Archive - March 30, 2009

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More On So Damn Much Money
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Establishing The Peace Corps: LBJ Saves The Agency, Post 16
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Good Books Written by Good PCVs

More On So Damn Much Money

A footnote on yesterday’s long blog about, So Damn Much Money: The Triumph of Lobbying and the Corrosion of American Government by Robert G. Kaiser. In his book, Kaiser points out that 283 former Clinton administration officials have become lobbyists, along with 310 Bush appointees. They do it, of course, for the money and to stay in D.C. For example, a member of Congress can go from making $162,500, and a staff person’s $95,000, to a salary of $300,000 or more on K Street almost overnight. As Dylon said long ago, “money doesn’t talk, it brags.”      President Obama on is first full day in office issued an executive order saying they can’t participate for two years in any matter they worked on in prior employment in the government. They can’t lobby Congress for two years upon leaving the administration, and they can’t lobby the Obama administration ever.      One . . .

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Establishing The Peace Corps: LBJ Saves The Agency, Post 16

The signs that the special role for the Peace Corps in foreign aid was in trouble were all over Washington. Wofford ran into Ralph Dungan in the White House mess (Wofford was then a Special Assistant to the President on Civil Rights) and Dungan told him the Peace Corps would be a subdivision of the new AID. “Not if Sarge has anything to say about it,” Wofford tossed off, half joking, but also firmly believing Shriver walked on water. The truth was that all these “new guys” Shriver brought in to work for the Peace Corps believed Sarge could get anything he wanted from the White House. But Shriver was scheduled to leave D.C. and the U.S. Who would carry the fight that was developing in D.C.? Before leaving for his ’round the world trip to secure placements for PCVs, Shriver lobbied Sorensen, Dungan, and Labouisse, trying to persuade them . . .

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Good Books Written by Good PCVs

If the Peace Corps did anything, it turned us into readers and we are better for it. But being a reader doesn’t make us writers. That’s the rub. Having a great (or not so great) Peace Corps experience doesn’t make us writers either, though it might help when it comes to telling stories late at night in some bar. Being an English major doesn’t make one a writer, and it can even hurt a PCV writer, having read (and then trying to write like) one of those great writers from lit classes. Then there is the problem of too many books being published. In 2008, there were 45,000 novels published, up 17% from 2007. Altogether, there were 311,000 new titles and editions published in 2007. Add that number to all those POD books (print-on-demand) books that anyone can get published for a few hundred dollars and who has dreams of being an . . .

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