What's All This Then?

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Thursday, September 29, 2005

I would imagine that a majority of commentary bloggers from the left and right will be busying themselves with yesterday’s indictment of Tom DeLay - if they have any energy left after either blasting or defending the performance of Michael Brown before the lopsided ad hoc Congressional Committee looking into his leadership of FEMA. Regarding the latter, all I’ll say is that in the same way that Robert Bork "Borked" himself, Brown gave the news media a new phrase for commenting on the performance of witnesses before Congressional Committees. "The witness "Browned" himself in testimony before the House FOP and FOFOP Committee today." That’s the Congressional Committee on stupid acts of Fiends of Presidents and Friends of Friends of Presidents." We couldn’t call it FOG and FOFOG, the acronyms that I created a few days ago. There will be presidents with a name other than George. I suppose such a committee could have COSAFOP or COSAFOFOP as an acronym for its name - (you figure it out) - but with space limitations on busy news days, I think the shorter name will prevail.

Of course there’s no such committee in case anyone who thinks The Fifth Amendment is a new rock group should accidentally come upon this blog. I’m in a lot of pain today and pain has a tendency to drive my fingers to unexpected places.

Anyway, since all these other bloggers are doing serious commentary on the Tom and Mike show today, I’ll meander to other places.

I got one of those envelopes in the mail the other day that Andy Rooney likes to talk about. You know the kind - full of so much information on the outside of the envelope that you wonder why they bother to put anything on the inside!! Of course all that Rooney ever does is show you one envelope after another and tell you why he throws them away. He never delves into the people who send these envelopes and what their scam is. He just shows envelope after envelope and whines about them. And for this he gets paid big bucks!!

What’s on the outside or my envelope is the following:
A personal letter for you - Mr. Smith - to your U.S. Representative Janice Schakowsky, 9th District, Illinois, urging her to vote NO on any proposals that would undermine the fundamental mission and future security of Social Security and Medicare.

And below that in white letters against a black background - "Please sign and return for immediate delivery."

The sender was the NATIONAL COMMITTEE TO PRESERVE SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE under the signature of Barbara B Kennelly, who identifies herself as President and CEO and former member of Congress.

Inside was the advertised letter which this outfit wants me to send to Jan Schakowsky - plus a six page letter (3 sheets typed on both sides) telling me all about social security, the terrible things that could happen to it if we are not forever vigilant and a litany of all of the successes they’ve had in preventing assaults on these entitlement programs by those who would harm and yes - even kill them. Of course Jan Schakowsky is the last person who needs to get a letter from me urging her to protect Social Security and Medicare. She’d think I’d gone nuts or sat down to type in a drunken stupor. It would be a little like urging Bill Frist to support John Roberts. But this was a mass mailing, so I guess you have to make allowances for the occasional faux pas

Now I don’t want you to think that I’m mocking the NCPSSM because I’m not. It’s no Johnny Come Lately outfit. It’s been around since 1982 - and according to Ms Kennelly, it was founded by FDR’s oldest son. But you would think with that kind of longevity and all of it’s alleged accomplishments, I would have heard more about it and its activities than I have. Particularly I would have thought that they’d be all over the map as President Bush was traveling around the country pushing his private accounts idea. If they were, I missed them. And if I’ve heard of them, much who they are and what they’ve accomplished didn’t stick in my mind. But then Washington is weighed down with lobbying organizations for just about any cause or industry that you can think of and a great deal of what so many of them engage in is, interestingly enough, something that’s in this organization’s title. Preservation. Self-Preservation.

Which brings me to the bottom line reason for the mailing from the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare which was to ask me to become a "member." In addition to the letter they want me to send to my Congressperson and their six page missive described above, the envelope contained a sheet of paper titled MEMBERSHIP ACCEPTANCE FORM with seven little boxes. Three asked me to put a check mark in a box if I wanted to support their "ongoing fight" and/or if I was sending the letter to Jan Schakowsky and if I was accepting their invitation to become a "member." This lead to the other four boxes, the first of which indicated that I was sending them $10 - the minimum to become a "member" - and the others marked $15, $25 and "other," in case I felt inclined to send them some other sum of money, whether I wanted to become a "member" or not. And to convince me that whatever I send will be spent to support good causes, it offered me a money back guarantee!!! I kid you not. Right there, attached to the "Membership Acceptance Form" is a much larger box in which there is a headline that you can read and a message in the tiniest of type that you’ll need a magnifying glass to read as follows:
Your membership in the National Committee is guaranteed to be a worthwhile and positive experience. If you aren’t 100% satisfied at any time or for any reason, please write to us for a full and immediate refund of your current year membership dues.
I understand the need for money to support the overhead of any organization, but I have to wonder how much of the energy and skill and general resources of this committee is devoted to the cause described in its name and how much simply to perpetuate its existence.

I hope that this organization does work that actually helps to encourage our legislators to protect and improve Social Security and Medicare but I would feel more inclined to write about them less suspiciously if their direct mail appeal for financial support was a little less suspicious looking on the outside and without the ridiculous concept of a "100% satisfaction or your money back" guarantee on the inside!!

Somehow I doubt that it will change though. Not from the description of the key employee they’re looking for on their web site!