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Archive for January 2012

How to get ahead on Capitol Hill: Use a leadership PAC to buy power

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I’m in my second term in the U.S. House of Representatives. I’m a Republocrat. I like the job. It pays $174,000, has great medical benefits, provides a really nice private gym to use, and lots of people have to be nice to me. And there are those $110,000 in taxpayer-funded fringe benefits I get (including plush retirement plans, paid time off, and contributions to Social Security and Medicare taxes). I’ve got a staff to answer the phone and email, run my Twitter and Facebook stuff, and deal with those damned constituents. And I’m in a relatively safe district, thanks to that Republocrat-friendly redistricting bill passed in my state last year. Hey, sometimes people let me use their corporate jets! (Well, as long as I keep quiet about those trips and pay commercial airfare for it.)

Yeah. This is a sweet gig. I want to stay here. In fact, I want to … move up. Be in the leadership. Be a mover and shaker. Now how am I gonna do that beyond kissing the speaker’s ass (and those of his damn deputies, too) and voting however he (or she) tells me to?

It will take money for that Republocrat to ascend higher in the House’s toadying ladder of leadership. Lots of money. And as we know, House members (and senators) have a vehicle to collect and dispense money to other House members — the leadership political action committee. A principal reason for the existence of leadership PACs to is buy friends and influence on Capitol Hill. Apparently, hard work and intelligence are insufficient.
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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

January 25, 2012 at 2:54 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Deaths of millions of bats in U.S., Canada have ecological, economic impacts

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I do not like bats. Once, as a college student living in a third-floor apartment with no air-conditioning, a bat landed on me during a hot summer night. I fled my room, shrieking. Even today, on summer nights at my rural home, when bats fly low over my deck, I instinctively duck.

Bats have a bad rep. Think bat and you likely think bat with rabies. Think bat and you likely think dirty bat or bat as vampiric bloodsucker. Think bat and you likely think evil harbinger of doom and destruction. (Okay, that last one’s a tad over the top … but you get the idea.) Bats have fewer defenders than fear-laden critics.

But bats, the only mammal structurally capable of sustained flight, are just creatures with significant ecological — and economic — roles. Hate mosquitoes and other insects? They’re on the nighttime menu for bats. Like bees, many bats pollinate plants and spread seeds. Bat shit (sorry; bat guano) is rich in nitrogen and is a profitable fertilizer. Bats’ ability to navigate in the dark (echolocation) is a subject of significant scientific study.

But in the past five years, up to 6.7 million bats are estimated to have died in 16 states and Canada, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said. Three species face extinction — the little brown bat, the northern long-eared bat and the tricolored bat. A malady called white-nose syndrome is killing them.
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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

January 19, 2012 at 10:19 am

Posted in Uncategorized

University wrong to fire student paper adviser over photo of nude streaker

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Paul Isom is looking for a new job today. He was the student media director at East Carolina University. Why was he canned?

On Nov. 8, the [student] newspaper published a full-frontal photo of a streaker who ran onto the field during that weekend’s home football game. The decision prompted outcry from some readers and from university administrators who said it was “in very poor taste.”

If this photo was so controversial and in “very poor taste,” why did the university require two months to decide to give Isom four hours to clean out his office and get outta Dodge?

No doubt lawyers were consulted. After the photo was published, the university’s vice chancellor for student affairs, Virginia Hardy, presaged what would come to pass:

We will be having conversations with those who were involved in this decision in an effort to make it a learning experience. The goal will be to further the students’ understanding that with the freedom of the press comes a certain level of responsibility about what is appropriate and effective in order to get their message across.

Learning experience my ass. The goal of the lesson being taught here is to warn student journalists and their advisers to not cross the university when it comes to maligning its image.
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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

January 5, 2012 at 12:44 pm

Posted in Uncategorized