Saturday, December 29, 2012

Who's Crazy Now?

US Congress bans word 'lunatic' in federal legislation
- BBC News headline - December 6, 2012

For those who think that Republicans and Democrats can’t work together to get things done, this latest piece of legislation proves otherwise.  Following unanimous approval by the Senate in May, the House of Representatives, by a vote of 398-1, also agreed to strike the term “lunatic” from all federal legislation.

While some have criticized Congress for dealing with such a matter when there are more important issues facing the country, most observers see this as a good sign and a harbinger of more progress to come.  Supporting evidence for this view can be seen in other recent legislative initiatives and the roster of upcoming bills for consideration:

*    H. R. Bill 111 has already received unanimous support in committee and seems assured rapid and near-unanimous passage in both chambers.  Entitled the Ice Cream is Great Act, this bill was introduced by representatives from America’s great dairy states of Wisconsin and New York.  Almost all House members are ready to vote aye on this one with the exception of a few lactose-intolerant representatives who, rather than spoil the moment and vote nay, will likely simply abstain.

*    While not yet reduced to print, there is a recent legislative proposal which has generated a lot of positive buzz on Capitol Hill.  Tentatively titled the Fair Pay for Members of Congress Act, it will reportedly increase the pay scale for sitting representatives and senators by what has been described by some as “a modest 25%.”  While there still appears to be some minor disagreement as to whether the 25% rate will also apply to each member’s expense allowance, it’s expected that such wrinkles will be worked out with little rancor or delay.

*    The Senate has reportedly been hard at work on a bill which will iron out a few contentious matters that have been plaguing both houses of Congress for years.  The draft version is called the Free Cable, Subsidized Lunch and Year-round Free Parking Act and will harmonize various disparate provisions to ensure that all Congresspersons receive the same benefits.  When asked to comment on what the law will provide, one Senate aide simply said: “I think the title says it all.”

*    H. R. Bill 999 will likely break the record for speedy passage.  It has been described as the bill to formalize America’s second favorite motto.  Hence the title the Motherhood, Apple Pie and the Flag Act.  Apparently there has been some disagreement about the specific order of this sacred American triumvirate, but in the true spirit of Congressional compromise, it looks like federal legislators will agree to a provision allowing any of the six possible arrangements of these three words to qualify as official.

*    In a dramatic display of bipartisanship, senators from both parties have introduced Senate Bill S.666, the Don’t Blame Us Act.  Although the complicated bill comprises more than 300 pages, it essentially boils down to one proviso, namely that no individual senator or representative will be held personally responsible if America ends up going over the fiscal cliff.  Unanimous passage is virtually guaranteed.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

White House Garage Sale

With America racing towards the fiscal cliff, both sides finally got down to some serious negotiating this week.  Seldom reliable sources report that President Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner have already agreed to the following debt-reduction measures:
*   The first annual White House garage sale will be held on Saturday, December 22nd on the East Lawn.  Featured items include ten IBM Selectric typewriters, several dozen 19th century spittoons and a 1957 Ford Fairlane owned by Mamie Eisenhower and only driven on Sundays.  After expenses for coffee, donuts and signage, the garage sale is expected to yield upwards of $3,000 with more to come in future years.
*   The House of Representatives has agreed to rent out its space to local organizations when not in use.  Several local theater groups have expressed interest in rehearsing and performing on weekends in the House chamber.  Since the House members are typically only present midweek, it’s hoped that various book clubs, sewing circles and support groups can rent the room on Mondays and Fridays.  At $75 a night, look for total earnings to hit four figures in no time.
*   The Pentagon has scheduled two fundraising car washes this month with more to follow in the new year.  Any remaining four-star generals will lead brigades of servicepeople to clean the interior and exterior of any vehicle including cars, trucks and tanks.  In keeping with traditional military accounting, the cost will be $1,000 per wheel.
*   The Senate has tentative plans to fundraise with a filibuster-a-thon.  Whenever Republican senators volunteer for filibuster duty, they’ll ask constituents to sponsor them at a tentative ten dollars per speaking hour.  Given the obstructionist nature of the Senate minority, this fundraising effort could bring in thousands of dollars.
*   Senators have also agreed to chip in by holding a monthly bake sale on Capitol Hill.  The first one will be held next Friday when John McCain will be selling his sour grapes cookies and Joe Lieberman will bring his famous flip-flop upside-down cake.  It’s hoped that the Senate bake sales will yield $100 or more per month towards reducing the deficit.
*   President Obama has agreed to lease Air Force One to foreign leaders when not in use by the White House.  Third world leaders who can’t afford their own plane are expected to jump at the chance to rent Obama’s jet for only $2,000 an hour.  However, since it costs $3,000 an hour to operate Air Force One, this option may actually add to the deficit.
*   The State Department plans to hold a weekly fundraising auction to sell off unused articles.  Expected sale items include a comprehensive Middle East peace plan, a hardline on Iran and a detailed map of Benghazi.
*   Other cabinet level departments have proposed selling naming rights.  Just like major league sports arenas, the Cabinet will allow corporations to bid to add their names to individual departments.  At $10,000 a pop, this could be a huge money maker.  Informal inquiries have already been received for the Lockheed Martin Defense Department, the Exxon Mobil Energy Department and the Goldman Sachs Treasury Department.
Even with all these revenue-generating efforts, it’s expected that there will still be an annual shortfall of approximately one trillion dollars.  No word to date from Wall Street as to whether it will help out although rumor has it they’ve made an offer to issue some mortgage-backed securities on the Washington Monument and the Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Peter Puck Redux

Back in the 1970s, NBC and CBC employed a cartoon character named Peter Puck to help explain the basics of hockey to kids and novice fans.  Thanks to the current NHL lockout, the two networks have reportedly brought back the talkative black disc to help explain to young viewers the ins and outs of labor disruptions in the world of pro hockey.  Here are some leaked excerpts from a few of the new videos:

Hi, boys and girls.  I’m Peter Puck and I’m going to tell you a little bit about hockey.  Hockey is a game played on ice with five players and a goalie per side.  It’s a fast, exciting sport but there are a number of rules you need to understand in order to fully appreciate the game.  Rules like offsides, icing and the face-off.  But you don’t have to worry about them right now.  Until this lockout is over, you’ll need to learn about a few different things.

Collective Bargaining
Hi, boys and girls.  I’m Peter Puck and I want to tell you all about collective bargaining in  the National Hockey League.  The players and the owners have something called a CBA or collective bargaining agreement.  It’s an agreement where both sides agree to a salary cap which is kind of like when mom and dad say that your allowance can only increase by so much.  Except now the owners say they want a bigger share of all the money that comes in.  There are a lot of complicated provisions in the CBA but all you have to know is the current one recently expired and that’s why there won’t be any NHL hockey this year.

