Foulmouths are rejoicing in North Carolina, where it's no longer against the law to use profanity in public. A judge struck down a 98-year-old ban on cussing, saying the law was unconstitutionally vague. The ruling came in the case of a Chapel Hill woman who was arrested after she told a policeman "you need to clean up your damn, dirty car."
Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., not only was forced to give up the gavel but also her Twitter identity as @SpeakerPelosi because of the Republican takeover of the House. The good news is that becoming @NancyPelosi gives her two extra characters for her Tweets.
President Obama was off the job for 12 days vacationing in Hawaii and his job approval rating went back up to 50 percent. Hm-m-m.
After drilling it into us for years to "file early" the IRS now is saying "wait." Because Congress was so late acting on tax legislation, the agency needs time to reprogram its processing systems. The delay will affect the 50 million taxpayers who itemize deductions.
President Obama's New Year's resolutions:
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who could use his voice to utter world-shattering commands, put it to work for charity in St. Petersburg when he surprised a crowd of Hollywood celebrities and others by crooning, in English, the Fats Domino hit "Blueberry Hill." Putin also has found his thrill with judo, swimming with dolphins and whale fishing.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IV4IjHz2yIo
Your Government at Work
When is a filibuster not a filibuster? Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., railed against President Obama's proposed tax compromise for 8.5 hours, but his longwinded performance was just considered an "extended speech" because it did not delay a vote or other Senate business.
Calendar item: The Environmental Protection Agency has scheduled a multi-agency summit in Washington February 1-2, 2011 to review the progress of the Federal Bed Bug Workgroup. It's the second annual EPA "Bed Bug Summit."
The new Republican-controlled House will have a new Washington work schedule: two weeks on, one week off. Wonder how that would go over in private industry?
The tax cut package President Obama brokered with Republicans isn't quite good enough for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. The Nevada Democrat wants to add a provision to legalize online poker. The legislation was written by lobbyists for a Las Vegas casino operator.
Gallup’s annual Honesty and Ethics Survey shows Americans place lobbyists at the bottom of the list and also give very low ratings to members of Congress and car salespeople. An average 28 percent say journalists lack honesty, in close company with bankers and local politicians. Nurses continue to outrank all other professions.
The Obama administration's newest czar is Russell Travers - The Washington Times calls him the "Wiki Czar." His job is to investigate shortcomings in national security that led to the WikiLeaks debacle. In other words, "plug the damn WikiLeak."
Talk about wasteful spending. President Obama made an unannounced 7,000-mile flight to Afghanistan but couldn't meet with Afghan President Hamid Karzai because of foul weather. He did have a photo op with the troops, however.
One of President Obama's speechwriters, Jon Lovett, won first place in Washington's annual "Funniest Celebrity" competition. You would think he could come up with some funnier lines for his boss.
Vice presidents don't have much to do, so you'd think Joe Biden could get a simple swearing-in ceremony right. But when he administered the oath of office to Mark Kirk, the new Republican senator from Illinois, he instructed him to place his right hand on the Bible -- which meant Kirk raised his left hand. It's the other way around, Joe.
This is indeed a time of great sacrifice for our country. CNN reports that President Obama is considering a short delay of his holiday vacation in Hawaii if a deal isn't reached on the Bush tax cuts that expire December 31.
Sen. John F. Kerry, D-Mass., has put up $85,000 to rent the 2,000-seat Boston Symphony for a December 13 gala to celebrate his 25 years in the Senate. In the season of giving, the nation's richest senator also is putting the squeeze on Democrat donors to add to his $2.7 million campaign war chest. This is causing some grumbling since he's not up for re-election for another four years.
Secret Service agents protected President Obama from falling coconuts in India, but they didn't come between him and a flying elbow from a fellow player in a pickup basketball game. The injury to his upper lip required 12 stitches.
President Obama keeps setting records -- as a golfer (over 50 rounds since taking office) and a world traveler, spending more days abroad during his first two years than any other president. His use of Air Force One costs $181,757 an hour.
