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 V.13 No.50 | December 9 - 15, 2004 

Thin Line

Dude, where's my congresswoman? The Republicans in Congress, at least those in control of the House of Representatives, no longer care about ethics or good government. What they care about is power. That, we know for sure, following the disgraceful Republican Conference meeting last month where GOP congressmen revised ethics rules so that Tom DeLay, the Republican majority leader, could continue at his post while being investigated for corruption in his home state of Texas. The Republicans said poor Tom was just the victim of a partisan attack and had done nothing wrong and therefore shouldn't lose his post for a little ol' Grand Jury indictment.

What a joke. You might recall, the GOP had been big champions of ethics rules and good government—hell, they even claimed to be fiscal conservatives—back in the days when the Dems had control of Congress. Instead, when the Republicans voted to weaken their own ethics rules, they did so by an unrecorded vote, so none would be held to account.

I called Rep. Heather Wilson's office last week and was told she voted against the rule change. Awesome news. Except, who knows if this is really true, since the voting was done by voice, and any one of the elected officials who voted for it could turn around and deny it without any public reckoning. What's more, if Wilson really was opposed to the rule change, and really is someone who isn't afraid to buck her own party, she, of course, could have asked for a recorded vote. She could have made a defiant statement on the House floor or held a press conference condemning it loudly. But she didn't. Instead, her website posted this duplicitous statement: "While I respect the concern that prosecutors could pursue politically motivated indictments, I disagreed with this rule change and voted no."

On another subject and to her credit, Wilson included an informed explanation of why she was one of a handful of Republicans who voted against the House bill to implement the 9-11 commission recommendations in her recent e-newsletter. Read it at (wilson.house.gov/newsletter.asp). Of course, it would have been nice if she included a detailed explanation about the Republican Conference nonsense as well. And what's up with that condescending salutation: “Wish you were here.”

Who let the blogs out? It seems like just yesterday that the most popular word on the Internets was sex. And, well, knowing what we do about human nature, it probably still is. But according to Merriam-Webster Online (www.m-w.com), the number one "Word of the Year" in 2004 based on "your online lookups" at the web-based dictionary was none other than "blog." Not bad for a word that didn't make its debut in the dictionary until 1999, when Webster's described it as : Blog noun [short for Weblog]: a website that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer.

Some of the blogospere's more notable 2004 scoops included George W. Bush's mysterious bulge in the back of his blazer during the first presidential debate, exposing a dubious CBS news report questioning Bush's military record, and photos of Britney Spears' alleged booze-fueled, late night nuptials.


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