Free Agent
Hi, boys and girls.  I’m Peter Puck and I want to tell you all about free agency in the National Hockey League.  When young players first start playing in the NHL, they don’t have a lot of rights, sort of like when your parents can tell you what to do and you have to do it.  But when a player turns 27 or has seven years in the league, he can then negotiate a new deal with whichever team he wants.  It’s like when you turn 18 and can tell your parents to take a hike except that the players get millions of dollars every year even before they turn 27.

Restricted Free Agent
Hi, boys and girls.  I’m Peter Puck and I want to tell you all about restricted free agency.  It’s really pretty simple.  If a player is not entry-level and not yet an unrestricted free agent but his contract has expired, he becomes what is called a restricted free agent.  That means his team must extend him a qualifying offer.  Other teams can extend an offer sheet and his team can accept or decline.  There are lots of other rules but you don’t have to concern yourself about them now since no one’s playing hockey for the foreseeable future.

Salary Arbitration
Hi, boys and girls.  I’m Peter Puck and I have some more cool information for you about how the CBA works.  Some of you are probably asking what happens when a restricted free agent and his team can’t come to an agreement about salary.  Well that’s when either party can ask for salary arbitration.  Each side proposes a salary and a third person called an arbitrator picks one.  It’s like when you and your parents propose an allowance for you except your proposal never gets chosen.

Viewing Alternatives
Hi, boys and girls.  I’m Peter Puck and I want to help you decide what you can watch this season on TV.  Unfortunately, it won’t be NHL hockey.  But there are lots of other sports you can follow.  Hopefully this lockout will end soon and I can get back to teaching you the fun rules of the fastest sport on ice.  If not, my cousin Peter Rock will be here to teach you all about the second fastest sport on ice: curling.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Fiscal Cliff More Popular than Niagara Falls

It’s official.  The Fiscal Cliff has overtaken Niagara Falls as America’s favorite tourist destination.
District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray was delighted to announce that his city is home to the newest Washington attraction.
“Given that we’ve got all those monuments and the Smithsonian,” said Gray. “It’s a thrill to see so many people lining up to look over the Fiscal Cliff.”
Most Washington-bound tourists now put the Cliff number one on their list of must-see sites.  Americans are flocking in record numbers to peer over its edge to catch a glimpse of the financial abyss below.
Although President Obama is committed to removing the Fiscal Cliff, he has expressed mixed feelings about that goal.
“Sure, I want to rescue the country from the financial peril that the Cliff represents,” said Obama. “But I have to admit that it’s a pretty spectacular site and a great revenue generator, too.”
While millions of Americans marvel at the Fiscal Cliff, citizens of the City of Niagara Falls are keeping their fingers crossed that it will disappear before year’s end. If not, Mayor Paul Dyster expressed the hope that Washington will move the Cliff to his city.
“It may be disastrous for the country,” said Dyster. “But it’ll be a big win for Niagara Falls.”

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Romney Keeps Running

Mitt Romney has reportedly been admitted to Massachusetts General Hospital with what is being described as a severe case of political addiction.
Sources close to the Republican presidential nominee say that his defeat in this year’s election revealed the previously unsuspected ailment.  Doctor Phillip Morris of Mass General’s crack psychiatric unit assessed Mr. Romney and made the initial diagnosis.
“I think it’s pretty clear that the patient is suffering from political addiction,” said Dr. Morris. “The fact that the election has ended and yet he continues to deliver his stump speech and give vague and ambiguous answers to the simplest of questions was a dead giveaway.”
Dr. Morris noted that it is not normal for an individual to run unsuccessfully for president for five continuous years.
“Let’s face it,” said Morris.  “Candidates for president are not what you would call normal to begin with but most of them know when to stop.  Mr. Romney seems to lack that particular ability.”
Beginning in 2007 when he started his unsuccessful campaign for the 2008 Republican nomination, Mr. Romney has done nothing but run for president.  His 2008 campaign seamlessly morphed into his 2012 campaign.
“When I interviewed Mr. Romney,” said Dr. Morris. “It was clear that he could not stop running for president.  He’s not what we call in the business “completely nuts” since he knows the U. S. presidency is now out of reach for him.  But I am concerned that he still insists on running for president of something.”
The doctor’s observation seems to have been confirmed by a recent Romney press release announcing his candidacy for the presidency of Honduras in their upcoming 2013 elections.  Citing his father’s birth in Mexico, his support of self-deportation for illegal Hispanic immigrants and his expertise in outsourcing American jobs to lesser developed countries, Romney has touted himself  as the perfect choice to lead that country or, for that matter, any country.
In the event of a Honduran defeat and an unsuccessful medication regimen, Mr. Romney is apparently considering  a run for president of Afghanistan or Slovakia in 2014 and, if necessary, his local chamber of commerce in 2015.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Romney Denies He's a Crybaby

Defeated Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney denies he is a crybaby.
“Yes, I lost the election,” said Romney.  “But there are reasons why I lost, many of them relating to the gifts Obama gave to blacks, Hispanics and young people to win their votes.  But I’m no crybaby.”
President Obama offered to meet with his defeated rival to discuss some of Romney’s ideas to help the country.  However, Mr. Romney has refused that offer.
“Why should I meet with that guy,” said the former governor.  “He’s never been nice to me and I’m the one who should have won the election.  If anybody’s a crybaby, it’s him.”
It is traditional for defeated presidential candidates to retire from the limelight and assume a low profile.  Mr. Romney, on the other hand, apparently does not want to leave the national stage.
“I should have won,” said Romney. “Even Karl Rove says so and Karl’s always right.  I know I conceded on election night but that was a mistake.  I won fair and square and I want what’s mine.”
Governor Romney has reportedly been collaring anyone he can on the street and complaining about the election outcome and the unfair result.
“The White House should be mine,” says Governor Romney.  “And I intend to do whatever it takes to get it whether that means launching a legal challenge or holding my breath until I turn blue.  Would a crybaby do that?  I don’t think so.”
Mr. Romney has also issued a press release stating that he is also not a sore loser, a whiner or a liar, liar, pants on fire.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Empty Chair Posts Strong Showing In Early Voting

This election year has seen a surge in early voting as more and more states allow for this convenient option.
Both the Obama and Romney camps had hoped that early voting would give them an edge.  Much to everyone’s surprise, however, exit polls show that  the early leader in pre-election balloting is the empty chair from the Republican Convention.
“No one saw this coming at all,” said Bob Bingham, head of the political science department at Iowa Agricultural & Technical College. “Campaign experts figured this option would favor President Obama but, boy, were we wrong!”
Some observers expected that the empty chair would experience a measurable bump in the polls after his joint appearance with Hollywood megastar Clint Eastwood.  But few figured that bump could be sustained and result in millions of early write-in votes.
For example, early voters in Iowa have broken the record from 2008 as more than half a million ballots have already been cast prior to election day, the majority of them naming the empty chair for president.
“I was overwhelmed with all the negative TV ads from the Obama and Romney campaigns,” said first time Des Moines voter Dunk Anne Fyfe. “It was refreshing to see a candidate who didn’t diss all the others.”
“When I considered the three options,” said Ames, Iowa resident Chip N. Dale. “The empty chair had it all over the other two guys.”
Other early voters echoed this same refrain, citing the empty chair’s strong, silent approach; his complete absence of guile and his consistent sitting position.
Given this surprising development, media outlets from across the country have tried to get in touch with the empty chair. Although reported to be staying at the Furniture Barn in Tampa, Florida, Mr. Chair was unfortunately not available for comment.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Bush Backs Barack

