And what better way to begin than with a classic bit of dumbfuckery, proving the Senate has always contained politicians who have some difficulty confronting Really Serious Issues and are terrified of change:
Magpiemom posted this as a comment on the DFDJ deriding Senate Cons for valiantly defending the incandescent bulb, and she's right - I thoroughly enjoyed it. Be sure to read on, my darlings. Stupidity never goes out of fashion. It just finds different issues to be stupid about.June 25, 1930
Senate Considers Banning Dial Phones
Senator Carter Glass of Virginia
Carter Glass (D-VA)
In the spring of 1930, the Senate considered the following resolution:
Whereas dial telephones are more difficult to operate than are manual telephones; and Whereas Senators are required, since the installation of dial phones in the Capitol, to perform the duties of telephone operators in order to enjoy the benefits of telephone service; and Whereas dial telephones have failed to expedite telephone service; Therefore be it resolved that the Sergeant at Arms of the Senate is authorized and directed to order the Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Co. to replace with manual phones within 30 days after the adoption of this resolution, all dial telephones in the Senate wing of the United States Capitol and in the Senate office building.
(Note to new readers: the comment system doesn't hate you, it's just set to moderate comments after X days to stymie spammers. Sorry 'bout that!)
On to modern dumbfuckery, then, and nothing's entertained me more this week than watching Cons unveil their Pledge to America to near-universal derision. How desperate are they for some sign, any sign, that somebody somewhere doesn't think their Pledge is a ridiculous fucking waste of time? So desperate they're pretending Stephen Colbert is who he pretends to be:
House Republicans have had a tough time getting anyone — even fellow conservatives and Republicans — to endorse their new gimmicky “Pledge to America” they rolled out yesterday. Newt Gingrich, David Frum, Erick Erickson, the Club for Growth, conservative radio hosts, and even some GOP House candidates aren’t too thrilled with the recycled Republican pledges.
It seems Republicans are so desperate for someone to endorse the Pledge that they are now touting the fake support from a fictional character. Today, Comedy Central host Stephen Colbert testified — in character — before Congress on migrant labor issues. During the hearing, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) noted that Colbert supports giving lawmakers 72 hours to read bills before they’re voted on and extrapolated that Colbert must support the entire Pledge because that “idea” is within it. Later, Colbert reassured Smith with this satirical response:COLBERT: By the way I do endorse your policies. I do endorse your policies. You asked me if I endorse Republican policies. I endorse all Republican policies without question.[snip]
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) was so happy someone announced support of the GOP’s “Pledge” that he promoted Colbert’s (fake) endorsement on twitter:
That's just too pathetic for words. If they truly don't understand that Stephen Colbert's schtick is just a schtick, then we're in uber-pathetic territory and accelerating as near-light speeds towards epic stupidity. Put it like this: I probably won't die of shock if that proves to be the case.
We cannot end today's delving back into the realms of dumbfuckery without highlighting this extraordinary bit of Con hypocrisy:
Apparently, when confronted with the potential horror of smelling sweaty feet in their very own homes, Cons can be persuaded to abandon their principles and scream for Mommy. So here's an idea for you, my darlings. Go collect yourselves some brown marmorated stink bugs. They should fit easily in a match box or some such container. Then bring them to your Con politician's next town hall. When they start frothing at the mouth over the evul gubmint, remove the lid from your container, present the contents to the Con, and ask in calm and reasonable tones, "Then why did you scream for the 'evul gubmint' to eradicate these poor little pests?"The Washington Post ran an item the other day that, at first blush, doesn't seem especially political, but is worth considering in a larger context.
The issue is the spread of the brown marmorated stink bug through the mid-Atlantic states. They're harmless to people -- the don't bite, sting, or carry diseases -- but for the first time on the continent, they're doing significant damage to crops, ornamental shrubs, and trees. And as homeowners are discovering, as the bugs begin moving inside as temperatures drop, "when squashed or irritated, the bugs release the distinctive smell of sweaty feet."
The insects reached the U.S. in Allentown, Pa., in 2001, apparently as stowaways in a shipping container from Asia. Now they're spreading, they have no known natural predators, and there's "no easy way to kill lots of the bugs at once." Complicating matters, "the invasion is only going to get worse."
So, where's the political angle?Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, a Republican who represents Maryland's rural 6th District, sent a letter Friday, signed by 15 members of Congress, asking U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson to take immediate action to limit damage caused by Halyomorpha halys.Of the 15 members who signed the letter, eight of them are Republicans -- all from states between West Virginia and New Jersey, and all fairly conservative members of the GOP caucus. The group of lawmakers are looking for "coordinated federal government assistance" from the Obama administration to help farmers and local economies deal with the bugs.
There seems to be a bit of disconnect here between Republican ideology and real-world problems. On the one hand, conservative lawmakers like Bartlett hate "big government," the EPA, federal regulations, and government bureaucrats. This year, plenty of GOP candidates are talking about eliminating the EPA, firing parts of the federal workforce, scrapping regulations, and slashing spending on various agencies.
Shouldn't conservative lawmakers, right about now, expect the free market to offer a solution to the stink-bug problem? Why hasn't the GOP offered everyone a tax credit for fly swatters and facemasks? Why aren't Tenthers running around demanding to know where, exactly, the Constitution empowers the federal government to deal with an insect infestation?
It's probably just a matter of time before the Teabaggers start parading around with signs saying "Keep Your Government Hands Off Our Agricultural Pests."