He's already made millions in questionable land deals. His friends seem ever so grateful that he supports the legislation that makes it all possible. They just can't seem to stop themselves from thanking him, over and over again...
It's hard to buy undeveloped land in booming northern Arizona for $166 an acre. But now-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid effectively did just that when a longtime friend decided to sell property owned by the employee pension fund that he controlled.
In 2002, Reid (D-Nev.) paid $10,000 to a pension fund controlled by Clair Haycock, a Las Vegas lubricants distributor and his friend for 50 years. The payment gave the senator full control of a 160-acre parcel in Bullhead City that Reid and the pension fund had jointly owned. Reid's price for the equivalent of 60 acres of undeveloped desert was less than one-tenth of the value the assessor placed on it at the time.
Six months after the deal closed, Reid introduced legislation to address the plight of lubricants dealers who had their supplies disrupted by the decisions of big oil companies. It was an issue the Haycock family had brought to Reid's attention in 1994, according to a source familiar with the events.
And who got the shaft? The pension fund holders and the taxpayers, of course. Harry sure know how to watch out for the little guy, doesn't he?
[Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot. --S.L. Clemens]
I barely knew him. He was a near-stranger, vaguely related by marriage. We were forty years apart in age. We had met maybe half a dozen times in a quarter of a century, and hadn't talked much then. But a family presence was called for at his funeral, it was my duty to provide it, and we don't shirk our duty just because we'd rather be doing something else. So I went, out of respect for the living, driving three hours to get there.
I've been to far too many funerals, dozens and dozens at least. Family, acquaintances, my very best friends. Sad to say, you do get used to it. I did not expect that the funeral of a near-stranger would move me very much. I was wrong. I was wrong because once, he was a Marine.
I knew it the moment I entered the chapel foyer, and saw the Marine sergeant major in full dress uniform standing there to assist family members. The last time I saw that sight *I* was a family member. It hit me with all the force of that earlier funeral, and I knew that even though this was a near-total stranger this would not be a simple courtesy attendance, that I would relive that other funeral.
I knew that when I turned the corner into the chapel, there would be two Marines in full dress uniform standing guard on his casket, that it would be an open casket, and that he would be in full dress uniform as well. I knew that when we arrived at the cemetery, there would be seven Marines on the hill with rifles, standing at attention in that cold winter wind, and that a prescribed number of paces clockwise would be another Marine standing at attention with a bugle. I knew that Taps would play, and that the seven on the hill would fire three volleys. I knew that the two Marines from the chapel would ride with the casket and would handle the flag ceremony, would place the three rounds (one for each volley) inside the folded flag, and that the Sergeant Major would then present the flag to his widow, and thank her and her family for her husband's service.
I stayed afterwards long enough to make the proper condolences to his family--and to thank the Marines for their service.
I barely knew him, but he was a father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and husband, an honored and respected member of his community. He had a very long and full life, many friends, and he went easy. Most of a generation before I was born, he had fought his way across the Pacific Ocean. I hadn't known that. Very few people did. He almost never talked about it, not even with his family. But he had been there and done that, visiting garden spots such as Iwo Jima and Saipan and Okinawa. To judge from the medals on his chest he had done so at a cost, paying in blood and pain, serving with honor and distinction.
I went to the funeral of a stranger, and ended up at the funeral of a soldier. Once, he was a Marine, and it was his wish that he be buried as a Marine. Once a Marine, always a Marine, and the memory of the Corps is long. I learned later that the complete honor guard had showed up for the visitation the previous evening as well, and was very glad I had taken the time to attend the funeral, and taken the time to thank them.
It was a long drive home.
[Cross-posted to Stubborn Facts. Comments are closed, and all mileage is your own.]
As of last week, I am no longer employed by Pajamas Media, though I am still one of its contracted bloggers. What will I do? For now, I'll be finishing my batchelors degree since I only have thirty-six credits left and I am starting this week.
Yes I know that I'm weeks late, but Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all and Happy Thirtieth Birthday (January 3rd) to my youngest sister, the one with the Arabic given name! As I recall, thirty was the toughest birthday of all of mine--I suspect that it's because one is finally deemed to be an actual adult at that age--but the rest have been progressively easier. After all, there is the alternative.
I spent Christmas in New Mexico, spending time with said sister, other sister, parents, strapping and hilarious nephews, beautiful and sweet nieces, aunts, uncles and cousins and, fortunately, missing out on the two snowstorms that have uncharacteristically deluged the state. While I was away, I only accessed the Internet once—to remind myself of what date and time my return flight to LA took off—so I missed out on many things talked about in the last several weeks or so, such as the deaths of notables: the 38th President of the USA, the Godfather of Soul and the Butcher of Baghdad. Only two, of course, are lamented.
I had a great time; spending most of it having religious, philosophical and political conversations with my dad. I know that such conversations would be tough for most people, but, happily, my dad and I agree on most topics under these headings. And even when we disagree, Dad is one of those treasured humans who doesn’t view disagreement with his opinion as a personal affront.
Talking to Dad, I found out some interesting things that I hadn't known before. The most startling fact was that Grandpa (Dad's dad) loved the French for one very good reason: Grandpa had been a POW in France and the French Resistance had busted him out of captivity. I had never seen Grandpa with his shirt off, but Dad said that Grandpa had three entry wounds near one of his shoulders. Dad himself didn't find out this information until last year, shortly before my grandfather's death. Typical of men of War and of Heroes.
My mom and dad now own and live in my grandfather's house. What I love about that is that it brings continuity to Grandpa's and Grandma's lives. Dad spends most of his time cooking--guess who was forced to learn to cook while his father was away on Air Force business and guess who learned to love it--and he sells the greatest burritos this side of Mexico and does a great deal of catering large gatherings to boot. In between food preparations, Dad watches ESPN, cable news and catches cat-naps. You can be talking to him one second and he'll give you a very sensible response. The next minute his head will be back on the couch and he'll be snoring. My mom works part-time for a Big Media entity. Both are collecting their Social Security in addition.
My greatest dream is to be able to make enough money so that my still relatively young parents (mid-sixties) can work when they feel like it rather than because they have to.
However, I am still grateful to the Lord at how much my family and I have been blessed. And we have been, greatly.
CBS 2 has learned a man who fell onto subway tracks early this afternoon and another man who then jumped on the tracks to save him miraculously suffered only minor injuries after an oncoming subway train actually ran over them...
...50-year-old Wesley Autrey, was standing on the platform with his two daughters whom he was taking home so he could go to his construction job. When Autrey saw the man fall, he quickly took action and left his daughters to jump on the tracks and bring the man to safety as an oncoming train approached.
Wesley Autrey left his two daughters on the platform to jump down onto the subway tracks in front of a speeding train, and pin down a man having an epileptic seizure. He held the convulsing man down flat while the speeding train passed over them. He didn't ask the man's religion, race, sexual orientation, political affiliation, or country of origin before he jumped. He just jumped in and took action to save the life of a complete stranger, at horrendous risk to himself.