In a surprise move, George W. Bush has endorsed Barack Obama in this Tuesday’s election.  Although usually reluctant to get involved in current politics, the former president has decided to take the plunge and support the Democratic candidate.
“I know you all must think this is a crazy choice,” said Mr. Bush.  “But the more I looked at Barry’s record, the more I realized that we have a lot in common.  For example, we’ve both created trillion dollar deficits and we’ve both had to deal with ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
The Obama campaign has been caught off guard and appears unsure how to deal with this latest development.  Campaign spokesperson David Axelrod was less than enthusiastic about Mr. Bush’s endorsement.
“We want to thank Mr. Bush for coming out in support of President Obama,” said Axelrod. “But we already have the support of former presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton so I think an endorsement from a third ex-president would be overkill.”
Some have speculated that Mr. Bush’s decision was precipitated by Mitt Romney throwing him under the campaign bus in the second presidential debate.
“I have to be honest here and say that it did bother me when the Mittster trashed my record,” said the former president. “In fact, Barry had more nice things to say about me than he did.  But no, this endorsement is from the heart - wink, wink.”
The Romney campaign has publicly expressed its regret that former President Bush did not see fit to publicly support Governor Romney.  Privately, however, they couldn’t be happier.
“President Bush is free to support whoever he wants,” said a giddy Romney spokesperson Andrea Saul. “We are, of course, disappointed but perhaps it isn’t surprising that a big spending war hawk would go with one of his own.”
Faced with accusations that he purposely threw his support to Obama in order to undermine the incumbent’s chances, Mr. Bush was indignant.
“I assume that any presidential candidate would be thrilled to receive my okay,” said Bush.  “And I can’t imagine why anyone would turn it down - nudge, nudge.”
If the polling numbers start breaking Romney’s way, look for more surprise endorsements for President Obama including ones from Sarah Palin and Donald Trump.  Rumor has it that even Dick Cheney may go public with his support for Vice President Joe Biden.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Big Bird Gets the Boot

“I’m going to stop the subsidy to PBS.....I like PBS, I love Big Bird. Actually like you, too [Jim Lehrer]. But I’m not going to....keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for.”

- Mitt Romney - October 3, 2012

“I like being able to fire people....”

- Mitt Romney - January 9, 2012

Andrea, please show Mr. Bird in.

Big Bird, gosh, it’s good to see you. I’m a big fan. All my boys are big fans, too. Watched you for years. Can I call you Big?

Now Big, I think you know why I asked you here today. No? Well let me explain.

You see, I’m the President now. Yes, I won the election and that makes me the boss, the CEO if you will. Kind of like Jim Henson was for you.

What that means is I’ve got to run our country like a business and that means no deficits. From now on, if we have to borrow money for a program, it’s got to pass the China test.

Now when I say “program”, I don’t mean a TV program. Make no mistake; I like your TV program, always have. But we can’t borrow money from China to subsidize “Sesame Street.” It just doesn’t make good fiscal sense.

Yes, we did borrow money from China to subsidize Wall Street but that’s a different story.

Why if it had been up to me, we wouldn’t have borrowed from China to subsidize any street and that includes “Sesame Street”, Wall Street and especially Easy Street, the place where 47% of Americans live.

Let’s cut to the chase, Big. You’re fired. But just because I’m a businessman and like firing people doesn’t mean I’m not compassionate. We’re prepared to offer you what I think is a very generous severance package: one full year of free bird seed and six months of healthcare coverage except, of course, for any preexisting conditions such as flightlessness or gigantism.

We’re not cold-hearted, Big. In fact, we’re going to provide you with three months of outplacement services that can help you find another job in a related field or provide you with training to qualify for a brand new job.

Gosh, have you thought about applying to be a team mascot? You know, most professional sports teams employ an oversized animal to entertain the fans. Maybe you could try the Baltimore Orioles or the Seattle Seahawks.

Yes, I appreciate that you’re getting on in years and you might not be up for all the running and jumping involved in being a team mascot. But I’m sure there are lots of other opportunities out there for an oversized yellow bird with your talents. I understand that Walmart needs greeters and restaurant chains like Popeyes and KFC are always looking for birds.

If worst comes to worst, you can always retire. Don’t forget; there’s social security and your PBS pension to fall back on. Oh, gosh, my mistake. Well at least for now there’s still social security.

There, there, Bird, no more tears; dry those eyes. It’s not that bad. Why earlier today I had to fire Oscar the Grouch and to revoke the Swedish Chef’s work visa. So, believe me, it could be a whole lot worse.

Thanks again for coming. As I said, I’m a big fan. So no hard feelings, OK? Mr. Ryan here will take you back to your nest to collect your things and then escort you to the front door. We’ll be in touch.

Andrea, could you tell the Cookie Monster to come in and then Jim Lehrer?

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Sad States

“Mitt Romney launched a major ad blitz in eight key battleground states....two ads apiece in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina and Ohio; three separate ads in Virginia; and one ad in Nevada and New Hampshire.”

- Yahoo News - September 7, 2012

More and more, U. S. presidential candidates are directing their campaign spending to a select number of states. These so-called swing-states are seen as the key to victory and the rest are almost ignored. Apparently that’s about to change if these states have their say:


“As Maine goes, so goes the nation.” At least that’s what they used to say. Now almost nobody pays attention to how I vote. Well, enough is enough. Remember that old battle cry from the Spanish-American War - “Remember The Maine”? I’ve got a new one: “Remember Maine - or else.” If I don’t get my fair share of election-year advertising spending, I’m going to hold my breath until I turn blue or possibly even red or I might just secede and join Canada.


Dude, what gives? Like I’ve got more voters than any other state but political ads here are as rare as Republicans in Hollywood although I guess that’s part of the problem. How come everyone thinks I’m a lock for the Democrats? Don’t forget; I elected Republican governors like Ronald Reagan, Pete Wilson and Arnold Schwarzenegger and I can do it again. That’s not a threat, man. I’m just saying, that’s all. Throw a little advertising love my way and we can all be happy.

The Dakotas

Despite what you might have heard, history shows we don’t always vote the same way. Just look at the 1916 election results. But since each of us has the total population of a large suburban city, no one pays us any attention. We finally figured out how to deal with these quadrennial slights. Last week we decided to join forces and vote in tandem and not necessarily Republican. Between the two of us we have well over a million people which means we’ll now have the political heft of bigger player-states. Watch out Idaho and Nebraska!


Hey! Look up here. Yeah, that’s right, up here past the lower 48. It’s one thing to ignore that little mid-Pacific pipsqueak Hawaii but, in the words of Donald Trump, I’m huge. I’m twice as big as Texas and none of you would ever dream of ignoring Texas, would you? Don’t take me for granted. I’m crazy; I could vote for anybody. Just ask Sarah Palin. So throw me a bone and I’ll do you a solid.


