ITYS

Sherry Listgarten heysherry@mindspring.com
Mon, 22 Oct 2001 18:15:44 -0700


> > > How big is congress?  ~500 people?
> >
> > With a dozen or two staff each, plus leadership and
> committee staffs,
> > etc., etc. ...
>
> so perhaps a large hotel or convention
> center would be less inconvenient than
> a high school gym.
>
> Still, their main job is to assemble
> and to deliberate -- and if we expect
> that the average congresscritter can
> remember to whom he or she sold out
> without <http://www.opensecrets.org/>,
> then we also should expect them to be
> capable of conducting business (if not
> as efficiently) in another location*.

There's a very funny article in the October Atlantic about "democracy in
motion". It turns out that the entire European Parliament shuttles *each
month* between France and Belgium, while the secretariat and translation
services are in Luxembourg.

"The transnational legislature leads a curiously peripatetic existence,
causing many Europeans to view it essentially as a traveling circus.... The
constant to-and-fro and upkeep of separate headquarters in this tale of
three cities costs more than $150 million a year -- nearly a fifth of the
parliament's budget."

Highly recommended reading. Alas, no web link I can see. It's called "Home
Away From Home", by Michael Z. Wise

-- Sherry.