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It’s going to be roughly 100 degrees today in Washington, but fortunately numerous members of Congress won’t have to suffer through the heat because they’re out of town on all-expense paid junkets, frequently with spouses in tow.
Foreign Policy obtained a list of planned Congressional delegations– CODELs for short– over the August recess. Here are a few highlights:
For instance, there will be no flak jackets required for Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) when he leads a large congressional delegation on an around-the-world trip to Ireland, Switzerland, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, China, and Canada. And the trip looks to be more spouse-friendly: All of the seven House members on the Boehner-led trip– Dan Boren (D-OK), Jo Bonner (R-AL), Dave Camp (R-MI), Tom Latham (R-LA), and Greg Walden (R-OR)– say they are bringing their spouses (at “no cost to the DoD,” the CODEL itinerary states). What is the purpose of the Boehner-led CODEL? “To discuss issues of mutual interest with government and private sector officials on issues related to global and regional economic performance and energy security,” the confirmed itinerary says.
Similarly, one wouldn’t need to rough it on Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX)’s planned trip to Britain, Turkey, Egypt, Greece, and Italy. Among Cuellar’s Mediterranean destined delegation are Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Rep. Susan Davis (D-CA), DC’s Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, Rep. John Carter (R-TX), Rep. Michael McCaul (T-TX), and Rep. Charles Dent (R-PA), all save Norton accompanied by their better halves. What’s the purpose of the Cuellar-led trip? “To investigate the critical security measures in place within these countries,” the unconfirmed itinerary says. But of course.
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
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
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 tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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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.”