6 DEC 10: Simply Worthless?
Congress has been busy for several days in what they call a "lame duck" session. I don't know if the Senators from Alabama are pointing fingers at the Senators from Oregon right now, when they use that phrase.
(But then again, another common Washington phrase is that Congress is filled with "fat cats." Oregon lawmakers could hold up pictures of the Auburn offensive and defensive lines and return the insult.)
How fat ARE the "fat cats" from our area, anyway? A blog reader raised that question to us, via e-mail:
Sunday on CSPAN a journalist listed John Kerry as the richest man in Washington with over $200,000,000 in worth.....Sanford Bishop was in the bottom 4 with only $9,000 in worth...He was quick to point out Kerry's wife brought that money to the wedding..I wish there was some way to see the whole list..I wonder what Rangel's number was.
I found a way to see the list, thanks to a Washington-watching website called "Open Secrets." Why no one has tried to arrest this website's founder the way they're doing with WikiLeaks, I have no idea....
Congressional rules require all House and Senate members to file annual financial reports - not only for themselves, but their entire families. We hope Zeph Baker makes note of this, as he plans for 2012.
In the current going-out-of-business Congress, the Center for Responsive Politics indeed figures Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts has the highest net worth in the Senate. His average is nearly $239 million - which ought to explain why his hair has been flawless all these years.
(Kerry's net worth is so high because he's married to a member of the Heinz family. When a Senator is connected to the Heinz fortune, it's hard for the others to.... well, you know.... catch-up.)
But let's bring this closer to home. Open Secrets actually computes the "average net worth" of Rep. Sanford Bishop in 2009 at a NEGATIVE $9,496. And this was before Bishop had to spend so much money on negative ads to win re-election.
The financial breakdown on Rep. Sanford Bishop's assets shows some kind of SunTrust Bank certificate, a lot in Hartwell, Georgia and various.... hey, wait a minute! Hartwell isn't in Bishop's district - it's near the South Carolina border. Has he already made plans for redistricting?
Sanford Bishop lists two liabilities as of 2009, the largest one being more than $250,000 for "attorney fees." Wow - it may have cost more to clear the names of his relatives in the Muscogee County Junior Marshal program than the Junior Marshals spend in a year.
There's actually an Alabama Congressman with a financial number even worse than Sanford Bishop. Rep. Artur Davis shows an average negative net worth of more than $88,000. No wonder Davis ran for Governor this year - he needed a wider area, to ask for political donations.
When it comes to the Senate, Georgia's Johnny Isakson and Alabama's Richard Shelby place in the richest 25. Isakson has an average net worth of more than 11 million dollars, while Georgia colleague Saxby Chambliss is slightly below $300,000. Isakson's background is in real estate - so maybe he's been selling houses to people who actually can afford them.
(The financial records show Isakson bought more than $50,000 in Aflac stock last December. That investment has gained about 16 percent in the last 12 months. We'll have to wait until spring to see if Isakson balanced that out, by selling all the Synovus stock he also owns.)
Oh yes - Rep. Charles Rangel of New York is number 205, in the middle of the U.S. House pack in the Open Secrets rankings. His assets include a beach villa in the Dominican Republic. So if he ever retires from Congress, he can scout future pitching prospects for the Yankees.
-> We had a very humbling poker moment over the weekend. Read all about it at our other blog, "On the Flop!" <-
BLOG UPDATE: Columbus businesses sold plenty of Auburn apparel Sunday, in the wake of the Southeastern Conference championship game. One store manager told WRBL her sales of championship shirts alone topped $3,000 -- at 20 dollars per shirt. If Auburn wins the national title, Columbus might actually spend its way out of the recession.
Auburn head coach Gene Chizik told the Opelika-Auburn News he plans to join Cam Newton in New York next weekend, for the presentation of the Heisman Trophy. You can't really blame him - because if Newton only goes there with his father, the trophy may be offered on eBay by next Monday.
The Auburn-Oregon championship title tilt became official Sunday night. And other area schools settled their plans for bowl season....
+ Georgia will face Central Florida at the Liberty Bowl in Memphis. I suspect Central Florida will be the favorite. UCF won the championship of Conference USA, while Georgia did well to win the championship of its own state.
+ Alabama will meet Michigan State in Orlando's "Capital One Bowl" on New Year's Day. I can remember when a New Year's bowl was a prestigious big deal - but this season, 13 bowl games are scheduled in January. ESPN had better not refer to it as a singular "Bowl Week" anymore.
+ Georgia Tech travels to Shreveport, Louisiana for the Independence Bowl against Air Force. Tech might want to offer tickets to Fort Benning soldiers. They'd be more passionate about showing up the Air Force than most people in Atlanta.
Today's main topic was the result of a blog reader's tip. To send a store tip, advertise to our readers, make a PayPal donation or offer a comment, write me - but be warned, I may post your e-mail comment and offer a reply.
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