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Burnett's Urban Etiquette

Friday, September 28, 2007

The Rap on Congress

I was hoping to go to bed this evening having tasted a good laugh for dessert.

My wish has come true. I'll be turning in, in a few minutes. But first, I was thrilled to find updated news reports about a U.S. Congressional committee holding hearings on scary, scary rap music lyrics.

That's right. These numbnuts whom we elected to administer the law, measure the effectiveness of law, when necessary write new law, defend the citizenry, preserve our good legal traditions, adjust or eliminate our bad ones, and preserve our basic freedoms, are holding hearings on sexism, racism, and violence in rap music lyrics.

Here's the thing: go back and read the past year-and-a-half's worth of archives. You'll find at least a half dozen posts in which I blasted gangsta rappers, and bling rappers for making violent or plain old stupid tunes with no substance and helping to pollute mushy minds. But the way to fix the "problem" of violent, vile, or just plain stupid lyrics is to raise your kids in a way that they understand most professional "pop" musicians are lucky morons who periodically stumble across catchy melodies, not people to take behavior lessons from. Congress can pass don't ask, don't tell. They need to consider don't like, don't buy.

So unless Congress is planning on doing away with the 1st Amendment, they have no business doing anything with rap except bobbing their heads to it or rolling their car windows up when they hear it.

We have citizens compelled to take out second mortgages on their homes in order to supplement half-assed medical insurance, while non-citizens who can't afford insurance can get treatment in many cases without fear of receiving a collections notice in the mail. We have local municipalities laying off police officers, because they can't afford to continue regular garbage pickup and pay for cops too without raising tax levies so high as to force homeowners to flee. We have a war going on in another country that is costing more than $1 billion a month to run. We have troops fighting that war without adequate equipment or supplies. We have such a level of poverty in this country that maintaining the status quo instead of helping people learn to support themselves has become a government industry. We have a municipal and circuit court system in such disarray that three people of identical age, with identical backgrounds, and identical records, can get arrested and charged with identical offenses at the same time under identical circumstances in separate locations and all face drastically different punishments if convicted. We have public schools in some areas that are asking students to share textbooks, because there aren't enough to go around. We have sanctions in place against countries whose governments made our (poop) list, because they treat their citizens badly, but we trade with China, a country that brought us the greatest weight loss plan ever: getting run over by a tank in Tienanmen Square, and whose next built-for-America toy line will likely include shrink-wrapped rusty nails, bags of broken glass, and the hottest new board game -Bobbing for Used Hypodermic Needles. We can send people into space, and we have billion dollar satellites that can zoom in on a license plate from beyond the stars. And yet, we can't find Osama bin Laden.

And - drum roll, please - we have Congressmen admittedly calling prostitution services and allegedly trawling the ho' stroll for companionship. We have wide-stanced Congressmen accidentally, possibly, maybe trying to solicit sex in public bathrooms. We have Congressmen accepting freezers full of cash from undercover federal agents offering fake bribes. We have Congressmen driving drunk, doing drugs, and engaging in sex talk with minors.

Yes, these Titans of honesty, good sense, and morality are here for you, people. On your behalf they intend to find out where exactly you can find "California love," what exactly "ain't nothin' but a G-thang," how exactly "endo" is smoked, whether there are really "hos in different area codes," exactly what cut Congress gets of the "money on (our) minds," and whether or not "fallin' back on that ass with a hellified gangsta lean" is truly similar to "getting funky on the mīc like an old batch of collard greens."

Your tax dollars at work.

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  • and thats a (w)rap.

    By Blogger Pamela, at 1:12 AM  

  • The arrogance of Congress lately is appalling. They opened up their session in January by congratulating a dozen college football teams for winning their bowl games.

    Now this? Come on.

    It is like we are standing there asking to be kicked in the pants, and the pols happily oblige.

    And when someone says "hey do you realize we are getting whacked in the privates" people respond with acceptance for the practice.

    It is time we don steel-plated athletic cups and gave them a kick or two. See how they like it.

