Oh, and speaking of Federal assistance programs...

>> Sunday, September 26, 2010

If you were following the comments thread on this week's piece on the Republican travel brochure, you may recall there was some discussion of a mystery pie chart. Phiala tracked down a likely source: it's probably an incompetently-reproduced version of a chart showing how Federal assistance programs are distributed by agency.

Anyway, the Republican Representatives seem to be implying or suggesting that there are too many Federal assistance programs out there, and that one of the things they'll be doing to fix the country is to get rid of Federal assistance programs--after all, is it fair for Americans in one corner of the country to suffer the indignity of tax hikes just to benefit another region? And aren't state and local governments far better equipped to deal with regional and local issues? For that matter, if there's a problem, shouldn't we leave it to private enterprise to come up with a market solution--if there's a demand for a fix, someone will invent a solution they can sell... unless, that is, the Federal government intervenes, holding back the Invisible Hand.

Well, it would seem at least eight Republicans in Congress did not get the glossy brochure. As Steve Benen observes in The Washington Monthly, eight Republican Representatives joined seven Democrats to request Federal assistance in requesting that the USDA and EPA take action against a stinkbug infestation plaguing the mid-Atlantic states. Benen summarizes the problem:

The issue is the spread of the brown marmorated stink bug through the mid-Atlantic states. They're harmless to people--the don't bite, sting, or carry diseases--but for the first time on the continent, they're doing significant damage to crops, ornamental shrubs, and trees. And as homeowners are discovering, as the bugs begin moving inside as temperatures drop, "when squashed or irritated, the bugs release the distinctive smell of sweaty feet."

The insects reached the U.S. in Allentown, Pa., in 2001, apparently as stowaways in a shipping container from Asia. Now they're spreading, they have no known natural predators, and there's "no easy way to kill lots of the bugs at once." Complicating matters, "the invasion is only going to get worse."

One can understand Democrats signing Representative Roscoe Bartlett's (R-MD6) letter--as we know, the Democrats would love nothing more than to give encroaching socialism another toehold on American soil by coming up with a Big Government solution to yet another alleged environmental problem. But what in the world are Representative Bartlett and his seven colleagues thinking? Clearly, they've been corrupted by power: Representative Bartlett has served his state in Congress since 1993, for instance, and is perhaps unaware that Mama Grizzlies want their country back and to restore the Constitution, etc., etc. (And are stinkbugs mentioned in the Constitution? I think not! Ergo, the power to control stinkbug infestations must fall under the Tenth Amendment and be reserved to the states, or the people.)

One can only hope the Tea Party and Republican leadership will put Representative Bartlett and his errant colleagues in their place.

(H/t to Bob Cesca for retweeting Steve Benen!
And people ask what Twitter's good for!)


Phiala Sunday, September 26, 2010 at 11:34:00 AM EDT  

I just had to clean 15 or so dead stink bugs out of my car. I demand federal assistance!

Fortunately they don't smell if they've died from being shut in a closed car for a week. They do smell if you bother them, say if you grab one that happened to be lurking on the back side of the gear shift knob. Not like sweaty feet, much sharper and more penetrating than that.

I demand federal assistance for that too, and for the ones that made the hallway stink.

Phiala Sunday, September 26, 2010 at 3:53:00 PM EDT  

I can also attest that they smell very bad if you slam them in the car door.

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