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Speculative Physiognomy

By Al Schumann on Monday February 2, 2009 09:29 AM

Do they all go for that expression when they're confronted with their minor sins? I tried making the same face, out of curiosity. It's terribly uncomfortable; when I checked in the mirror, I looked very silly. It felt, for whatever it's worth, like an interrupted snarl of rage. Perhaps they were repressing the urge to lunge forward and bite into the throats of their persecutors. The hard, reptilian glint to their eyes suggests as much.

Comments (4)


peer free commentary brother Al

Al Schumann:

I have the hopieness for changieness, Owen, and Secretary Daschle has shown me the way.

For Tom Daschle, life out of the Senate has been lucrative. In addition to his work as an adviser to a Washington law firm and as chairman of the board for a private equity firm, Daschle has been paid $195,000 to give speeches to health care industry groups — the very sector President Obama has designated him to overhaul.
While it is common for former lawmakers to engage in paid speaking and lobbying, the fees Daschle received and his work as a special policy adviser to health care clients with the lobbying and law firm Alston & Bird raise fresh questions about his nomination to be Health and Human Services secretary, a selection already thrown off track by revelations that he amended his tax returns on Jan. 2 to pay the IRS roughly $140,000 in back taxes and interest.
Daschle’s speaking fees to health care groups over the past two years — $195,000 — exceed what he made in any one year as a senator. In 2004, Daschle’s last full year in Congress, the salary for a senator was $158,100.
Other work has paid even better. According to financial disclosure documents Daschle filed Jan. 21 with the Office of Government Ethics, since leaving the Senate, Daschle has been paid more than $4 million for his work as an adviser with Alston & Bird, and as chairman of the board of InterMedia Advisors, a private equity fund.
On top of that, dozens of speaking engagements netted Daschle thousands of dollars for each appearance. While Daschle spoke before health care groups more than any other industry, he also addressed organizations representing grocers, real estate interests, retailers, gambling interests and more. On top of those appearances, he was paid tens of thousands of dollars to serve on various boards.
“Sen. Daschle is one of the nation’s leading advocates for health reform,” his spokeswoman, Jenny Backus, said. “He’s welcomed every opportunity to travel the country and talk to any group, paid speeches [or] not paid speeches.”

He gives freebies.

Al Schumann:

And, as a follow up, kudos to Tom Daschle! He was withdrawn from the nomination. I believe he recognized that he's so badly compromised, so publicly perjured and so widely regarded as extravagantly dishonest that there's simply no way to leverage the job properly, even in the cesspit he built with his past, present and future colleagues. He plans to spend more time with his money and his family and his speaking engagements and his board seats and his lobbying pursuits and his money. He bids farewell to the public in the same spirit with which he accepted a minor role. Godspeed, Tom!

Hey, I recognize that look!

Back in the '90s (jeezus, did I just say "back in the 90s"?), I used to call that the "Clinton Look" -- that sort of set-jawed, puckered-in lip-mashing look that Bill Clinton used to pull when he was attempting to show concern, or enthusastic affirmation... except that Bubba never sucked his lips in quite that hard.

Of course, these days -- at least up 'til two or three weeks ago -- it was also the "Bush Look", most often seen when The Chimp wasn't so much concerned as working really hard trying to figure out what the hell was going on, often used in combination with that furrowed-browed, squinty look he'd sometimes get on his face, like a confused dog.

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