This is for real, and so is Rob Bankston. Rob is an active volunteer and one of those Livingston figures whose name brings a smile. Quick with a joke, Rob is even quicker with a helping hand. He is the Market Master at the weekly summer Farmer’s Market, a volunteer at the Yellowstone Gateway Museum, and donates his time to these other events and organizations: Fish Walk, Corporation for the Northern Rockies, and the March of Dimes. He is also a Big Brother in the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Park County program. He tries to be a “big bother,” too with his ready jokes and poker-faced teasing, but we love him anyway. This past year, Rob also made an impressive stage debut in “More Fun Than Bowling” at the Blue Slipper, and was in the cast of the Playhouse 5’s production of “Fiddler on the Roof” at the Emerson Cultural Center in Bozeman.
Rob will be honored by Governor Brian Schweitzer with a presentation of the 2007 Governor’s Award for Civic Engagement at a banquet on September 25 in Billings. I am betting that he will tell the Governor a joke before that evening is out.
I hope you all remember that nice relic from our no longer used US Constitution, the good old 4th Amendment:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
I liked it and I bet you did, too. Now that it is pretty much gone, you can’t blame me for a moment of worry when I found out this morning, as I looked at the LOL dot com visitor traffic report, that the United States Senate Office of the Sergeant at Arms had visited the Jon Tester article 4 times from senate.gov.
I had to look up what the Sarge does for the Senate because that title is a bit ominous. His full title is Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper and he is “elected by the members, serves as the protocol and chief law enforcement officer and is the principal administrative manager for most support services in the United States Senate.” Here are some of his duties:
- “Maintaining security in the Capitol and all Senate buildings, as well as protection of the members themselves.”
- With the largest staff and budget in the Senate, the Sarge’s office is responsible for all Senate computers and technology support services.
- “Other services include Capitol Facilities, the Operations Division, Customer Relations, Financial Operations, Human Resources, and Information Security.”
- “The protocol responsibilities include escorting the President and other heads of state or official guests of the Senate who are attending official functions in the Capitol; making arrangements for funerals of senators who die in office. . . .”
So he’s like a cop who handles tours and is a sometime funeral director. This should increase or decrease my concern about his visits? You be the judge. But let’s get back to our tax dollars at work, at least between 6:09:32 and 8:18:16 this morning. According to my site traffic report, the first hit (and the third) from senate.gov came directly to the “Ted Kennedy calls Jon Tester ‘Mister President!’” article. Now that’s a bit odd for the very first hit because, unless you had the full URL to the article, how would you know it was there? Most folks come to the blog first, then click on the article. Or they land on the article page because that exact URL came up in search engine result, which is exactly how the Sergeant At Arms, or perhaps one of his staff people, like the Private at Arms, arrived at the article’s page in the second visit. He, she, or it searched for “jon tester” using a blog search engine. The other direct route is to click on a link someone sent you in an email, and that is how the fourth visit to LOL occurred.
I blush a little with pride when I mention that LOL was first in those blog search results. Reminds me of the time I won first prize in a county essay contest on “The Importance of the Single Vote” in my native Pittsburgh. I was 12. But now I’m just trying to impress you. But don’t you think it’s ironic that I wrote about the single vote, subsequently wrote an article for the Livingston Weekly last November about how I was going to withhold that vote from Mister President Tester because of his poopy position on a civil rights issue (i.e. gay marriage), and then had the Sergeant At Arms hanging out on my server?
Of course, as I think about that search result, I feel a little nervous. I don’t want the attention, really I don’t. Maybe I should get myself a Lieutenant at Arms? I could use a little help with Doorkeeping and Financial Operations. Apart from my own concern that the death of the 4th Amendment means I could be a person to be seized, without a warrant or probable cause, I am troubled that people on the internet will stumble upon things I’ve written and think that it matters. I think Tester’s efforts to promote organic farming are far more important. (I’m serious.)
Now let me put you at ease here as I mention all of this site traffic information. I can’t tell anything more than what Web site/ISP/IP address someone came from; that data is basic public stuff anyway. You see, I don’t want you to be nervous about visiting LOL. However, I would understand if you didn’t want to meet me for coffee, or visit my house which by now is probably bugged.
While this reporter ought to be working overtime on income-producing efforts, she has instead been tuning in to C-SPAN in the evenings. I’ve watched the 2008 campaign rallies in New Hampshire and I can tell you right now that, unless my Gaydar is broken, Hillary will get the gay vote. Lot’s of lesbians in Members Only jackets at the Hillary rally. Okay, it was too warm in New Hampshire for jackets (although Hillary was burdened with one that looked like it had been retrieved from a Jackie Kennedy museum), but I am allowed to indulge in a stereotype here and there because “a lot of my friends are gay people.” Even though my Gaydar tracked a number of gay men in the audience, it was Bill who was wearing the pink shirt! Take that, stereotyping pool! What the hell is Bill doing sitting behind Hillary like a sack of crawdads anyway?
But I digress. Tonight, I tuned in to the Senate proceedings and there was this cranky looking guy in a horrid tie sitting in the big leather chair which, in our great legislative system, signifies “The Man, the big guy, or the guy who has the worst hemorrhoids gets the comfy seat.” He looked cranky enough to be suffering from the dreaded H problem. Anyway, there this guy was in a tie that spoke “Montana” in eloquent volumes, and the venerable Ted Kennedy was addressing him as “Mister President.” Apart from the astonishing fact that there were actually two or three senators present to do the legislative business of this great country with its big leather chairs, I was amazed because this cranky guy in the big chair looked exactly like Jon Tester! The haircut! The bad tie! The glasses perched on the end of his nose!
At first I dared to hope that President of the Senate, Senator When It Is Useful to Me, Vice President When That is More Useful to Me, and Despot and Snoop all of the time, Dick Cheney had resigned. “Nah,” I said to myself, that’ll only happen when snow falls in Washington in the summer.” Hey, wait a minute! That happened last week! (Snow resigns as Press Secretary and Minister of Misinformation, August 31. The MSNBC story. . . )
But alas, Chene Chene Chene is still dancing in the White House, a building which, in our great executive system, signifies “the biggest guys of all, or those who rig electronic voting.” So what exactly is Tester the President of? The Ted Kennedy fan club? Doubt it. Anyway, I used one of my finely honed reportorial tools to see if I couldn’t come up with the answer. But Google returned no results for “Mister President Tester” or “Montanan in bad tie rules Senate” or any of the other useful and objective journalistic queries I posed to it.
I promise I will get to the bottom of the story later. Right now, I’ve got to go watch the C-SPAN coverage of the Senate Sub-Committee Special Task Force on Providing Arms and Military Aid to Despots Who We Will Renounce and Hunt Down Later On. But I swear on a stack of Congressional Records that if I find out that anyone sang so much as a single verse of “Happy Birthday, Mister President” to Jon Tester on his birthday a couple of weeks ago, I’ll break right in here with the story.