Makes you wonder, doesn't it?

How Do You Handle a Hungry Man? (Harpers.org): "Weldon looks to be especially generous in using campaign money to treat himself to dinner, but he's not alone. The American Prospect recently found another Pennsylvanian, Republican Senator Rick Santorum, spending political cash for a host of suspect items, including 66 trips to Starbucks, mostly in his hometown of Leesburg. Of course, neither Weldon, Santorum, nor their peers seem worried about making liberal use of campaign donations, and that’s because the Congressional Ethics Committees (or the “Member Protection Committees,” as one watchdog once described them to me) are not about to stop the gravy train."

No, not about the politicians (no surprise there). About the phrase. Well wonder no more. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary "gravy train (1927) was originally railroad slang for a short haul that paid well."

Far-right British National party bests rivals in Barking.

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Welcome to Barking - new far right capital of Britain: "Barking went to bed on Thursday night as just another deprived London suburb struggling to come to terms with the population shifts of the 21st century. It woke yesterday to find itself the subject of national notoriety, a new power centre for the BNP."


"Sad little omlettes." Oh no!

Burlington Free Press.com | Local/Vermont: "This year's afternoon contest turned intense."

Competition? The annual egg tossing contest at the Twincraft Soaps factory in Winooski, VT. Of course.
Gene Steinfeld, master of ceremonies and plant manager, wearing a smashing outfit of white coveralls, a chicken hat and a belt made of rubber chickens, kept changing the distance the eggs would be tossed: 40 feet, 60 feet, back down to 45, but the two teams continued to make expert catches.

In the end ("breaking news"!) the team of Chad Fitzpatrick and Pete White, mechanics, prevailed against a couple of suits from sales.
"We work good as a team," Fitzpatrick said.


Unclear on the concept, Malkin worries about violent Marines.

Michelle Malkin: GANGSTAS IN THE MILITARY: "The question is why and how Raya -- who police say had a propensity for violence well before he joined the Marines -- got into our military in the first place."

Laura goes into the record book with best ever flip-flop time.

Laura Bush Forgets Whose Side She Is On: "I Don't Think There's Anything Wrong With Singing [The National Anthem] In Spanish"... | The Huffington Post: "Yesterday in an interview with CNN’s John King, First Lady Laura Bush said “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with singing [the national anthem] in Spanish.” King then reminded the First Lady that her husband said the national anthem should only be sung in English. She quickly reversed her position, telling King “I think it should be sung in English, of course.” Just 25 seconds had elapsed since her first answer."

They all talk that way.

CNN.com - Bush's Spanish 'no muy bueno,' White House says - May 4, 2006: "'The president can speak Spanish but not that well,' White House press secretary Scott McClellan said. 'He's not that good with his Spanish.'"

In other words, they all talk the same. It's maddening. In other words, it's bonkerizing. Like people who think they can make themselves understood if they just talk louder. In other words, SHOUT. Makes me NUTSO.

Sounds like sci-fi of the spookier sort.

A Joshua Tree In Every Pot: Orange County, China: "But wait. There is Sun City, a half-built gated community with echoes of the desert. Then the tidy homes of Orange County come into view. Finally, you drive through a stone portal, past advertisements showing men fly-fishing in cowboy hats, pulling up before the impressive mansions of Watermark-Longbeach, the epicenter of faux L.A. in China."

Of course I've been in some of the places spoofed and find them pretty high on the spooky scale as well. Go figure, huh?

And that's their problem, mostly.

Advocate: Metal Detectors Too Sensitive - Yahoo! News: "'Men just don't get it,' Fletcher told the supervisors."

Leave no goat behind either.

Goat Batters Way Into Elementary School - Yahoo! News: "Building security cameras captured the male goat butting glass doors repeatedly at Hickey Elementary School in Plano on Sunday."




Fox, BBC, Al Jazeera most trusted: poll - Yahoo! News: "Asked to name the news source they most trusted, without any prompting, 59 percent of Egyptians said Al Jazeera, 52 percent of Brazilians said Rede Globo, 32 percent of Britons said the BBC, 22 percent of Germans said ARD and 11 percent of Americans said Fox News, each leading their respective nations."
The poll was based on "10,000 adults in 10 countries," a rather vague proposition. Nonetheless of all respondents 61 percent trusted "media" while 52 percent trusted their governments. The most trusted news brands globally were BBC and CNN.

"The jury is still out on blogs," quoth some guy. Wherever it is, may it long remain.

I'm not sure if this is bad news or good.

Chaos Feared in Pandemic Flu Plan - Yahoo! News: "'Local communities will have to address the medical and nonmedical impacts of the pandemic with available resources,' the report warns, because the federal government won't be able to offer the kind of aid expected after hurricanes or other one-time, one-location natural disasters."

Uh huh.

Free the press!

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Media banned from red light district: "And now Cologne authorities have announced a total ban on journalists using still or video cameras in the Geestemuende district where the drive-in brothels are located."

No more.

Remarks of Mayor Ross C. “Rocky” Anderson - April 29, 2006

How the US rid Afghanistan of terrorists.

The Raw Story | US doesn't classify Taliban as terrorists, paper finds: "In the latest State Department report last Friday, one item went unnoticed by the press, until now: the US doesn't classify the Taliban as terrorists -- and haven't for the last six years."

See how easy? Now if we just stop calling hurricanes "storms"....

Plan still needs a little work.

