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Thursday, 23 July 2009
The Most Trusted Man in America is...
According to the sources close to the polling, Gene Weingarten has been named the most trusted man in America, replacing the late Walter Cronkite.

Posted by hwlabadiejr at 6:10 PM EDT
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Friday, 5 June 2009
TV Theme Enhanced Interrogatory

OK. Here are thirteen musical clips. They are the musical themes or signatures of television shows, each one very popular (many are still in syndication rerun). Some of the musical themes themselves became Top 40 hits and attained existences separate from the shows that they originally represented. They span the years 1958 to 2003. They are in alphabetical order. Can you name the shows? Give yourself a full point if you can name the show, OR you know who starred in it AND who wrote the music. A bonus point if you know all three facts.

 Theme One.

 Theme Two.

Theme Three.

Theme Four.

Theme Five.

Theme Six.

Theme Seven.

Theme Eight.

Theme Nine.

Theme Ten.

Theme Eleven.

Theme Twelve.

Theme Thirteen


 Cheat Sheet for the hopelessly pop-culturally illiterate.

Posted by hwlabadiejr at 8:08 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, 5 June 2009 11:20 PM EDT
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Wednesday, 10 January 2007
Cletus The Yokel Bowl
Tuning into FOX on Monday for the expected re-rerun of "House, M.D.," I was annoyed to find that there was, instead, a football game. But not only was it a football game, it was a college football game. But it got worse, for not only was it college football, it was a game between two state universities, so-called educational institutions that will allow anybody to enroll. Indeed, the preferment order in one, the University of Florida, places the highest priority on the applicant whose legacy is that both parents share a bond of consanguinity not any more distant than first cousin: brother and sister is the best recommendation for admission. Wait, wasn't that the plot of a recent episode of "House?"

Posted by hwlabadiejr at 5:27 PM EST
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They Say, Any Publicity Is Good Publicity
"TOKYO (AP) - Momofuku Ando, the Japanese inventor of instant noodles - a dish that has sustained American college students for decades - has died. He was 96.


Ando gave a speech at the company's New Year ceremony and enjoyed Chicken Ramen for lunch with Nissin employees on Thursday before falling ill, Japan's largest daily Yomiuri reported."

Somehow, this does not look like a winning publicity stunt. Perhaps it was the new blowfish version.

Posted by hwlabadiejr at 5:24 PM EST
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Making Scents of the Environment

Human impact on the environment is often dire: Global warming, toxic chemicals poured or leached into the groundwater, chlorofluorocarbon-induced ozone holes, deforestation, strip mining, but there are the smaller ones, with a sweet smell and less poisonous effect, such as the effect on Puget Sound of holiday baked goods.

Yes, we are what we eat, and so, too, is the environment in which what we eat eventually is deposited.

And, then, on that other side of the good neighborly fence, there is this, an example of Arab-Israeli cooperation.

"Jordan king complains of Israeli odors

Mon Jan 1, 5:19 PM ET

Israel says it's doing what it can to eliminate a royal stink that's developed along its border with Jordan. That's after Jordanian King Abdullah II complained of a less than princely odor wafting from the Israeli side of the countries' shared southern border, Israel's environment minister said Monday.

Gideon Ezra told Israel Radio that Jordanian officials last week asked that the stench from a livestock quarantine facility in Eilat be neutralized after it drifted across the border frontier toward Abdullah's palace in Aqaba."

Posted by hwlabadiejr at 5:18 PM EST
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Thursday, 28 December 2006
2006 Year in Review
During January, 2006...

Jack Abramoff pleads guilty to fraud and other charges. Tom DeLay (Under Indictment R-TX 22nd) says that Democrats with ties to "this Abramoff guy that I've never heard of" give the Congress a bad name.

Coincidentally, DeLay (Under Indictment R-TX 22nd) says that he will not attempt to return to Republican Majority leadership position in House of Representatives, because he's sick of partisanship and just wants to get along with everybody.

Kobe Bryant scores 81, second only to 100 scored by Wilt Chamberlain. Bryant, like Chamberlain, also scores during a game.

Samuel Alito is sworn in as new Associate Justice of U.S. Supreme Court, raising his right hand to take the oath, while placing his other right hand on the Bible.  Alito is first successful hand transplant patient elevated to the Court.

