Monday, March 3, 2008

Bush Surpasses Reagan as the "Vacation President"

I wrote about this in August of last year, when Bush was still trailing Reagan 436 - 418 in terms of vacation days. But according to CBS Radio correspondent Mark Knoller, Bush has now broken the record.

Knoller says that last weekend's trip by Bush to (where else?) Crawford, TX with the Danish minister in tow was the 70th trip of his presidency. In total, Bush has spent 452 days on vacation during his presidency. That's close to 1 1/3 years.

And he's still got a long time before the next president is inaugurated. Perhaps he can put the record out of reach of any future presidents.

I have to admit, however, that I feel torn about this issue. With 452 more days (and counting) of more work, he quite possibly could have screwed the country up more than he did. I realize, however, how difficult that is to imagine.

P.S. Please forgive me; I may have given you the impression that when Bush was in Washington, D.C. he actually worked.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Yes, You,Too, Can Be Larry Craig's Intern

Some might call this an incredible opportunity. Certainly, Larry Craig does. Others might call it scary.

While I realize we're talking Larry Craig here, and not Mark Foley, that still doesn't give me a warm fuzzy feeling. Yes, Larry Craig is advertising for summer interns. His press release says:
"Interns have the chance to be an essential part of a working congressional office," said Craig. "They participate in the legislative process as well as ensure that constituent services run smoothly. For those interested in politics, it is an incredible opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes look at how our government functions while serving the people of Idaho."
The press release says preference will be given to Idaho applicants attending Idaho schools who are in their junior or senior years of college. I wonder if there's any other way to get preferential treatment.

On this page, Craig indicates he got his start as an intern. Can you be more specific about what you got your start in, Larry?

BTW, he needs a new writer. Or perhaps my mind is just in the gutter. Some of the stuff in the press release is gold for those looking for a way to rib Larry Craig.
  • The application deadline is March 15, however if more time is needed for the application process, please contact Senator Craig's office for an extension.
  • ... it is an incredible opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes look at how our government functions ...
  • Interns are paired with staff members based on experience and interests, in order to best utilize their talents.
Just stay out of the restrooms, and you'll be fine.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Is Ralph Nader in Bed with the GOP?

While the title is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, one has to wonder. Sunday on Meet the Press, Ralph Nader announced his candidacy for president.

It's interesting that one of the numbers he used to support his candidacy is a poll by Frank Luntz, a GOP pollster. He says that 80% of Americans would "consider" voting for an Independent candidate this year.

Why is he listening to a GOP pollster? Shouldn't he be listening to an Independent pollster? If I didn't know better, I'd wonder if the GOP put out that number to help Nader make his decision, knowing that Nader will pull voters from the Democrats.

Sure, a lot of what he says may make sense. But he can't win. There is no way he can win. Why waste time and money on this? And let's consider the natural resources he'll use use up in terms of energy and more in this "Green Party" run (and yes, I realize they are not solely about "green" in environmental terms).

I am a practical person. Looking at this bid in those terms, this bid makes absolutely no sense. So why bother?

Is Nader an impractical person? Or is he just in bed with the GOP?

In the 2000 election, when Nader took more than 97,000 votes in Florida. Bush won Florida by just 537 votes. Exit polls show that voters would have gone for Gore 2 - 1 if Nader was not on the ballot. Nader is why we have Bush in office.

Of course, it could also be said it had something to do with the Supreme Court, Katherine Harris, Jeb Bush and others - but without Nader we wouldn't have had to worry about any of that.

The video below shows Nader's announcement. What it doesn't show is what Russert said afterward:
RUSSERT: As you know, Ralph Nader, they'll be Democrats all across the country who are going to find this very disturbing news, and they'll point again to 2000. This was the vote count. Al Gore winning the popular vote, but you've got 2.7 percent, nearly three million votes, in 2000. Then Florida, Florida, Florida. As you remember, George Bush won Florida by 537 votes. You've got 97,488. Democrat after Democrat says to this day, Ralph Nader, if your name had not been on that ballot, Al Gore would've carried Florida. Exit polls show he would've carried Nader voters 2-to-1. Gore would've been president and not George Bush. You, Ralph Nader are responsible for what has happened the last seven years.

NADER: Not, not George Bush? Not the Democrats in Congress? Not the voters who voted for George Bush? But there were Democrats in Florida, 250,000 of them. You know, I wish we'd have Al Gore on this program someday Tim and ask him, "Why did you not become president in 2000?" And I think what he's going to tell you is he thought he did win Florida, but it was taken from him before, during and after the election from Tallahassee. Katherine Bush--you know the secretary of the state...

RUSSERT: Katherine Harris.

NADER: Harris, rather, and Jeb Bush, all the way to that terribly politicized Supreme Court decision.
Yeah, yeah, like I said, without Nader, no worries about the Supreme Court decision. Although Nader goes on to say if the Democrats can't take the election in a landslide, then they ought to fold up shop.
RUSSERT: How would you feel, however, if Ralph Nader's presence on the ballot tilted Florida or Ohio to John McCain and McCain became president, and Barack Obama, the first African-American who had been nominated by the Democratic Party--this is hypothetical--did not become a president and people turned to you and said, "Nader, you've done it again"?

