U.S. senators too busy to listen to a story about a woman’s Alzheimer’s

Actor Seth Rogen appeared before a congressional subcommittee yesterday to talk about his mother-in-law’s struggle with Alzheimer’s. It was funny and poignant and, apparently, ignored by many politicians who had better things to do than listen to a Canadian talk about the need to educate other Americans about Alzheimer’s.

The picture, which Rogen tweeted after he made his appearance, is absolutely scandalous. Most of the few senators who showed up at the hearing, left during his statement.

We’re guessing that’s not a picture that will show up in an re-election campaign mailing by a senator describing how hard he/she is working for constituents.

Democratic Subcommittee Members
Senator Tom Harkin (Chairman) (IA)
Senator Patty Murray (WA)
Senator Mary Landrieu (LA)
Senator Dick Durbin (IL)
Senator Jack Reed (RI)
Senator Mark Pryor (AR)
Senator Barbara Mikulski (MD)
Senator Jon Tester (MT)
Senator Jeanne Shaheen (NH)
Senator Jeff Merkley (OR)

Republican Subcommittee Members
Senator Jerry Moran (Ranking) (KS)
Senator Thad Cochran (MS)
Senator Richard Shelby (AL)
Senator Lamar Alexander (TN)
Senator Lindsey Graham (SC)
Senator Mark Kirk (IL)
Senator Mike Johanns (NE)
Senator John Boozman (AR)

  • Patrick

    Off all the things the federal government does, you label THIS “scandalous?” This happens every day on every topic. My mom died from dementia and I couldn’t care less an actor(!) was miffed people didn’t pay attention to him. Join the club.

    • Sorry I missed the time you went down to Washington to try to make a difference in the lives of people with Alzheimer’s.

      Good talk.

    • SJ

      Seem to be missing the point. The scandal really is that this apparently happens all the time and that these senators ‘couldn’t be bothered’ hearing the testimony. I doubt Seth Rogen tweeted that photo because his pride was bruised.

      In other thoughts: Bob, do you know who stayed to hear the testimony?

      • The chair and ranking member stayed. I’ve posted stuff like this before, like this one (http://blogs.mprnews.org/newscut/2009/10/capitol_showbiz/), for example important hearings at which members don’t show up. They usually don’t, it’s true. You know where they spend a lot of their days? Over at the off-site boiler room making fundraising calls.

        I’m always bemused when people refer to ‘actors’ as some sort of negative. The biggest actors in Washington weren’t talking about a woman’s Alzheimer’s.

  • CHL

    When we visited DC with our kids to show them democracy in action, we learned that all of the speeches shown on C-Span and reported in the media are made only to C-Span and the media. There was no one on the floor, with the exception of those necessary to hold the session and a few well-placed faces to stand behind the speaker for the cameras. Of course when there was a vote, the senators showed up in numbers necessary for a quorum and to vote in a manner which would satisfy the lobbyists. It was a sobering lesson for our kids and for my husband and I on the reality of our government.
    An empty seat is the norm, not an exception. And it if it were scandalous, why does it continue to happen? No one in Washington cares about anything except reelection.

    • tboom

      Saw the same thing 12 years ago, and had the same reaction. It’s amazing, the kind of passion that can be worked up when speaking to an empty room.

      We also watched the full Senate take a vote, after spending a full day in spirited debate … on whether to allow frozen chicken to be labeled fresh. Imagine a full day on a bill for Tyson, but there’s no time for issues that might actually affect citizens (other than we might be buying thawed chicken thinking it’s fresh).

  • MikeB

    We need more of these shots of Senators and Representatives not showing up. Daily reminders of how many days they are in session, and how many days they are not in session.