andveryginger: (Default)
From "Oil Spill Reaches Mississippi River" @ CBS:

Mr. Obama said SWAT teams were being dispatched to the Gulf to investigate oil rigs and said his administration is now working to determine the cause of the disaster.

Please tell me what, exactly, SWAT is going to do on an oil rig?
andveryginger: (Default)
During its first centuries of existence, the Republic of Haven was one of the most prosperous human worlds in the galaxy, and was viewed as a sort of "interstellar Athens." Considering the poverty of its less favored citizens an aberration in light of Haven's prosperity, the Havenite government launched welfare measures which, after a few centuries, became a caricature of a welfare state where citizens were entitled without exception to a specified standard of living adjusted for inflation. It did not matter whether these citizens wanted to work or not, and by the time of the First Haven-Manticore War, more than half of Haven's population was on the dole; these were the so-called "Dolists".

A breed of machine politicians, called Dolist Managers, emerged as kingmakers, being able to deliver the votes of millions of Dolists to the candidates (called Legislaturalists) of their choosing. The Havenite democracy disappeared, and power was concentrated within the Legislaturalist families, who established a number of secret police organizations to maintain control over the renamed People's Republic of Haven. The original Havenite constitution was replaced by a new document which enshrined Legislaturalist rule. This constitution was the first step of the so-called "DuQuesne Plan", named after the Havenite politician who proposed it.

To support its welfare state, the government spent at a deficit for over 200 years. To sustain its economy, it needed to conquer weaker planets — the second step of the DuQuesne Plan — and plunder them. Eventually, it built up an empire of over a hundred worlds. Unfortunately, this caused imperial overreach: Haven could not support the economies of so many planets — whose inhabitants eventually fell into the Havenite economic system — without continuous conquest.

(H/T: Wikipedia. Emphasis mine.)

ETA: John Boehner said it best:
Around this chamber, looking upon us are the lawgivers – from Moses, to Gaius, to Blackstone, to Thomas Jefferson. By our actions today, we disgrace their values. We break the ties of history in this chamber. We break our trust with Americans.


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