the more basic fact that it is at best superfluous to what Americans, young and old, are already doing: Which is volunteering and "giving back" to the community up the ying-yang.

And to the extent that laws such as this confuse actual contributions to increasing living standards with getting some sort of paycheck from a non-essential government agency, they do far more damage to American ideals than we normally admit. As Julian Sanchez wrote here a few years back, "AmeriCorps boosters are less interested in the good works that serve as the program's public justification than in the grand sense of national community it's meant to inspire. Without AmeriCorps, after all, young people might conclude that they're perfectly capable of giving back to their communities without either the assistance or the direction of the federal government. And wouldn't that be a tragedy."

Third, there's the Teddy question in all of this. Let's leave aside Kennedy's often-grim personal life, which is suffused not with the spirit of service or even noblesse oblige, but a truly ugly sense of entitlement and prima nocturne expanded to cover virtually every element of social interaction. His legislative accomplishments that have really helped people over the years are thin. His role in pushing and passing the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit, a costly and unnecessary law that brazenly steals from the less-wealthy and gives to the more-wealthy in the guise of social justice, is a signal example of how "the lion" gets a pass from the press. He played a leading role in the deregulation of airline pricing and (even more important) interstate trucking, the latter of which is surely one of the greatest reasons why so much in America is now within reach of even poor people. But elsewhere, again and again, you see in his legislative machinations not an attempt to actually help the wretched of this country, but a incoherent and archly ideological commitment to failed feel-good policies such as No Child Left Behind, which traps at-risk students in public schools that no Kennedy offspring has ever been caught dead in. In this, sadly, he is not unique in the Senate, especially among those (e.g., Ted Stevens, Robert Byrd) whose tenures are similarly long-lived.

We don't need a national service bill to begin with. But we definitely don't need one named after Ted Kennedy.

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  • Boston||

    Reason, i have a favor to ask. Could you always follow up a Balko post with a Gillespie rant? Calms the shakes.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    That's fucking awesome.
    I hope Gillespie gets to write Teddy's obit, a la Hunter Thompson's of Nixon, or Mencken's of Bryan.

  • ||

    Next up: The Special Labor And Voluntary Employment (SLAVE) act of 2009.

  • ed||

    The Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act

    The Senate is second only to the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Back Slapping in self-congratulatory excess. It isn't enough, evidently, to have highways, bridges, airports and waste-water plants named in their honor. We're being "served" all right.

  • Xeones||

    Except, ed, the MPAA doesn't force us to pay for their crap at gunpoint. At least, not until TARP III bails out Hollywood.

    Yo, fuck Ted Kennedy right in the tumor.

  • Xeones||

    Also, Gillespie: more rants plz

  • Mike in PA||

    I guess I don't get it...

    Why stop at 250,000?

    I mean, can't we just make every position in the US a volunteer position seeing as we all benefit the economy? That would make sure that everyone working in the US would be contributing positively to the greater good. Think of how fast things would be improved! I sure wish these politicians would stop being so short-sighted and could see the big picture of service. 250,000 is such a small number compared to the number of people in the US.

  • High Every Body||

    Can't this thing be named something that spells CCCP?

  • Mike in PA||

    SURE!!

    How's this?

    Community Cooperation and Commitment Program

  • ||

    Community Capitulation to Cooperation Project

  • ||

    Great minds, Mike. Great minds.

  • ed||

    Cocksuckers, Cunts and Craptacular Pissants

  • Warty||

    Nick, you're getting really good at ranting.

  • High Every Body||

  • ||

    I co-founded a Key Club at my high school, many years ago.

    Somebody owes me a check!

    Kevin

  • ||

    If this is the career trajectory Jack, Bobby, and John-John would have followed, thank God for book depositories, crazy Turks, and Nantucket sound wind shear. Sheesh.

  • ||

    Jeepers, Gillespie- why do you hate America?

  • Ted Kennedy\'s Ginormous Foreh||

    I like this line ...

    "The Corporation engages four million Americans in result-driven service each year."

    And the reason that I like it is the inclusion of "result-driven." Mostly because I love it when I have the opportunity to correctly use "the exception that proves the rule."

  • ||

    "Next up: The Special Labor and Voluntary Employment (SLAVE) Act of 2009."

    Exactly. Relabeling the 'forced work' of and/or or 'volunteerism' by an unethical (or is he just plain dumb?) politician is an underhanded, deceptive method to legalize unconstitutional, immoral slavery.

  • ||

    I, for one, like my rage being channeled through Gonzo Gillespie.

  • SKR||

    That's right, let's follow the dreamer that said "why not" when the drunk chick asked the drunken dreamer to drive her home. I guess he also said "why not" when he left her to drown in an overturned car.

  • ||

    "Jesus rendered unto Caesar; he didn't ask for a block grant from Pontius Pilate in return"

    Way to go Nick. That is a great line.

    I got into with a bunch of liberals at Ann Althouse over this. I patiently tried to explain that if these jobs were not producing something of value equal to their pay, they are not real jobs. You should have seen the hysterics and histrionics over how evil conservatives are now denegrating national service and work. The idea that building a bridge no one will use or digging a ditch no one needs is not being productive when right over their heads.

  • Abdul||

    The paid volunteerism of Americorps would violate the minimum wage act and Fair Labor Standards Act if it was run by a private organization.

    A benefit for the Obama administation is that this giant boondoggle can juke the unemployment stats. If I'm working as a "volunteer" for scholarship credits, I won't report my status as unemployed.