President Bush declares that "We're on the offensive in Iraq, with a clear plan for victory" during his State of the Union address, adding that all decisions about the number of troops in Iraq "will be made by our military commanders, not by politicians in Washington, D.C." Bush decides that he will hold all future discussions about the Iraq war in Crawford, TX.

Refusing to set a timetable for withdrawal of U.S. forces from Viet...Iraq, President Bush nonetheless says that he is confident that General Casey and General Abizaid will have reduced troop levels in Iraq by "oh, say, November 7."

During Ferurary, 2006...

Recently discovered celestial object Eris is declared to be "pretty likely" larger than Pluto, setting off heated discussion by astronomers whether Pluto is being fed enough by the Walt Disney estate.

Leaked Downing Street Memo suggests that Prime Minister Tony Blair was told that President Bush had already been told in early 2003 that Vice President Cheney was going to invade Iraq with or without a UN resolution, quoting Cheney as saying, "Resolution? We don't need no f**king resolution."

President attends funeral of Coretta Scott King and is astonished to hear that she was related to "that Peace Prize feller" and opposed to the war in Iraq.

John Boehner (R- OH 8th) becomes Majority Leader of U.S. House of Representatives, succeeding "Tom...ummm...whatsisname." Boehner immediately promises to introduce a bill that will impose stiff fines on anybody making fun of his name on television in a sexually suggestive manner. Fortunately, the internet is exempt.

Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League defeat the Seattle Seahawks to win the Super Bowl. Mick Jagger performs at game, and also during halftime show. The New York Giants vow to stay out of the playoffs in the next season, "no matter what."

Danish Embassies are set on fire in several countries in reaction to cartoons printed in Denmark that portrayed the prophet Muhammed as a bomber. Researchers discover that irony gene is missing in some people.

Al Askari mosque bombed in Samarra, Iraq. "The Danes are the men who will not be blamed for nothing" is found scrawled on a wall.

General Casey predicts that Iraqi government will control all of its own forces by end of year, or immediately after it is formed, which ever comes later.

During March, 20006...

All contact with Pioneer 10 spacecraft is lost. NASA theorizes that a giant space goat ate it.

New species of shark discovered in Sea of Cortez. Discovery hailed by oceanographers as great boost for "Sherman's Lagoon."

"Crash" wins Best Picture Oscar. Redecoration of Painted Desert put on hold.

Slobodan Milosevic found dead in his cell at The Hague. Denies that this will interfere with representing himself in war crimes trial.

Dubai Ports World announces plan to purchase port operations in six U.S. cities from British company, arousing an immediate and strong reaction from White House, which calls the deal "great news" for Republicans. Karl Rove suggests that they run on domestic security issue.

Representative "Randy" Cunningham (Convicted R-CA 50th) is sentenced to 8 years 4 months in prison. Karl Rove calls this "great news," suggesting that Republicans run on the clean government issue.

Tom DeLay (Under Indictment R-TX 22nd) easily wins primary race to be Republican candidate for House in November's General Election. Polls show that he will lose General Election to the Democratic candidate, former Representative Nick Lampson. Republicans collectively slap their foreheads.

Marine Corps General Peter Pace, Chairman of the Combined Chiefs of Staff, declared that Shiite militias in Iraq are "not a major long-term problem as long as the Iraqi armed forces and the Iraqi police continue to be loyal to the central government, as they have been." (Yes, he really said that.)

During April, 2006...

Tom DeLay (Under Indictment R-TX 22nd) decides that being in Congress is not all that it's cracked up to be, and announces that he will resign from the House of Representatives and move to Virginia. Virginia wonders what it has done to deserve this. Texas Republicans, who feared that DeLay would lose in the General Election to former Democratic Representative Nick Lampson, seek to replace DeLay's name on the ballot with one that is less likely to suggest any connection to the Republican Party, only to find that the law does not permit the removal of DeLay as the candidate unless he is dead. G. Gordon Liddy suggests that DeLay announce that he will be standing on a particular street corner in Washington on a certain day and hour. DeLay declines, thereby forcing the Republican Party to seek a write-in candidate with a simple-to-spell name. They settle on Shelley Sekula-Gibbs, a dermatologist, to succeed the former pest exterminator. Karl Rove confidently predicts that the Republicans will hold the seat in November, as he is pretty sure that a majority of Republicans can write in Secular Humanist and be led by the nose. (To be continued.)

