the DIDDLY award

<b>THE “I’M NOT A DOCTOR BUT I PLAY ONE ON CAPITOL HILL” AWARD,</b> bestowed for advances in congressional oversight of science. And the nominees are …

Illustration: Peter Hoey

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Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), who convened a hearing on Internet smut and remained straight-faced while being advised that pornography is a leading cause of breast implants. Later, the abstemious congressman heard how porn causes the “direct release of the most perfect addictive substance.” Say what? “That is,” said one witness, “it causes masturbation, which causes release of the naturally occurring opioids. It does what heroin can’t do, in effect.”

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), who told Roll Call that he opposes Medicare funding for Viagra and Levitra. “Is it the government’s business to provide those funds and resources so that old men can have sex when they want?” the congressman asked, adding–without irony–that this “kind of growth in government was never envisioned by our Founding Fathers.”

Sen. Bill Frist

(R-Tenn.). The retired surgeon relied upon his cardiac training to describe his new strategy for battling Democrats: “I can play hardball as well as anybody,” he told the New York Times. “That’s what I did, cut people’s hearts out.”

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), who railed against the class-action suit brought by silicone breast implantees, saying: “I thought I would just share with you what science says today about silicone breast implants. If you have them, you’re healthier than if you don’t.”

AND THE WINNER IS…Sam Brownback, who considered spending more tax money to explore the “addictive,” “mind-altering,” porn poisons that one witness called “erototoxins.”

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

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It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

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We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

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Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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