Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 15, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

POMBO-PALOOZA, PART 2....Let's take a moment to switch gears from one Republican's unfortunate brush with the great outdoors to another's. Today's featured GOP outdoorsman, recently highlighted on our list of "little Tom DeLays," is congressman Richard Pombo, who decided to take a tour of America's national parks back in 2003. Was this because Pombo, who chairs the House Resources Committee, is a latter day John Muir? Not quite. As the Wall Street Journal describes it, his tour was more likely a bit of prep work for his subsequent proposal to sell off "15 national parks, monuments, preserves and historical sites, along with naming rights for visitors' centers and hiking trails, to corporate bidders."

Charming, no? But whether for good or ill, suspicious readers might be wondering if this was really a research trip at all. After all, it happened in August 2003, Pombo rented an RV for his inspection tour, and he took his family along. Sounds rather vacation-like, doesn't it? Especially since Pombo himself described it as a vacation at the time. But Pombo is having none of it:

Pombo defended the August 2003 trip on Thursday, saying it was appropriate to charge the $4,935 two-week rental of an RV to the government because of his committee's role in overseeing the nation's parks and public lands.

....Pombo insisted that he spent virtually all day talking to the park superintendents and other officials, while his wife and children enjoyed the parks with the other visitors.

"Virtually all day"? Really? And what do the park officials themselves have to say about that? The LA Times reports:

Officials at two of the national parks Pombo said he visited Joshua Tree in California and Badlands in South Dakota said the congressman never met with them.

"We had set up camping for him and gone to a lot of work and then he did not show," Pam Livermont, secretary for the park superintendent at Badlands National Park, said Tuesday. "He did not alert any personnel that he wasn't coming, and we never heard another word from him. We were disappointed."

The Tracy Press, Pombo's hometown newspaper, reported that officials at Joshua Tree did not recall him visiting there either.

Care to take a second crack at explaining this trip, congressman?

Kevin Drum 1:12 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (47)

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Comments

I was trying to get my name changed.

Posted by: Ace Pumbo on February 15, 2006 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

heeeere trollie trollie trollie!
heeeere trollie trollie trollie!

Posted by: cleek on February 15, 2006 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

where was lynne cheney while her husband was shooting a pal through the heart? elsewhere at the armstrong ranch? or thousands of miles distant?

Posted by: 4gitmenot on February 15, 2006 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

Isn't this "the American way?" How many people deduct convention travel to exotic places and spend all of their time away from the convention? We're really getting what we deserve when we elect the Richard Pombos of the world to represent us.

Posted by: Mark Rubin on February 15, 2006 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

Pombo actually met with other people he was interviewing for ranger jobs: His own kids.

Posted by: Smokey on February 15, 2006 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin said: "Today's featured GOP outdoorsman, recently highlighted on our list of "little Tom DeLays," is congressman Richard Pombo, who decided to take a tour of America's national parks back in 2003. Was this because Pombo, who chairs the House Resources Committee, is a latter day John Muir? Not quite. As the Wall Street Journal describes it, his tour was more likely a bit of prep work for his subsequent proposal to sell off "15 national parks, monuments, preserves and historical sites, along with naming rights for visitors' centers and hiking trails, to corporate bidders.""

sounds like a good idea. Let's hope it doesn't stop at 15.

Posted by: Brian on February 15, 2006 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

Wait, a Republican who wants to spend public money to subsidize his drive to get rid of public lands?

That sounds so unethical, so hypocritcal, so...

Republican.

Posted by: craigie on February 15, 2006 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

I'd rather drive through Joshua Tree with Pombo than go hunting with Cheney.

No, wait, I'd rather have Cheney go hunting with Pombo than eat a cheeseburger.

No, that's not it. Michelle! What's my talking point here?!

Posted by: craigie on February 15, 2006 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

Does the IRS know about this? They could really give him hell over this "business" trip.

Posted by: The Bobs on February 15, 2006 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

Pombo is a breath of fresh air, a much needed counterbalance to the environmental wackos who, just to save some one inch fish or some two headed snake which no one cares about, would sacrifice immense economic growth that could be created by building houses and condominiums in national parks. Not to mention the revenues from selling off these lands. I thought the liberals have now found religion and want to support anything that decreases budget deficits.

Anything to support their addiction to hatred for Bush and other rational Republicans.