First Brazilian Astronaut reaches International Space Station. First bikini wax in space is given.

New York City Police take a break from beating young black men and beat old Jewish man.

Prince Albert II of Monaco becomes first reigning monarch to reach North Pole. Meets yet another illegitimate offspring.

Zacarias Moussaoui sentenced to life in prison. Immediately appeals on grounds that he got a fair trial.

Surprised by reporters as he is caught sneaking out of the White House with a cardboard box full of his belongings, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan refuses to speculate on the reports that he has resigned or that George W. Bush is President.

Iraqi parliament meets to elect Nuri Al Maliki prime minister, five months after elections. White House praises the speedy process as a model for transition to full Iraqi control of the war.

Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says something outrageous.

Ken Lay, former chairman of Enron, testifies at his trial for fraud that the company is making record profits and the stock price is expected to rise.

As part of its Bankruptcy reorganization plan, the White House announces that FOX will complete its acquisition of the White House Press Office by appointing commentator Tony Snow to be new Press Secretary. Scott McClellan refuses to speculate on the price.

During May, 2006...

Porter Goss turns in his shoe-phone and resigns as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency after repeatedly banging his head on the Cone of Silence surrounding President Bush.

Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says something outrageous.

Apple Computer wins legal case filed by Apple Corps over right to use the Apple image on iTunes store. Saying, "You're no fun any more," Eris takes her apple and goes back to Aegina.

Hybrid of a Grizzly Bear and Polar Bear is found in Canada, proving that, as many in the lower States have long suspected of Canadians, long winters will make for some strange bedfellows.

CIA argues that the suit filed by extreme rendition victim Khaled el-Masri should be dismissed, because "it never happened, and even if it did, it would be dangerous to admit it." Court claims impotence. In related news, the National Security Agency denies that it has compiled a massive database of telephone records, click, click, click.

First brown bear seen in Germany in 175 years is greeted with delight and then shot to death. Bad month for bears gets worse.

FBI search of Congressional Office of Representative William Jefferson (D-La) causes first conflict between Legislative and Executive Branches of the Bush Administration. Representative Jefferson says that $90,000 found in his D.C. home freezer is merely being freeze dried after Katrina and was personally delivered by Michael Brown.

Taylor Hicks is named newest winner of Major Bowes amateur hour, receiving his tiara from previous winner Beverly Sills.

As further evidence of the decline of newspaper readership, the oldest Chinese language paper, the Central Daily News, ceases publication in Taiwan. Oldest Chinese comic strip, Peanuts, moves to a Beijing paper.

Barry Bonds hits his 715th home run, placing him 700 behind Babe Ruth on list of chemically unassisted home runs.

John Snow resigns as Secretary of Something or Other and is replaced by Henry Somebody or Other.

During June, 2006...

The great grandson of Geronimo appeals to President Bush to help obtain the return of the bones of the Apache chief, which reportedly had been stolen by Skull and Bones 90 years before. For national security reasons, FOX House Press Secretary Tony Snow can neither confirm nor deny that President Bush is holding the bones in a secret, undisclosed location. The Press Corps praises this new candor.

Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says something outrageous.

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, is accidentally killed when the U.S. bombs a house in which he was meeting other members of the group. With Zarqawi no longer available to justify the war, FOX House Press Secretary Tony Snow tries to put the best turn on this blow to U.S. propaganda by declaring that it is a spinning point in the war. Added to the previous points already spun, the U.S. has now drilled itself up to the neck in Iraq.

A remake of "The Omen" opens on 06/06/06, answering the ages-old question: What would happen if the world ended but nobody noticed? In related news, a meteorite strikes in Norway with what is described as Hiroshima-like explosion. People in Hiroshima beg to differ. In unrelated news, a Constitutional amendment to ban same sex marriage fails to gain even a majority in the U.S. Senate. Pat Robertson explodes over Massachusetts.

The World Cup begins in Germany, where German beer is prohibited at the stadium by contract with Anheuser Busch. Dutch fans are made to strip to their underwear when they arrive wearing trousers bearing the logo of a Dutch brewery. No word on those who, like Brittany, go commando.

Canadians rejoice as Stanley Cup finals conclude with...umm...Carolina defeating Edmonton. In related news, Miami defeats some other team for the NBA title the following day. Anyway, it wasn't Edmonton, which causes wild celebration in Canada.

