Sunday, August 9, 2009

Fact-Finding Mission by Congress Looks Real Good

Lawmakers' Global-Warming Trip Hit Tourist Hot Spots (8/8/09 Wall Street Journal)

"WASHINGTON -- When 10 members of Congress wanted to study climate change, they did more than just dip their toes into the subject: They went diving and snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef. They also rode a cable car through the Australian rain forest, visited a penguin rookery and flew to the South Pole.

"The 11-day trip -- with six spouses traveling along as well -- took place over New Year's 2008. Details are only now coming to light as part of a Wall Street Journal analysis piecing together the specifics of the excursion.

"The South Pole trip, led by Rep. Brian Baird (D., Wash.), ranks among the priciest. The lawmakers reported a cost to taxpayers of $103,000.

"That figure, however, doesn't include the actual flying, because the trip used the Air Force planes, not commercial carriers. Flight costs would lift the total tab to more than $500,000, based on Defense Department figures for aircraft per-hour operating costs."

Here's what the itinerary for the trip included, according to Wall Street Journal:

  • Touchdown in Christchurch, New Zealand, a few hours before the sunset on New Year's Eve. Enjoy the firework.
  • Prepare for the trip to South Pole. Free clothing provided for extreme cold weather.
  • Tour the Antarctica. Meet penguins. Sorry no spouses.
  • Australia. Diving in the Great Barrier Reef.
  • Layover in Hawaii, relax at Royal Hawaiian Hotel before flying back home.

I hate to think what kind of rigorous fact-finding missions there are for the health care "reform". (Touring France in early fall sounds very rigorous to me.)

But hey, this is nothing. Only half a million for 10 members of Congress for 11 days. Less than $5000 a day per member. The prez himself may have blown a quarter million on a night out (a few hours) with his wife, while General Motors was preparing for bankruptcy.

The U.S. voters have only themselves to blame for electing them.


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