But first . . . is your sheep acting a little funny around the other sheep? Reader John Padavic recommends ‘The Truth About Gay Animals,’ a BBC documentary re-airing this Wednesday at 9pm on TRIO (following, one’s inner imp cannot resist noting, ‘The Pet Shop Boys’).
And now . . . this interesting tidbit from historian Richard N. Rosenfeld’s cover story in the soon-to-be-released May issue of Harpers: A majority of the people in our country are represented by just 18 senators, or 18% of the body . . . while the 52 Senators from the 26 least populous states represent just 18% of the U.S. population. Big surprise, he notes, that ‘the less populous states have extracted benefits from the nation out of proportion to their populations.’
Of course, if you don’t like getting the short end of the stick, you can always move to Wyoming.
But there are other impacts that even moving won’t solve, like the lack of any black or Hispanic faces in the Senate (look for Illinois’ Barack Obama to break that lock this November).
Rosenfeld titles his essay: ‘What Democracy? The Case for Abolishing the United States Senate.’
Rosenfeld argues that, just as we have gradually moved toward one-person-one-vote democracy – having begun by allowing only white males with property to vote – so must we now move toward abolishing the Senate, or else significantly reducing its powers (perhaps following the model of the British House of Lords).
It seems unlikely that anything will soon come of this. Still, it’s a thought-provoking essay. It turns out that enthusiasm for what high school history students know as ‘the Great Compromise’ was shared by colonies representing only a small fraction of the colonists.
Did you see the Woodward interview? You will be comforted or unnerved to know that the President, in deciding to attack Iraq, seems to believe he is God’s messenger . . . that he informed Saudi Arabia’s Prince Bandar about his decision to go to war before informing his own Secretary of State . . . that General Tommy Franks was already five months into planning the war when he told a televised news conference that no planning was underway . . . and that $700 million Congress thought it was appropriating for Afghanistan was actually to be spent on Iraq war preparations. (Woodward suggests this is troubling because the Constitution says Congress shall appropriate expenditures. It’s one thing to keep appropriations secret from the public, with the consent of Congress; another to keep them secret from the Congress.)
Something tells me we have not heard the last of Woodward’s book.
Tomorrow: Cheapless in Seattle
Quote of the Day
The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.~H. L. Mencken
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