Posted by: tbrosz on February 15, 2006 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

that's a good trollie, tbrosz !

Posted by: cleek on February 15, 2006 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

We'll be seeing Pombo on Fox News shortly, explaining his actions to an obsequious reporter.

Posted by: Mornington Crescent on February 15, 2006 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

where was lynne cheney..

She was sitting with her legs bent in inverted V's, and when she leaned back on her arms to consider her arrangement, Sophie saw that the front of her dress strained slightly. Her breasts were growing .. [ more here].

Posted by: lib on February 15, 2006 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

Pombo missed his appointments due to the shocking lack of 75foot high neon signs to guide him. A deficiency he hopes to rectify when the casinos are built.

Posted by: Michael7843853 G-O in 08! on February 15, 2006 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

About the idea of selling National Parks...

This Vernon Smith (Nobel Prize, 2002) article is a nice reference point for what would be the theoretical libertarian position on privatization of Federal land.

http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-363es.html

Of course, Republicans won't propose anything that looks even remotely like this, and no libertarian will complain in any event, but there you go.

Posted by: Saam Barrager on February 15, 2006 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

Shorter tbrosz:

"'Rational' Republicans first create the largest deficits in history in order to fund corporate pork and then "fix" those deficits by selling off the National Parks."

Kind of reminds me how crackheads get by -- you know, pawn mom's jewelry for drugs.

Posted by: dmbeaster on February 15, 2006 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

Well, this "breath of fresh air" is one of DeLay's top thieves - He is also one of the boys being investigated for Abramoff money.

He and John Doolittle helped squash an FDIC investigation into a Houston millionaire earlier this year.

Go get 'em Pete McCloskey, who is indeed a breath of fresh air against this Tracey CA
blowhard.

Yeah, building houses - Especially houses in the Tracey hills, where Polumbo's family owns property. Polumbo is trying to get an extension of the interstate across the Tracey hills, so his property will go up in value and he can subdivide and build homes.

Damn that Teddy Roosevelt, Gifford Pinchot and John Muir - Well, Gifford did want to cut down a few trees, but he slowly came around to Teddy's view. Do like his National Forest in Washington.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on February 15, 2006 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

This guy's next on the list.

Say good-bye, buddy.

Posted by: The Hague on February 15, 2006 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

Interesting price.

I ran a quick estimate at usarvrentals.com and can get a class A 39' RV in August for about $3900.

I wonder if there wasn't some padding in that bill to the guvmit.

Posted by: eric on February 15, 2006 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans sell America.

This headline has to be next.
They will probably wright it
off as a business loss.

This is par for the corse.
It also follows the story
That Homeland Security
has failed to alert anyone
that our PORTS are soon to
be run by a company with
direct ties to 9/11.

IS THERE ANY PART OF AMERICA
THAT IS NOT FOR SALE?
apparently our safety is
not as big of a priorty as
thier bank accounts are.

Posted by: Honey P on February 15, 2006 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

thethirdPaul >"...He and John Doolittle helped squash an FDIC investigation into a Houston millionaire earlier this year..."

Do tell !

More details please

"No place is so strongly fortified that money could not capture it." - Marcus Tullius Cicero

Posted by: daCascadian on February 15, 2006 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

"I wonder if there wasn't some padding in that bill to the guvmit."

I betcha a dime against a donut he charged the gas on his guvmint credit card. Those babies can really drink it up.

Posted by: Cal Gal on February 15, 2006 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

Our writer, David Jaffe, did a piece on Pombo and how his efforts are threatening endangered species, among other environmental concerns.

http://kmareka.com/index.php/?p=122

Posted by: Kiersten Marek on February 15, 2006 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

August is not exactly the best time of the year to visit JTree.

On slightly related note, perhaps some brave Democrats might want to come out against this: Waving Mexican flags on America's Independence Mall. The latter is a National Monument and home to the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall and other features.

Pombo probably doesn't want to sell that off, but many Democratic leaders seem more than willing to support a different kind of sale.

Posted by: TLB on February 15, 2006 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

For a whole blog dedicated to exposing and defeating Pombo, see Say No to Pombo.

Posted by: mrgumby2u on February 15, 2006 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

betcha a dime against a donut he charged the gas on his guvmint credit card. Those babies can really drink it up.

Now why would you pay for the gas when you can get the vehicle for free?

