News McNuggets

December 22, 2009

“Even less information than you get from USA Today!”

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Democratic Rep. Andrea Boland, a Maine legislator wants to make the state the first to require cellphones to carry warnings that the devices can cause brain cancer.

Andrea, use two tin cans and a string. Leave those of us who can read alone.

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A University of Utah study has determined that texting while driving increases the danger of crashing.

No shit? Who ever would have thought that driving with your head down while trying to push little buttons would increase the chances of crashing? Amazing  what these scientists can discover, given proper government funding.

But the real study that needs doing is to determine whether you are more likely to die, while texting,  from brain cancer or crashing.

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A reader wants to know if it’s safe to fly on budget airlines overseas.

Yes, but stay off of Russian-made aircraft operated by African airlines. If the plane makes it to its destination (a 50/50 chance), you’ll be mugged at the baggage carrel.

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Pope Benedict plans to hold a “beatification ceremony” to move Pope Pius XII closer to sainthood. Pius XII was the guy who kept his mouth shut while the Nazis exterminated 6 or so million Jews. Jews, and plenty of others, are complaining.

Benny, don’t let the riff-raff get you down. Sure, Pius could have done more for the Jews but at least he excommunicated Hitler. (Er, what’s that? The Roman Catholic church never excommunicated Hitler? Really?) Benny, tell ya what. Make it a double ceremony: Beatify Pius and excommunicate Hitler at the same time. What a show, and just in time for Hanukkah. I tell ya the Jews will love it!

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And speaking of der Fuhrer, police in Poland have recovered the “Arbeit Macht Frei” sign, which hung over the gate at Auschwitz until it was stolen a few days ago. Five men in their 20s and 30s have been arrested.

Good news for our American readers. We thought all the stupid, insensitive, fuckhead thieves lived here!

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The U.S. prison population will decline for the first time in decades. No cause for celebration. They’re letting prisoners out early because of the bad economy. The states can’t afford to keep them locked up.

Sure, put ’em back on the streets. They can support themselves just as they did before they went to jail—stealing from us. Be sure to let them out before Christmas. There’ll be lots of extra swag around.

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Brain Damage Linked to Hockey

Never mind. I misread that headline. I thought it said “Brain Damage Linked to Watching Hockey.

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The Hamas administration on Wednesday issued a smoking ban in public places in the Gaza Strip.

Now would that be smoking, as in you just lit up a Marlboro or smoking, as in you just got napalmed?

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The death toll from an explosion in the central Pakistani city of Dera Ghazi Khan climbed to at least 25 on Wednesday, a senior government official said.

But, on the other hand, the bomb is said to have made at least $3 million worth of improvements to the neighborhood.

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Woods’ Wife in Negotiations With Puma

Shouldn’t she be in negotiation with Cougars?

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Democrats ridiculed Mr. Bush as “the most fiscally irresponsible President in history.” Then they took an $800 billion deficit and made it $1.4 trillion in 2009.

Good going guys. Don’t let a fucking Republican outdo you when it comes to fiscal irresponsibility. I mean, what’s this country coming to when a Republican can piss away more money than a Democrat?

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And let’s not be so hard on the Republicans. After all, aren’t they still the party of “family values?”

Yes, they are. Rock solid.  My favorite family values are incest and wife beating.

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The real reason that the developing world is in Copenhagen in the first place is they see climate change as a potential foreign-aid bonanza. They are at the table to leverage massive transfers of wealth from the West.

No! You mean this whole thing is about money? I’m devastated. I thought it was about bees and flowers and blue sky and sunshine and saving endangered species like the spike-nosed fart beetle.

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A Washington DC police officer drew a gun after he and his car were hit by snowballs.

Harkins, how many times do I have to tell you “Don’t bring a gun to a snowball fight!”

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“The public be damned!”

December 21, 2009

“The public be damned!… I don’t take any stock in this silly nonsense about working for anybody but our own.”

William Vanderbilt
President, New York Central Railway, 1882

When he died in 1885, William Vanderbilt was the richest man in the world. Vanderbilt would be largely unremembered today had he not responded “The public be damned!” to a newspaperman’s assertion that ‘the public has a right to know:’ The phrase “The public be damned!” has come to be associated with the Robber Barons, railroad men and industrialists who largely ran the United States during the 1880’s.

Today “The public be damned!” best describes the United States Senate where they are determined to pass “Health Care Reform” despite poll after poll taken during the month of December clearly showing the public is against the Senate plan.

The public be damned even though a recent Pew Foundation poll shows that only 23% of seniors favor the health care proposal. Fifty seven percent of seniors also think the changes being considered by the Senate would weaken Medicare.

The public be damned even though a CNN poll taken December 2-3 showed 61% of voters opposed to the Senate proposal.

The public be damned while an ABC News-Washington Post poll shows only 25% of the public “strongly support” the Senate proposal.

