Archive - Jun 15, 2005

Why Things Suck, Part 8,247

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Wondering why the world sucks so much? Wondering why the world of politics sucks so much in particular? Looking for anecdotes the next time you and your friends get together for a razor blade Jacuzzi party? Look no further!

Consider the curious case of Philip Cooney. Cooney was just going along, putting in his hours, minding his own business at the American Petroleum Institute. As a lawyer and lobbyist, he was eminently qualified to head that group's climate program. But he felt the pull of public service, the desire to serve his country, and when the Bush Administration offered him a humble job running the Council on Environmental Policy, he kissed the oil industry goodbye, cleaned out his desk, and started his noble task of cleaning up the planet.

And since the White House never lies about anything, I can only assume it's purest fucking coincidence that, a few days after he got caught, red-handed, editing scientific reports on climate change.... he resigned. Minor edits, really. Additions, even. Uncertainties became SIGNIFICANT uncertaincies. Two detailed and conclusive sentences on how shit's going to melt and we're gonna end up with more water became "could also lead to changes in the water cycle". Little stuff, really. It's not like global warming's been proven or anything anyway. The other day I saw two guys on the news arguing about it, so they obviously haven't settled it yet.

So last week he gets caught cooking the books, on Sunday is forced out in (albeit fervently denied) disgrace, and by Tuesday afternoon, the fucker lands a job... with Exxon/Mobil. About one business day, if you subtract the time he took filling out his W-4 and listing his Hummers as dependents. It's almost as if he didn't have to be interviewed for the job. It's almost as if, mysteriously, the oil industry's biggest opponent of doing anything about global warming saw Cooper's four years in the Bush administration as some kind of extended job interview. I mean, yes, we've all heard fo the "revolving door" that separates lobbyists and government, but the fucking thing is spinning so fast we should hook cables up to it and power the entire nation.

Still, as bad as everything is now, at least we've put the horrible history of lynching behind us. Sort of.

The Senate recently worked up a resolution. You've probably read about it. It's a resolution apologizing for the Senate's repeated failure to pass anti-lynching laws. Lynching remained legal for decades because racist senators did everything in their power (including the allegedly horrible filibuster) to keep the laws from moving forward. Now, you would think, what with lynching being an exceptionally reprehensible act, that all the Senators would be comfortable voting, on the record, for this resolution. Yet they didn't.

According to reports, some unidentified senators arranged for the apology to become a non-binding resolution, passed by voice vote, with no senators being actually required to go on the record with an up or down vote on the evils of lynching. This is the same Senate who turned "up or down vote" into a fucking mantra during the filibuster fight just a few scant weeks ago, mind you.

Coincidentally, you've got 20 senators who, despite ample opportunity (even after the resolution passed, by the way) did not sign on as co-sponsors. 80 senators put their name on it. Now, I'm not going to come right out and assume that all 20 of the senators are screaming racists, but some states and names spring forth when I look at the list.

Like Trent Lott. We all know Trent is a little bit wistful for the days of separate water fountains and lunch counters. He's from Mississippi, the #1 lynching state in the union. Strangely, his compatriot, Sen. Thad Cochran, also failed to co-sponsor the resolution.

And hey, look! It's Alabama! #2 behind Mississippi in lynchings, and apparently still a bit bitter about not getting a chance to catch up, because neither of the state's senators signed on as co-sponsor either. Senator Jeff Sessions, according to a spokesman, doesn't endorse everything that crosses his desk, you see. He is, if you'll pardon the expression, a very discriminating senator. And Richard Shelby doesn't remember anyone asking him to co-sponsor. Shellby treats legislation the way vampires treat Space Mountain. Even if all their friends go in ahead of them, he's still gotta wait for an invitation.

Both Texas senators. One from Arkansas. One from Utah. One from Tennessee. Oh, and 18 Republicans. A bunch of people who, at the very least, seem to be afraid their constituents might not be be happy with their brave stand against lynching. LYNCHING. Remember that these are many of the same people who oppose affirmative action on the grounds that things should be equal now, yet Trent Lott won't go on the record and say "Sorry about that whole lynching thing." Fucking appalling.