NADER: Not a chance. If the Democrats can't landslide the Republicans this year, they ought to just wrap up, close down, emerge in a different form. You think the American people are going to vote for a pro-war John McCain who almost gives an indication that he's the candidate of perpetual war, perpetual intervention overseas?
What an idiot. I hate to diminish his past accomplishments but - what an idiot. The thing is the GOP plays the fear card and many Americans fall for it, as though the Democrats would say to terrorists "please come here and kill us." How many people have you heard say that security is their number one bullet point? And that only the GOP can give us security (a totally foolish statement).

While Nader is likely not in bed with the GOP, he might as well be. Since this announcement, forums and comments all over the web have been that Nader just gave the election to McCain. Many of those posts came from GOP voters. While that may be an exaggeration, I wish we didn't have to take that chance.

Watch his announcement:

Friday, February 22, 2008

Glitch Changes "Tickle Me, Elmo" to "Threaten Me, Elmo"

Rather than "Tickle Me, Elmo," what we have here is "Threaten Me, Elmo." At least, according to a Tampa Bay, Florida mother.

Melissa Bowman says that since changing the batteries in the Elmo toy which is her 2-year-old son's favorite, the doll has been making death threats, saying "Kill James."

Melissa says that not only does Elmo say "Kill James," her son is repeating the phrase.

I originally thought this was a load of cr*p, because the fact that it knows James' name made it seem like the Twilight Zone. But then I realized this is the "Elmo Knows Your Name" doll. That means that one of the first things you do is program in the name of your child.

Elmo is supposed to know over 100 phrases, but "Kill" doesn't seem like it should be one of them.

On the other hand, perhaps Elmo has met Chucky.

Fisher-Price has offered a voucher for a new doll if the doll is returned to them.

Watch the video:

Thursday, February 21, 2008

50th Anniversary of the Peace Symbol

Today, February 21st, is the 50th anniversary of the peace symbol. The iconic symbol was developed in 1958 by Gerald Holtom, a professional designer and artist (as well as a graduate of the Royal College of Arts and conscientious objector) in Great Britain.

It was originally designed specifically for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in Great Britain. In fact, the symbol is a combination of the semaphore signals for the letters "N" and "D" - standing for Nuclear Disarmament (as shown).

It was Feb. 21, 1958 when the symbol was accepted by the Direct Action Committee Against Nuclear war. While quickly being used in anti-nuclear protests across Great Britain, it soon spread worldwide, and has since become universally known to represent peace rather than simply nuclear disarmament.

On this 50th anniversary of its adoption, wouldn't it be wonderful to see 50 years of peace, rather than just a symbol?

Saturday, February 16, 2008

It's the One Year Anniversary of the "Bald Britney"

Hard to believe it's been a year, but it was a year ago today that Britney Spears walked into Esther’s Haircutting Studio in the Tarzana district of Los Angeles and, after the owner refused to do it, shaved her own head.

Honestly, prior to this, although it seemed Spears was somewhat of a troubled diva in the Lindsay Lohan vein, after this incident, people started to question her mental health. And since then we've seen tons of incidents which seem to indicate she needs some serious psychiatric help.

I hesitate to use the term "Happy" in reference to the anniversary, but it's been a year. Hopefully the year to come does not give us an even worse series of events for Spears.

Friday, February 15, 2008

"Prove You Were Alive Last Year"

Proof of life. This actually happened to the uncle of someone I work with. He's Indian, and his uncle served in the Army. As such, he gets a pension. However, ever year, to continue receiving his pension, he has to submit paperwork proving that he's still living.

While that's one thing, last year he moved to a different area of India. At the beginning of this year, he goes to the proper office and submits his paperwork for this year. But since he moved, was asked to produce paperwork proving he was alive the previous years.

Basically, "prove to me you were alive last year." Of course, the fact that he was standing there ... you would seem to think it was obvious.

I guess to the Indian government it was not.

He had to jump through hoops to get the proper paperwork (hard for a dead person, frankly), but he finally got it all ironed out.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Big Brother to Hit Mississippi Big Eaters

Mississippi legislators want to make it illegal for restaurants to serve obese customers. The bill, HB282, says it is:
An act to prohibit certain food establishments from serving food to any person who is obese, based on criteria prescribed by the state department of health; to direct the department to prepare written materials that describe and explain the criteria for determining whether a person is obese and to provide those materials to the food establishments; to direct the department to monitor the food establishments for compliance with the provisions of this act; and for related purposes.
The bill was introduced in the 2008 Mississippi legislative session on Friday by Representative W.T. Mayhall, Jr. It should be noted that federal health data shows that 2/3 of Mississippi's residents are overweight or obese.