Posted by: DCNative on February 15, 2006 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

I thought the liberals have now found religion and want to support anything that decreases budget deficits.
Posted by: tbrosz on February 15, 2006 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

You can only sell public lands to generate revenues once - then this national treasure is lost forever.

But Republicans seem to be able to borrow and borrow more and more in an ever growing torrent of fake money without end.

A single fixed sum will not address a problem that is caused by serial credit abusers.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on February 15, 2006 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK


Shorter TLB:

Freedom of speech is dangerous to America. Only Real 'Merkins get it, and then only when Dear Leader says so.

Posted by: agum on February 15, 2006 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

Awhile back, tbrosz (the real one) and I had an exchange in which I mentioned that I'd actively opposed Democrat Bob Torricelli in NJ. I asked him which corrupt Republicans he was opposing in California. He observed lightly that Republicans in California are so rare as to be an endangered species.

So, in my spare time, I've been collecting names of tawdry California Republicans to share with him. Thanks for the help, Kevin!

I already had Doolittle on my list. Of course, by then Cunningham had already confessed. Then there were Schwarzenegger's muscle mag deals (but I suppose he's a "Republican in Name Only," huh?)

Anyone have any other names they'd like to share?

Posted by: Bill Camarda on February 15, 2006 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

Bill,
Check out Bill Simon. He's as crooked as Ken Lay - and as unconvicted.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on February 15, 2006 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

Osama_Been_Forgotten >"...But Republicans seem to be able to borrow and borrow more and more..."

Can you say Chinese creditors ?

And exactly whose side are the ReThuglicans on in this whole affair ?

Prepare to watch the dollar cease to be the planets` reserve currency & all that political hot air leave the economy

Fire Sales !!!

"Eventually, the truth will emerge. And when it does, this house of cards, built of deceit, will fall." - Robert C. Byrd

Posted by: daCascadian on February 15, 2006 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

Now surely I should be able to find at least a few Democrats who would oppose citizens of other countries who are here illegally waving their countries' flags at one of the locations of our country's founding.

Right?

Posted by: TLB on February 15, 2006 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

In the spirit of environmentalism, please, Pete McCloskey "recycle" Pombo back to the City Council of Tracy.

Perhaps at Joshua Tree, he didn't want to be confused with Randy Polumbo, the artist in residence there. Don't think there would have been much confusion.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on February 15, 2006 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, had Pombo had a real estate business and had his 2-week RV trip involved visiting different cities where he would evaluate properties he was considering purchasing while on "vacation," he would have been able to write off almost all of the expenses. So while I hope he gets nailed for not actually showing up to visit with various national park officials, in principle, there's good reason why he thought he could get away with expensing the whole thing.

Posted by: Constantine on February 15, 2006 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

Now surely I should be able to find at least a few Democrats who would oppose citizens of other countries who are here illegally waving their countries' flags at one of the locations of our country's founding.

Good Lord, this is a new low for the Bush Squad. Is freedom only for U.S. citizens? Whyever shouldn't anyone be able to wave any flag in any public place in the U.S.? That is, as long as they're willing to take the verbal heat it brings--freedom of speech doesn't mean freedom from heckling and ridicule, as we're proving with you, TLB.

Posted by: shortstop on February 15, 2006 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

Immense economic growth...

...Gosh, I must live in the land of immense economic growth! They sold all our trees and all our fishes and wow is business booming!

...No, wait, it isn't. Once the trees and fish were gone, so were the predatory companies and my home has languished there, slowly eroding, as mansions are planted where farms once were and nothing but concrete and rotting rails mark where the factories and stores stood.

Posted by: Crissa on February 15, 2006 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

Now surely I should be able to find at least a few Democrats who would oppose citizens of other countries who are here illegally waving their countries' flags at one of the locations of our country's founding.

Huh? What the fuck are on about? What 'law' is this that makes the display of another country's flag 'illegal'?

Goddam, you GOP shills are truly in a land of fantasy. Not to mention incoherence -- how is your (misplaced) whine at all relevant to the sleazeball Pombo?

The stupid bloc is the real core of the Republican 'big tent'.

Posted by: sglover on February 15, 2006 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK

August, in Joshua Tree? I've spent a fair amount of time at Joshua Tree in the past. March is a good time to go, April is a bit warm, but August would be, in my opinion, a sign of mental distress. Why in hell would you go to Joshua Tree in August? The average high temperature is 103 degrees Fahrenheit in August.

