Black Pork


AP reports that bills we can't see look rather like those we can: lovingly stuffed with pork. The report jumps off an investigation of the incarcerated Rep. Duke Cunningham, who habitually slipped self-help items into classified intelligence bills. But in his case, at least, there is an explanation:

One committee member, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-California, said Cunningham also had an exaggerated personality. "If he were talking about a tuna fish sandwich, it could drive him to anger or tears," Issa said. "Some of his actions were discounted as, 'It's just Duke.' "

In other words: We accepted pork to avoid recurrent temper tantrums. Another committee member weighs in:

"Our committee—our 20-odd people and a comparable number of staff—cannot offer sufficient oversight over many billions of dollars of activity," said Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J.

"We don't try," he said

NEXT: The Iraq War: Capturing the Friedmans

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  1. “Our committee — our 20-odd people and a comparable number of staff — cannot offer sufficient oversight over many billions of dollars of activity,” said Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J.

    “We don’t try,” he said

    I often wonder if perhaps they’d be more motivated to give it the old college try if there was a chance that such negligence would result in a little party being thrown that involved tar and feathers.

  2. mediageek,
    I’ve got tar, you get the feathers. I’d love to see the CSPAN coverage on that.

  3. I like that idea. The Tar-and-Feather party is one that even the Founders, with their well-known aversion to partisanship, could probably have gotten behind.

    Coal tar: $200
    Feathers: $ 50

    Restoring sanity to the Congressional budgeting process: Priceless.

    Let’s tar and feather some of the goatfuckers!!

  4. I don’t understand how, AFTER they pegged Cunningham as just plain obnoxious, they couldn’t bring themselves to ignore his outbursts.

    Isn’t that one of the most important things one learns about dealing with one’s mother?

  5. The Censor could be granted tar-and-feathering authority for lesser offenses.

    Why yes, I am obsessive about Der Censor. So what?

  6. How does the taste of black pork compare to the taste of long pork?

  7. I don’t understand how, AFTER they pegged Cunningham as just plain obnoxious, they couldn’t bring themselves to ignore his outbursts.

    Sorry your mother was like that, bubba. My first wife was a drama queen poster child. Emotional outbursts are one thing and if that’s all it was one could deal with it. But it doesn’t end with being obnoxious. People like that truly have a screw loose in that once they get something in their head, they are relentless. They simply do NOT give up. They will bug, badger, hector, call, scream, rant, whine, cry, play your best friend and run through every scene from Melrose Place to get what they want. You give in to get rid of them. I imagine that’s part of what it was like dealing with ol’ Duke.

  8. It tastes just like peeeeeoooppppllllleeee!

  9. Glad to hear that they don’t even try.

    Here’s an idea: since it’s so hard for only 40 people to keep track of billions of dollars, why doesn’t the gov’t go ahead and not steal billions of dollars from it’s people and then try to spend it?

  10. Not getting your hands on some pork in the 00s is like not owning tech stocks in the 90s. Everyone does it and is getting rich! I need some llama subsidies or something.

  11. That title sounds like a porn video.

  12. Pro Lib,

    When Der Censor finally comes to your door, I hope you will have the decency to post a comment reading, “Babe, you know, I miss you and joe and all my funky friends.”

    Don’t turn around, uh-oh.

  13. “In other words: We accepted pork to avoid recurrent temper tantrums.”

    Not to defend the Republicans, but I thought Issa’s point was more along the lines of “We just figured Cunningham was being a kook, rather than running a bribery racket, when he arbitarily added and deleted line items.”

  14. Pro Libertate,

    Mandatory trial before the most recently elected Electoral College, with the Censor as prosecutor, for each President the day after his successor is sworn in. If 2/3 convict on any charge, they seat a jury in District Court in Washington, DC.

    Whaddya think?

  15. joe, that’s an interesting idea. Kind of a postmortem on each presidency. Sure, we could add that to the growing list of Censor powers (uh, oh!).

    I’d be totally happy with the Censor scheme if it weren’t for the danged politics of the office. For instance, there’s a bill being proposed to create an inspector general for the federal courts. On the surface, that might be okay, assuming that the office lacks removal or other punitive powers (reserving those to the judiciary and to Congress), but the fact is that such an office would probably degenerate to second-guessing the opinions of the judges. Bad idea. If Congress wants to do that directly, so be it, but we don’t need to add more politics to the judiciary, nor do we need to muck up the works anymore than they already are mucked up.

    If only we could draw from a cadre of honest and objective people, the Censor would be a great idea. Without that, we need to come up with some serious checks and balances. I want the bad actors removed, not the people whose politics the party in power doesn’t like. Though I still enjoy the idea of Congresspersons regularly being kicked out of office. And administration officials, while we’re at it.

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