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From Emily Yoffe in the Washington Post.
Like many Americans whose steady, reliable job has suddenly disappeared, Thomas Daschle cobbled together a bunch of gigs when he was laid off in 2004 by the people of South Dakota after more than two decades of representing them in Congress.
There was the day job at the law firm Alston & Bird that must have been blessedly free of the kind of dull legal minutiae that make up many a billable hour, since Daschle is not a lawyer. That paid $2.1 million over the past two years. The consulting position at InterMedia Advisors, a private equity firm, paid him $1 million a year. A senior partner there told The Post that Daschle did “a lot of helpful work,” which he declined to enumerate. A stream of speeches to businesses that had business with the government earned Daschle $500,000 during the past two years. There were directorships on several boards — BP Corp. alone paid him $250,000…
“He’s the gold standard for integrity in government,” said a former aide to Daschle, Andrea LaRue, herself now a lobbyist. In recent months, as the economy has melted down, we have all learned about the art of monetization — of turning things such as bad home equity loans into arcane derivatives and how there’s lots of money to be made out of monetization (until sometimes the money disappears). Even if we don’t know what Daschle did to earn all his money, we do know that when you monetize the job of Senate majority leader, as Daschle’s financial disclosure forms reveal, you come up with almost $5.3 million in two years. Gold standard, indeed.
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.”