    By Anonymous Chris C, at 2:58 AM  

  • The thing is, James, it's far easier to mess about 'studying' stuff like this than it is to act like responsible adults. Specially when there are so few public & publicised examples of responsible adulthood around for them to view in the first place.

    Afte all, anyone attempting to take a moral stance is pilloried as a prude, or has others digging for dirt on them (or making it up if there isn't any)!

    By Anonymous bronchitikat, at 7:46 AM  

  • Thanks for starting my day off with a laugh.
    I hate to have to say it, but this is our fault. In general the American public reacts less to the complicated but important problems and much more vocally to the pointless but easy to understand issues. If people in this country genuinely cared about healthcare and education they would demand answers and vote out pols on either side of the aisle who didn't get things done. Instead we can't get enough toe tapping.

    By Blogger WNG, at 8:18 AM  

  • gulp. I'm going to cry in the corner now. We are doomed.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:34 AM  

  • This might be the greatest blog post EVER!

    By Blogger Jay, at 10:23 AM  

  • Pamela, I agree. Waiting for the curtain to drop in this case feels gloomy, like waiting for the proverbial "other shoe" to drop.

    Chris C., I'm all for steel-plated cups. Count me in. I'll dish out a kick or two.

    Bronchitikat, you are correct. Easier for pols to study music than fix healthcare and potholes.

    WNG, glad I could help. And you are right too. If we were serious about this stuff the pols would get serious about it.

    My Reflecting Pool, I shed my tears last night and got 'em out of my system.

    Jay, my friend, thank you! That may be the nicest thing anyone's said about my blog ever.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 10:41 AM  

  • I'm, at the very least, 200 percent behind what Jay said! You did indeed call a spade a spade, left no question at all as to where you stand on these points, James.
    Here in lovely old Pennsylvania, our legislators quibbled for awhile about whether or not the polka should be the official music for the state -or maybe it was simply the Pennsylvania Polka. I forget now exactly how that went but it was a ridiculous way to waste the citizenry's time and tax dollars.
    Two years ago this summer our wonderful legislators also saw fit to grant themselves a mid-term raise too - one that upped their salaries a minimum of $11,700 per year - more than someone slaving away in a minimum wage job, with no benefits, etc. for 40 hours a week couldn't earn through that labor. The public outcry, led primarily by "Democracy Rising" and the organizations did cause enough of a stink that by November of 2005, they repealed most of that raise though but it's still resurfacing here, it left that much of a bad taste in the mouths of many voters that the slogan "Vote 'em all out" still rings out frequently. And that, I firmly believe is pretty much what we need to do probably in most other state legislatures and definitely in Washington. Try finding a hard working honest politician though. I really doubt one exists.

    By Blogger Jeni, at 11:13 AM  

  • And James, what are you doing about it other than talking about it?

    Run for office. I'll send you a check. It won't be a big check but it would be something.

    The time for talk and informing the public has come and gone. We know things are screwed. The majority of the population did their job last election, they changed the party in power, they took control from the Republicans and gave it to the Democrats and nothing happened, nothing changed.

    What needs to happen is the rise of a third party, or a forth party or a fifth party until one gets it right.

    I can't do it. I'm not a citizen, I don't even get to vote.

    While I love your writing and I love your blog, posts like this are pointless diatribes unless a solution is offered with them.

    By Blogger Wavemancali, at 12:01 PM  

  • Jeni, thank you. I appreciate it. And keep watching the pols in your area. The sooner they hear they're "under surveillance," the sooner they clean up.

    And WavemanCali, what I'm doing about it is informing the public. I appreciate your passion, but your premise is screwed. Even by the few messages left on this post already, it's clear that a lot of people didn't know about these hearings. So we have to disagree that this post and others like it are pointless. Forgive me, but you give some people too much credit if you don't think there's still a need for the press to call foul on politicians. If every member of the media that scrutinized and criticized the government for stupid behavior quit and ran for office themselves, who would tell the story? Thanks but no thanks to running for office. I'm right where I belong.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 12:07 PM  

  • Oh that closing paragraph is precious.

