Tag Archives: Tom Scocca

The odious Senate practice of “anonymous holds.” The mascot who stepped on kids. And a funny spoof of celebrity profiles

So this is one of those things that has bothered me for a long time and now I need to vent about it.
Remember when you were a kid, and you wanted to do something or go somewhere, and your parents said no, and you asked why, and they said “Just because,” or the ever-popular “Because I said so!”
No reason given, no explanation, just a simple “no” and you’d go stomping off into another room to sulk or play Nintendo or try to explain to your Don Mattingly wall poster how you wish he was your Dad (OK, maybe that was just me.)
Well, if you weren’t aware, a similar situation exists in the U.S. Senate. Any of the 100 Senators can, at any time, basically derail any piece of legislation, for any reason, without giving any kind of a reason or explanation.
And they don’t even have to identify themselves; they can put an “anonymous hold” on the bill, and poof, there goes a law that may have 99 of 100 other Senators’ support.
It’s disgusting and ridiculous that our democracy can work this way. But it does, and it did so recently on the National Whistleblower Protection Act, which was designed to help and protect employees who reveal dirty or corrupt practices of the companies they work for (think Enron).
One schmuck of a senator decided to put a stop to a bill that was popular in Congress and overwhelmingly with the public, for reasons he/she kept to themselves.
NPR’s fantastic “On the Media” show investigated, and long story short, figured out it was either Alabama’s Jeff Sessions or Arizona’s Jon Kyl (he’s the genius who recently said 90 percent of Planned Parenthood’s money goes to abortions, when in reality it’s 3 percent)>
And yet, nothing can be done to shame Kyl or Sessions. They’re allowed to just sit in the shadows, grinning maniacally, knowing that 1 person can stop the will of the people, without even needing the guts to show themselves.
This is a pathetic disgrace, that anonymous holds are allowed to go on. This must be changed, and soon.
Meanwhile, the whistleblower legislation may see the light of day again … someday.

Because, you know, you don’t see this every day, here’s a big furry mascot accidentally attacking schoolchildren: Love the slo-mo replays.

**I have gotten to the point where I practically always refuse to read celebrity profiles in magazines. Nine times out of 10 they’re ridiculously fluffy, silly and mostly just self-promoting (I love Esquire because it has some amazing journalism, but their celebrity puff pieces (especially on beautiful women, which comes across as SO lecherous and juvenile are intolerable.)
Anyway, Tom Scocca  of Slate wrote this pretty amusing examination of the inanity of the celebrity profile. Check it out; you’ll laugh.