Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Irony alert!

There's usually a rich vein of irony running through politics, generally not very far from the surface, and gems surface (or may be mined) on a fairly regular basis.... Some examples:

Today, Senators McCain, Feingold, McCaskill (D-MO), and Coburn (R-OK) unveiled "... a landmark bill they will try to add as an amendment to the economic stimulus legislation..." The goal of this legislation is to add transparency requirements for earmarks in fiscal appropriations' bills, in an effort to reduce or eliminate these "pet projects". OK, these Senators want to end the practice of adding pet projects as amendments to must-have legislation by... adding this legislation as an amendment to must-have legislation! Priceless!

In an article Maura Moynihan defends Caroline Kennedy's credentials to be Senator from New York and disagrees with the criticism that Kennedy is just trading on her family name. Moynihan's credentials on the subject? Her father was Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Senator from New York from 1976 to 2000! So, Caroline Kennedy defended against charges of trading on her family name by someone trading on her family name! Priceless!

In the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, senior BJP politicians (the principal opposition party) called for the ban on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam to be lifted. They also criticized the Sri Lankan government for insisting that the insurgents lay down their arms as a precondition for any talks! OK, this from the politicians denouncing the Indian government for not acting more forcefully in the wake of the recent Mumbai attacks, and agitating for attacks on Pakistan. One wonders how well they would take an admonition from the Sri Lankan government to parley with Laskkar-e-Taiba!

Back to the United states. In Congress there is a lot of reaction to the news that the nation's deficit is projected at over USD 1 trillion. The Republicans, those paragons of virtue who fiercely defend the people's money from the government's depredations (though somehow nly when the Democrats are in power!) are shocked, shocked. “This morning’s announcement by the Congressional Budget Office that the deficit now stands at nearly $1.2 trillion is a stunning and sobering reminder that Congress must strengthen its efforts to be good stewards of the taxpayers’ money,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) chimed in, “... with Congress set to consider what may be the largest spending bill ever, we hope Democratic leaders in Congress will join us in protecting taxpayers by ensuring the appropriate committees review the bill to avoid waste..."

And from a non-political sphere... Recent research shows that melting icebergs in the ocean around Antarctica may actually slow global warming. How? Apparently the iron particles they carry feed algae blooms that suck up CO2. Could man-made algae blooms in the frigid waters help combat climate change?

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