Ethanol: "Adding up the energy costs of corn production and its conversion to ethanol, 131,000 BTUs are needed to make 1 gallon of ethanol. One gallon of ethanol has an energy value of only 77,000 BTU. 'Put another way', Pimentel says, 'about 70 percent more energy is required to produce ethanol than the energy that actually is in ethanol. Every time you make 1 gallon of ethanol, there is a net energy loss of 54,000 BTU'."

What's wrong with this headline?

Gov's wife to address doctors on childhood obesity - Boston.com

The Governor's wife is herself a doctor and an expert on pediatric obesity, that's what.

(I like this one though:
Safety officials holding moose event - Boston.com


"Swish" is fine but "delicacies" seems like piling on.

In the chaos of Iraq, one project is on target: a giant US embassy - World - Times Online: "There will be what is rumoured to be the biggest swimming pool in Iraq, a state-of-the-art gymnasium, a cinema, restaurants offering delicacies from favourite US food chains, tennis courts and a swish American Club for evening functions."

Navy quits fooling around in Iraq, sends Grandma.

Grandmother deployed to Iraq - U.S. Life - MSNBC.com: "Janet Grass, 52, had planned to retire from the military in about 10 months after spending 19 years in the U.S. Navy Reserve. Instead, she has been ordered to leave her job as a special-education teacher in Cascade to do security work in the Middle East."

Got stamps? Get biscuits.

You can, of course, now buy custom US postage stamps online. You've already done that, right? Well. OK. But the biscuits, being virtual biscuits, are free and you can spell anything you want with them except the name of this blog (no numerals).


Not exactly a cutting-edge idea but worth a try.

Japan mulls matchmaking ads to boost birth rate - Yahoo! News: "TOKYO (Reuters) - Alarmed by a falling birth rate and rapidly aging population, Japanese policymakers are thinking about allowing TV ads for matchmaking agencies in the hope that an increase in couples will result in more kids."

Keep shopping. Do not sit down.

ABC News: Wal-Mart Worker Finds Man Glued to Toilet: "SALISBURY, Md. May 2, 2006 (AP)— A 20-year-old was found by a Wal-Mart employee in the bathroom Sunday night after he sat down and was glued to the toilet seat."


More about Jose.

Think Progress » FACT CHECK: U.S. Government Commissioned Spanish-Language ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ in 1919: "But in 1919, the U.S. Bureau of Education commissioned a Spanish-language version of “The Star Spangled Banner.” The State Department’s website also features four-separate versions of the anthem in Spanish."

Is our children even awake?

Poll shows many can't find La. on map - Boston.com: "WASHINGTON --Despite the wall-to-wall coverage of the damage from Hurricane Katrina, nearly one-third of young Americans recently polled couldn't locate Louisiana on a map and nearly half were unable to identify Mississippi."


It's happened!

The Righties are spinning so fast they're melting into a puddle. (If you've read the terribly non-PC "Little Black Sambo" in its terribly non-PC version you know exactly what I mean.)

The story goes something like this. Somebody cuts a record that sounds like the Star Spangled Banner except it's in Spanish so nobody can understand it, except Spanish-language radio stations start playing it which makes it a threat to our national honor - the Star Spangled Banner being the national anthem - a threat to our national honor, I say, exceeding even that of crab grass. There ensues an outcry. In English.,

But wait! Condi Rice, clueless, announces she sees nothing wrong with a Spanish version of the national anthem, she herself having heard a Gospel version and a Country version, so what the hell. But wait! Into the fray flies (I'm not saying on a broomstick here, but flies) the ever-outraged Michelle Malkin to point out it's not a literal translation! It contains other words! Including Hip Hop! OMG! So it's, well, not the national anthem. But it sounds like the national anthem.

But wait! An admirer of Malkin now pens a parody (to the tune of the Star Spangled Banner) that begins "Jose can you see." Which is, outrageously, not the national anthem. So Rice now can say, well she's heard a Spanish version so what's the big deal? To which Malkin can object but it has other words!

A puddle. If you see what I mean.

Of course I might be biased here. My mother, a preacher's daughter who amused herself in her childhood through countless church services by making up alternate lyrics to hymns, taught me "Glady the Cross-Eyed Bear" and "Bless'd be the tie that binds / our collars to our shirts." So maybe it's just the way I was brought up, thinking a song is just a song. With other words.

Nice job, street sweeper! Way to go!

"Reality has a well-known liberal bias."

Democratic Underground - COMPLETE TEXT (clean copy) - Full Video - Great Pic of Colbert: "I stand by this man because he stands for things. Not only for things, has he stood on things. Things like aircraft carriers and rubble and recently flooded city squares. And that sends a strong message, that no matter what happens to America, she will always rebound with the most powerfully staged photo ops in the world. "

Stephen Colbert took on just about everybody in Washington the other night at the White House Correspondent's Dinner, a bonus evening for journos who can't get enough smooching done during regular working hours. Worth a read. Even a watch.

If it takes one to know one, CT may have found the one.

AP Exclusive: Connecticut official who admitted taking lavish gifts now holds state job investigating government fraud - Boston.com: "Federal authorities agreed not to use Ragaglia's 2004 grand jury testimony about the Rowland administration against her."

Here's a picnic waiting to happen.


There'll always be an England.

The Observer | Politics | Go green with urine, says leading Tory: "The Conservative Party chairman is urging the nation to pee on its compost heaps to help the environment."