Friday, February 16, 2007

Truth is Stranger Than Fiction

I honestly couldn't make up stories as laugh-out-loud hilarious as this one, even if I was writing for the Carbolic Smoke Ball. It seems that Pennsylvania House of Representative Majority Leader Bill DeWeese had decided, in the interests of fiscal restraint, that he will cut back on his personal spending a bit. He will no longer rely on a private (but taxpayer-financed) chauffeur to drive him around the state. As the Post-Gazette reports:

The state House's top Democrat has ended the practice of paying a driver to transport him to meetings around the state and from his Waynesburg district to the Capitol.

Majority Leader Bill DeWeese's office announced the change last night, nearly two weeks after the Post-Gazette reported he spent $32,000 last year on a part-time driver from Donna Hertig Enterprises.

"Rep. DeWeese recognizes that he is a steward of hard-earned tax dollars and he has canceled the practice of hiring an outside driver," said Tom Andrews, spokesman for the lawmaker.
I'll pause for a moment for you to wipe the tears out of your eyes, and for you to stop laughing over this portrayal of Mr. DeWeese as a well-meaning "steward" of our "hard-earned tax dollars".

Ready now? Good. Now get a load of the next paragraph:
In one month alone Mr. DeWeese spent $4,765 on the chaueffer, who drove Mr. DeWeese's personally owned pick-up truck. The charges don't include about $1,600 a month in mileage, which Mr. DeWeese recouped separately.
He was being chauffeured in a pickup truck? Wait, he hired someone to drive his own pickup truck? Why in God's name would anyone even bother?

The official excuse is that having someone else drive him allowed Mr. DeWeese to, "... safely make phone calls, read and work on legislation..." while driving back and forth from Harrisburg. All right, I'll concede one point. I think that we are all safer on the roads without having Mr. DeWeese -- who has proven to state taxpayers that he isn't exactly the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree -- attempt to drive and talk at the same time. Walking and chewing gum at the same time would almost certainly be more than Mr. DeWeese could handle, so driving and dialing (a bad idea for anyone) would be way-beyond-dangerous in his case.

But really. Can't Mr. DeWeese and his press secretary manage to make this announcement without making it seem like the rest of us are a bunch of idiots for demanding this change? The implication in this announcement is that, because the nasty Post-Gazette had to go and make a big deal about this practice, we will all have to suffer a multitude of negative and costly effects as a result. Now Mr. DeWeese won't be as productive during his 4-hour-drive to Harrisburg. He won't be able to work the phones for the good people of Pennsylvania. And he may just be forced to use his phone anyway, becoming a danger to himself and everyone else on the road.

Spare us the bullshit. Lots of us commute long distances. Lots of us have phone calls to make. Some of our phone calls concern things that are more important than anything that could possibly be happening in the state House of Representatives. Especially anything that a butt nugget like Mr. DeWeese, in all his pay-raising, bonus-awarding glory, might be involved in. And yet, all the rest of us manage to meet these challenges without hiring someone to drive us back and forth. Even if we did decide that we were so important that we would be better off hiring a chauffeur to handle the driving, we wouldn't have the unmitigated gall to ask every other citizen of the state to pay for it.

I just can't understand how those idiots in his district re-elected this moron.

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