The public be damned even when an NBC-News-Wall Street Journal poll shows only 32% think the plan is “a good idea.”

The Senate be damned!

Coming tomorrow:  Not a god damned word about health care.


Bend Over and Grab Your Ankles—This Won’t Hurt Much

December 20, 2009

The driving snowstorm did not stop the U.S. Senate from convening and working on legislation to reform U.S. health care.

Chris Michaud
Reuters

If you do not think Harry Reid and the US Senate are working overtime to fuck you while your attention is diverted elsewhere consider the following:

  • Saturday, Washington DC was hit by the its largest snowstorm in six years
  • Except for “essential personnel,” the entire federal government in Washington will be shut down on Monday, December 21. Federal employees have been told to stay home
  • Washington drivers who were foolish enough to venture out often had to abandon their cars after they became lodged in snow banks
  • By mid-day Saturday all of Washington’s above-ground public transportation was shut down.
  • Washington’s Reagan Airport wasshut down mid-day Saturday and did not re-open until Sunday afternoon
  • Washington’s Mayor Adrian Fenty declared a ‘snow emergency’ and asked that Washington residents remain in their homes
  • Suburban schools in the Washington area will be closed Monday
  • Shopping malls in the Washington Metro area were virtually vacant Saturday afternoon
  • Due to Amtrak delays, a government plane was dispatched to pick up the two senators from New Jersey

And yet, despite the fact that the rest of Washington was shut down, the Senate was in session, “working on” the health care bill. The storm was so bad that babies were being delivered in the bedrooms of homes around the DC metro area and yet the Senate could not suspend, even for 24 hours, its “vital” work on health care.

Why their diligence in the face of a blizzard? Delaying the health care bill by 12 hours, or 12 days would make not a whit’s difference. This storm provided the perfect opportunity to do business out of the scrutiny of the media, the lobbyists, the proponents, and the opponents of this gargantuan change in our way of life. While a few battled their way through snowdrifts to keep an eye on what the charlatans of Capitol Hill were doing, most were stuck in their residences or cars, unable to report on the scandalous deal making and  back scratching that are being cobbled together to pull “health care reform’ off before any of us has a chance even to call our senators.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant…for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

Declaration of Independence
referring to King George III


Washington Catholics to Sleep Late

December 19, 2009

A major snowstorm is rolling up the East Coast this weekend, threatening to close down Washington and, perhaps, New York for a day or two. No word yet from New York, but these words of assurance to Washington Catholics.

The Archdiocese of Washington says dangerous travel conditions caused by bad weather is a legitimate excuse from attending Sunday Mass.

Associated Press

What constitutes a “legitimate excuse” for missing Mass? I mean, do you have to bring a note from your weatherman? What happens if you don’t have a legitimate excuse? Do you get struck by lightning and go straight to hell right now or does the Grim Reaper scoop you up at the assigned day and hour of your death and then tell you, “I have instructions from the Lord Almighty Himself to send you straight to hell because you missed Mass on Sunday, December 20, 2009 and did not bring a note from your weatherman to the Parish hall within the allotted 30 days.”

Which excuses are legitimate for missing Mass? For example would it be legitimate to miss Mass if you were in a hospital giving birth to an illegitimate baby? After all, you didn’t have an abortion.

Is a hangover a legitimate excuse for missing Mass or should I show up anyway and just puke in the baptismal font? What if the Key Bridge is closed because of a bomb threat? Father, this is all so confusing. Do you guys have this written down in some rule book I could study? I don’t want to fuck up and go to hell. Really.


Yeah, but Will it Make any Difference?

December 18, 2009

A coalition of African American leaders concerned about minorities being undercounted in the 2010 Census called Wednesday for inmates at federal and state prisons to be tallied in their home communities instead of the towns where they are incarcerated.

Carol Morello
The Washington Post

The US Constitution calls for a regular census to be taken. The original purpose of this census was equitably to distribute members of the House of Representatives among the various states. As the number of states increased, and as the population began moving south, west, and from farm to city, the census drove increases and decreases in the number and size of representative districts in each state.

The census always has been a contentious matter because of the political clout implied by census counts. In recent years the scope of, and the controversy surrounding, the census have expanded. The census is no longer a mere head count. The census now collects extensive ancillary data (e.g., indoor plumbing, household income, home ownership) that are used in a variety of government and commercial activities. Most census data are available to the public, including businesses.

Federal grants, handouts, and special programs are driven by census data. This is not just about the number of people who happen to live in a certain jurisdiction—it’s about votes, money, and power.

Now come Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League, Jesse Jackson of Rainbow/PUSH, and Al Sharpton, head of the National Action Network.

And what do these guys want? They want the census to count the 1.2 million minority Americans who are in prison as residents of their “home towns” rather than as residents of the location of the prison in which they are incarcerated. This would direct more federal and local funds to the neighborhoods from which these inmates came.