Seven men are arrested by FBI  in Miami on charges that they (the men, not the F.B.I., although that is not entirely clear) were plotting to blow up the Sears Tower. Plot fizzled when FBI agent provocateur told men that Sears Tower was in Chicago rather than Miami. FBI promises to provide a road atlas to keep plot alive.

Three prisoners commit suicide in Guantanamo Bay detention camp. Commander of base calls it a terrorist attack. (No, we are not making this up.)

President Bush makes a surprise visit to Iraq. The person most surprised is Iraqi Prime Minister Al-Maliki, who keeps asking, "Okay, where's Ashton?"

General Casey predicts that the 14 US divisions in Iraq will be reduced to 12 or 10 by the end of the year.

After watching a PBS documentary, President Bush establishes the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands National Monument. White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten orders all televisions in White House removed lest the President see Frontline.

Supreme Court rules in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld that military commissions as designed by the Bush Administration violate the U.S. Constitution and Geneva Conventions. Bush Administration replies, "Yes, what's your point?"

During July, 2006...

North Korea celebrates the glorious 4th by setting off some rockets, the largest of which explodes 35 seconds after firing, and another of which lands in China, where it explodes under a porch. Head of North Korean rocket program Ludlow Kissel is sent to re-education camp.

Mexico holds presidential election, using the Florida vote-counting method, with predictable results, which is, after all, the purpose of the Florida vote-counting method..

Italy, a wine-drinking country, wins World Cup, beating France, another wine-drinking country, 5-3. Anheuser-Busch considers insisting that only teams with beer bellies be permitted to enter next World Cup.

Israel sends its army to invade Lebanon to free kidnapped soldiers and crush Hezbollah. Things do not go as planned when it turns out that the army has invaded Italy by mistake.

Floyd Landis, following the retirement of Lance Armstrong, continues the American domination of the Tour de France. After testing positive for high levels of testosterone, however, he is disqualified. Landis insists that the bulge in his racing shorts is not a needle.

Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says something outrageous.

President George W. Bush uses his veto pen for first time in his presidency to kill a law that would have authorized more government spending for embryonic stem cell research. FOX House spokesman Tony Snow explains that the president had never used it before because he thought that it "belonged to a some guy named Vito, and I don't want to mess with the mob."

Fidel Castro undergoes surgery to remove a Soviet missile that had been lodged in his intestine since 1962, thus ending the Cuban missile crisis. This also explains how he could stand up for so long while giving six-hour long speeches.

During August, 2006...

London Police arrest 21 people on suspicion that they were planning to bomb airplanes bound for America using liquid explosives. In the US, the TSA (Transportation Suspension Agency) bans all explosive liquids from planes. This results in planes being sprinkled with pixie dust to make them fly, when it is discovered that jet fuel is explosive. After several adjustments to this ban, it is discovered that the people arrested in England were actually planning on getting bombed on liquor during flights to America.

In reaction to the Israel-Lebanon crisis, UN Security Council considers US sponsored resolution that there should be a cease fire between Iceland and Marlo Thomas. When Russia objects, the resolution is amended to include Phil Donahue, and is passed unanimously. Three days later, Israel decides to withdraw from Italy, having achieved its new goal of capturing the Column of Trajan. The returning Israeli army accidentally levels much of southern Lebanon on the way home.

Pluto is disqualified from its status as a planet when it fails a random drug test. It is placed on probation and sent to rehab.

The stolen paintings "The Scream" and "Madonna" by Edvard Munch are recovered in Oslo, Norway. Working with police, Macaulay Culkin, who was the model for "The Scream,"  reportedly had suggested several ingenious schemes involving paint, buckets, marbles, ladders, rope, and electrical shocks to capture the thieves.

United Kingdom puts the Domesday Book 1066 census online. Pledges to get the 1076 census online as soon as it is competed.

Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says something outrageous, this time on CBS.

Katherine Harris certifies the Mexican election.

In Bangkok, Thailand, John Mark Karr claims that he was with JonBenet Ramsey in 1996 when she died, and that her death was an accident, which is interpreted as a confession. He is promptly arrested, because every nut who confesses to a crime surely must be telling the truth. Cable news media, especially Nancy Grace, are properly skeptical and refrain from exploiting the story.  Karr is later shown to have been in a delusional state of altered consciousness, which could naturally be confused with state of California, but which was not. DNA tests prove that cable news media are idiots.

Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad challenges US President George W. Bush to a televised debate. Bush responds that he will "debate the Democrat Party nominee anytime, anywhere." When NBC correspondent David Gregory points out that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is not a member of the Democratic Party, FOX House Press Secretary Tony Snow accuses Gregory of "repeating facts that give aid and comfort to the enemy." Snow subsequently offers a retraction of "something."

President Bush marks the anniversary of the Katrina hurricane by flying over and promising to rush aid to the "suffering people of Kansas."

During September, 2006...

"Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin is killed by the barb of a stingray that pierced his heart. Paul "Crocodile Dundee" Hogan is briefly held as suspect when he appears suddenly and demands his nickname and act back.

Bill Ford resigns as CEO of Ford Motor Company, and appoints Alan Mulally as his replacement. Is surprised and disappointed when he discovers that it is not that woman from "Will & Grace."

Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says something outrageous.

Fidel Castro says that he is having so much fun in hospital that he may never leave.

CIA acknowledges that it has been holding fourteen suspected terrorists in "Black Sites," as had been reported by Dana Priest in The Washington Post the previous year, and will transfer them to "Gray Site" at Guantanamo Bay detention camp, where they will be tried for various crimes under procedures of a law not yet passed.

Senator John McCain (Triangulating "08 R-AZ) refuses to support a bill that would limit the rights of suspects tried in military tribunals, then agrees to a "compromise" bill that would allow the Bush White House, which is, of course, well-known for caring about civil and human rights,  to define all the rules. This is known in politics as "making a stand on principle," also known as "caving."

Representative Bob Ney (Guility! Guilty! Guilty! R-OH), accepts a plea arrangement in the Jack Abramoff bribery scandal, but refuses to resign, saying that he needs his Congressional salary to supplement his bribes.

Pope Benedict XVI quotes a contemporary historian's quotation of a completely unbiased medieval Byzantine emperor about the evils of Mohammed as a means of illustrating Benedict's thesis that violence and religion do not mix well. This is understood to mean that Benedict thinks that Islam fosters violence, arousing threats and violence against Christians in majority Islamic states. Benedict says that the quotation does not represent his own opinion. He does not say which quotation.

Bagged spinach is blamed for 166 cases of e. coli infection throughout 25 states. Child welfare agents in 25 states put out arrest warrants for Popeye.

Another new species of shark is discovered in Coral Triangle area of Indonesia. "Sherman's Lagoon" is the big winner once again.

The CW, a union of the defunct WB and whatever the United Paramount Network called itself, begins broadcasting the surviving shows from each network to wildly fewer viewers.

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez speaks at the UN following US President George Bush by one day, and says that he detects the smell of sulfur. Bush blames the chili.

Representative Mark Foley (Horny! Horny! Horny! R-FL) resigns over explicit e-mail and Internet Messaging (IM) text messages sent to Congressional pages. House Republican leaders deny ever having known that anyone named Mark Foley was ever in Congress. More plausible is their denial of knowledge of the existence of e-mail and IM. Under Florida law, Republicans can appoint a new candidate, but Foley's name must remain on the ballot. Karl Rove confidently predicts that the Republicans will not only retain the seat in November elections but do so well that Katherine Harris will not need to recount the votes.

During October, 2006...

North Korea claims to have tested a nuclear bomb. Explosion is so small that many doubt that it was an atomic bomb at all, or if it was, that it was a successful test.  Suspicions are heightened when North Korea asks, "How did I do? Did you feel anything? This is my first time."

Magnitude 6.7 earthquake strikes Hawaii off the northwest coast of the Big Island, causing power to go out in most of the state. Moderate damage is suffered on the Big Island, but no serious injuries or deaths are linked to the quake. Luckily for tourism, the ongoing eruption of Kilauea is not affected. Only in Hawaii can one disaster be upstaged by another.

Population of USA is projected to reach 300 million. Continent feels noticeably smaller around the waistband. Congress proposes banning Mexican take-in.

As midterm election approaches, President Bush says that the US is definitely winning in Iraq, that the GOP will retain control of the House and Senate in the new Congress, and that Donald Rumsfeld will remain in his Cabinet until the end of his term.  Karl Rove predicts that Yankees will win World Series.

St. Louis Cardinals win World Series over Detroit Tigers in five games.

