Ethics & gators & planes, oh my!

Posted: May 19, 2006 12:01 AM
Ethics & gators & planes, oh my!

  • Some things which struck me as odd this week.

  • First, a front-pager in the Washington Post had one of those stories which reminds us why the US Congress is held in minimum high regard.

  • The House Ethics Committee has been dormant for 16 months - the entirety of the 109th Congress. The Ethics Committee is the only one which has an equal number of Republicans and Democrats. Every other committee has more members of the Majority than the other guys.

  • Anyway, after all this time the Ethics Committee has decided to open investigations "into bribery allegations against Reps. Robert W. Ney (R-Ohio) and William Jefferson (D-La.) and a separate inquiry into the widening scandal surrounding former Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-Calif.)."

  • The committee also announced that had Tom DeLay not announced his resignation, they would have opened an investigation into who paid for which of his trips.

  • The Committee has begun to function because Republican Chairman, Doc Hastings (R-Wash), and the new senior Democrat, Howard Berman (D-Calif) have reached an accommodation.

  • Ok. All that makes sense. But here's the point: The previous senior Democrat - the guy who was gumming up the works - is West Virginia's own Alan Mollohan who had to step down from the committee because of allegations surrounding his sudden wealth (from about $100,000 to something north of $9 million in four years on Congressman's salary).

  • If Mollohan had to resign from the Ethics Committee because of unethical behavior, why isn't the Ethics Committee investigating Mollohan?

  • Next. I know that people being attacked and killed by animals isn't amusing. Over the past week or so in Florida three people have been eaten by alligators prompting news organizations to publish rules to follow to avoid being a gator's lunch, like don't swim with your dog where alligators are hanging out.

  • And don't take an alligator home as a pet as "alligators will never become tame."

  • As if to prove that point and that some alligators will not follow the rules no matter how carefully written, Ken Ringle wrote in the WashPost,
    "An alligator walked through the doggy door of a woman's house in Bradenton [Florida] and went for her golden retriever. The woman grabbed a shotgun and blazed away. The alligator escaped with a flesh wound.

    The neighbors heard shots and called police, who promptly cited the woman for hunting without a license."

  • Next. Our friends at Northwest Airlines are Mullworthy again, this time for coming in dead last among major airlines in University of Michigan's American Customer Satisfaction Index.

  • It seems that NW barely lost out to US Airways which was next-to-last and was well behind Southwest which, because it doesn't promise much, tends to meet its customers' limited expectations.

  • A spokesman for Northwest said the airline has "faced challenges since going into Chapter 11 protection last September, in addition to being affected by high fuel costs."

  • Finally, and still in the airline space, I was on the Delta Shuttle last night from LaGuardia to Reagan National. The flight attendant finished the pre-flight announcement with these words:
    "… and thank you for making Delta Airlines your travel partner tonight."

  • Travel partner? I used to be a passenger. Or a customer.

  • Now that they've gone bankrupt; Now I'm their partner? This, I don't need.

  • On a the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to the Ethics and the Gator pieces in the Washington Post, the Florida Wildlife Commissions suggestions to avoid being a gator's snack; a Mullfoto which will make you fume, and an amusingly photoshopped Catchy Caption of the Day.