Home, Sweet Home

I don’t really have an opinion on the census issue. Messrs Morial, Jackson, and Sharpton may well be right. Allocating these inmates to their “home towns” might be equitable. More votes and more money might be the fair and reasonable thing to do.

But I am disturbed that the Three Amigos seem to have no sense of shame or irony about the underlying circumstances. Their constituents account for 12% of the US population but make up 40% of the inmates in our prisons.

Over the past half century trillions of dollars in public and private money have been transferred to minority individuals, neighborhoods, and organizations like the National Urban League, the National Action Network, and Rainbow/PUSH. We have yet to see any significant results from this massive transfer of wealth.

It is not the responsibility of the Bureau of the Census but someone ought to ask these gentlemen, “If, because of changes in the census rules, you win more votes, more money, more power, what will you do with them?” “What have you accomplished so far?” “What exactly will we get for our money?”


A Disturbing Pattern

December 16, 2009

Dec 16 – At Least 25 Killed in Pakistan Market Blast

Dec 15 – Eight Dead in Kabul Suicide Bombing

Dec 15 – Series of Bomb Blasts Leaves 8 Dead In Iraq

Dec 15 – Two Blasts Kill 13 Afghans, Wound Over 40 Others

Dec 15 – Bombs Besiege Manipur; 3 Dead

Dec 15 – Pakistan Market Bombing Leaves 20 Dead

Dec 15 – Bombs Kill Four NATO Soldiers in Afghanistan

Dec 15 – Roadside Bomb Kills 5 Afghan Policemen

Dec 15 – Somali Police Officers Killed By Bomb

Dec 14 – One Dead in Manila Car Blast

Dec 11 – Bomb Blast Kills At Least 6 South of Baghdad

Dec 8  –  Pakistan Militants Bomb Multan, 100 Dead In Five Days

Dec 8  – 127 Dead after Four Bomb Blasts Rock Baghdad

Dec 8  – Death Toll from Blasts In Pakistan’s Lahore Up To 49

Dec 8  – Nine Dead As Attack Targets Pakistan Spy Agency

Dec 8 – Three Iraqis Killed By Powerful Motorcycle Bomb

Dec 8 – At Least 49 Dead in Pakistan Market Bombs

Dec 7 – 10 Turkish Soldiers Killed by Remote-Controlled Bomb

Dec 5 – 1 Dead In Bombing near Philippine Police Station

Dec 4 – Suicide Bomb Kills 5 in Hussein’s Hometown

Dec 3 – Suicide Bomber Hits Somali Graduation, 22 Dead


Comedy Duo Duncan and Geithner—Hottest Ticket in Town

December 15, 2009

The U.S. Treasury and Education departments announced plans on Tuesday to cooperate to improve financial education for high school students to enable them to make smarter decisions about money.

Reuters

If your holiday plans include a day or two in the Big Apple, you’ve got to try for some tickets to see Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner at Dangerfield’s. It’s the toughest ticket in town but worth what the scalpers are asking. The crowds are howling with laughter when these two do their classic schtick about better financial education for high school students.

It all started with the Reuter’s story, Obama Administration Aims for High School Financial Literacy. Within hours of the story’s publication, agents had the duo booked through New Year’s at Dangerfield’s.

Government Secretaries talking financial management? This is great stuff and these two know how to deliver the laughs.

Sure, financial excesses and fiscal irresponsibility are nothing new in Washington but the current gang of thieves has hit new heights, expanding on the century-old chicanery of Republicans and Democrats. And the Duncan/Geithner duo are making the most of it.

Duncan and Geithner's "We need to teach our kids financial responsibility" comedy routine plays to sellout crowds

Banks, insurance companies, investment bankers, mortgage lenders, and mortgage holders are going tits up left and right. Congress is spending money like a Saudi whorehouse owner on his first trip to Vegas. Major corporations can’t seem to find the money they thought they had stuffed in their mattresses.

And the Secretaries of the US Departments of Treasury and Education come up with this great routine about the importance of teaching high school students how better to manage money!

“The reality is that all children don’t know the basics of saving and investing. It’s a skill they need to be successful in our economy,” says straight man, Duncan.

Geithner delivers the punch line with a rapier, “We must also do a better job of making sure our politicians graduate from high school with a better understanding of basic economics, basic finance and the benefits and risks associated with debt.”

(Actually, Geithner said “…making sure our students graduate from…” but the gales of laughter from the crowd at Dangerfield’s let the duo know the rewrite was on the money).

It’s no wonder there are no comedy teams like the Marx Brothers, the Three Stooges, or Tom and Dick Smothers around any more. With the talent coming out of Washington these days, the folks working at Second City and the Comedy Factory don’t stand a chance.