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In his Washington Post column today–one of thousands he has written over his career that end with a cry to end “partisan gridlock”–David Broder gets misty-eyed over the indictment of Senator Ted Stevens. It was “a poignant moment last week,” Broder writes, “when Ted Stevens of Alaska, newly indicted for accepting unreported favors from an oilman friend, walked over to Robert Byrd of West Virginia, who uses a wheelchair because of age and illness, in search of support and consolation.” According to Broder, Stevens and Byrd represent “the rear guard of a generation of senators who see it as their principal responsibility to help their chronically needy citizens obtain the federal largess that can spell the difference between subsistence and a decent living.”
Is there anyone else in the entire country who believes that Stevens had as his highest aim the alleviation of poverty? (Anyone other than Heather Lende, anyway, who also had an op-ed in the Post today, entitled “He’s Still Our Uncle Ted.”) Poor Alaskans benefited far less from his tenure in the Senate than did the political donors to whom Stevens steered so much pork. And Stevens hasn’t done so badly either, with VECO Corp., an oil field services company, having carried out a renovation that more than doubled the size of his home.
The last time Broder was this overwrought was back in 1994, when Dan Rostenkowski, then chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, was indicted on corruption charges. “Seeing him brought down,” Broder wrote, “is a citywide sorrow.”
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
For the past three years my dosimeter had sat silently on a narrow shelf just inside the door of a house in Tokyo, upticking its final digit every twenty-four hours by one or two, the increase never failing — for radiation is the ruthless companion of time. Wherever we are, radiation finds and damages us, at best imperceptibly. During those three years, my American neighbors had lost sight of the accident at Fukushima. In March 2011, a tsunami had killed hundreds, or thousands; yes, they remembered that. Several also recollected the earthquake that caused it, but as for the hydrogen explosion and containment breach at Nuclear Plant No. 1, that must have been fixed by now — for its effluents no longer shone forth from our national news. Meanwhile, my dosimeter increased its figure, one or two digits per day, more or less as it would have in San Francisco — well, a trifle more, actually. And in Tokyo, as in San Francisco, people went about their business, except on Friday nights, when the stretch between the Kasumigaseki and Kokkai-Gijido-mae subway stations — half a dozen blocks of sidewalk, which commenced at an antinuclear tent that had already been on this spot for more than 900 days and ended at the prime minister’s lair — became a dim and feeble carnival of pamphleteers and Fukushima refugees peddling handicrafts.
One Friday evening, the refugees’ half of the sidewalk was demarcated by police barriers, and a line of officers slouched at ease in the street, some with yellow bullhorns hanging from their necks. At the very end of the street, where the National Diet glowed white and strange behind other buildings, a policeman set up a microphone, then deployed a small video camera in the direction of the muscular young people in drums against fascists jackets who now, at six-thirty sharp, began chanting: “We don’t need nuclear energy! Stop nuclear power plants! Stop them, stop them, stop them! No restart! No restart!” The police assumed a stiffer stance; the drumming and chanting were almost uncomfortably loud. Commuters hurried past along the open space between the police and the protesters, staring straight ahead, covering their ears. Finally, a fellow in a shabby sweater appeared, and murmured along with the chants as he rounded the corner. He was the only one who seemed to sympathize; few others reacted at all.
Number of U.S. congressional districts in which trade with China has produced more jobs than it has cost:
Young bilingual children who learned one language first are likelier than monolingual children and bilingual children who learned languages simultaneously to say that a dog adopted by owls will hoot.
An Oklahoma legislative committee voted to defund Advanced Placement U.S. History courses, accusing the curriculum of portraying the United States as “a nation of oppressors and exploiters.”
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“He could be one of a million beach-bound, black-socked Florida retirees, not the man who, by some odd happenstance of life, possesses the brain of Albert Einstein — literally cut it out of the dead scientist's head.”