  • Brandon||

    *hands Nick a new leather jacket and carries away the one that Nick burst through during his Hulk rage*

  • B||

    "...would increase and enhance opportunities for Americans of all ages to serve by increasing AmeriCorps from 75,000 to 250,000 positions over the next eight years, while increasing opportunities for students and older Americans to serve."

    Would increase opportunities to serve? It's volunteering for christ sake. Exactly who in the fuck was holding back those who want to serve before this shitty bill was passed? There are thousands and thousands of volunteer organizations in this country whose only prerequisite for service is being able to walk through their fucking door. The notion that we need to spend $5.7 billion to increase volunteer service is total bullshit. It seems as if this administration feels it is required to spend at least a billion dollars a day on something.

  • Richard Dawkins||

    Atheism, My Best Case For It, Yet

    Ted Kennedy has had a long distinguished career, his death will be commenserated and his funeral televised on all of the broadcast networks as a national day of mourning, given that, is there any one who still believes in a just God?

  • ||

    That Ted Kennedy could take a shit and have it elected in his stead speaks volumes about the big steaming pile of voters in Massachusetts. His flaccid intellect and cirrhosis of the soul represent his constituents well. The fact that the shit could do a better job speaks volumes about the big steaming pile that is Ted Kennedy.

  • alan||

    The paid volunteerism of Americorps would violate the minimum wage act and Fair Labor Standards Act if it was run by a private organization.


    How else are leftist going to get around the minimum wage laws it imposes on everyone else when it wants something done? 'Volunteerism'!

  • Kreel Sarloo||

    "If this is the career trajectory Jack, Bobby, and John-John would have followed, thank God for book depositories, crazy Turks, and Nantucket sound wind shear. Sheesh."

    Actually, Sirhan Sirhan was a Palestinian and John-John just flew his plane straight into the ocean because he was incompetent and didn't ever learn proper night flying procedures.

    But I tend to agree.

    Although it's also possible that if it hadn't been for Lee Oswald (why reporters added his middle name is not known for certain) JFK would have passed into history as an ineffectual one term president. Which might likely have spared us from the scourge of Kennedys since.

  • ||

    Penn Jillette just unleashed a rant on the whole "ask not" bullshit.

  • B||

    Paid volunteerism? It's called a fucking job. Getting paid for this shit is not volunteer work. Furthermore, this could very well be detrimental to real volunteer organizations that actually do more than just plant a few fucking trees somewhere. If this increases the expectation that volunteer organizations are supposed to give something in return, it could lead to a decrease in the amount of people willing to volunteer.

  • B||

    "Which might likely have spared us from the scourge of Kennedys since."

    Once Ted Kennedy is gone, the Kennedy bullshit will thankfully come to an end. Caroline's breathtaking mediocrity and inability to utter two words without saying "uh" has assured that.

  • High Every Body||

    Kreel,

    Actually, Sirhan Sirhan was a Palestinian and John-John just flew his plane straight into the ocean because he was incompetent and didn't ever learn proper night flying procedures.

    He was a Syrian when he was arrested and for quite some time after that. He did not become a Palestinian until either the LA Times or the NY Times morphed him into one around the year 2000.

  • ||

    Bullshit, he was reported as a Palestinian as soon as he was arrested.

  • ||

    "Ted Kennedy has had a long distinguished career, his death will be commenserated and his funeral televised on all of the broadcast networks as a national day of mourning, given that, is there any one who still believes in a just God?"


    God promises justice in the next life not this one. In the long term all of Ted Kennedy's worldly rewards aren't worth his soul. To put it in non-religous terms, I wouldn't want to be Ted Kennedy no matter how long and distinguished career you gave me.

  • ||

    Yet another Obama gaffe that will never see the mainstream light of day. Dude's a fucking idiot.

  • alan||

    I have a question for our forum leftward comrades. When you see Soviet Era socialist realism style artwork, with pictures of robust looking workers with hammers in their hands looking skyward, do you have a tendency to smirk at the naive ideals on display in the scene, or do you get choked up with wistful tears in your eyes as a romantic sense of longing passes through to the center of your being?

    Support for nonsense like Americorp tends to make me think the later to be the case.

  • ||

    If I survive my father, I will not mention in the eulogy that he volunteered to chair Ted's Newport County (RI) branch of his 1980 presidential campaign. I've already given him enough shit about it.

  • Kreel Sarloo||

    High

    I distinctly remember hearing and reading news reports that he was a Palestinian at the time it happened.

    I might be wrong, but it's what I remember.

    But I'm old and I can't be bothered to research it or argue about it. So, whatever.

  • ||

    libertymike,

    That is a good idea. It is wrong to speak ill of the dead. If I had done something that embarassing and my son mentioned it at my funeral, I would spend all eternity haunting him. I am sure your father did plenty to make up for such a youthful indiscretion.

  • ||

    Well, I guess it's time for me to dust off that grant application. I've got an idea for a training program that will teach disadvantaged kids how to dig holes and fill them in again.

    -jcr

  • ||

    B-

    Do you know that Caroline's cousin Joe was dubbed "the wizard of uhs" by local talkmaster Howie Carr? He used to have a contest where his callers guessed the number of uhs that emanated from the mouth of the former congressman turned Chavez business partner in a given sound bite.

    As for the Kenedy clan being kaput, have you forgotten about Patches?

  • Your Friendly, Liberal, Neighb||

    We strongly encouraged youth volunteerism throughout the Reich. Then, we made it mandatory. The people rejoiced!

