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Originally published Sunday, February 24, 2013 at 6:34 AM

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It’s the pork frosting, Norm, not the pension cake

The Wrap by Ron Judd

Seattle Times staff columnist

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Everyone is picking on the poor Dicks boy.

Predictably, about fat-cat congressional pensions, using the $107,000 annual allotment to former Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Loud, as one example, prompted plenty of piling on around Puget Sound.

But most of those spear tossers are missing the target. The outrage should be aimed not so much at the pension but at what makes a public pension of any amount so utterly unnecessary: the millions and
millions in free money heaped upon the likes of Dicks from private defense contractors and lobbyists the instant they step down from office and become “consultants” in the art of pork procurement.

So how about a compromise, Stormin’ Norman: We’ll admit your $107,000 taxpayer pension is “fair” as soon as you and every other retired congressman and staffer signs a lifetime pledge to forgo any of that private payola.

Deal?

More wishful thinking:

Waiting For the Inter-Gondola: Great idea. Just when you thought a Seattle commute couldn’t get any worse, some genius suggests adding lift lines.

Speaking of Transportation Genius: Did Mr. Wrap mention that he’s mulling a run for mayor of Mercer Island?

All Aglow: Stunning, this news from Hanford. Single-walled steel tanks, highly radioactive nuclear waste, 60 or 70 years of (stunningly expensive) inaction. What could possibly have gone wrong?

This Just In From South Africa: Accused killer/Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius is canceling upcoming races. Just as well, as those shackles clanking about his synthetic-blade legs would no doubt be distracting to other participants.

Speaking of Which: Introductions seem in order: Oscar Pistorius, John Henry Browne. JHB, Oscar.

One Sign Your Journalistic Career Has Gone Horribly Wrong: You are an adult person who writes a piece for CNN Money headlined, “4 features the PlayStation 4 absolutely must have.”

Making it up as He Goes Along: Business-suited weasel David Stern, commissioner of the corrupt enterprise known as the NBA, recounted large corporate-welfare arena subsidies for the Mariners and Seahawks, smarmily comparing those to Seattle’s firm hell-no reply when his NBA came begging during the Sonics relocation fiasco.

“Is there anything that I’m missing there?” he asked a blinking Seattle TV reporter.

Actually, yes: the fact that the Sonics got the city’s first $100 million public handout, in 1993, then came back demanding another in less than a decade because of the league’s legendary fiscal malaise.

Oddly Enough: Immediately after that theatrical performance, the retiring Stern was offered a post as professor emeritus of revisionist history at the University of Phoenix.

Good News: The scientific search for “dark matter” may be finally coming to an end.

Bad: As long expected, most of it is in Burien.

Taking Him Literally: President Obama wants to use federal money to draw a brain-activity map. It should be more affordable now that everyone agrees they can just leave a large, blank gray area over most of Washington, D.C.

And Finally: Thanks to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, carpet-bombing local driveways, lawns and porches with soggy, useless bricks of “yellow pages” is free speech protected under the First Amendment.

This week: The court rules that permanent occupation of your house by in-laws is constitutionally protected freedom of assembly.

Ron Judd’s column appears each Sunday. Reach him at rjudd@seattletimes.com or 206-464-8280.

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