Monkey Business

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Isn’t it great to see that Congress has finally gotten its priorities in order? After addressing so many “pressing” issues, such as whether Roger Clemens used steroids when they weren’t against baseball’s rules, whether the Patriots stole football signs and how the college football national championship should be decided, our Washington brain trust is now fully engaged in an even more important issue: stopping interstate monkey trafficking. Apparently, the illegal primate trade has reached unprecedented proportions, so it’s about time Congress put an end to this monkey business.

That’s right. This week, the House passed the Captive Primate Safety Act, which “Amends the Lacey Act Amendments of 1981 to add nonhuman primates (i.e., monkeys, great apes, lemurs, etc…) to the definition of ‘prohibited wildlife species’ for purposes of the prohibition against the sale or purchase of such species in interstate or foreign commerce.” In layman’s terms, this bill would makes it illegal to monkey around with … monkeys.

The good news is that we can now scratch one of the biggest issues ever facing the nation off the list. The bad news is that we won’t be treated to the priceless scene of John McCain and Barack Obama debating who is more “pro-primate”. I’m sure PETA must be horsing around in glee now that an 800-pound gorilla has been lifted off its back.

Most amazing of all is that the Congress has shown, yet again, that it doesn’t have a clue why Americans despise it. Here’s a hint: when your actions make the nation a laughing stock and when you show a complete disregard for the real problems facing the country, you deserve to be despised.

Americans may not be able to articulate the minutiae of legislative initiatives, recite the legalese of trade policy or comprehend the complexities of extradition treaties, but they do know when they’re being taken for a ride. It is common sense to ask why our leaders haven’t tackled the tough issues in the past, and why they continue to run and duck now.

What has the Congress done to aggressively deal with the trafficking of drugs, weapons and people? Despite the decades of lip service and empty promises, why hasn’t a border wall been built to deter such trafficking? What has been done to strengthen the dollar, fire China as our nation’s banker and ensure the solubility of social security? And how can it be that the United States has the best health care in the world, yet millions of families are without coverage?

Perhaps most poignant, why does Congress time and again refuse to allow the drilling of oil within our grasp? Our petroleum resources from Alaska and the outer continental shelf would vastly surpass 20 years worth of oil we import from Saudi Arabia. Why can’t we exploit our shale deposits, which can potentially provide a century’s worth of energy needs? Why has no refinery been built since 1976? Where is the push for nuclear energy?

These are legitimate questions, considering that many analysts are projecting oil to exceed $200/barrel in the near future.

Taking a tough stand during difficult times is honorable, but if you’re a congressman, it’s also expected. If you can’t take the heat, it’s time to find another line of work. Hopefully this November, the voters will provide an early retirement to those who believe that monkey business is more important than the business of the people.

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