OK, yeah, I’m the smallest state by population with more cows than people but that’s no reason to dis me. And maybe I’ve voted Republican in every election since 1964 but that doesn’t mean things can’t change this year. If you spend a little ad money here and show me some respect, I could vote Democratic. Just don’t tell Dick Cheney. He gets really, really mad if I don’t do what I’m told.


You think you’ve got it tough, Wyoming? I’m so small, nobody notices me down here squeezed between New Jersey, Maryland and Pennsylvania. OK, at least I’m not Rhode Island but it’s still no picnic. Even Joe Biden left and he used to live in Scranton. So maybe I voted Democratic for the last twenty years but that doesn’t mean I can’t change. Hey, for the right price, I’m willing to do just about anything, even change my name to Tupperware. 

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Real Debate Questions

It’s official; Wednesday night’s presidential debate will be a colossal waste of time. If you hadn’t guessed that already, it’s now a no-brainer after the Commission on Presidential Debates announced that it has shared the debate topics with the candidates ahead of time.

Since Obama and Romney have agreed not to ask one another questions or even to allow for rebuttals or follow-up questions, Wednesday night’s performance will be a debate in name only. In all likelihood, we’ll be watching two pre-programmed robots offering the same scripted responses they’ve been feeding the American public for months.

I, for one, would like to see a new debate format where the candidates are required to answer questions from average voters. If I was given the chance to participate, here are some of the potential questions of importance to me that I might put forward:

* The Houston Texans are playing the New York Jets this coming Monday night. What do you think the point spread should be and why? Would your answer be different if Tim Tebow replaces March Sanchez at quarterback?

* The National Hockey League owners have locked out the players and it looks like the season might be cancelled. Can you name the head of the N.H.L. or the Players’ Association and have you intervened to try to save the season and, if not, why not?

* I have a six-pack of Bud Light in the basement that I purchased in March. Can I still drink them or have they gone bad by now? If I had stored them in the refrigerator, would that change your answer?

* What are your views on casual Fridays in the workplace? Do you think jeans and t-shirts should be allowed? What rules apply in your workplace?

* If you kept seeing more and more hairs in the sink in the morning, would you ignore them or would you start thinking about hair replacement? Have you ever used Rogaine or considered a toupee? What have you done about your increasing back hair?

* When the bathroom sink gets clogged, do you call a plumber or do you man up and try to fix the problem yourself? If the latter, what steps would you take and what size pipe wrench would you use?

* Where do you stash your personal collection of men’s magazines so your wife can’t find them? Do you keep the videos in the same location?

* The basement is so full of junk you can hardly move down there. Your wife has been nagging you for months to clean it out but you just haven’t found the time. Would you recommend a garage sale, hauling the stuff to the curb or just ignoring the problem? Support your answer with examples from your personal experience.

* It’s Saturday night. You’ve had a long work week and you’d really just like to sit back and watch some sports on TV but your wife is insisting you go out. How do you convince her to let you stay at home?

* Say you end up having to go to the opera on Saturday night after all. What’s the best way to survive the performance without really pissing off your wife?

* You’ve got a 1963 MGB four-cylinder roadster in the garage that you’ve been working on for close to ten years now. Trouble is that you haven’t been able to find a four-speed gearbox with a non-synchromesh, straight-cut first gear. Where can I get a reconditioned gearbox and how do I install it? There is some urgency in this question as my wife is pestering me to “get rid of your silly toy.”

* When you’re barbecuing steaks, do you use a charcoal grill or a gas grill? If the former, what type of charcoal do you use and how do you test for doneness? Any suggestions for a good barbecue sauce?

* How do you make a stinger, a rusty nail and a manhattan? Do you prefer them on the rocks or straight up?

* Do you rent or own? They say when you rent you’re just throwing your money way. What’s your experience and what would you suggest? Can you recommend a good real estate agent?

Friday, September 07, 2012

The Birth Day Movement

I’ve got a problem with Mitt Romney’s pick of Paul Ryan as his running mate. It’s not Ryan’s right-wing conservative views on things like abortion and gay marriage that bother me. Or even his far right budget proposal comprising tax cuts for the rich and benefit cuts for everyone else Heck, I can even accept that he’s a big fan of the uber-capitalist novelist Ayn Rand.

What I can’t accept, however, is that Mr. Ryan may not be a properly qualified vice presidential candidate. The Constitution says that you have to be at least 35 years old to serve as president or vice president. Media reports state that Ryan’s 42. But look at the guy. He doesn’t appear to be a day over 30.

Wikipedia says Ryan was born in Janesville, Wisconsin on January 29, 1970. I was 20 years old in 1970 and I don’t remember any birth announcement for a Paul Davis Ryan. Do you?

And Janesville? Is that even a real place? Sounds like a phony name to me.

I think it’s time that Ryan prove his real age. And not with some notarized copy of what is likely a phony birth certificate. Or some half-doctored, semi-photoshopped hospital document. We’ve been through that charade before.

Mr. Ryan, be a man and prove you’re 35 or older. Surely in this modern age there are home movies or videos of your birth. Let’s see some family archival material like a lock of your baby hair or a bronzed baby shoe that we can run some DNA or carbon-dating tests on. At the very least, I would expect affidavits from those present at your birth including any doctors or nurses on duty.

So far, we’ve seen absolutely nothing. All we have are a bunch of third-hand, hearsay statements that you were born in 1970 in a supposed town called Janesville. I’d like to trust Mr. Ryan on this point but I’d prefer some hard factual evidence. After all, even Superman tried to fool us for years claiming he came from Smallville.

Let’s get this issue out in the open before it’s too late and we end up electing a vice president who’s under 35 and a heartbeat away from the oval office. I urge patriots like Donald Trump, Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh to join my crusade and ensure that there will be no underage candidates for the nation’s second highest office. Let the birth day movement begin.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Stevie's Summer Vacation

