Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Adding Insult to Injury

Unless you've been vacationing in a cave on the outskirts of Ulan Bator for the last month or so, you have heard about the huge scandal of the $800,000 GSA conference in Las Vegas, at which the entertainment included clowns and mind-readers.

The fact that a public servant would spend this sort of money frivolously is bad enough, but the disaster is compounded by the additional fact that the scandal comes to light in an election year, giving each party a heaven-sent opportunity to fulminate about the shortcomings of the other.

And possibly the worst outcome is the one that is the most predictable ...

Yes, Dear Readers, Congress has sprung into action to rectify the situation by


According to this article in yesterday's Washington Post, hearings on the infamous "Clown Conference" have been scheduled by the following Congressional committees:

1. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee;

2. The House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee;

3. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee; and,

4. The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee.

And as if that weren't enough, Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine believes that the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee should hold hearings as well, because she believes "(the) Committee is uniquely situated to examine what appear to be numerous violations of acquisition rules and policy identified by GSA’s Inspector General.”

If you were counting, that's now five - count 'em - five hearings to study the same event.

For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of Congressional hearings, here's what happens:

1. Individual members of Congress schedule news conferences at which, with great fanfare, they gravely tell their constituents how seriously they take their responsibility for proper management of the public trust.

2. Subpoenas are issued to reluctant witnesses.

3. Witnesses schedule news conferences to tell the public how much they are looking forward to setting the record straight.

4. At the hearings, hapless witnesses sit under the stare of television cameras and radiate contrition as they are browbeaten by grandstanding members of Congress.

5. Members of Congress on the investigating committees take turns blaming the inept and wrongheaded policies of the other party for what went wrong.

6. Everybody goes home and everything is forgotten until the next scandal, at which steps 1-5 are repeated.

I don't know about you, but I think this is a dreadful waste of time, money, and effort that could be better spent addressing real problems, like health care reform, the budget deficit, tax reform, and investigating the actual citizenship status of every member of Congress and potential presidential candidate. Do we need to investigate how a travesty like the Clown Conference could happen? Absolutely. Do we need four ... maybe five ... separate grandstanding Congressional committees to do it? Absolutely not.

Have a good day. Let your elected reprehensive know what you expect of him or her ... even if it's not much.

More thoughts tomorrow.



Banana Oil said...

I don't know, somehow there's logic to a bunch of clowns holding hearings on a Clown Conference -- or arethey trying to discourage their competition?

Duckbutt said...

What can we say? Senators love hearings because they can turn them into forums where they appear advantageously as thoughtful, responsible, and acting in the public interest.

Wait for the interminable number of hearings on sex and the Secret Service. and, even better, they might be able to parade a number of hookers before the mikes!

The professional ladies, of course, would welcome the publicity. Maybe the Senate would, in its own way, assist the economy that way.

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

Will the hearings be televised?

Mike said...

I think the Secret Service knew about this and leaked it only when they got caught.

eViL pOp TaRt said...

There is no spectacle as ridiculous as Congress acting morally indignant. It plays to the home folks. Time to play the blame game, especially if they can use it against the other party.

allenwoodhaven said...

Clowns to investigate clowns: a jury of their peers!