October 8, 1997


Image of today's outrage

Even here at The Outrage we’re sometimes overwhelmed with outrage. There is so much to be outraged about in today’s news that we’re going to forgo our usual essay and give you an Outrage Roundup.

We’ll start with Dallas, where school superintendent Yvonne Gonzalez pleaded guilty to a charge of using public money to furnish her apartment. The irony here is that Gonzalez had launched a widespread investigation into government corruption.

As U.S. Attorney Paul Coggins said, “Preaching honesty is important. Practicing honesty is much more important.” But how many politicians practice what they preach?

Traveling east to Kentucky, we find that public prosecutor Robert D. Thomas was arrested for attempted murder. Apparently he had a private practice on the side and started shooting two of his clients during an ordinary business meeting.

The reason for the shooting is unknown. Perhaps the clients were behind on their bill. Nearby, in Knox County Tennessee, former County Commissioner Rudy Dirl pleaded guilty to federal drug charges. Dirl will serve time for distributing cocaine.

Meanwhile, despite the widespread and continuing allegations and admissions regarding illegal fundraising during the 1996 presidential election campaign, no reform is likely. Republicans used procedural motions to block a campaign finance reform bill.

President Clinton called the Republican move “a cynical maneuver that will only breed cynicism” about Washington politics. Fine comments from a man who has done as much as anyone to breed political cynicism. Here at the DO we’re not sure how we could get much more cynical about either party.

Speaking of campaign finance, did you ever wonder who paid for the Teamsters Union elections that have recently been overturned on corruption charges? You did, of course. For some inexplicable reason, taxpayers funded the entire $22 million cost of the last Teamsters election. (So public elections are being privately funded while private elections are being publicly funded. Makes sense to us.)

A single labor lawyer, Barbara Zack Quindel, was paid almost a million dollars for her publicly financed work on the Teamsters election. Taxpayers, ever generous, even paid for the Union’s convention in Philadelphia.

Speaking of money, the proposed expansion of NATO into Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic may cost American taxpayers as much as $60 billion.

To add insult to injury, a federal appeals court has overturned the term limits enacted by California voters in 1990. Entrenched politicians have enormous advantages over challengers and won’t change the campaign finance system (see above).

But maybe we just don’t need a change — as you can see from today’s Roundup, American politicians are nothing if not honest, wise, and just.


Quote of the Day!

“In my creed, waste of public money is like a sin against the Holy Ghost.”

— John Morley, “Recollections,” 1917


© Copyright 1996-98, The Outrage is produced by Athens New Media. All rights reserved.

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