How I Spent My Summer Vacation -  by Stevie Harper

I live in a big house on Sussex Drive in Ottawa but my real home is in Calgary.  I wanted to go home for the summer but there was too much to do in Ottawa.  I have a bunch of cabinet ministers who could help me out but I can’t really trust them to make decisions on their own, especially when it comes to buying hotel orange juice and taking helicopter rides.  So I had to stay here and work every day.
Well, not every day.  In June, I got to take a short trip to Mexico so I could tell some European leaders how they can clean up their financial mess.  I was just trying to be helpful but they got all annoyed and told me to back off and clean up my own mess.  Something about our debt to GDP ratio being no better than theirs.  Go figure.
I also got to go home for a few days in July to enjoy the Calgary Stampede.  Calgary really is great, you know, and I couldn’t help pointing out that it’s the greatest city in the greatest country in the world.  Some folks said I forgot about Toronto so I apologize for that.  Just kidding.
Back in Ottawa, I had to help create some TV ads for the bicentennial celebration of the War of 1812.  Did you know that we won that war?  I don’t think a lot of Canadians knew that so it’s a good thing that we spent a lot of money letting them know.  We just have to be careful not to annoy the Americans in case they decide to start the War of 2012.  I’m not sure we’d do so well in that one.
I also had some unfinished work to complete from last year.  First off, I had to close the Canadian Wheat Board.  Believe it or not, some folks still thought it was a good idea to benefit from large-scale grain sales and to share the risk of crop failure.  No need to worry about that anymore.
I also had to clean up a few odds and ends after getting rid of the long-gun registry. Some people wanted to keep the records so they could start their own registry.  How silly is that?  If they want a gun registry, they’ll have to start from scratch just like those crazy Liberals did.
Speaking of those crazy Liberals, it looks like they won’t be around much longer.  Some folks say that, just to make sure, I’m not picking on that new kid Tommy Mulcair.  Boy, some people are really cynical.  I love the Liberals.  After all, if we didn’t have the Liberals around, how could we still split the left-of-center voter?
There was also that ongoing project to cut back on the federal public service.  It’s not easy to cut 20,000 jobs, you know.  Especially when you do it really, really slowly and you make people compete against one another for positions.  Some folks said that, like my buddy Mitt Romney, I seemed to enjoy firing people.  But that’s not true. Well not entirely true.
Of course, it wasn’t all work this summer.  I got to do some reading, especially some books by my favorite authors Ayn Rand, Sun Tzu and Machiavelli and a few letters from that nice Conrad Black fellow.  Did you know he spent time in a U. S. prison and had to give up his Canadian citizenship?  Doesn’t seem fair, does it?
It looks like I’m going to have to stay here in Ottawa right through Labor Day.  There’s so much to do and so little time.  I’ve gotta sort out the accounting for some fighter jet purchases.  I’ve gotta help my friends in Alberta get their oilsands oil to the Pacific coast and onto China.  And then there’s my secret agenda.  Just kidding, of course, since it’s really no secret anymore.
Finally, there are a few provincial premiers who I’m going to help get new jobs soon.  Anything to help out the economy, I always say.  That’s just the kind of guy I am.


Monday, July 02, 2012

Ginsburg v. Timex

To the casual observer, it might appear that every recent decision of the Supreme Court has been decided by a 5-4 vote.  From Citizens United to the Affordable Care Act, the Court has issued a number of close high-profile split decisions.  But that’s not always the case as evidenced by these recent unreported decisions:
Roberts v. Department of the Treasury
In an unrecorded 9-0 vote, the Supreme Court unanimously upheld the Chief Justice’s petition to increase the base salaries of the members of the Court.  No written reasons were provided although the official Court file apparently contains a yellow sticky note signed by Justice Kennedy (age 76) urging his colleagues to unilaterally expand their ruling to also include a hefty pension increase.  A second note signed by Justice Sotamayor reportedly reads: “While we’re at it, a swimming pool in the basement would be nice.  Just saying.  Cheers, Sonia.”
Ginsburg v. Timex
In an unsigned order, the Court denied Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg her request for funds to purchase an electric clock-radio reportedly by an 8-0 vote.  As the oldest member of the current Court, Justice Ginsburg was apparently having trouble getting up in time to make morning sittings.  Reasons are typically not provided for such orders but rumor has it that Justice Antonin Scalia argued aggressively against his colleague’s request on a strict constructionist basis.  Given that the founding fathers did not have radios or electric timepieces, Scalia felt that compensating such a purchase was clearly unconstitutional.
Thomas v. Timex
In another unsigned order, Justice Clarence Thomas was granted his request for compensation for his purchase of an alarm clock, reportedly by a 7-1 vote.  Despite the similarities to Justice Ginsburg’s case, most of the justices were able to easily distinguish the two fact situations.  “This was clearly a work-related expense,” said Chief Justice Roberts.  “Clarence didn’t need the clock to get to work but instead required it to wake him from frequent naps on the bench.”  Not surprisingly, Madame Justice Ginsburg dissented vigorously but Justice Scalia won the day by pointing out that Clarence Thomas’s clock was wind-up and not electric thereby clearly falling within the original intent of the framers of the Constitution.
In re summer recess
In an unreported ruling, the nine justices of the Supreme Court unanimously decided last week that they would shut down the office immediately and take the rest of the summer off.  In a per curiam decision, Chief Justice John Roberts, speaking for the Court, stated that “it is unanimously agreed that it’s just too damn hot in Washington during the summer and that we’d all like to get the hell out of here at least for July and August.”  In fact, all nine justices further agreed to recess right through September as well.  “We’re thinking the first Monday in October might be a nice time to get back to work,” said Roberts.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

The Real Seamus Story

Hi. My name is Seamus Romney, III and I have a story to tell.

I am the grandson of the late Irish setter Seamus Romney, the same Seamus Romney who famously rode in a dog carrier on top of Mitt Romney’s station wagon during a twelve-hour vacation trip to Canada back in 1983.

Gramps always spoke highly of his master Mitt and not just because that’s who fed him. Although my grandfather Seamus often said, “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you”, I don’t think that meant he was holding back in any way on his opinion of Mr. Romney.

A lot of folks have made much of the station wagon incident and my grandfather’s twelve-hour ride atop the car to Ontario. I don’t think that criticism is fair. I got to hear my grandpa’s version of that event many times and not once did he condemn his master outright. As far as Seamus was concerned, it was a privilege to ride on top of the car.

A car, by the way, that was an American-made vehicle. An American-made vehicle, Seamus would often say, that was built by a strong, vibrant American car company that didn’t need, and would never accept, a government bailout.

Legend has it that, during that vacation trip, Seamus had a fear-induced “accident” while riding atop the Romney family station wagon. While my grandfather didn’t deny that this happened, he insisted that he wasn’t afraid. The simple explanation, according to him, was that, just before the trip, he snuck into the Romney pantry and ingested half-a-dozen licorice sticks and a bagful of prunes.

Grandpa Seamus praised Mr. Romney for stopping the car at a gas station and hosing down the crate for my grandfather’s benefit. He often cited that action as an apt metaphor for what he thought his master would be able to do for the whole country if ever elected President.

To hear my grandfather tell the story, Mr. Romney wasn’t a bad man. Seamus didn’t mind riding in the roof-mounted crate. “After all”, he repeatedly said, “Massa Romney wasn’t a cruel dog owner. He always meant well.”

What was cruel, according to Seamus, was having to spend time that summer vacation in Canada. My grandfather didn’t much care for that country and, until his dying day, blamed the healthcare system there for influencing his master and beguiling him into imposing a version of it on Massachusetts.

Some have commented on the fact that Mr. Romney eventually sent Seamus to live in his sister’s home in California. They say this illustrates the cold, unfeeling nature of the man.

