To the People

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or TO THE PEOPLE.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Another Congressional Pet Peeve Hearing Disgrace

Congressmen often hold hearings based more on their personal pet peeves than what is within the bounds of Congress' legitimate purview. Rep. Tom Davis of Virginia, for instance, is a big baseball fan (I see him at Nats games often, wearing a mitt like an eight year-old) so he used Congressional subpeona power in hearings to drag a bunch of baseball stars before the cameras to ask embarrassing questions and humiliate them. This type of hearing resembles more a kangaroo court than a Congressional inquiry and accomplishes nothing but intimidation.

Rep. Bobby Rush of Illinois had his own Hip-Hop pet peeve hearing recently. It was another ridiculous incursion of authority into private enterprise and a total waste of taxpayer money.
Still, lawmakers like Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection, say artists and record companies must do more to censor lyrics that promote a lifestyle of violence, drugs and misogyny.
I hate that kind of music too, so I don't listen to it. If you hate it, don't buy it, organize a boycott or march or awareness campaign against it. That is freedom; banning it is not.

In another sorry episode, John Kerry succeeded very well in using his Senate post and the spectre of Congressional hearings to ensure he could continue to get Red Sox games on Comcast in his Georgetown manse and not have to switch to a dish after MLB signed an exclusive "After Innings" contract with Directv. The rich Senator, alas, didn't want to switch to Directv, which is easy, fast and cheap to do, so he stretched his Congressional privilege way too far to rewrite the settled contract in his personal favor because a Senator who is worth $500MM should not have to switch to Directv.

The enforcement of contracts, along with property rights, are the two major underpinnings of the prosperous US economy and are enshrined in the Constitution. Sadly, Kerry, with all of that Congressional intimidation power, got his way:
When the exclusive deal was announced, Sen John Kerry (D-MA) asked the Federal Communications Commission to investigate the deal… he then pushed for Congressional hearings. During a hearing last week in the Nation’s Capital, he pushed baseball to resume talks with iN Demand—which is owned by affiliates of Time Warner, Comcast and Cox. The parties then went back to the table… and the deal was reached

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