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February 24, 2009

Globe-trotting politicians

I read in The Star where a congressional delegation of 13 lawmakers, plus spouses, aides, staffers and the necessary military escorts, were going on a fact-finding mission to Europe to study NATO (2/15, A-2, “The Buzz”). This includes Reps. Dennis Moore of Kansas and JoAnn Emerson of Missouri. So, it’s kind of amusing to watch our congressional representatives sputter in indignation and outrage at CEOs and their bonuses and trips to lavish spas on their corporate jets. The arrogance!

But, of course, after spending several days passing a stimulus bill — oh boy, what a job that was — they are now entitled to take a nine-day vacation, oops, I meant “fact-finding mission” on special Air Force jets to Paris, Vienna and the ski resort at Garmisch-Partenkirchen to study NATO?

Of course this is an important spending of taxpayer dollars. We absolutely need to know more about NATO, and it’s also vitally important for their spouses to know about NATO, too.

It’s not like there’s anything going on around here that needs their attention.

Charley Hutto
Kansas City

I see where 13 lawmakers plus spouses, staffers and military escorts went on a trip to Europe — in a military jet, no less — with the excuse that this is an important use of taxpayer funds. I was really disappointed that Dennis Moore was one of those. This takes a lot of nerve, considering the economy.

Was this another hidden portion of the stimulus package? How much is this going to cost us? We have people who do not have enough money to go to the store for food, let alone to Europe for pleasure.

Where is the “change” we were promised?

Ann Smiley
Overland Park

Next time some congressmen want to go on a “fact-finding mission,” send them to some inner cities in this country with overnight accommodations at the Salvation Army.

Marie Watson
Prairie Village


Pub 17

Airplane II, the one with Shatner


Thanks a lot STY, not mine won't work for a week..........

Smarter Than You

. . .and QUIT calling me Shirley!

Smarter Than You


Only if you can picture Nancy Pelosi inflating the "otto" pilot.



....surely that is not an Airplane! refernce.........

Pub 17

"OMG, Martha, that's not the emergency oxygen mask the flight attendant's demonstrating!"

Smarter Than You

"Over Macho Grande?"
"No, some wounds run too deep."

Pub 17

...tower, tower, I'm gonna auger it in...


...mile high club?"....

Pub 17

...solomon, I will back away slowly from your last post, I refuse to touch it, it ain't worth getting banned...


I have to agree with Engineer, they can't screw us while airborne.

Pub 17

I looked around a bit after posting and that's apparently S.O.P. I think it's appalling from a security standpoint, but it is as it is. As for the other, I'm fully aware that it goes on, and I'm always surprised that the sillier brand of junket isn't a bigger deal in challengers' positions at election time than it is.


Hey, people, look at the bright side. While they are on junket they are't doing harm here.


Pub 17, I have been on a number of commercial flights with congressmen. They fly commercial regularly. I have been on two or three DC to KC flights with John Ashcroft as a co-passenger. It does not seem to me that the issue is simply use of military aircraft. The larger issue is taking a ski vacation on the taxpayer's dime at a time when it is very inappropriate to do so.


If you've ever traveled for business, you know the value of a face to face meeting over other forms of communication. I don't like to see "fact finding" used in quotation marks, as if these trips are just thinly veiled vacations. I don't think members of Congress should be encouraged to take their spouses, though. Sends a bad message.

My husband travels overseas several times a year. I hate it when he's halfway around the world, but I understand why he gets so much more done and learns so much about his customers when he can talk to them face to face, have a meal with them, go to a sporting event with them. I used to travel overseas for business. I can't argue with the logic of needing to be there sometimes.

I can also tell you overseas travel for one's profession is not glamorous, it's tiring as hell, and it's always GREAT to get home.


"Putting a Congressman on a commercial flight..."

I would say the issue is one of taking the "fact-finding" trip in the first place, not the method of transportation they used to get there.

And FYI, most congressmen DO take commercial flights for their trips back and forth to Washington. I'll admit that trying to get a large delegation to use a commercial flight may be a logistical issue, but by and large, they do not have the same security issues that the president and his children have.


Good one Kate.....

Pub 17

Putting a Congressman on a commercial flight would be as stupid as putting the Obama kids in a public school, or letting any President stroll through a mall unaccompanied by the Secret Service.


Just once, I'd love to hear someone answer a Congressman's question like this http://comics.com/affiliate/kansas_city/?ComicID=21

Pub 17

What do you think Rouge?

For 2012, Palin-Jindal? Or Jindal-Palin?

We could make a fortune mixing their speechifying voices on a dub and playing it real loud in midtown apartment houses, eliminate bugs and rodents without harmful chemicals. You in?

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