But my grandfather never held a grudge about the move. Throughout the years, he was loyal to a fault. But I can’t help wondering if he might have preferred the lifestyle of that pampered Portuguese Water Dog named Bo who currently resides in The White House. Sadly, he’ll never know and it’s looking more and more likely that none of his descendants will either.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Dear Diary

“Obama was sexually warm, but emotionally cool, early girlfriend says”
- headline from The Globe & Mail - May 3, 2012

Entries from the diary of Genevieve Cook  reveal the details of Barack Obama’s first serious romantic relationship back in the early 1980s.  And now we’re also learning about Mr. Obama’s latest romantic entanglement from the diary entries of someone called the American People:

August 28, 2008
Dear Diary,
I think I’m in love.  His name is Barack and he appears to be everything I want in a man.  He says all the right things and - be still my heart - he actually listens to what I have to say.  I don’t want to get my hopes up but I think he could be the one.  Today I officially made him my number one candidate.

November 4, 2008
Well, dear diary, it finally happened.  Barack and I went all the way.  He’d been suggesting that we become intimate for months and I’d been resisting.  After all, there were other suitors and I wasn’t sure if I wanted that serious a commitment.  But he finally won me over with his sweet words and bold promises.

January 20, 2009
It’s been a crazy two months and my head’s just been spinning.  First I dumped my old boyfriend George and now Barack and I have finally decided to live together.  We’ve even made a four-year commitment.  No need to rush into things but if Barack is as great a guy as I think he is, then there could be wedding bells in the future.  How does eight years in a big white house sound, dear diary?

February 14, 2009
It was awfully sweet of Barack to get me a big present for our first Valentine’s Day but, dear diary, I’m a bit concerned.  All through our first months, he kept telling me that he was financially responsible but now it turns out he’s a bit of a spendthrift.  To the tune of one trillion dollars.  When I confronted him, he just said you have to spend money to make money and not to worry my pretty little head about it.

March 23, 2010
Dear Diary,
When we first started dating, Barack and I talked about having a family.  I expressed my concerns about hospital costs and he said not to worry, that he would make sure that we were secure and had full medical coverage.  Well, it turns out he wasn’t being completely honest with me.  That free healthcare we were going to get now seems to have a hefty price tag and he may not even provide it; we may have to buy it from some insurance company.

November 2, 2010
Dear Diary,
I guess the bloom is off the rose.  Maybe in that first blush of romantic love I expected too much.  Today I expressed my feelings in no uncertain terms.  I told him I was disappointed and decided to take control of the house.  I told him I wasn’t necessarily thinking of a divorce, that this was more like a trial separation and that we’d re-visit the situation in a couple of years.

May 3, 2011
Dear Diary,
It’s been a rough few months and I was continuing to have my doubts about us as a couple.  For months Barack has seemed distant and withdrawn.  He was letting people like John Boehner and Mitch McConnell push him around.  He no longer seemed to be that strong man I fell in love with.  But yesterday all that changed when I found out that he had given the orders to eliminate Osama bin Laden.  I have to admit that my heart skipped a beat and I actually swooned.

May 5, 2012
Dear Diary,
OK, so maybe every romance is like this.  After all, you can’t maintain that initial excitement forever.  Sure, Barack has his faults and maybe he doesn’t follow through on all his promises.  He said he’d get my family jobs and he hasn’t.  But he’s really not that bad and can I really do better?  There’s that rich, good looking guy Mitt who keeps calling but I don’t feel any magic between us.  I think I’ll just wait until November and decide then.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Flight of the F-35

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome aboard Tory Airlines flight F-35. We’d like to thank you for choosing Tory Airlines. Although we know that most of you are having second thoughts about flying with us, we nevertheless appreciate that you have entrusted us with a majority position.
Today’s destination is as yet undetermined although we originally planned to land on time and under budget. Some of you may have heard that we’re heading for the point of no return. Others may have assumed that we’re on a path to financial oblivion. However, we’d like to assure you that we have no intention of veering off course again and we will no longer be flying by the seat of our pants.
Your aircraft has the latest in aviation technology thanks to the generous donations of you, the Canadian taxpayer. For the token sum of $2,000 each, you have helped build one of the fastest, most efficient fleets in the world. Despite the aircraft’s limited seating capacity, it will reach its destination in less time than you can say “what happened to our majority?”
Because of aisle restrictions, there will only be limited food and beverage service on this flight. Today’s menu consists of sour grapes, humble pie and roast crow.
For security reasons, on-board entertainment is restricted to a single movie: “The Hangover.” Furthermore, due to recent budget cuts, no CBC TV or radio broadcasts are available.
Your flight crew today is headed up by Captain Stephen Harper, a pilot with a wealth of flying experience although perhaps a bit shy in the oversight department. At last word, your co-pilot will be Peter MacKay although his assignment may be subject to last minute changes.
We would ask that you direct your attention to the front of the plane for a brief safety demonstration. This plane has no emergency exits although in the event of a mishap, the pilot will be able to eject safely and, in all likelihood, fall clear of any possible fallout and debris.
As for the remaining crew members, unfortunately there is no easy way out and they should resign themselves to their fate. Passengers, as always, will be responsible for any cost overruns and are basically on their own.
Prior to takeoff, rather than placing your seat in an upright position, we ask you instead to bend over. We would likewise ask you to have your credit card ready when exiting the plane as your ticket price may have increased significantly during the flight.
Once again, on behalf of the captain and the crew, we hope you have a pleasant flight wherever it might take you. As you may now have guessed, we really have no idea where we’re going. However, you can be assured that, as always, you’ll take it in the end.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Justifiable Laptopicide

“A video of an angry American father pumping nine slugs from a handgun into his daughter's laptop has gone viral on YouTube and sparked an impassioned online debate over his parenting skills.
- The Ottawa Citizen - February 11, 2012

Tommy Jordan, of North Carolina, fired a round of bullets from his .45 handgun into his daughter Hannah’s laptop after she posted a complaint on Facebook about having to do chores around the house. Viewers from coast to coast have weighed in on the debate as to whether this constituted good parenting.
While the question of whether or not it is appropriate to shoot your child’s laptop is no doubt an important one, there are other more important issues that seem to have been lost in this debate. First, of course, is the fact that Mr. Jordan’s short shoot-em-up video shows him smoking a cigarette while dispatching his daughter’s computer.
I think we can all agree that, by smoking on camera, Mr. Jordan has not presented a desirable role model to either his daughter or the approximately two million YouTube viewers who watched his video. At the very least, he should have included a verbal aside or a video pop-up advising kids that smoking is bad for them.
A more important issue is the type of ammunition used in the laptop shooting. Mr. Jordan states that he used exploding hollow-point rounds which apparently cost him a dollar apiece. Was this the most effective and economical way to carry out the task at hand?
Clearly it would have been cheaper to have used lead round-nosed bullets and fully-jacketed bullets would have caused the smallest cavities. But to ensure maximum wounding effect, albeit at a greater cost, exploding hollow-point rounds were definitely a good choice. For future computer shootings, Mr. Jordan might want to compromise between cost and effectiveness and go with semi-wadcutter bullets.
A subsidiary issue worthy of debate is why Mr. Jordan chose to use nine bullets. From the video, it appears that four or five slugs judiciously placed would have achieved the desired result. On the other hand, he was not simply trying to disable the computer; he was also trying to make a point about his daughter’s bad behavior. Thus, a few extra shots were probably called for with an absolute upper limit, say, of twelve to avoid any possibility of message overkill.
What is particularly surprising to me is that few, if any, YouTube viewers raised the important question of what brand of laptop this was and how did it perform after the shooting? A related question is whether Mr. Jordan had purchased any extended warranty coverage and, if so, did he opt for firearm damage protection?
There remains, of course, one far more important question to discuss: Was Mr. Jordan restricted by the handgun laws in his home state of North Carolina? Did he have no choice but to use a .45 handgun? Was the option of a semi-automatic Glock not available to him? If not, why not? After all, this is America and the right to bear arms should be as little restricted as possible, particularly when it comes to computer killings.
Whether you’re a responsible parent trying to make a point to your rebellious teenage daughter or you’re a frustrated porn viewer whose desktop has frozen for the hundredth time, you should be guaranteed as wide an array of firearm options to dispatch the offending piece of computer hardware. After all, in America, when your computer screws up or dies, you have every right to finish it off in any manner you choose.