  • High Every Body||

    Kreel,

    He was born in Jerusalem, but I sure do not recall very many people using the term Palestinian in 1968.

  • ||

    He was a Syrian when he was arrested and for quite some time after that. He did not become a Palestinian until either the LA Times or the NY Times morphed him into one around the year 2000.

    In 1968 (if I may show my age), he was clearly identified as having come from the Israeli-occupied West Bank, where his aged dad, Sirhan Bishara Sirhan, was still living and was interviewed by the press.

    Of course, the Syrians like to claim that Palestine and Jordan are parts of "Greater Syria," but that doesn't mean we have to buy into their irredentist lunacy.

  • ||

    Crimethink, your comment above caused me to laugh so hard my coworkers wanted to know what was so funny.

  • ||

    Great rant, Nick, as always. I agree with the above: more please! One question, though, for us peasants, does primo nocturne mean a leading dreamy mood or a top nightime picture? You busted all the on-line dictionaries with this one!

  • ||

    Quiet One,

    ius primae noctis

  • JB||

    Again, I will "volunteer" to punch politicians in the face. All I need is $1 billion and immunity from prosecution. Well, or just one of those.

  • JB||

    Oh, and I can't wait for Ted Kennedy to die. I hope he dies soon and suffers a lot before he dies. I will celebrate on the day that drunken fuck exits my planet. Fuck Ted Kennedy.

  • Craig||

    Can't this thing be named something that spells CCCP?

    How about Communist Coerced Communitarian Pablum?

  • ||

    John-

    Thanks. I should add that he later joined the ranks of "Reagan democrats" and voted for RWR both times.

  • Pop||

    ABO 2012. (Anyone But Obama)

  • Warty||

    libertymike, quit heaping shit on your poor dad. Do you want to kill him with shame?

  • Mike Laursen||

    I need a big hole dug in my backyard. Could Americorp send a couple of people over to do that?

  • ||

    Mike,

    Only if you throw money into it.

  • Mad Max||

    "of a dreamer who always asked 'Why not?'"

    A question which is, all too often, followed by the response, "oh, *that's* why not."

  • ||

  • ||

    mediageek,

    What, you oppose American initiative and entrepreneurship in throwing money into private holes? What are you, a communist?

  • The Wine Commonsewer (You can ||

    Nick, me boy, this is solid gold.

  • ||

    I seem to recall that that other paragon of Kennedy-style volunteerism, the Peace Corps, paid its volunteers a living allowance of $500 a month. At that time the general starting salary for a new college graduate was about, you guessed it, $500 a month.

    So, basically, Peace Corps volunteers got a paid trip to an exotic land where they got to lift up the lesser races with the shining light of their American exceptionalism while their stay-back-in-the-USA counterparts had to slog through an actual job every day.

    If this hadn't come from the brain of the sainted martyred JFK everyoone would have recognized it long ago for the arrogant elitism it is.

  • ed||

    God promises justice in the next life not this one. In the long term all of Ted Kennedy's worldly rewards aren't worth his soul.

    Nah, he'll just rot. That's sufficient.

  • ed||

    Peace Corps volunteers...got to lift up the lesser races with the shining light
    of their American exceptionalism


    Or as Ayn Rand put it, "Playing big-shot in the jungle."

  • ChrisO||

    So, what legislation is going to be named after Mary Jo Kopechne?

  • ||

    When you see Soviet Era socialist realism style artwork, with pictures of robust looking workers with hammers in their hands looking skyward, do you have a tendency to smirk at the naive ideals on display in the scene, or do you get choked up with wistful tears in your eyes as a romantic sense of longing passes through to the center of your being?


    Well, they liked the Obama Hope poster. So I would think the latter. A lot.

    I'm surprised Shepard Fairey didn't edit in a big ole monkey wrench and a hard hat.

  • The Keynes-Troll||

    "It seems as if this administration feels it is required to spend at least a billion dollars a day on something."
    Duh. It's stimulating.

  • ||

    *** "Paid volunteerism? It's called a fucking job. Getting paid for this shit is not volunteer work." ***

    You miss the point, dipshit. "Paid volunteerism" is a way for self-righteous assholes to get a big chunk of money while avoiding socially useful work, like painting houses or flipping burgers. They prefer the "volunteerism" because it looks better on their resumes.

    And that's the rub - not only do these a-holes get paid for being "volunteers" doing pretty much squat, but they're gunna get a better post-college job than you because their resumes look so nice.

    Oh, and sorry for calling you dipshit.


    *** "But elsewhere, again and again, you see in his legislative machinations not an attempt to actually help the wretched of this country, but a incoherent and archly ideological commitment to failed feel-good policies such as No Child Left Behind, which traps at-risk students in public schools that no Kennedy offspring has ever been caught dead in." ***

    That's great. Now when will folks at Reason realize that Ted Kennedy's lifelong commitment to unlimited immigration is part of that effort?

    *** "I seem to recall that that other paragon of Kennedy-style volunteerism, the Peace Corps, paid its volunteers [in the 60s] a living allowance of $500 a month." ***

    Fuck you. The Peace Corps has done wonders for Africa. Practically turned it around, practically. It's a model continent. It never would've gotten there without the help it's gotten from our brightest, leftest young minds.

  • Evil Alt. Universe South Park||

    "'Ted Kennedy has had a long distinguished career, his death will be commenserated and his funeral televised on all of the broadcast networks as a national day of mourning, given that, is there any one who still believes in a just God?'


