Last week, [the House of Representatives added anamendment](http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2001/07/28/MN180584.

DTL) to an EPA fundingbill that would reduce the amount of arsenic in our drinking water to 10parts per billion. This is the very same standard that Bush/Cheneyfelt was too strict a few months ago. Lost in all the noise about howthis was a clear challenge to Bush/Cheney, blah blah blah, was someinteresting information about the vote itself. 198 of 210 Democratsvoted for the amendment. 19 Republicans out of 222 voted for theamendment. That means that nearly two hundred members of the House (26members were apparently too busy on junkets to be bothered to vote)are just as eager to keep arsenic in your drinking water as Bush/Cheneyare. For some reason, the media just couldn't seem to get aroundto pointing this out.

Of course, [the "debate" in Congress](http://frwebgate1.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/waisgate.cgi?

WAISdocID=441401431+0+0+0&WAISaction=retrieve) about arsenic in drinking waterwas a theater of the absurd. A representative from New Mexico, HeatherWilson, comparedarsenic to vitamins: "When I get up in the morning, I take vitamins. I take vitamins with iron. Most women do. If my daughter were to get into my vitamin bottle and take a lot of those vitamins, she could get really sick. But at low levels, they are healthy and we need them to survive.

We do not know what the health affects are of arsenic in very low levels. We do know that if we set that standard so low, we will force rural water systems to close and we will go back to having untreated water with wells."

Is her assertion that we need low levels of arsenic to survive? Whoelected this woman and how soon can she be voted out of office and storeddeep in a salt mine with the nation's other toxic waste products?

You can check the roll call vote to see if your member of Congress feels thatarsenic in drinking water is a good thing or not.

We made borscht tonight for dinner. Bad. Very bad.