Monday, March 19, 2012


In light of the continuing controversy over Bill C-30, the Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act, Canada’s Conservative Government® has decided to introduce the following additional pieces of legislation:

The Protecting Members of Parliament from Twitter Fanatics Act
Prime Minister Harper has taken personal ownership of this new bill and hopes to see early passage. The primary purpose is to exempt Canadian parliamentarians from any mention on Twitter posts anywhere in the world.
“It’s just common sense,” said the Prime Minister. “MPs cannot carry out their very important functions if every aspect of their lives is broadcast through such frivolous media. How can they be expected to concentrate on the tasks of running the country if they have to answer to all manner of public documents and factual statements?”

The Protection of the Sanctity of Marriage Act
In keeping with their pro-family agenda, Canada’s Conservative Government® has deemed it necessary to take measures to protect the institution of marriage. Justice Minister Rob Nicholson states that this bill is a necessary follow-up to the legalization of same-sex marriage.
“While we may not have supported same-sex marriage initially,” says Minister Nicholson. “Now that it is a reality, we consider it important to provide certain protections to all marriages, be they heterosexual, homosexual or asexual.”
Those protections include a ban on the publication of any particulars of divorce proceedings. “To ensure that the institution of marriage continues to be held in high regard,” said Nicholson. “It only makes sense to restrict reference to anything that might have to do with marriage breakdown.”
Apparently Mr. Nicholson was heard to say that if you’re not for this bill then you’re against all forms of marriage including gay marriage.

The Announcement of New Legislation When the Prime Minister is in Canada Act
The aim of this bill appears to be twofold. First, the government wants to ensure that the Prime Minister no longer announces his government’s legislative intent while overseas in such places as Switzerland and China. As noted by Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird: “The Prime Minister should leave it to me to make dumb statements or hug cute panda bears while out of the country.”
Second, the government wants to ensure that any ministers of the Crown hold off on public comment on proposed legislation under their purview until the Prime Minister is back from any foreign trips. This latter provision, known as the Toews Amendment, will ensure that a minister cannot unilaterally take any action or make any incendiary statement without first clearing it with the Prime Minister.

The Avoid Helicopters At All Costs Act
This bill is specifically directed at the Minister of National Defence and spells out unequivocally the minister’s obligation to avoid anything to do with unwinged motorized aviation devices. That means avoiding any purchases of helicopters, any rides in helicopters and even any mention of helicopters, choppers, eggbeaters or whirlybirds.
When asked to comment on the proposed legislation, current National Defense Minster Peter MacKay demurred stating off the record that he was afraid that even referencing the bill might get him into more hot water.

The I’m the Boss and Do As I Say Act
The Prime Minister has decided to also champion this new bill. “I think some of my ministers still aren’t clear on the nature of their portfolios and the extent of their ministerial power,” said Mr. Harper. “If they had any doubts before, this bill will make it abundantly clear who’s in charge.”
Some observers have questioned the need for this particular piece of legislation given the Prime Minister’s current iron grip on all aspects of the governing process. “I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to formalize the status quo,” Treasury Board President Stockwell Day was heard to say. “But I won’t get in trouble for saying that, will I?”

The Liberals and NDP are Big Crybabies Act
This bill has no actual monetary or punitive provisions. Much like the Multiculturalism Act, the Liberals and NDP are Big Crybabies Act is simply a recitation of principles dear to the hearts of some Canadians and all Conservatives.
The short form title of the bill is the Opposition Sucks Act and it contains ten sections comprising a litany of right-wing complaints against the Tories’ opponents. Informally referred to as the Ten Commandments, they include such articles of faith as “They’re all socialists”, “All they do is tax and spend”, “They’re all bleeding hearts” and, of course, “Trudeau sucks.”

Monday, March 05, 2012

Dear Primary Care Provider

A medical advice column for those suffering on the presidential primary campaign trail:

Dear Primary Care Provider:
I am clearly the best qualified candidate but I’m having trouble getting people to vote for me. I’m a bit overweight and some say I have excess baggage. But there’s nothing wrong with my ego and my presidential ambitions are as healthy as ever. What can I do to improve my political health?
Speaker Newt

Dear Speaker Newt:
Sometimes even a healthy ego can be overinflated which can be damaging to one’s political constitution. It wouldn’t hurt to scale back on your self-regard a touch and take a daily dose or two of humility.
As for your weight problem and excess baggage, if you can’t drop a few pounds, at least cover up any unseemly bulges. Try turning past liabilities into assets by dressing them up. For example, three marriages can be positively characterized as a lifelong commitment to serial monogamy.
If you still want to be around in November, don’t make promises you can’t keep. It’s one thing to promise the moon in Florida but it may not fly in Maine or Nevada.
Primary Care Provider

Dear Primary Care Provider:
I’ve been running for almost five years now and I still seem to have problems finishing. Everyone says I look great and my fiscal health has never been better. But when it comes to my electability, there seems to be something missing. What more can I do?
Governor Mitt

Dear Governor Mitt:
First, I want to commend you for having the courage to talk about electoral dysfunction. Not all men are comfortable with this topic.
Oftentimes, electability issues are evident when we examine a patient’s family history. For example, maybe you have inherited your father’s political problems. Was he a governor like you? Did he belong to a quirky, non-traditional religion? Was he a failed presidential candidate?
If you feel you’re stuck, it may be a good idea to change your political positions. It has often been said that moderation is the key to good health but that doesn’t always apply to one’s political well-being. Have you tried switching to a more conservative approach? Just be careful not to change positions too quickly or too often or you may end up suffering a severe case of the flip-flops.
Primary Care Provider
Dear Primary Care Provider:
I’m 76 years old and some say I have the constitution of the Energizer bunny. I keep running and running and I can run forever.
Unfortunately, all that running hasn’t translated into good test results. My numbers always seem to be in the low teens and I can’t make that primary breakthrough I so desperately need. Is there some new approach you can recommend to boost my flagging polling numbers?
Congressman Ron

