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If you haven’t been under a rock lately, you know that the Bush Administration is proposing a $700 billion bailout for Wall Street. What you might not know is that there have been 258 parties this year alone for members of the House Financial Services Committee-the very folks who are making crucial decisions about this legislation-a number of them hosted by lobbyists for the finance, insurance, and real estate industries.
For example, last week, on September 16, lobbyists were invited to a “financial services” luncheon for Rep. Dean Heller at the Capitol Hill Club. The cost for entry was $500 for individuals, $1,000 for PACs. Heller has collected $190,252 from the financial sector for his congressional elections out of a total of $1,242,583, or 15.3 percent.
Then there was the invitation from the Real Estate Roundtable PAC on September 14 for folks to join Rep. Gregory Meeks to watch the New Orleans Saints play the Washington Redskins play at FedEx Field. The cost: $1,000. Meeks has taken $1,015,432 from the financial sector over his congressional career, 27.8 percent of his fundraising total-$3,657,984.
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
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”