    God promises justice in the next life not this one."
    Kyle: If Cartman gets to have a million dollars, and Ted Kennedy gets to be in the Senate for 30+ years, then there's no god, dude.
    Stan: Look, Ted Kennedy got a brain tumor!
    Kyle: You are there!

  • engineer||

    "Your Friendly, Liberal, Neighborhood Sturmbahnführer",

    Thanks for Godwining the thread. There's plenty to criticize about Obama, Americorps, Ted Kennedy, and the whole turgid Kennedy clan without the "OMG Nazi!" references.

  • engineer||

    "A question which is, all too often, followed by the response, 'oh, *that's* why not.'"

    After they've already done it, of course.

  • ||

    engineer,

    Why not? It's the 1930s all over again for most of the planet, even if the current economic situation is merely an enhanced recession and not at all a depression.

  • ||

    Once Ted Kennedy is gone, the Kennedy bullshit will thankfully come to an end. Caroline's breathtaking mediocrity and inability to utter two words without saying "uh" has assured that.

    Doesn't Ahnold count as a Kennedy?

  • ||

    crimethink,

    My research indicates that he does.

  • engineer||

    ProL,
    It's just that it's silly to claim that the Democrats are like the Nazis. God knows I don't like the Dems, but I also don't think they're Nazis. We should stick to the ways that they do suck, and we'll have plenty of material to work with.

  • ||

    Doesn't Ahnold count as a Kennedy?

    Yeah, and I'm pretty sure there's still a couple more in government somewhere. Maryland? Rhode Island?

  • ||

    engineer,

    I didn't mean the Nazis per se; I just meant any comparison to some 1930s era government. Roosevelt would do.

  • ||

    Hello Nick, productive pot smoker, part-time lurker, first-time commenter.

    There's something missing from your post that I think is probably more important than the old Another-day-another-$10 Billion-stimulus rant. What's telling to me is that these make-do work programs for Obama's We Can Do It young minions will be taking work away from actual workers, and in many cases workers from labor unions who have heretofore cornered the market on make-do work. Why does that continue to be kosher with the unions who continue to support him unconditionally? And how will he replace those inevitable missing tax dollars? I mean, this guy is alarmingly dishonest to America in general, even his own constituencies.

    (Insert opportunity for libertarians to divide the working man and conquer The Man.)

    And don't get me started on how bad those unions are about to be bent over, with no lube, after a pile of pension cash is confiscated from them in the upcoming auto company bankruptcy filings. On a utilitarian basis alone, one might argue that the bailouts are far cheaper than what will happen when the government has to live up to its end of the pension guarantee program. I'll save that for another time.

    Cheers!
    S_L

  • Some Guy||

    The only thing that would make this better is to have it narrated by Lewis Black...

  • ||

    Go Gillespie! I love a good rant as much as the next person.

  • ||

    Fuck Ted Kennedy. Because he sure as hell fucked me.

  • alan||

    I recall reading in the 90's a story on Americorp where some civatan organization cleaned up a public park and spent some cash on new materials without any assistance from the government. Some Americorp officials had the gall to put up a sign in the park claiming they were responsible for cleaning up the park. Nice work if you can get it.

  • alan||

    You realize MJK that you will forever haunt this world as a spectre until the day you find it in your heart to forgive Kennedy for murdering you.

  • ||

    M.J. - Lighten up and try the decaf!
    Nick, you also get my nomination to write Ted's obit.
    Beauty! The best thing I have read today.
    Ted - a) thrown out of Harvard for cheating
    b) see M.J. above
    c) great role model for nephew rapists
    d) I know his dad was a bootlegger, but has Teddy ever done a Chivas ad?
    e)We WILL see ridiculous coverage of Ted when he FINALLY kicks. No mention of his many achievements. Too few to mention.
    Thanks Nick!!!!!

  • ||

    TO: Nick Gillespie
    RE: Thanks....

    "President Barack Obama delivered (finally!) on arguably his most hope-changiest of all his campaign promises to use your tax dollars to support make-work jobs that will (finally!) allow America's vast, all-ages reserve army of the unemployed to be paid volunteers with AmeriCorps." -- Nick Gillespie

    ....for answering a question I had about AmeriCorps....

    ...that they'll be paid volunteers. I was wondering about that.

    Now I have to wonder if Obama is going to try to get his Civilian National Security Force from people who 'volunteer' for AmeriCorps.

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    [The plot thickens as the 'Plan' quickens.]

  • ||

    The Obama/socialist margin of victory was provided by Nick Gillespie supported social welfare dependent third world immigrants.

    It is the Libertopian Catch-22. Gillespie supports poicies which make the attainment of his stated goals utterly impossible.

  • ||

    Now a retired teacher...I was privileged to have Americorps young folks at my school and at times in my classroom. They were hesitant..screwed up...but never wavered. The matured before my eyes. It was, and remains a domestic Peace Corp.
    Maybe, as a parent, you told your children.."Think only of yourself." If you truly object to young people helping others AND reducing their college debt as a bad thing?
    Then you are not a parent. Because all parents want our children to lift themselves up and be responsible and contribute to society. Americorps does this....
    Just so you can continue to deride this..
    http://www.americorps.gov/

  • Paul||

    You got served...

  • Paul||

    Jesus rendered unto Caesar; he didn't ask for a block grant from Pontius Pilate in return.



    win.

  • ||

    Dear Nogo Postal;

    I understand this might be a difficult concept for a taxpayer funded state saleried, state pensioned individual like yourself, but did it ever occur to you that parents should be responsible for teaching their children to "lift themselves up and be responsible and contribute to society"? Just asking.

