Trivia 1D

Just when you hoped that there must still be some small amount of decency and maybe even compassion in the Republican Party, along comes news that shows the utter futility of that dream.

During the thirty seconds that Rep. Bob Livingston was speaker of the House and before his lies and deceits were exposed, he proposed that the House of Representatives expand their work week from the current three days up to five days. His reasoning was that, since the House failed to enact any legislation other than the thirteen spending bills needed to keep the government running, a longer week would allow them to destroy even more social programs and pass even more tax laws meant to further enrich the already wealthy at the expense of the middle- and low-class taxpayers. (Okay, he didn't actually say all of that, per se, but it's what my staff psychic said he meant.) His suggestion met with immediate disapproval from his Right wing colleagues who handed him a petition drafted by Georgia Republican Rep. Jack Kingston, demanding that the idea be rejected. Kingston stated that a survey of House Republicans after the 104th Congress (remember the nasty and abusive "Contract on America, er, I mean the "Contract with America"?) showed that there were four freshmen representatives who ended the year divorced and many others reporting family problems that they blamed on the long legislative session. (The idea that the freshmen were simply nasty, unlikable people who were deserted by the spouses for ethical, moral and/or just out of personal disgust wasn't addressed.)

Kingston, while protecting his fellow travelers in the House from actual work, hasn't been as decent to real human beings during his time in office, though. He has voted against the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act, voted to eliminate the 30% cap on rent for public housing for low income families, voted to slash $4.3 million from the Employment and Standards Administration (the government agency that investigates and enforces labor laws such as minimum wage and child-labor and anti-sweatshop regulations), prevented expanding aid for dislocated worker training, voted against summer youth jobs and Head Start and student loans and was a loud opponent to any increase in the minimum wage. (1) Once again, my contention that, of the two major political parties in America, the Republican Party is simply far and away the nastier to the average American and most wholly owned by the rich. As I have repeatedly stated, if you or anyone you know votes Republican but is neither wealthy nor the owner of a corporation, then you or your friend is voting 100% against their own best interests.

Want to know what I consider a truly frightening piece of news is? In a recent survey, fully two thirds of the American voting public have no idea who Trent Lott is nor do they have any opinion of him once they find out. This individual is the Senate Majority Leader and the cause of the total destruction of any tobacco deal (remember that from days and hours gone by?). Is America truly that completely out of touch with reality or is Lott just that adept at hiding from the public's view? Just a rhetorical question since I guess both answers are correct.(2)

On Michael Jordan's visit to his school. Principal William Liscomb of Sousa middle School in Washington, D.C. gushed, "Hey, this bigger than the pope" (3). My only response? Sigh!

Want more proof that America revels in excess, particularly when they have no idea what is actually happening?(4) The Washington, D.C. mayor, Anthony Williams, fired a top aid for supposedly using the term (as opposed to other reporters, I'm going to show the whole word so skip down to the next paragraph if you're easily angered) "nigger". The reality, as usual, is much different. What David Howard, the head of the mayor's constituent-services office, actually done was to use the word "niggardly" is reference to his own office's funds. Now, correct me if I'm wrong but doesn't "niggardly" actually mean only, "1, grudgingly mean about spending or granting ;begrudging, 2. Provided in meanly limited supply syn. - stingy"?(5) Consider just how fragile the person's ego must have been who could mistake those two words, especially when taken in the moment's context.

I am so amazed at how angry people can get over one word or the other but can drive by homeless children and families without even noticing their existence.

Want just a little example that all is not lost in America? Students enrolled in the GATE (Gifted And Talented Education) program at Pierce Elementary School in Ridgecrest, California have, by their own choice, are doing what they can to address an national shame, homelessness. This desert community, once the home for the majority of military weapons development and testing but now still feeling the economic woes caused by the defense cut-backs, is hardly the place that you would expect to find homeless people. Nevertheless, these magnificent examples of our possible future decided that they could only work towards one goal due to limited funds. That goal became collecting supplies for and assembling what they term "dignity kits". These kits contain the basic human needs for cleanliness such as bars of soap, shampoo, razors and lotions that are so difficult for the homeless to afford as their first goal is simply to find the money to eat. The school's literacy support and GATE teacher, Judy Tanaka, had observed the problem first hand while working as a volunteer at a shelter in Milwaukee, Wis. She was able to show her students, through her own experiences, that homelessness is very seldom an alcohol or drug related problem but usually involves families who have either lost everything due to a major illness or due to the greed of CEOs laying off the family's breadwinner. These children and their teacher should be held up as a shining example of what Americans can do to help others, especially when the Republican mentality isn't allowed to interfere. Personally, I am going to write to Ms Tanaka (6) and congratulate both her and her students for exemplifying all that can be good and caring about this nation's people. I highly recommend that my readers do so as well so that these children learn how much some people still care. (7)

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