20 November 2007

Pawn of the Union

For about 40 years, the Delta Queen has received nearly unanimous congressional exemptions from a sea-going passenger vessel safety act that really shouldn't be applied to her in the first place. The Queen is safe and sound and the exceptions recognize it's safety record, the crew's disaster preparedness and her overall uniqueness in the world of "overnighters." Further, the exceptions demonstrate how dubious it is that the DQ is under the umbrella of the act in the first place.

But all of a sudden, Mr. River Vessel himself, Rep. Jim Oberstar (D-MN) is now very concerned with sudden steamboat combustion syndrome.
The Queen must cease her long-distance voyages in November 2008 unless an exemption can be obtained from a federal law forbidding wooden superstructures on vessels that carry 50 or more passengers on overnight trips.

Since the law went into effect 40 years ago, Congress has repeatedly exempted the Queen. But this year, Oberstar, Minnesota's Eighth District congressman and powerful chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, has blocked it. In previous years, and as recently as last year, Oberstar has voted at least twice to support the Queen's exemption.

What's changed?
What's changed is the Seafarers International Union is pulling the strings that are attached to Democrats Oberstar and Daniel Inouye of Hawaii. They have decided they don't like the company that owns the boat anymore so they are pushing the appropriate buttons in Washington to get their way.

Oberstar, ever the fink, will not allow the representatives of the people get to vote on the exemption as he won't let the exemption out of the petty grip of his committee and onto the floor of the House of Representatives.

You can always tell when Jim Oberstar is lying; it's whenever he gets his selective, pathetic parsing of reality printed in the lefty house organ.

The Delta Queen is a national treasure and for Oberstar to scuttle it because he and his ilk are beholden to Big Labor is disgusting. There's lots of background info on this matter in these two videos: Part 1 - Part 2

More here.

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