  • Paul||

    I co-founded a Key Club at my high school, many years ago.

    Kevrob, please, essplain to me, what exactly is Key Club? All of my Americorps-ey* friends joined it and proceeded to do, well, really nothing except talk about Key Club.

    Americorps didn't exist when I was in school...natch.

  • ||

    Reason: I love you. If you were a woman, I would even cuddle after coitus.

    Thank you.

  • ||

    What kind of girl do you think Reason is?

  • ||

    Paul;

    Yeah. Jesus intructed his followers to personally help the poor. He never lead a march on Rome demanding the "rich" pay their "fair share" to fund welfare, food stamps, WIC, Section Eight housing vouchers etc.

  • Rex||

    hey regulars,

    do you know if a poster with handle THOREAU still visits here? he seemed like a libertarian kind of guy.

  • ||

    If this is the same thing as the GIVE Act that recently passed the House and Senate, there is a provision for a commission to study making conscripted mandatory service required for all young people. Even elementary school children would have to do 50 hours of service per year, and the (public and private) schools are the enforcers, if they want their federal funds (like the free lunch program).

    Involuntary servitude violates the 13th Amendment of tbe Constitution. Subsequent case law emphasized that the state cannot conmpel involuntary servitude; and minors cannot be forced to servitude.

    First Black President (tm) reinstitutes slavery!

    Abe Lincoln spinning in his grave.

    Perhaps we can call this reparations. All those white people man-hours of today's larger population, would quickly make up for slavery. Perhaps that's the back room snicker Obama is aiming for.

  • ||

    "AmeriCorps" is a pretty weak name. I think they should replace it with something a little more inspiring like "The Obama Youth".

  • ||

    "The law shovels out $5.7 billion of your taxes over the next five years..."

    I'm afraid it's even worse than that. The CBO estimates the five year cost at nearly $8.3 billion once you factor in the "indefinite authorizations" like education grants, program expansion grants, various and sundry administrative costs and training and support (including a million dollars for a new Congressional Commission on Civic Service).

    The goal is to have 250,000 participants by 2014. Imagine that--spending $8.3 billion so that 250,000 people can "volunteer." I can't decide if it's more Orwellian or Kafkaesque. That politicians of all stripes think this is just a dandy idea demonstrates what deep doo doo we're truly in.

  • Mark||

    I saw an ad on tv for this, narrated by obama last week.

    Gillespie is correct. It is certainly the most unamerican piece of shit to ever pass congress.

    it makes me want to vomit. the force of government will crowd out non profits that do good works. the force of government will truly marginalize the good works of faith based organization, which given their religious affiliation will not score to many americorps grants and workers.

    a truly disgusting piece of horse shit this piece of shit is. Pretty soon we will be hearing news that productivity is up 15%, unemployment is down 38%, foodstuffs production is up 23%, and of the traitor emmanuel goldstein.

  • ||

    Gillespie, you magnificent bastard.
    I read your column!

  • ||

    Please, stop wasting ink on this sack of garbage. The only story we wanna read, involving this Fat Pig, Murderring DRUNK, is that he's DEAD, and BURNING IN HELL.

  • ||

    Abdul | April 22, 2009, 11:13am | #

    "The paid volunteerism of Americorps would violate the minimum wage act and Fair Labor Standards Act if it was run by a private organization"


    How true!

    And to add insult to injury I remember being totally amazed back in the late nineties to see a letter posted at my sons' rather pricey daycare announcing that they were going to have an Americorps volunteer join their staff for a year. The average household income of the kids at that daycare was upwards of 6 figures. And the daycare was run by a for-profit corporation. It didn't exactly strike me as being the best use of taxpayer money.

  • ||

    WoW Gillespie!! Old ScrotSack Ted wants to add another 5.7 Billion to the AmeriCorp jerk circle...fk'n fantastix.. Just keep sending out those checks for people that signup and don't show up...keep us happy voting democrat..

  • ||

    There is a lot I can agree with in your article. But you are overreaching when you say the "No Child Left Behind" act traps at-risk students. Quite the contrary. Reading First schools (formerly schools which were failing, turned around with required curriculum that is researched to get results) have come out of NCLB and they are the one shining star in Education today. There is a LOT that is good in NCLB. The teachers unions don't like it... that alone should give you a clue that it might work!

  • ||

    "Next up: The Special Labor And Voluntary Employment (SLAVE) act of 2009."

    Also known as HB1444 Congressional Commission on Civic Service.

    "Yo, fuck Ted Kennedy right in the tumor."

    Go easy on that; it really is an ugly disease, and is ALWAYS a death sentence.

  • ||

    Only in America can volunteerism cost $5 billion

  • ||

    I've had the dubious honor of running an agency that had AmeriCorps "volunteers." After six months of having to waste nearly ALL my productive time fixing their screwups and keeping them in line rather than pursuing and advancing our agency's mission, I phased out AC's involvement with our organization and began refusing federal grant funding.

    There was much lamenting and gnashing of teeth. Some of it was from the liberals on my board, who simply could not imagine that the 15% of AC funding allowed to be used for admin & overhead did not remotely come close to covering the actual costs imposed on us by accepting AC "volunteers," and some of it from the "volunteers" themselves who were lamenting the loss of their "jobs." (Without which they faced the serious challenge of finding some kind of minimum wage employment, which would pay BETTER than their AC stipend but would mandate doing actual work and actually following direction, etc., instead of simply showing up when they felt like and doing pretty much what they wanted.)