Fidel Castro feels well enough to read a newspaper. His obituary is not in it, despite the crank call from Langley, VA attempting to place notice of funeral arrangements.

Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says something outrageous.

Bob Barker announces that he will retire in June, 2007, after having been host of the "Price Is Right" since shortly after the births of Vladimir Zworykin and Philo Farnsworth.

Mark Foley scandal continues. House Ethics Committee (listed as an example of an oxymoron in the dictionary) rushes to investigate. Karl Rove confidently predicts that it will have no wider effect on elections. Rove says that "the math" confirms his predictions. This is widely interpreted to mean "the meth."

In Great Britain, General Sir Richard Dannatt, Chief of Staff of the British Army, says that the Army is overextended by the deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, that the security situation is being exacerbated by the Coalition's continued presence  in Iraq, and the British Army should get out "sooner rather than later." UK Prime Minister Tony Blair says that he agrees with "every word" uttered by the General, except for those particular words. This is widely interpreted as meaning that Tony Blair equivocates. (People in the US being too polite to say what the British press said.)
Senator John Kerry (Hoof-in-mouth D-MA) misspeaks while telling a scripted joke about President Bush, putting a torpedo in his newly refitted campaign boat, and giving Re[publicans a last glimmer of hope to distract voters. Kerry makes things worse by trying to attack his critics, rather than simply say that he was sorry for being such a lame-o comedian. Finally, he wisely shuts up and stays away from microphones.

During November, 2006...

It's all about the elections.

In Texas, as reported in the Houston Chronicle: "Voters cast their write-in ballots for, among others: Kelly Segula Gibbs, Snelly Gibbr, Schikulla Gibbs, Sheila Gibbs, Shelly Schulla Gibbs, Shelly Gibkula and, by someone who obviously never wanted the joy of using the machine to end, ShelleySkulaGibbsssss.

The name "Sekula" was spelled as Sektula, Sukla, Sequila, Sedoko and Sedoka (by puzzle fans?), Meklua, Sekluda and Shecola.

One voter couldn't be bothered, just putting in SSG. (It counted.) Another, for some reason, entered Sekula Smith.

Another voter entered "Shelle Sekula Fibbs," which might have been a hidden political message. Not so hidden, but counted as a vote just the same, was "Shelly DraculaCunt Gibs." (We like to imagine the bipartisan discussion on that entry: "Well, they misspelled the first and last name, but that's definitely a Shelley vote.")"

Despite all these concessions to orthographic irregularity, Nick Lampson, the Democratic candidate, wins the House seat formerly known as DeLay's. This is one of 30 Republican seats to change hands nationally, as the Democrats take control of the House of Representatives. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi  (Female D-CA) will become first woman to be Speaker of the House, and the highest elected office holder of the female persuasion in US history, standing third in line for the presidency. Yes, she really is female. At some point, this will not need to be said yet again.

In the Senate, the Democrats not only retain all their own seats, they pick up victories in six Republican-held states, thereby taking control of that chamber as well.

Nationally, Democrats win a majority of governorships, improve their numbers in state legislatures, and generally hand the Republicans their hats.

Recalling his statements before the election, President Bush resigns. No, Don Rumsfeld "resigns," and Bush is asked when, exactly, his term ended.  (No, that question never happened, either.) Bush concedes that he had already decided to replace the Secretary of Defense prior to the election, but misled about retaining him for political purposes. This is widely interpreted to mean that "Bush lies." People are shocked, shocked, I tell you.

As happens every election, a dead person is elected to office. In this case, Marie Steichen is elected county commissioner in Jerauld County, South Dakota. Voters apparently really do believe that less government is better government.

Exit polls reveal that voters used their ballots to express dissatisfaction with Iraq war, show disgust with Republicans in Congress, and "blow their noses." Biggest complaint is that electronic voting machines "cannot be used to play Grand Theft Auto."

In other news...

In an incident reminiscent of the Markov case, Alexander Litvinenko, former FSB spy, is hospitalized for and dies of Polonium-210 poisoning in London. For some obscure reason, suspicion falls upon Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom Litvinenko had accused of the murder of a Russian journalist and the staging of bombings in Moscow in connection with the war in Chechnya.

Former President Saddam Hussein is (surprise!) convicted of crimes against humanity in the Dujail massacres, and is sentenced (surprise! again) to death by hanging. Automatic appeal process is begun. UK Prime Minister Tony Blair says that he is opposed to the death penalty, but that Saddam deserves it, which is widely interpreted to mean...oh, come on, what else could it be? he is mealymouthed.

