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Point One: The Washington Post reports today that Congressman Charlie Melancon of Louisiana is all choked up about the situation in the Gulf.
“The real personification of the leak’s political story — of its ability to make power feel useless — is Melancon, a junior congressman whose coastal district has taken the brunt of the spill,” said the story. “Melancon is known as a man who makes things move in south Louisiana. But in this crisis, his most prominent act was last month, when he broke down and cried in front of colleagues and TV cameras at a subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill.”
Point Two: Congressman Melancon’s biggest campaign donors include the energy industry. According to Open Secrets, oil and gas companies gave him $312,100 over the past six years, more than any other industry except agriculture (and lawyers/lobbyists). His top donor during the period was Edison Chouest Offshore.
So what precisely is Melancon crying about?
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.”