    And while not true of all the AC'ers, many of them were such condescending egotistical snots that they chased away our real volunteers, the ones willing to serve the community. Because the AC'ers were getting paid, some of them thought they were naturally in charge of said real volunteers. Heh. Most couldn't manage a checkbook.

    The year after dumping AC we met our annual goals for the first time since we'd accepted AC "volunteeers," our operating costs ratio was way down and our applied-funding ratio way up, our pool of REAL volunteers had more than doubled, and we managed to to expand our donations/grants base while taking funds only from private and local sources. By the time I moved on two years later we were winning awards and recognition for expanding and achieving our goals. Under AC we were lucky to make goals, much less expand them.

    It's SO much easier to do good work when you don't have to ride herd on a bunch of paid wanna-be world-saving narcassistic activists who refuse to take direction or stay in their assigned area of effort. Moral of the story: Don't give federal funding to wannabe "community activists."

  • ||

    Isaac -

    Those Peace Corps volunteers also got to demonstrate in front of a lot of US Embassys.

  • anti-t||

    Wow, tully, I've got to say my experience with AC volunteers is completely different from yours. Mine were terrific and the outdoor pathway, that accomadates mototrized wheelchairs for our very disabled students, has greatly enhanced our students' lives and education. But you know what they say about water finding its own level: maybe some self relection about your expectations and direction of the AC volunteers is in order. Ha, like you would ever give up a good rant!

  • ||

    I wish he wouldn't keep Satan waiting...

  • ||

    "Now a retired teacher...I was privileged to have Americorps young folks at my school and at times in my classroom. They were hesitant..screwed up...but never wavered. The matured before my eyes. It was, and remains a domestic Peace Corp.
    Maybe, as a parent, you told your children.."Think only of yourself." If you truly object to young people helping others AND reducing their college debt as a bad thing?
    Then you are not a parent. Because all parents want our children to lift themselves up and be responsible and contribute to society. Americorps does this....
    Just so you can continue to deride this..

    How sad that a supposed "educator" could make such a pathetic argument. No wonder our public schools are failing our children when the teachers are not able to reason, only make emotional straw man arguments.

    What parent tells their children "think only of yourselves"? In the mind of the Leftard, any who oppose coercive "volunteerism"?

    Of course, having been paid a years salary for 185 days of work and having a efficiency of only around 50%, or so, you know, because you were also simply an altruist, caring about the children. For a taxpayer coerced union salary, of course.

    Reason 234,867,875 I home school my children. I could fail horribly and still do better than "It felt GOOD and nothing happened before or after that" or "I CARE, at the expense of others, of course".

  • ||

    Introducing the Mary Jo Kopechne Hold Your Breath Act:

    If you truly believe big government will help you, just hold your breath because help is on the way.

  • ||

    TO: elephant4life
    RE: [OT] Not Necessarily

    "Go easy on that; it really is an ugly disease [brain cancer], and is ALWAYS a death sentence." -- elephant4life

    Take a look at graviola and pawpaw.....

    We were beating my mother-in-law's very aggressive squamous carcinoma of the mouth, until she decided she didn't want to live anymore and stopped drinking the tea.

    After that she 'crashed' in two months.

    If you know someone who the doctors have said, "You have one-foot in the grave," or words to that effect. Tell them about them.

    Regards,

    Chuck
    [God made the Earth and everything therein for Man.]

  • ||

    eric,

    "The Mary Jo Kopechne Hold Your Breath Act"?

    LOL!!!!!!!

    That was inspirational. It's too bad that bloated piece of shit won't have to face her after he (thankfully) snuffs it.

    They will be in two completely different places.

  • Stevie||

    I visited Reason.com after watching the recent YouTube video by James
    Randi on the Charlie Lynch case and happened on your current rant against
    Ted Kennedy.

    To tell you the truth I've never been a big fan of Ted Kennedy (or most
    Democrats for that matter), but that changed for me about a year ago when
    I first met my girlfriend. I always viewed Ted as a giant hypocrite and
    have made quite a few jokes at his expense over the years.

    She hardly grew up a privileged life; her parents were divorced and her
    father had his own trouble with drugs and the law. Her uncle, a politician
    quite active in Massachusetts politics, became her mentor and model. Years
    ago, in the prime of his life, he suddenly dropped dead leaving a
    depressing void in her life.

    While in college here in California she signed up for a "Semester in D.C."
    program working in the Senate. Out of chance she became an aide to Ted
    Kennedy. He didn't have to show her the time of day; he instead became her
    mentor and friend filling the spot her dead uncle once did. She's shared
    many stories from The Capitol including quite a few stories of "Teddy;"
    and despite my quips to the contrary, she never accepted a ride home from
    him over any lonely bridges. ;^)

    When news of Ted's cancer broke I was the first to tell her. She broke
    down in tears in my arms.

    Yet you couldn't write an article on his policies without your cop out
    attacking his personal life "a truly ugly sense of entitlement and prima
    nocturne expanded to cover virtually every element of social interaction."
    You're such a coward you attack a dying man in such a piss-poor manner.

    You're truly a pathetic fucktard. I spent years of my life knee deep among
    the scum of society: porn stars, prostitutes and pimps (at the forefront
    of the "Freedom of Expression" battles you extol, while you've done
    nothing but bitch) and I still consider you ten rungs below them. If I
    ever see you on the street I would not think twice about laying a right
    hook across your fat face hoping it causes enough damage to form a nice
    inoperable tumor on your brain. Or maybe I'll just pray the next time you
    interview "Buttman" John Stagliano he deposits a nice HIV-infected cum
    load deep within your anus. I hear he has a penchant for trannies, and you
    certainly could pass for one. But with today's advancements in
    anti-retroviral medication (I'm sure you can afford it), that isn't enough
    of a fitting, painful demise that you deserve.