At the same time, the Obesity Action Coalition issued a press release calling for the bill's withdrawal.
"HB 282 is the most blatant form of obesity discrimination. This bill completely perpetuates the negative stigma often associated with obesity. The thought of food establishments holding the power to first, determine the health status of a patron and second, having the ability to refuse service based on the determination of whether or not the patron is 'obese,' is completely outrageous. The OAC is seeking immediate withdrawal of HB 282," said Joseph Nadglowski, Jr., OAC President and CEO.
The bill would allow health inspectors to yank the permit from restaurants that "repeatedly" feeds extremely overweight customers. Chances of passage: likely none.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Fox News Mocks Heath Ledger's Death - Twice

Fox News radio host John Gibson mocked Heath Ledger's death yesterday. On his radio show, he played a clip of the quote, "I wish I knew how to quit you" from Ledger's movie Brokeback Mountain, adding, "Well, he found out how to quit you."

Mocking him further, Gibson played another clip from Brokeback Mountain in which Ledger said, "We’re dead," followed by Gibson's own mocking version of "We’re dead" before playing the audio clip again.

Further, Gibson went back and forth with Tom Sullivan, implying Ledger committed suicide over an issue such as the stock market and the Democratic debate.
GIBSON: Maybe he had a serious position in the market.

TOM SULLIVAN: And possibly today, he looked at the window and said ...

GIBSON: And said, "Oh my God."

SULLIVAN: His name’s not Keith Bledger, right?

GIBSON: He was depressed about yesterday’s downturn in the world stock markets.
Later he said, "I think he watched the Clinton / Obama debate last night. I think he was an Edwards guy, because he saw his Edwards guy was just completely irrelevant. Good looking, wears a suit well, but should just leave the stage."

Listen to the first audio clip here.
If I run out of bandwidth (and I probably will) download from here.

Today Gibson defended himself from criticism over yesterday's show, saying:
GIBSON: I mean, I feel bad about his death, but that's no, that's no point ...

BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN CLIP: I wish I knew how to quit you.

GIBSON: There's no point in passing up a good joke. I mean, how many months did we live off that line, Brokeback Mountain?

BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN CLIP: I wish I knew how to quit you.

ANGRY RICH: Several.

GIBSON: I mean, it was going on for months and months and months.


GIBSON: I’m not giving that up.
Later, after being told by Angry Rich that he was accused of being a "closet homosexual," Gibson added, "Well, I'm still breathing; there's a difference right there."

Listen to the second audio clip here.
If I run out of bandwidth (and I probably will) download from here.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Mark the Date: One More Year of Bush

In case you've noticed one of the bumper stickers with 1/20/2009 on them, yet aren't sure what they are all about, that will be the Inauguration Day of Bush's successor. In other words, one year from today, "The End."

Just a reminder, though, for those who'd like to see him leave sooner rather than later, let's not forget, this is a Leap Year, right, so he gets 366 days of power.

At any rate, as we close into the end of his Presidency, we also close in on his "end of term" pardons ("Scooter" Libby?) and possibly a strike against Iran, if they (Bush and Cheney) choose to ignore the NIE report before they leave office.

It's the light at the end of the tunnel, but let's remember: the next President could be worse than what we have now (though it's hard to imagine), and depending on who's elected, I might just be moving to Canada.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Astrology Magazine Shuts Down Due to "Unforeseen Circumstances"

Well, you can't get much more ironic than this, can you? The Astrological Magazine has ceased production. According to their website:

We regret to announce that due to unforeseen circumstances beyond our control, the publication of The Astrological Magazine will cease with the December 2007 issue.

My guess is they didn't use astrology to check their business forecast. Or perhaps they were simply bad at it, explaining the demise of the magazine in the first place. Photobucket

Sunday, January 6, 2008

"CheneyCare" Campaign Gathers Steam

Banking on the success of their earlier Iowa ads, which declared that Dick Cheney would be dead if he were "anyone else" and didn't have the publicly-funded health care that our politicians get, the California Nurses Association (CNA) / National Nurses Organizing Committee (NNOC) has launched a new national campaign called "CheneyCare."

In a press release Friday, the group outlined plans for its new campaign, which started with eight New Hampshire papers on Friday and goes national on Monday, in both newspapers and political blogs.

The ad (.PDF) is very similar to the prior ad, but they have a new website,, and an online petition they want you to sign. As before the nurses are advocating HR 676, the National Health Insurance Act.

The petition will be given to the 2008 Presidential candidates and members of Congress. The full text is:
I want genuine healthcare reform that guarantees everyone has healthcare coverage, without prohibitive costs , and an end to insurance company denials of needed medical care.

I support HR 676, an expanded and improved Medicare for All. I want the same access to healthcare that Vice President Cheney and all members of Congress now receive.
With regards to the Democratic candidates' proposals on Universal Health Care, the press release says:
CNA/NNOC has been critical of "universal health care" proposals by top Democratic presidential hopefuls Senator Hillary Clinton, Senator Barack Obama and John Edwards, which continue to rely upon the wasteful inclusion of private insurance companies.
As I've said before, the United States is the only industrialized nation that does not have some form of universal health care, and that because of that we are near the bottom in terms of infant mortality (see link above).

As Martin Luther King, Jr. once said,
Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.
Do any of us deserve less than Cheney?