Daniel Ortega, Sandanista, easily wins election in one of those Central American countries where the US fought a war of surrogates in the 1980s. Um, Nicaragua. This marks a stunning comeback by the ousted leftist. The Opposition was, to nobody's surprise, undermined by the US Government's heavy-handed interference.

Iran President...well, you know the drill by now. IPMASSO.

UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, in a rare moment of candor (or candour) says that Iraq "is pretty much a disaster." However, typically, he went on to say “We are not walking away from Iraq. We will stay for as long as the Government needs us to stay." Nothing improves disaster so well as continuity.

Pope Benedict XVI visits Turkey after laying egg. Makes lemonade out of lemons. Cooking metaphors show market growth.

During December, 2006...

Let's get this out of the way.  IPMASSO.

According to a newly leaked memo from deposed Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld, he thought that the war in Iraq was not going as well as expected, or, as he put it, "our situation sucks." The term fubar comes to mind from any earlier war.

Representative William "Birdseye" Jefferson (I Am Not A Crook D-LA) is re-elected in a runoff election against another Democratic candidate, thereby reaffirming the motto of Louisiana, "In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash."

Radioactive trail of Polonium-210 surprisingly leads to airplanes that flew on route to Moscow. What could that mean?

Coup in Fiji, where the word has come to mean "election by other means." Frank, Bainimarama, Fijian military leader, vows to clean house and appoint new prime minister, just as soon as he can decide between Oreck, Hoover, Dyson, or Eureka. Decides to appoint janitor as PM.

Hugo Chavez wins easily in Venezuelan president election, also known as "election by other means."

John Bolton, after much careful consideration, decides that he will resign as UN ambassador in January, declining to seek Senate approval for his appointment, because, like, that was really ever going to happen. Despite a reputation for combativeness and acerbity, his letter of withdrawal to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is businesslike, consisting of one sentence of two words.

NASA announces plan to build a base on the North or South pole of the moon, or Orlando, as funding permits.

Robert Gates confirmed as new Secretary of Defense after he sums up the US situation in Iraq: "It sucks."

The big news of the month, however, is the issuance of the long awaited report by the Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Iraq Study Group. The People unite to accept the recommendations, which include a reduction of combat forces, an increase in military trainers, and locking Vice President Cheney in a dark room at an undisclosed location in Iraq. Vice President Cheney signals the Administration's willingness to consider the plan by inviting the members of the group to go hunting.

Former U.S. President Leslie King, Jr. died in California. Forty percent of the Americans alive at his death were not born until after his presidency. In other words, most of the people who know who he was are historians. (Try parsing that sentence.)

In a raucous year end office party, former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein fell and broke his neck in Baghdad, Iraq.

Animal Sacrifices Maim 1,400 Inept Turks

Dec 31, 11:58 AM (ET)

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) - Over a thousand Turks spent the first day of the Muslim feast of Eid al-Adha in emergency wards on Sunday after stabbing themselves or suffering other injuries while sacrificing startled animals.

At least 1,413 people - referred to as "amateur butchers" by the Turkish media - were treated at hospitals across the country, most suffering cuts to their hands and legs, the Anatolia news agency reported.

Four people were severely injured, crushed under the weight of large animals that fell on top of them, the agency reported. Another person was hurt when a crane used to lift an animal tumbled onto him, the agency said.

Three other people suffered heart attacks and died while trying to restrain animals, CNN-Turk television reported.

Muslims sacrifice cows, sheep, goats and bulls during the four-day religious holiday, a ritual commemorating the biblical account of God's provision of a ram for Abraham to sacrifice as he was about to slay his son. They share the meat with friends, family and neighbors and give part of it to the poor.

Turkish authorities have introduced fines for those who slaughter animals outside facilities set up by local municipalities, but many Turks ignored the rules and sacrificed animals in their backyards or on roadsides.

Posted by hwlabadiejr at 3:59 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 10 January 2007 5:15 PM EST
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Monday, 4 December 2006
UK To Receive Russian Help With Spy Death Probe
The United Kingdom announced today that Russia had offered to assist in the investigation of the death by radiation poisoning of dissident former FSB spy Alexander Litvinenko. In a separate announcement, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said that Britain would develop a new submarine nuclear missile system, because "you can never trust those Russkies."