    A signed picture of Ted and her sits above our fireplace along with the
    Congressional announcement celebrating her uncle's life. Ted stepped up to
    the plate when I'm sure he had more important things to do. I go out of my
    way to point it out when friends who disagree with his politics stop by.

    Normally I'd say "Rot in Hell" but I'm sure you subscribe to the usual
    Libertarian/Atheist bullshit...so instead why don't you go choke on Drew
    Carey and John Stossel's cocks. I'm sure they're small enough you could
    deep throat both at once with a little luck as your trap seems to be never
    ending.

    Hopefully when your kids are old enough they'll do what I did and turn to
    a life of porn and make you proud. I'll even make sure I extend an
    invitation for them to do their first gay porn (when they're 18 of
    course!). I can only imagine how much money that amazing video would get
    on the "Free Market."

    Much Love,
    Stevie Why

  • ||

    TO: Stevie Why
    RE: Well....

    "Yet you couldn't write an article on his policies without your cop out attacking his personal life...." -- Stevie Why

    All I can suggest to your egregious attack on the Truth of a matter is this....

    ....(1) advise your girlfriend to never go driving late at night with the Senator and (2) if she doesn't listen to you, teach your girlfriend to hold her breath long enough to escape the car under water.

    Hope that helps....

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    [Nothing can withstand the Truth.....]

  • ||

    P.S. Why the second thing?

    Because she can't expect Teddy Kennedy to save her sorry a--. And neither can anyone else. Especially YOU.....

  • Jeremy Janson||

    The "Volunteer America" crowd kind of remind me of a narcissistic teenage actress who can't get real praise so she demands the fake kind from everyone she meets. They can't get real sacrifice, so they're going to force everyone to capitulate to the fake, alterior survival interests, kind.

  • ||

    TO: All
    RE: Observe....Stevie Why....

    "Or maybe I'll just pray the next time you
    interview "Buttman" John Stagliano he deposits a nice HIV-infected cum load deep within your anus. " -- Stevie Why

    ....and understand that maybe he spent entirely TOO MUCH TIME amongst-as he describes them-the "scum of the earth: porn stars, prostitutes and pimps". His 'delivery' certainly supports that claim. And to think that he considers "you ten rungs below them".

    That goes far in explaining the next statement...."If I ever see you on the street I would not think twice about laying a right hook across your fat face hoping it causes enough damage to form a nice inoperable tumor on your brain." -- Stevie Why

    Typical 'liberal/progressive' mentality that, i.e., I disagree with your statements of the truth, and given the opportunity, I'll do whatever I can to make your life miserable.

    Hope that helps. Either you as the reader or even Stevie Why, as I suspect he's high on 'something' as he wrote that. And maybe, when he's sober, he'll figure out that whatever it is he's on is not good for him. And probably not good for his 'girlfriend' either.

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    [Liberals aren't. Progressives won't.]

  • Bob||

    I agree whole heartedly with the rant against paid volunteerism - what a twist of words. It reminds me of such bureaucratic prose as terms like "randomly uniform" and "reinventing government" - all meant to obfuscate.

    Let's call it what it is - giving potential voters money to do very little, if anything, of value. (See post-Hurricane Katrina footage of New Orleans Democrats who have long gotten money for doing very little to observe altruism in action)

    Now, we have about two more years before mid-term elections. We need to develop a platform and slate of candidates that wrest control back to those who believe in free markets, personal responsibility, strong families, the rule of law, and the tenth amendment.

    We need to remain the loyal (even if only barely) opposition - we cannot become enraged anti-Americans like the hissy-fit throwing democrats who actively supported our enemies over the last 8 years.

    We need out own ideas!

    We need to empower state and local government again. It asinine to send billions to Washington so they can fund their bureaucracies and send back less than 50% of the take to state and local governments.

    --Urge your elected officials to change this idiocracy.

    We need to recognize that the biggest threat to America that has developed over the last 20 years is the absolute disintegration of an independent press providing us with "just the facts". The internet is growing as our only option. No offense, but we need to change that.

    --Stop supporting advertisers who buy ads on networks like MSNBC that encourage their news top become the venue for childish discussions of "Tea-bagging", mindless devotion to the messiah, etc.

    Support networks that are truly fair and balanced - yes I mean fair and balanced - not just shills for one side or the other. Remember, "The truth shall set you free" and truth is NOT relative.


    The left is opening itself up to creamed. Let's help them finish that job.

    Any suggestions?

  • ||

    I personally do not care if people hate what I am going to say:

    Ted Kennedy is a murderer. Period. End of argument. That is has suffered his entire life, and suffers now as his life ebbs to an end, to me is the perfect justice someone who is an unabashed killer like him deserves. And when he finally kicks the bucket and shakes loose this mortal coil, I for one will hoist my banner with "Good Riddance to that piece of Excrement!"

  • ||

    Chuck Pelto.....

    Bravo.

    "When news of Ted's cancer broke I was the first to tell her. She broke
    down in tears in my arms."

    Are you kidding me? I had to throw up in my mouth bit when I read that pathetic bullshit.

    However, your response,.....