Dear Congressman Ron:
I understand that you, too, are a doctor so I’m going to give you some straight medical advice. In most endeavors, consistency and dedication are desirable qualities. But politics is different.
You are to be commended for sticking to your principles and philosophy no matter what crazy positions they force you to adopt. But to achieve political health, you not only have to appeal to yourself; you also have to appeal to others.
Thus you may want to soften your stance on certain issues. Have you considered adopting a program of Libertarian Lite? If that’s not for you, I strongly suggest forming a third party. You may not achieve your desired result but you’ll almost certainly stop your opponents from doing so.
Primary Care Provider

Dear Primary Care Provider:
I’ve been suffering from a variety of political ailments for several years now. No matter how hard I try, my test numbers just won’t improve.
My unemployment numbers are way up, my GDP is down and my accumulated debt is off the charts. How can I get back in the pink?
President Barack

Dear President Barack:
First of all, when it comes to your political health, don’t say pink or red or anything even remotely socialistic.
Given your horrible numbers, usually I would recommend drastic action like taking the next four years off. But as bad as your results are, sometimes it’s good to remember that others are in worse shape than you.
I can’t say for sure but I suspect that if my other patients keep beating one another up for the next five or six months, you’ll do just fine in the only test that really matters: the one on November 6th.
Primary Care Provider

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Stephen's Id Versus His Super-ego

Stephen Harper’s recent address to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland made headlines for the prime minister’s suggestion that Canada’s Old Age Security plan needs to be overhauled. What didn’t make headlines, however, was the internal dialogue Mr. Harper’s mind was obviously having. The italicized portions represent his moralizing super-ego in the form of the actual words spoken by him at Davos. The parenthetical portions are the more instinctual responses by his id.

On what we must do now: First, we will, of course, continue to keep tax rates down. (I’m an economist by training so I know this won’t work for the economy. But my right-wing constituency demands it and I do know what works politically.)

We will be taking measures in the coming months....Not just to return to a balanced budget in the medium term, but also to ensure the sustainability of our social programs and fiscal position over the next generation. (Boy, am I having regrets about pissing away that huge surplus the Liberals left me. Oh, well, it looks like no one’s really noticing that screw-up anymore. Chances are they still won’t remember come next election time.)

The problems afflicting Europe — and for that matter the United States — are not only challenging today but, in my judgment, threaten to be even greater problems in the future. (It’s fun to take potshots at the big boys but I sure hope to hell they figure this mess out. Otherwise we’re screwed, too.)

We have already taken steps to limit the growth of our health care spending over that period. (Luckily, for me, I’m part of federal employee plans which compensate me 80% for drugs and additional medical procedures and 90% for most dental work.)

We must do the same for our retirement income system....For those elements of the system that are not funded, we will make the changes necessary to ensure sustainability. (After all, someone has to bear the brunt of this coming crisis. Just so long as it’s not me and I get to keep my MP’s pension of $18,626 a month if I stick it out to 2015. In my position, $223,517 a year may not be enough but at least it’s a start and it is indexed.)

We will also continue working with the Obama administration to implement our joint "Beyond the Border" initiative, our plan to strengthen and deepen our economic and security links to our most important partner. (I wouldn’t mind joining the United States. Hey, who wouldn’t? So long as I’m part of the one per cent and with my generous pension and potential revenue from speaker’s fees, I should have no problem qualifying.)

However, at the same time, we will make it a national priority to ensure we have the capacity to export our energy products beyond the United States, and specifically to Asia. (Screw those environmental terrorists and their political buddies in The White House. Once we get one of our Republican pals reelected, we can get that Keystone pipeline project back on track.)

In this regard, we will soon take action to ensure that major energy and mining projects are not subject to unnecessary regulatory delays - that is, delay merely for the sake of delay. (How do those bleeding hearts figure we can grow the country if we have to check for problems all the time? Once the economy is booming again, no one’s going to cry over a little spilt milk, oil or uranium.)

We will ensure that, while we respect our humanitarian obligations and family reunification objectives, we make our economic and labour force needs the central goal of our immigration efforts in the future. (Except, of course, for our investor immigrant program. If you can afford to buy your way in, why not? After all, isn’t that the American - I mean Canadian - way?)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Monsieur Romney

After attacking the former governor of Massachusetts for being a “moderate” – a bad word in Republican circles – the ad’s narrator says: “And just like John Kerry, he speaks French too.”
- The Globe & Mail - January 13, 2012

Politics can be a nasty business what with candidates attacking not only one another’s positions but also their traits and personalities. But it looks like the current campaign for this year’s Republican presidential nomination has sunk to a new low.
Newt Gingrich has taken off both gloves and come out swinging against Mitt Romney by portraying him as that most hated of people - a francophone. What can the former governor do now? It’s impossible to prove a negative - i.e. - that he can’t speak French. And any use of the French language would just make matters worse. Or would it?
Perhaps Romney’s best defense is a good offense. It’s time for the Mittster to go on the attack and celebrate his Frenchiness, perhaps with an attack ad of his own like this one:

Camera pans across a private library filled with leather-bound books and lights on a distinguished-looking Mitt Romney seated at an impressive oak desk.
“My fellow Americans. As I seek to become your next president, it saddens me to see my opponents stooping to nastier and nastier tactics. Rather than debate me on the issues, they are now engaging in ad hominen attacks. Ad hominen, of course, being Latin meaning attacks against me personally.
“Yes, I understand Latin; I even speak a bit of it. And there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s a dead language, you see. Contrary to the view of Rick Perry, it is not the lingua franca (there’s that Latin again) of Latin America. As far as I know, they still speak mostly Spanish and Portuguese down there.
“I have to admit that I also speak a little Spanish. Un poco, as they say, and I’m proud to own up to that. After all, our Hispanic brothers and sisters in this great land of ours make up a sizable percentage of the electorate and I’d like to think that we are sympatico.
“Which brings me to the subject of French. Yes, I do know some French. There I’ve said it. And, quite frankly, there’s nothing wrong with that.
“Much of our own American language is based on French. Take coup de grâce, for example, which is something I’d like to deliver to my bête noire Newt Gingrich this Saturday in South Carolina.
“So if one of us happens to know quelques mots en français, what’s the big deal? It’s not like that makes me an adulterer or a surrender monkey.
“I think it’s about time we celebrated a candidate’s linguistic abilities in this country. It’s time we stopped insisting that you have to be unilingual, or in the case of George W. Bush non-lingual, to serve in The White House.
“I understand some French. I can write some French. And I can even speak a bit of the language. Just enough, in fact, to tell those wine-guzzling, cheese-loving, shower-avoiding snobs to laissez-nous tranquilles.
“Knowing French is not a weakness. Being French, on the other hand, is. And when it comes time to keep those Frenchies in their place, I’ll be le president who can do it in both languages.”