Strong Liddership

By: - February 17, 2008 10:51 am

 In case anyone needed a reminder of just how lame our Senate delegation is, look no further than the Sunday paper.  Responding to the Observer's week-long series on working conditions at the House of Raeford poultry plant, our nation's leaders have been forthright in their shock and condemnation.  From the US House: 

'All Americans should be horrified at the conditions reported in this investigation,' Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, said in an e-mail. He said he plans to hold a hearing this spring."

From the Senate:

'It's unacceptable that in 21st century America any employees are subjected to inhumane and dangerous work conditions,' Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., who chairs the Senate committee on Health, Labor, Education and Pensions, said in an e-mail. 'The Observer's reports vividly demonstrate OSHA's ineffectiveness in protecting the nation's poultry workers. Instead of strong action against abuses, its responses are clearly inadequate and our Committee is beginning an investigation.'"

And from our own Senators:

In an interview Friday, Sen. Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C., said the Observer's investigation was 'disturbing and heartbreaking.' … On Friday, Dole said she was not in position to 'police' businesses in the state. 'I'll be staying in close contact with the appropriate agencies to promote the safety and health of all North Carolina workers,' she said, declining to give specifics."

That is tough stuff, Senator.  You'll be in touch?  Wow.  Thanks.  She's taking the point on this, by the way, Sen. Burr has made no comment at all.  To be fair, he's busy contemplating the Vice Presidency.  You can't expect someone with stars in his eyes and frostbite on his ankles to worry about poultry plants.  Embarrassed yet?

Ahh, Lids, I know some of us will remember how you jumped on this important issue come election time.  Others won't care, just like they don't care now about the abuses heaped on these poultry workers, many of whom are in the country illegally.  That's really the issue isn't it? Illegal immigrants have broken the law coming here, so they deserve what they get.  Really, they're just a step up from the poor old birds, and our voracious appetites have proven that we're not too interested in how they're treated.  More, more, more, cheaper, cheaper, cheaper.  Have you caught the Sunday smell of someone fryin' chicken?  With apologies to Kris Kristofferson, it's not so appetizing this Sunday, is it?  We've all definitely lost somethin' somehow, somewhere along the way, and we're not likely to get it back this November. 

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