the DIDDLY award

<b>THE “I’M NOT A DOCTOR BUT I PLAY ONE ON CAPITOL HILL” AWARD,</b> bestowed for advances in congressional oversight of science. And the nominees are …

Illustration: Peter Hoey

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Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), who convened a hearing on Internet smut and remained straight-faced while being advised that pornography is a leading cause of breast implants. Later, the abstemious congressman heard how porn causes the “direct release of the most perfect addictive substance.” Say what? “That is,” said one witness, “it causes masturbation, which causes release of the naturally occurring opioids. It does what heroin can’t do, in effect.”

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), who told Roll Call that he opposes Medicare funding for Viagra and Levitra. “Is it the government’s business to provide those funds and resources so that old men can have sex when they want?” the congressman asked, adding–without irony–that this “kind of growth in government was never envisioned by our Founding Fathers.”

Sen. Bill Frist

(R-Tenn.). The retired surgeon relied upon his cardiac training to describe his new strategy for battling Democrats: “I can play hardball as well as anybody,” he told the New York Times. “That’s what I did, cut people’s hearts out.”

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), who railed against the class-action suit brought by silicone breast implantees, saying: “I thought I would just share with you what science says today about silicone breast implants. If you have them, you’re healthier than if you don’t.”

AND THE WINNER IS…Sam Brownback, who considered spending more tax money to explore the “addictive,” “mind-altering,” porn poisons that one witness called “erototoxins.”

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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