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The Senate: shameless and clueless.
Early reactions from the Senate have shown little need for much of a fight. No Senate Republican has stepped forward to criticize Daschle for what he said was an honest accounting mistake, while Democrats yesterday credited him for discovering the tax errors himself and taking the steps to correct them….
Daschle’s confirmation, once considered the easiest among President Obama’s Cabinet nominations, rests to some degree in his ability to rely on his old friends within an institution renowned for its clubby atmosphere. In the history of Cabinet confirmations, the Senate has voted down only one current or former colleague, John Tower (R-Tex.), and that came after the former senator was accused of excessive drinking and extramarital affairs during his 1989 confirmation hearings to be defense secretary.
Once Daschle left the Senate, after his 2004 defeat to Republican John Thune, he remained prominent in senatorial circles. Senate Democrats named the headquarters of their campaign committee after him, and in March 2005, on the day that he signed a $1 million-a-year contract to join InterMedia Advisers, a private equity firm, almost every Senate Democrat turned out to a 400-person party at the National Building Museum in Daschle’s honor.
Daschle has become a major financial backer of Democratic campaigns. Last year he wrote more than $40,000 worth of personal checks to benefit Senate candidates. He and his wife, Linda Hall Daschle, donated over the past two years to at least 14 senators who will be tasked with voting on his confirmation.
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.”