“Suppose you were an idiot, then suppose you were a member of Congress–
ah, but I repeat myself…”
– attributed to Mark Twain
“Every time Congress makes a joke, it’s a law! And every time they make a law, it’s a joke…”
– Will Rodgers
Sometimes it seems as if most members of Congress are nothing more than self-serving opportunists who do little more than feed at the public trough, ever ready to cave in to the demands and desires of large corporations and moneyed interests while disregarding the needs and concerns of their constituents–and if the above quotes are any indication, it has ever been thus.
However, occasionally it’s possible to be able to catch them doing something right–even if the gesture is more symbolic than anything else.
Recently, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution designating the first week of April as “National Asbestos Awareness Week.” This resolution came just in time for the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization’s fourth Annual Conference in Detroit, 29-30 March 2008.
Linda Reinstein, herself an asbestos widow and Executive Director of the ADAO, said:
“The ADAO applauds the U.S. Senate and the bi-partisan co-sponsors for the passage of this resolution. We cannot bring those back we’ve lost from exposure to this deadly substance, but we can ensure that our loved ones are not affected by asbestos in the future.”
Dr. Michael Harbut, who in addition to serving as a co-director of the National Center for Vermiculite and Asbestos-Relate Cancers at Michigan’s Karmanos Cancer Institute also maintains a storefront clinic in Royal Oak for asbestos victims, adds that “…the passage of this resolution will help raise awareness about the dangers of asbestos and move our nation closer to banning the deadly mineral permanently.”
Several U.S. Senators, including Progressives Pat Leahy (D-VT) and Edward Kennedy (D-MA) as well as tireless asbestos warrior Patty Murray (D-WA) were among those helped to pass a similar resolution last year. Now as then, however, the mainstream corporate news media in the U.S. has ignored the story in favor of sex scandals and stories of celebrity antics…