Fit to Serve?

by Henry I. Miller

{city-journal.org} ~ Congress continues to rank dead-last in the most recent Gallup poll of public confidence in institutions. It’s no surprise: when representatives and senators aren’t squabbling, posturing, and at one another’s throats, such as during Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings, they’re saying and doing things that strain credulity. It’s no coincidence that insulting the intelligence of members of Congress is such a staple of American folk wisdom. “Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself,” quipped Mark Twain. “When Congress makes a joke it’s a law, and when they make a law, it’s a joke,” said Will Rogers.

Too often, though, the joke is on us. A friend of mine was seated at a banquet table with the family of a then-congressman from Kansas. Family members expressed relief at the congressman’s career in politics because none of them thought that he was smart enough to enter the family business—processing scrap metal. “When I was debating what became the 2008 Farm Bill,” said Colorado congressman John Salazar, “I had a member of the Agriculture Committee actually ask me if chocolate milk really comes from brown cows. I asked if he was joking and he assured me he wasn’t.” That’s in the same category as the concern of Representative Hank Johnson that stationing 8,000 U.S. military personnel on Guam would cause the island to “become so overly populated that it will tip over and capsize.”

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas once proclaimed that the U.S. Constitution was 400 years old. And as a member of the House Science Committee, Lee, during a visit to the Mars Pathfinder Operations Center, askeda NASA scientist whether the Pathfinder probe had photographed the flag that astronaut Neil Armstrong left behind in 1969. Armstrong had, of course, left the flag on the moon. In 2010, Lee proclaimed on the House floor that “victory had been achieved” by the United States in the Vietnam War and that “today, we have two Vietnams: side-by-side, north and south, exchanging and working.” Lee was a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee when she made that statement.

I once attended a conference at which Representative Tom Bliley of Virginia— then-chairman of the powerful House Commerce Committee—spoke by teleconference. As he read from a prepared statement, he included the instructions—such as “pause for emphasis”—that had been inserted by his speechwriter. Where one line had been inadvertently duplicated, Bliley read it a second time. Carelessness? Intoxication? Senility? Don’t voters have a right to know?

Former senator Pete Domenici of New Mexico was sufficiently forthright to reveal in 2007 that he had been diagnosed with frontotemporal lobar degeneration—an inexorably progressive, incurable disease characterized by the wasting away of the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. Because of the behavioral changes and dementia that accompany this condition, Domenici announced that he would not seek reelection the following year. I had great sympathy for Domenici, but he should have resigned at the time his illness was diagnosed; his constituents deserved that.

Speaking of brain pathology and dementia, House Minority Leader Nancy Pulosi has been slurring her speech and having difficulty pronouncing words. It was especially evident during a press briefing in June but has been noticeable since at least April of last year. This is not normal. As a voter and taxpayer, but also as a physician, I worry about whether people in such condition are fit to serve.

Perhaps we should ask candidates and incumbents, including the president and vice president, to volunteer for periodic testing of intelligence, mental status, and psychopathology. After all, we often demand to know whether a candidate has recovered from open-heart surgery, cancer, or strokes, and many states require elderly drivers to get relicensed. Testing could answer speculations about mental fitness, one way or the other.

A mental-status exam offers an assessment of cognitive abilities, memory, and thought processes. It includes assessments of alertness, speech, behavior, awareness of environment, mood, affect, rationality of thought processes, appropriateness of thought content presence of delusions, hallucinations, or phobias, memory, ability to perform simple calculations, judgment “If you found a letter on the ground in front of a mailbox, what would you do with it?”, and higher reasoning, such as the ability to interpret proverbs such as “a stitch in time saves nine”. A useful adjunct would be the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, or MMPI, a standardized test of personality traits and psychopathology commonly used by psychologists.

An intelligence test measures various parameters thought to correlate with academic or financial achievement. Every politician need not be a genius, but I’d like the ones who represent me to know that islands don’t capsize with the arrival of a few thousand military personnel.

“Congress consists of one-third, more or less, scoundrels; two-thirds, more or less, idiots; and three-thirds, more or less, poltroons,” H.L. Mencken observed. Testing might help us weed out a few idiots. Getting rid of the scoundrels and poltroons will have to wait.

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Fit to serve what??? She needs to kiss up to Bush and Obama's Wife..enjoy the picture.

LOL Tif

I'm starting to dislike bush....

 Rudy can you explain this, it would clear up some of your need to know why your having editing issues: http://teapartyorg.ning.com/forum/topics/system-error-at-tpcc-syste...

  I was puzzled why most Dems are a half a bubble off plum, then I am even more puzzled why so many Republicans are in their hip pockets.

Hank
yes I did see that error message...so far I've been able to edit.

I would have to guess money is the key to having some of those but not many Republicans in their pockets.

 From our home to California, is a 4000 ??? mile round trip, into enemy territory. And Tif told me you emailed her around 20 different times on the edit issue, so blog on man, glad someone is helping out.

Hank

Not sure if it was 20 times but I did report the ability of not editing.
Like now, Rudy, there is no reply buttons, and I have a new computer, placing this site in Ning Servers in California is BS.

Like I said blog on...
Hank

Tif told me that she was having the same issues as I was and she got a new computer and the issue was solved maybe you need to get ahold of her.
I ahve a new laptop, and now I have the same issues. Tif lives 1 mile down the road from me, we connect through the same server.
Rudy, blog on man,
the issue with internet connections will be resolved.
Like now the typo of the word have, can't fix it...
blog on Rudy I have to go.
Hank
Ok

 I was going to buy you a nice Dell, desktop, it would be refurbished but they are very good systems.

 So I am glad your computer is working, so I will take the 100 shopping...:)

Tif

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ALERT ALERT

States Propose Orwellian Law Mandating State Home Invasion On Home-School Families

(TeaParty.org) – Lawmakers in some US states have proposed legislation that would require home visits for families with homeschooled children, posing a terrifying threat to parental authority and freedom in general.

Iowa HF 272 requires homeschool families who do not report to their school district in conducting their home education to submit to “health and safety visits” quarterly by “the board of directors of a school district.”

If parents decline, the proposed law says, “the juvenile court or district court upon a showing of probable cause may authorize the person making the home visit to enter the home and interview or observe the child.”

The law doesn’t explain why a school district would conduct “health and safety visits,” nor is “probable cause” defined.

But the party performing the visit on behalf of the school district would be a mandatory reporter, and the district can collaborate on the mandated home visits with the Department of Human Services, which in turn can collaborate with the state’s Department of Education.

A similar bill calling for a home investigation of homeschool families was recently introduced in Illinois. The visits there would be performed by the Child Protective Service Unit of the Department of Children and Family Services.

Iowa state Rep. Mary Mascher, a Democrat, introduced the bill, which is one of two introduced thus far during this legislative session requiring home visits for homeschool families.

Public schools do not exist to determine the “health and safety” of a child, they exist to provide children with an education.

In fact, plenty of public schools pose serious risks to the “health and safety” of children, whether that be increased risk to seasonal and contagious illness or the incidents of violent crime that plague the nation’s inner city schools.

This law is eerily reminiscent of the socialist systems many lawmakers in Washington would like to mimic here at home. There is nothing more authoritative than the state forcing their way into the home.

Homeschooling is a way a rapidly growing number of parents have found to combat the state-sponsored ideological indoctrination taking place in the public school system, and these authoritarians can’t stand that parents are finding a way to fight back and take their children’s educations, and minds.

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