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They’ll pay tribute to anything once…

They’ll pay tribute to anything once…

Today “House leaders will pay tribute to Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), less than a year after the House formally censured the former chairman of the Ways and Means Committee.  Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) will speak at a ceremony to unveil Rangel’s official portrait as chairman of the storied committee, which the longtime New York Democrat led from 2007 until March 2010, when party leaders pressured him to give up the post amid a growing ethics scandal.”

Charles Rangel is a malicious doofus who nobody with any sense of right and wrong (though perhaps with a sense of pay-up-and-kick-back) would praise. What are they rewarding him for? Staying power? His silky teflon coat? Who cares! There’s nothing I am repulsed by more than tributes to politicians and Don Boudreaux captured exactly why in a post from earlier this year:

Ever hear of George Ballas?

I hadn’t, until 30 minutes ago.  I googled him and came up with a whopping 51,000 hits.  Sad, actually, as Mr. Ballas, whose death at age 85 is reported in today’sWashington Post, was one of the countless people throughout history whose creativity and entrepreneurship help to make our lives better.

In 1971 he invented the weed-wacker.  He added welcome volume to our prosperity pool.

‘Small achievement,’ you say, with more than a whiff of contempt for such a bourgeois effort.

I respond, ‘compared to what’?  Small, no doubt, compared to the polio vaccine, the assembly line, and (one of my favorites, given that, like Mr. Ballas, I’m from Louisiana) air-conditioning.  But large – huge – compared to the creativity of the political class.

Question: who has done more good for humanity?  George Ballas and his weed-wacker, or [name any one of the many the politicians who ‘creatively’ figured out a new way to spend person A‘s money to help (or ‘help’) person B]?

I don’t know what it says about our values or political system that men like Charles Rangel are sooner commemorated than folks like Norman Borlaug (who I would gladly keep a picture of in my own home) — but it is nothing good.


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Props to George Ballas! Thanks for the weed whacker. It takes us long enough to groom our lawn with a mower and a whacker, thanks for freeing up our life a bit and keeping away that nasty poison ivy. Rest in peace.

In spite of World Car Free day, those of us who appreciate the inventions that have improved our lives rather than demonizing them, should make this a day of thanks for all things liberating and standard of living enhancing.

People like Norman Borlaug, William Edwards Deming (American father of the Japanese Quality revolution), and Edgar (Ted) Codd (co-founder of the relational database) were all giants in their fields. Humanity as a whole is far better off because of their work, yet they remain mostly unknown contributors to humankind’s progress. So we honor corrupticians like Rangel and then wonder why we appear to be rapidly slipping into a moral morass. Obviously, we, collectively, don’t have our heads screwed on right.

They could honor Rangel for serving our country admirably for which he received the Puple Heart and Bronze Medal, but to honor him for this is asinine. But, then, we’re talking about politicians who can’t seem to tell the difference between right a wrong after awhile (if they ever could to begin with).

In the spirit of Progressive Corruption, a tax evader and slumlord will be honored by our society.

Reminds me of the story about Tim Moore, a state Representative in Texas who, to prove that legislatures just pass things without understanding them, proposed a bill to honor Albert de Salvo:
“This compassionate gentleman’s dedication and devotion to his work has enabled the weak and the lonely throughout the nation to achieve and maintain a new degree of concern for their future. He has been officially recognized by the state of Massachusetts for his noted activities and unconventional techniques involving population control and applied psychology.

Albert de Salvo is better known as the Boston Strangler.