Say what you will about “Rolling Stone,” it’s one of the few print publications in our nation that consistently reports on issues like global warming, electronic voting, the situation in Iraq, and the current, sad state of our democracy. Following is a clip from Matt Taibbi’s new cover story, “The Worst Congress Ever: How our national legislature has become a stable of thieves and perverts — in five easy steps.” (Thanks to Ed for the link.)
…The GOP’s “take that, bitch” approach to governing has been taken to the greatest heights by the House Judiciary Committee. The committee is chaired by the legendary Republican monster James Sensenbrenner Jr., an ever-sweating, fat-fingered beast who wields his gavel in a way that makes you think he might have used one before in some other arena, perhaps to beat prostitutes to death. Last year, Sensenbrenner became apoplectic when Democrats who wanted to hold a hearing on the Patriot Act invoked a little-known rule that required him to let them have one.
“Naturally, he scheduled it for something like 9 a.m. on a Friday when Congress wasn’t in session, hoping that no one would show,” recalls a Democratic staffer who attended the hearing. “But we got a pretty good turnout anyway.”
Sensenbrenner kept trying to gavel the hearing to a close, but Democrats again pointed to the rules, which said they had a certain amount of time to examine their witnesses. When they refused to stop the proceedings, the chairman did something unprecedented: He simply picked up his gavel and walked out…
(I don’t have time to go looking for it now, but I remember posting video of Sensenbrenner walking out when it happened.)
OK, maybe this isn’t the best example of proper journalism (I can’t think of an instance off the top of my head where a “New York Times” reporter has speculated that a politician may be responsible for leaving a trail of dead prostitutes in his wake), but, as far as I can tell, Taibbi’s got his facts straight. I can see how he might be a bit too “colorful” for some, but desperate times, in my opinion, call for desperate measures. And, if writing like this and the films of Michael Moore are what it takes to break through the apathy and wake people up, then I say we need more of it. If the issues weren’t so damned critical I might think differently, but I don’t think we have the luxury to sit back and look down our noses riught now. We need things that will prompt people, especially young people, to take action, and that’s tough to do in an environment like the one we find ourselves in today, were college kids don’t even seem to identify with their classmates dying in Iraq.