Fairness in America Act of 2010

Election Day 2010 is but a faint memory as we head towards the s-l-o-w end of the year. With Thanksgiving behind us and Christmas just around the bend, we all recognize that the abundance of joy and good tidings that this winter season brings comes only from hard work. After all, someone has to pay for all that online holiday shopping. And, as we seek to right the direction of our fair nation, we should certainly offer thanks to our dedicated members of Congress for not heading home early for the holidays. Proving that no lame ducks exist in a recession, our political class continues to put in an honest day for their six-figure pay.

Well, with so many critical issues facing our nation, let’s see how our elected leaders are spending the final weeks of this session of Congress:

Rep. Glenn Thompson (PA) and Sen. Robert P. Casey, Jr. (PA) introduced house and senate bills, respectively, to congratulate head coach Joe Paterno of the Penn State Nittany Lions on his 400th win. Don’t think for one moment that such a resolution was without controversy. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (UT), Rep. Peter DeFazio (OR) and Rep. Louise M. Slaughter (NY) all voted nay.

Rep. Madeleine Z. Bordallo (GU) and Sen. John F. Kerry (MA) introduced bills supporting international tiger conservation efforts and the upcoming Global Tiger Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia. Not to be outdone, Rep. John Conyers, Jr. introduced the Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act of 2010. Sure, even though we may not be able to save ourselves, at least we can save the animals. Or, maybe not.

Recently, Sarah Palin engendered a fair degree of controversy over her clubbing of a halibut for her reality tv audience. Despite the uproar by animal rights advocates, this animal crush video is not prohibited under the proposed Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act of 2010 because such activities fall within the exceptions for “the visual depiction of…the slaughter of animals for food” or “hunting, trapping, or fishing.” In reality, the Act has little to do with animal welfare. A more appropriate title would have been the If You Eat It, You May Beat It Act of 2010.

With the imminent Republican takeover of the House, the window for pushing out meretricious civil rights legislation is rapidly closing, so Rep. Chaka Fattah (PA) offered a resolution disavowing the partisan impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton, the current Secretary of State’s husband.

Another issue that has gripped the attention of Washington D.C. is fairness. See this trifecta of Congressional legislation: Railroad Retirement Fairness Act, San Bruno Victims Compensation Fairness Act of 2010, and Medicare Premium Fairness Act. How can anyone be opposed to fairness? You would think that a Harvard-educated attorney would recognize this because a School Food Fairness Act sounds much more palatable than the stomach-turning School Food Recovery Act. The moment I spotted that title, I tried to figure out under which part of the reduce, reuse and recycle matrix that food recovery would fall. I guess that reducing portion sizes might go hand-in-hand with First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move childhood obesity initiative. Recycling, as in composting food scraps, wouldn’t be a bad idea either. But, food recovery, in this instance, refers to schools and local education agencies donating “any food not consumed” to food banks and charitable organizations. Now, I see a world of difference between food not served and food not consumed. Theoretically, one encompasses food that has been sanitarily stored behind the counter and the other includes food that has gone out into the wild and has possibly returned. Yum?