From Reuters:

SENATE APPROPRIATIONS BOSS TO HELP DIVVY UP SHRINKING PIE

Here’s the Link.

The article is about Barbara Mikulski, senior Senator from Maryland and one of the longest serving senators. She’s pint-size – 4’11” (why is this even mentioned?) It’s written by Jason Lange, and I’m not familiar with his work or his general sentiments. I have rarely read a so-called news article that is as replete with negative inference disguised as fact. Charming remarks about her ‘reputation’ and oodles of prejudice wrapped up in nouns, verbs and adjectives.

To wit:

Her long record of securing “earmarks” – the practice of budgeting money for specific projects that has fallen into disfavor in Washington – also reveals a set of priorities that has made her one of America’s most liberal lawmakers.

She has, for example, marshaled funds to clean up polluted waterways and improve schools in poor neighborhoods nationwide.

Cleaning up polluted waterways has fallen out of favor? Improving schools in poor neighborhoods? Does Mr. Lange realize that Maryland lies athwart one of the most valuable and yet polluted freshwater bodies in the United States? Does Mr. Lange realize that Baltimore is one of the poorest and most violent cities in the U. S. and that bad schools are directly correlated with poverty and violence? Any responsible senator would beg and borrow (I’m leaving ‘steal’ out of the idiom) to fix these problems in their home state. Why is this a bad thing? From the way it’s written, the reader is invited to believe that money to improve these things just vanishes. The Chesapeake Bay is an important resource for fishing, recreation, transportation, tourism and industry. Good schools are critical to thriving economies.

And this little gem:

Known for her temper, Mikulski is frequently seen complaining about the throngs of people blocking the Senate chamber entrance. She has consistently endured the barbs of anonymous critics who participate in Washingtonian Magazine’s Capitol Hill survey and rank her among the Senate’s most irritable members.

Just call her a bitch. Male senators do not have to endure commentary of this sort. They get called ‘righteous’ or ‘fiery’, or ‘fighting for their convictions’; that’s a good thing.

And this is laughable:

As appropriations chair, Mikulski will face tough choices pitting her liberal priorities – she opposed the invasion of Iraq, for example – against her inclinations to boost defense spending in her state, which is home to major military bases like Fort Meade.

I say this makes her smart and far-sighted. The U. S. spends ten times what the next five nations combined spend on defense (and most of them are our allies).

And then this:

Many observers were surprised Mikulski – the third in line for the chairmanship – stepped into the role following the death last month of committee chairman Daniel Inouye of Hawaii. The senators in front of her declined to take the helm.

Maybe she saw an important and difficult job that had to be done and stepped up.

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