Why would anyone vote for someone that stupid?

Cheers,

Alan Tomlinson

Posted by: Alan Tomlinson on February 15, 2006 at 7:03 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, for a public-spirited citizen to bring a "qui tam" action against Pombo under the False Claims Act. Any citizen can do this: sue on behalf of the Government to recover a fraudulent raid on the Treasury. It would be most amusing to have Pombo answer questions under oath in federal court.

Posted by: cartographer on February 15, 2006 at 8:03 PM | PERMALINK

"Pombo is a breath of fresh air, a much needed counterbalance to the environmental wackos who, just to save some one inch fish or some two headed snake which no one cares about"

From a federal fish biologist, who needs or wants or needs an ignoramous like you?

Posted by: Mark A. York on February 15, 2006 at 8:09 PM | PERMALINK

Whyever shouldn't anyone be able to wave any flag in any public place in the U.S.?

I'm sorry this is so hard to understand, but let me try to explain.

Under the First Amendment, displays like that are protected even when performed by illegal aliens.

However, the point is that movements spawning displays like that are a clear and present danger to this country.

Throughout history, countries have invaded other countries, and that's generally followed by planting a flag belonging to the conquering country. (You can read about that at your local library).

When millions of people enter a country without being invited, and then start demanding things, waving their flag in an antagonistic manner at one of the historic seats of the invaded country, claiming part or all of the invaded country as their own, etc. etc. patriotic citizens of the country that was invaded tend to get a bit upset.

Of course, if like many Democrats you don't believe that the U.S. has sovereign rights, you can feel free to ignore the foregoing.

Posted by: TLB on February 16, 2006 at 12:35 AM | PERMALINK

I believe that I read somewhere that he went to all these parks in "10 days" somewhere. This sounds near impossible just on the the travels between parks let alone "spending all day talking to the park superintendents".

Posted by: Dirk on February 16, 2006 at 5:45 AM | PERMALINK

tbroz thinks condos on Half Dome at Yosemite are a great idea, while tlb tries to dvert the conversation in the direction of an impending attempt by Mexico to conquer the US.

Why have these lunatics not been hooted off the national stage?

Posted by: rea on February 16, 2006 at 6:52 AM | PERMALINK

Why have these lunatics not been hooted off the national stage?
Posted by: rea

Killed off all the owls already? But stand ready to subsidise Hooter's restaurant in Shreveport to make up the deficiency.

Posted by: CFShep on February 16, 2006 at 8:04 AM | PERMALINK

Corporate naming rights for hiking trails?

Will we Washingtonians soon be visiting the "Verizon Appalachian Trial" off of "Frito-Lay Skyline Drive" in "Kellogg, Brown and Root Shenandoah National Park?"

Posted by: wvmcl on February 16, 2006 at 10:15 AM | PERMALINK

People get all uppity about touching the national parks but there ought to be some flexibility here to.

Do you have any idea how much electricity we could generate if we built a thermoelectric plant in some reasonably non-offensive part of Yellowstone Park or in the Long Valley, California area?

Hell, you probably wouldn't need to build another generating plnat in this country for 10 or 15 years maybe far longer. Yeah, evntually its going to get blown up when the volcano erupts but what a magnificent clean energy source that is just sitting there radiating heat and steam, untouched.

Don't anybody get mouthy about abusing nature here either. I was born a little over an hour from Yellowstone and that part of the country is MY HOME, but I think we could tastefully and cleanly develop some of these resources without harming the beausty of the park.

Think of how much oil and natural gas we wouldn't be drilling for in other places or buying from that scumbag Chavez, from Mexico, or funding the Al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia.

Posted by: Wayne on February 16, 2006 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

When millions of people enter a country without being invited, and then start demanding things, waving their flag in an antagonistic manner at one of the historic seats of the invaded country, claiming part or all of the invaded country as their own, etc. etc. patriotic citizens of the country that was invaded tend to get a bit upset.

By "the land that was invaded" I assume he means Mexico, since the United States invaded Mexico and took Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, California and part of Wyoming away from it. I can see, then, why patriotic Mexicans would get upset when they see the US flag flying in any of those states.

Posted by: Stefan on February 16, 2006 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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