Friday, January 10, 2014

Last Call For High-Way Robbery

Nothing I can say can improve on this tweet.

Never change, Colorado.

For The One Percent, By The One Percent

If you're wondering why Congress just doesn't understand what it's like to be an average American, it's because we've finally reached the point where the majority of Congress's 534 members are worth at least $1 million.

For the first time in history, most members of Congress are millionaires, according to a new analysis of personal financial disclosure data by the Center for Responsive Politics.

Of 534 current members of Congress, at least 268 had an average net worth of $1 million or more in 2012, according to disclosures filed last year by all members of Congress and candidates. The median net worth for the 530 current lawmakers who were in Congress as of the May filing deadline was $1,008,767 -- an increase from last year when it was $966,000. In addition, at least one of the members elected since then, Rep. Katherine Clark(D-Mass.), is a millionaire, according to forms she filed as a candidate. (There is currently one vacancy in Congress.) 
Last year only 257 members, or about 48 percent of lawmakers, had a median net worth of at least $1 million.

Members of Congress have long been far wealthier than the typical American, but the fact that now a majority of members -- albeit just a hair over 50 percent -- are millionaires represents a watershed moment at a time when lawmakers are debating issues like unemployment benefits, food stamps and the minimum wage, which affect people with far fewer resources, as well as considering an overhaul of the tax code.

"Despite the fact that polls show how dissatisfied Americans are with Congress overall, there's been no change in our appetite to elect affluent politicians to represent our concerns in Washington, said Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center. "Of course, it's undeniable that in our electoral system, candidates need access to wealth to run financially viable campaigns, and the most successful fundraisers are politicians who swim in those circles to begin with."

When only the rich can get elected, and money buys influence, they represent only the rich. The rest of us get screwed.

But campaign finance reform is unconstitutional.

Think about that.

Wild, Dangerous West Virginia

Some 300,000 West Virginians are without safe drinking water this morning as a coal company spill has contaminated the Elk River.

Residents of nine counties in West Virginia have been told not to use or drink their water after a chemical used by the coal industry spilled into the Elk River on Thursday. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin declared a state of emergency as more than 100,000 customers, or 300,000 people, are without safe drinking water. 
“Don’t make baby formula,” said West Virginia American Water Company president Jeff McIntyre. “Don’t brush your teeth. Don’t shower. Toilet flushing only.”

King Coal has his price, folks.  Always.

The chemical, 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol (MCHM), is used to wash coal of impurities and spilled from a tank at Freedom Industries into the river. While the amount of MCHM that spilled wasn’t immediately known, West Virginia American Water has been conducting water quality testing every hour. According to Laura Jordan, a spokesperson with the water company, they believe the chemical is leaking at ground level and “there is a possibility this leak has been going on for sometime before it was discovered Thursday,” WSAZ reported.

But I'm sure that's Obama's fault, because War on Coal, right?

Yes, the people of West Virginia deserve good-paying jobs that can support their families.  All Americans do.  But maybe somebody ought to be keeping a closer eye on these energy companies and their chemical spills, you think?


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