    "....(1) advise your girlfriend to never go driving late at night with the Senator and (2) if she doesn't listen to you, teach your girlfriend to hold her breath long enough to escape the car under water."

    Made it all worth it. I can't believe I have stumbled on this palce before. A bunch of right wingers giving no holds barred beat downs to these smelly liberal pukes.

    What a country.

  • ||

    All I see in here are a bunch of angry, racist, limbic impaired rednecks that need a good dose of civility. Everyone in here should do the right thing and report yourselves to a local high-speed train station for assignment to a designated Americorps re-education camp. P.S. Don't forget your shovel! [/snark]

  • ||

    TO: All
    RE: Heh

    "Everyone in here should do the right thing and report yourselves to a local high-speed train station for assignment to a designated Americorps re-education camp. P.S. Don't forget your shovel!" -- Josh Reiter

    Probably not too far from the ideal 'final solution' that Obama's political science mentor Ayers envisions for US latter-day 'kulaks'. Just like Lenin and Stalin did in the late-1920s and early 1930s.

    What was it? Some 3.1 million small business and land owners shipped off to 're-education camps'. Hardly any of them 'survived' the 'training regime'.

    Ayers was quoted as planning the same for US. When they came into power. And now we have Obama in the White House.

    I hear there's a bill introduced in the Senate that will give Obama the power to shut down the internet with the flip of a switch. And, believe it or not, it was introduced by a 'Democrat'.....

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    [History repeats itself. Especially if it was 'successful'.]

  • mark||

    Come on guys, this Ted Kennedy fellow can't be all bad, why, I just recently watched Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer singing his praises at a Harvard reception:

    "Think of neighborhood health centers. In his first term as a senator he noticed how well a neighborhood heath center, started here in Boston, was serving people in poverty; in 1966 he passed a bill that made that center a model; and today, based on that model, we have amazing health center networks in all 50 states.

    Think of health insurance that travels along with workers who change jobs. Think of special health insurance for children, of parity in insurance for mental and physical illness, of schools that leave no child behind, of a nation that cares about citizens with disabilities.

    I have mentioned just six of Sen. Kennedy's successful legislative efforts. I could mention 60 or even 600, and that would not count them all. Think of all he has done to help assure the American working man and woman of a decent job at decent pay, to make America's promise of fair and equal treatment a reality for minorities and women. Think of his work for immigrants, for refugees throughout the world. Consider his efforts to stop the spread of nuclear arms, to prevent unnecessary wars. Indeed, if you are a student here today 18, 19, or 20 years old and if you voted in last month's presidential election, you were able to do so because in 1970 Sen. Kennedy lowered the voting age from 21 to 18."

  • mark||

    I mean, come on, Yo-Yo Ma was there!

  • economist||

    Who the hell is Stevie, and what the hell was that steaming turd he deposited on the thread?
    While Ted Kennedy's death will undoubtedly will undoubtedly unleash a torrent of idiotic eulogizing, my sense of satisfaction at seeing that turgid, sodden corpse finally stop moving will more than make up for any annoyance I might suffer from having to hear the eulogies.

    Oh, yeah, and go fuck yourself,Stevie.

    "If I
    ever see you on the street I would not think twice about laying a right
    hook across your fat face hoping it causes enough damage to form a nice
    inoperable tumor on your brain."

    Bring it on, you little butthole. If you so much as lay a hand on me, I'll make you wish you'd never been born. Normally I don't make threats over the web, but turnabout's fair play. But don't worry, as long as you wuss out (as I'm sure you would), you have nothing to worry about. I only kick ass in self defense.

  • economist||

    Okay, I'm joining the "Reason needs poster registration" faction here. I'm sick and tired of these damn trolls who keep showing up here. I don't care if I can't spoof anymore, this is simply too much.

  • economist||

    So...Ted Kennedy is buddy-buddy with weirdoes like Stevie Why? Not that I really it's true. I'm pretty Stevie's full of shit on that. But if it was, it would be just one more reason to hate the man.

  • ||

    TO: economist
    RE: Cuidado!

    "Okay, I'm joining the "Reason needs poster registration" faction here. I'm sick and tired of these damn trolls who keep showing up here. I don't care if I can't spoof anymore, this is simply too much." -- economist

    Let's hope that Reason doesn't go insane like Charles Johnson did with LGF.

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)

  • ||

    Another insane waste of the hard-earned taxpayers money. I'm sick of the government stealing our money and then wasting it on programs like this. Obama and the Democrats in Congress are going to spend this country into a depression. We are headed for huge hyperinflation, like the Germans needing a wheelbarrow full of money just to buy a loaf of bread after World War II ended.

  • ||

    The Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act

    You misspelled "slave." Hope this helps.

    Go easy on that; it really is an ugly disease, and is ALWAYS a death sentence.

    This man has been stinking up the US Senate longer than most people have been alive. It's past damn time.

  • ||

    That whole FAMILY has been stinking up this country for longer than I care to think about.

    Rape, murder, pedophilia, and coverups topped off with, of all things, sanctimony.

    I'd really like to see more of them play "Ski Football".

  • ||

    Isn't there a moderator here?

    I am horrified at those whose comments include a callous celebration of the untimely deaths of JFK, RFK and John Jr. These types of comments are uncalled for and serve no purpose. Please, have some human decency.

  • Dooley||

    Screw all the Kennedy family. And screw you too scuba...

  • wizard of oz books||

    With many new announcement about the wizard of oz movies in the news, you might want to consider starting to obtain Wizard of Oz book series either as collectible or investment at RareOzBooks.com.

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