25 Things That You Might Not Know


  1. Public sector union employees – such as teachers – do get pensions. However, they often do not pay into Social Security and will not be able to draw SS benefits at retirement. They usually pay about 12% of their income to their pension fund because there’s no employer/employee split like there is with Social Security.
  2. King James, of King James Bible fame, was probably gay.
  3. Spermicide doesn’t kill sperm. It dissolves their tails, rendering them immobile. Men find this fact disturbing.
  4. You only pay Social Security taxes on the first $106,ooo of income. That means the factory worker making $40K pays SS on 100% of his income but he CEO making $1 mil only pays SS on 10% of his income.
  5. Women have only been allowed to vote in America for 91 years.
  6. The President cannot pass laws. He can only approve laws passed by Congress.
  7. You cannot copyright clothing because clothing is classified as a useful object, not a creative object. This is why stores can blatantly rip off designer garments.
  8. You also cannot copyright recipes because they’re not considered creative works but rather are lists of ingredients and instructions for using them. This is why bloggers can rip off each others recipes.
  9. I took copyright law as an elective when I was in grad school and loved it.
  10. The Treaty of Tripoli, ratified by the full Senate in 1797, states that ” As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion..”. Many of the Senators ratifying the treaty were signers of the Constitution.
  11. Members of Congress do not get free health insurance. They’re entitled to enroll in the same plans offered to all federal employees under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan. They pay a portion of the premium and their employer picks up the rest, the same as when private sector employers part part of premium costs for employees.
  12. You should get mammograms beginning at age 40. If you cannot afford a mammogram, you may be eligible for a free one under the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program. If you get a cancer diagnosis, the program will also help pay for treatment.
  13. Nancy Pelosi doesn’t swear.*
  14. Lobbying is protected under the First Amendment as “petition[ing] the government for redress of grievance”.  This can be done by professional lobbyists or any other citizen. If you’re worried about the influence of professional lobbyists, go counter lobby. It’s your right.
  15. The Capitol switchboard number is (202)224-3121. They can connect you with your lawmakers’ offices if you feel like lobbying. Or you can find them at www.house.gov or www.senate.gov
  16. Thomas.loc.gov is a free website maintained by the Library of Congress that archives all federal legislation going back to 1973 . You can find bill summaries, sponsor lists, and latest actions on any bill introduced. Bills are searchable by keyword, bill number and sponsor. This is a great place to go to get facts without any campaign propaganda.
  17. Pat Buchanan has pictures of MSNBC programming executives blowing Satan. He must, right? Otherwise why do they put that racist old weirdo on tv all the time?
  18. The 18th Amendment created Prohibition. The 21st Amendment repealed it. It’s like in college when you were 18 and not allowed to drink but did it anyway. By the time you were 21, drinking was legal but the thrill had worn off.
  19. I met Barack Obama at an event in 2006. Great speaker. His handshake left me unimpressed.
  20. Newt Gingrich, when he was Speaker of the House, pioneered the three-day workweek for Congress. Rumor has it he did it to discourage socializing among Members and their wives to promote less bipartisanship.
  21. Richard Nixon was a Quaker.
  22. There’s supposedly a ghost cat that haunts Congress.
  23. Thomas Jefferson wrote his own version of the Bible that deals with the teachings of Christ but rejects suggestions of Christ’s divinity. It used to be given to all Members of Congress.
  24. There is an annual Congressional baseball game where the Democrats play the Republicans to raise money for charity.
  25. My favorite quote of all time is from FDR: “”The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.” I think it should be inscribe in the Capitol.

* I don’t know this for an absolute fact but I’ve heard stories about her chewing people out in meetings and, mid-rant, spelling out the word “crap”.

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9 comments for “25 Things That You Might Not Know

  1. Layne
    October 27, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    re: #15 – if you call the White House switchboard, an actual human answers.

  2. October 27, 2011 at 9:57 pm

    Fascinating! I just sat and read this list to Brad who said “huh,” “wow,” and “really?”

  3. MIM fan
    October 27, 2011 at 10:13 pm

    As a teacher in Massachusetts, not only do I not pay into SS, but if I EVER paid into SS, I can’t get it. So all the contributions I made when working part-time jobs and temping in my teens and 20s are unavailable to me. People who had long first careers are really screwed.

  4. noah
    October 27, 2011 at 11:09 pm

    MIM fan: It’s a bit more complicated than that. If you pay into Social Security for 10 or more years, you will get Social Security benefits, but they will be adjusted to account for the number of years in which you worked in non-SS covered employment.

    See http://ssa.gov/pubs/10045.html for the gory details.

  5. October 28, 2011 at 9:05 am

    I wanna know more about the Obama handshake! Limp? Clammy? Lingering?

    I am a dork.

  6. October 28, 2011 at 10:09 am

    Best thing I read all week.

  7. amy
    October 28, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    Very interesting. Pretty sad about the 100% vs 10% but then again the top 1% get everything handed to them. Kind of like celebrities getting to “borrow” clothing and jewelry when they can afford to buy it themselves.
    And number 25 should be inscribed on everything on Capital Hill, offices, the desktops, on the mantels everywhere. Good quote.
    Thanks!

  8. MIM fan
    October 28, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    Noah – is there an easy way to explain “adjusted to account for the number of years in which you worked in non-SS covered employment.” I’m not trying to be rude; I actually don’t understand (though I can’t say I tried very hard with the website.) Of course I didn’t pay into SS for more than 10 years, so it won’t apply, but I have colleagues who worked 8 and 9 years before teaching.

  9. October 30, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    I think the requirement to serve as a representative or senator is that quote is tatooed (sp?) to your forearm.

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