Posted by hwlabadiejr at 4:54 PM EST
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Friday, 1 December 2006
No Senior Administration Official Left Behind (Meghan L. O'Sullivan)

Evidently, this is the reason that the public school system needs to be improved, because the purposeness is not being met, which requires that there be a fulsome conversation between the teachers and the students about the English learning to make the talking good. 


White House Transcript

"SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I would disagree with your characterization that there is no urgency. I think what you're not seeing is panic. And I think that is appropriate, that there is a sense of urgency and a sense of seriousness and a real sense of purposeness. And I think that permeated every interaction that I witnessed today. The fact that there's not panic is a good thing, because these problems are real and they need to be addressed in a systematic way.

And I also wouldn't agree with your characterization of tinkering. These are the, as I said, sort of the nuts and bolts of getting the tools in place to deal with the security situation. There was, as I mentioned, quite a fulsome conversation about the situation in Baghdad -- the fact that they did talk about some of the positive things that were happening in the country, like the foreign investment law, like progress in developing a hydrocarbons law. I also think that that is completely appropriate. Those are real developments in this country. The fact that there are positive things happening would naturally take up at least part of this meeting. It was not only focused on the challenges, but it was focused a little bit on some of the other elements of the strategy. "

The public money spent on this person's education was certainly worth it, and the money being spent even now to employ her as Deputy National Security Adviser can be counted as a sound investment.

Posted by hwlabadiejr at 12:41 AM EST
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Thursday, 30 November 2006
Dear Miss Manners
I was invited to a formal reception to which my attendance was, if not mandatory, strongly indicated by tradition and my immediate superiors. I knew in advance that a certain person, the senior executive in another branch of the organization, would be present, would, in fact, be the host. This person and I had a falling out a few years ago, and our relationship since then could be truthfully called enmity. Knowing this, I was reluctant to attend, but, as it was expected of me, and being a new hire, I accepted. Once there, I did my best to avoid any contact with the host, and was successful for a time. However, the host deliberately sought me out, and initiated a conversation that served only to open old wounds, touching upon family matters as it did. I cut the person short, and walked out. The alternative, had I remained, would have been to punch him in the face.

I have been both praised and criticized for my behavior. Some have lauded me for plain speaking and  for not going along with the pretense of comity that the host was trying to fake for the guests, and others have castigated me for rudeness, calling me a boor. Some have even gone so far as to offer a schoolmarmish critique of the grammar of my angry retort!

Miss Manners, what should I have done? Other than use correct grammar, that is.

Socially challenged, I remain,
Yours truly,

Junior Senator.

Posted by hwlabadiejr at 3:36 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, 30 November 2006 3:38 PM EST
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Wednesday, 29 November 2006
Secert Iraqi Memo Leaked
Iraq's National Security Advisor Muwafaq al-Rubaie

We returned from Washington convinced we need to determine if President Bush is both willing and able to rise above the neoconservative agenda being promoted by others in his party. Do we and President Bush share the same vision for Iraq? If so, is he able to curb those who seek US hegemony? The answers to these questions are key in determining whether we have the right strategy in Iraq.

Bush reiterated a vision of Shia, Sunni, and Kurdish partnership, and in my one-on-one meeting with him, he impressed me as a leader who wanted to be strong but was having difficulty figuring out how to do so. Bush pointed to incidents, such as increase in forces and the lifting of the blockade of Sadr City to demonstrate his even hand. Perhaps because he is frustrated over his limited ability to make progress against terrorists and insurgents, Bush has been trying to show strength by standing up to the Democrats. Hence the public spats with us over benchmarks and the Sadr City roadblocks.

Despite Bush’s reassuring words, repeated reports from our ambassador contributed to our concerns about Bush’s government ...

While there does seem to be an aggressive push to consolidate US policy and influence, it is less clear whether Bush is a witting participant. The information he receives is undoubtedly skewed by his small circle of advisers, coloring his actions and interpretation of reality. His intentions seem good when he talks with Iraqis, and sensitive reporting suggests he is trying to stand up to the neoconservatives and force positive change. But the reality on the streets of Baghdad suggests Bush is either ignorant of what is going on, misrepresenting his intentions, or that his capabilities are not yet sufficient to turn his good intentions into action.

Posted by hwlabadiejr at 5:22 PM EST
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