28 October, 2008

Scary indeed

One of the benefits and downfall of being an insomniac is that I stay up until the wee hours, listening to BBC World Service and running weird thoughts through my head. It's almost All Saints' Day and the Halloween spirit is coming out to play.

First up - The British Beer and Pub Association reported yesterday that Britons are drinking fewer pints. Outrageous! What is Old Blighty without copious quantity of bitter on draught? What's next, Aussie publicans stand in bars with no beer and Mexico dry out of margaritas?

Since I live in Washington, DC, Halloween has traditionally meant one thing - political campaigns. This is when campaign workers and junkies conjure up their last ounce of energy and make their final push to advocate for their candidates.

Campaign signs are everywhere and even sporting events provide no escape. Tune into the Major League Baseball championship series and one is likely to receive a blast of Barack Obama or John McCain ads, each accusing his opponent of being unpatriotic, bad for the American economy, socialistic, or a George W. Bush clone.

Yesterday Uncle Ted's trial ended. Otherwise known as Senator Ted Stevens, the gentleman from Alaska was found guilty of failing to report US$250,000 of free gifts. Fondly known as the feisty and Incredible Hulk tie-wearing guardian of federal earmarks, Mr. Stevens based his trial defense on the following points:
  • He didn't know US$160,000 wouldn't be enough to pay for the transformation of his rustic one-level Alaska cabin into a two-story house with two decks, a new garage and amenities like a whirlpool and a steam room.
  • He did not ask for the gifts, such as a sled dog, gas BBQ grill, massage chair.
  • When he received the unwanted gifts, he did not enjoy them, especially the massage chair he frequently used at his Washington, DC home.
The best part is - Mr. Stevens does not lose his job. As a member of the self-styled "most deliberative body in the world," Stevens cannot be expelled from the U.S. Senate without the consent of 2/3 of his colleagues. So, should he stand for election and win his seat on November 4th, it is possible Mr. Stevens can serve both his prison sentence and his 6-year Senate term at the same time.

So much for the ideals of Senatus Populusque Americanus.

Scary indeed.


Baino said...

I heard this on the news last night, incredible that as a 'felon' he's still able to stand for election. There was even an incriminating telephone call which was tantamount to a confession! Democracy in action!

TCL said...

Especially since under Alaska law convicted felons cannot vote until they're out of jail and done serving their probation period. As a convicted felon, Senator Stevens can't vote for himself, but can stand for election.

Amazing eh?

iWalk said...

I can never understand the polity, too complex for me. Politicians are more dangerous. :)

Megan said...

Aw hell no. Not another blog I've got to read!

TCL said...

iWalk - the polity is as complex as we are. The elected officials are a reflection of the society.

megan - hehehe, do onto others what they have done onto you.

Megan said...

I quote Ripley: "Bishop! Damn you!!!!"

TCL said...


megan - Thanks for following my blog.

Quickroute said...

They did a good skit on this on the Daily Show and The Colbert Report

TCL said...

quick - don't have a TV so miss out on the funnies. But definitely will check it out.