    Great post!

    By Anonymous girlsnap, at 1:41 PM  

  • "Suppose you were an idiot and suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself."

    “Washington is a stud farm for every jackass in the country.”

    "It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly American criminal class except Congress."

    -Mark Twain

    By Blogger BobG, at 2:50 PM  

  • You're completely right, mea culpa. I read your blog like I read everyone else's blog and sometimes it completely slips my mind that you are a real reporter. I swear this is the case.

    I bitch and moan all the time that the MSM of which you are a part of never exposes this kind of stuff, and when you finally do I bitch and moan about it.

    Please accept my humble apologies and keep up the good work.

    To all James' readers, you are the ones that have to do something... Run for office, make a new party, change the system, etc. etc.

    By Blogger Wavemancali, at 3:20 PM  

  • Round up the usual suspects. Our elected officials are usually the lowest common denominator. It's a rough job but somebody's got to do it. It's good to be an Amurrican.

    By Blogger heartinsanfrancisco, at 7:44 PM  

  • Best blog post of the year, without question. I bow to you...

    By Blogger Yvette, at 9:36 PM  

  • On the other hand...if they're wasting time on this, they're spending less time on worse things to do to us.

    By Blogger KurtP, at 10:48 PM  

  • I did enjoy the post. And yet I always wonder. No attempt at getting the public to finance Presidential Elections has yet succeeded. Every attempt to get the public is use $1 of their taxes to finance public elections from their tax return has been ignored. Until that happens, we will continue to see both parties raise the $1 - $3 billion that they will spend on this Presidential Election, which started the day after the mid-term elections.

    As for Congress, Senator Warner's staff all have 'consulting' jobs for when he will retire, from his legislative assistant down. They have been retained as lobbyists after working for the Senator for 20 years. My nephew worked there, and that's what the three of them told me at the beginning of the month when Warner announced his retirement. Once these guys get in, the American public's apathy keeps them there.

    I apologize, this is turning into a post.

    By Blogger The CEO, at 10:55 PM  

  • Go James Go! Give 'em Hell!

    By Anonymous Franki, at 7:29 AM  

  • LOL...wish I knew where my tax dollars were going here Down Under...Health Care would be one area I'd like to see them go that's for sure.

    By Blogger Cazzie!!!, at 8:52 PM  

  • These WASPSs are concerned with rap lyrics? Not for nothing, but don't tens of millions of white children live in poverty in this country? I mean, aside from the blacks and Hispanics....

    Amazing we don't hear much about poverty from millionaire t.v. heads working for billionaires.

    By Blogger M@, at 3:47 PM  

  • i used to hate Tipper Gore. now i hate everyone in Washington.

    By Blogger minijonb, at 4:28 PM  

  • Awesome, James. I really needed a laugh and that last paragraph did the job. I wonder if they'll solve the mystery of where exactly Biggie & Tupac are holed up.

    By Blogger Melissa, at 4:55 PM  

  • Oh, this is the best post I've read of yours, JB.

    Absolutely loved every word.

    By Blogger SWF42, at 5:02 PM  

  • You know, this is the most government rantalicious that I've ever seen from you.

    When we stop letting the Religious Right and soccer moms dictating national policies, maybe they'll get to some worthwhile legislation.

    By Blogger Evil Spock, at 4:13 PM  

  • Don't stop with the Congress; let's not forget the executive branch. We've had several presidents in recent years who haven't been the paragon of virtue, either. How many of us (men of course) will ever be the recipients of under-the-desk pencil sharpening in the oval office? And who among us wouldn't go to jail for covering up an illegal act? And, lastly, who among us wouldn't be pilloried for committing adultery while holding an high office of trust?

    The outrage in many of these instances has been muted, or (in some quarters) non-existant.

    It is said, we get the government we deserve. I say: we deserve the government we get.

    By Anonymous TheFirstDomino, at 4:25 AM  

  • Hey! Where are you???

    By Blogger WNG, at 9:00 AM  

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