A major crisis is brewing in Washington. Apparently Prince William and Kate Middleton didn't check the social calendar in the nation's capital when they set their wedding date for April 29, 2011. That's a potential conflict with the White House Correspondents Association dinner, scheduled for April 30. Some "A list" guests like President Obama might be in a bind.
Maybe retiring Iowa Gov. Chet Culver wants to be known as the last of the big spenders. As one of his final acts before leaving office, Culver, a Democrat, approved pay raises for union state employees that will cost taxpayers more than $200 million. He will be succeeded by Republican Terry Branstad.
If the Obamas thought the health care overhaul was an unpopular initiative, wait till they hear the reaction to First Lady Michelle Obama's plan to place up to 5,000 salad bars in public schools nationwide. Kids are going to beg their mothers to pack a lunch.
If at first you don't succeed, launch a write-in campaign. That's what incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, did after losing to Joe Miller in the GOP primary. She called her eventual victory a miracle. Miller didn't immediately concede.
"The Hangover II" doesn't sound like a very complimentary movie title, but that didn't stop former President Bill Clinton from making a cameo appearance in a sequel to one of 2009's most popular comedies. His role was filmed in Bangkok, Thailand, where he was giving a speech.
You can't say the Democrats in Congress aren't creative. To settle a contest between Reps. Steny Hoyer, D-Md.) and James Clyburn, D-S.C., for the number two leadership post in the new Congress, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (hoping to be House Minority Leader) created a new job for Clyburn. In the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., announced the creation of a new power-sharing position for Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., whose plans for the top job were crushed when Reid surprisingly won re-election.
Congress returned to Washington for a lame duck session. Meanwhile, some political observers have started referring to Barack Obama as a lame duck president, following the repudiation of his policies in the Nov. 2 election.
What do WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, Comedy Central's Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, and Lady Gaga all have in common? They are among the top nominees for Time Magazine's 2010 Person of the Year. No further comment.
Quote of the Week
In your face, taxpayers. An advisory panel to the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board scheduled a meeting to consider ways to prevent fraud, waste and abuse of economic stimulus funds - at a ritzy place: the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Phoenix.
While President Obama was out of the country, Vice President Joe Biden had a busy schedule, including a meeting with Earl Devaney, chairman of the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board -- which was closed to the press and public.
New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg is on a tear. After the election he let loose a tirade against American voters for electing members of Congress who "can't read" and probably "don't have passports." His latest target is soup. He has launched a $370,000 subway advertising campaign warning against the high content of salt in canned soups and other prepared foods. A Bloomberg run for president doesn't seem very likely.
Bhupendra Kansagra didn't get the White House memo. When the founder of Spice Jet welcomed President Obama to a meeting of CEOs during his visit to India, he referred to him as "a fellow Kenyan." Hawaii is his birth state, Mr. Kansagra. Hawaii, get it?
President Obama arrived in India following crushing defeats of Democrats in the mid-term elections only to find TV reports of victory celebrations for a Republican. Nikki Haley, who was elected governor of South Carolina, has relatives in India's Punjab. She is the daughter of Sikh parents who immigrated to the U.S. in the early 1960s.
AARP was one of the leading supporters of President Obama's health care plan, which was supposed to lower costs. Now the organization for retired persons finds itself in the uncomfortable position of having to tell its employees their health insurance premiums are going up.
Voters sent a strong message to Washington to cut spending, but that doesn't deter President Obama from taking an Asian junket costing - some reports say - an estimated $200 million per day just for the stop in India.
She has been a player in U.S. elections for more than two decades, but when voters went to the polls to choose a new Congress, Hillary Clinton was about as far away as she could get from the hot political battle. The secretary of state had scheduled a two-week tour of Asia and "Australasia." Presumably she cast an absentee ballot.
Anticipating that President Obama might want a stiff drink after being rebuked in the mid-term elections, the management at Taj Mahal Palace Hotel planned a special welcome for his visit to India: a bottle of Glenfiddich 40-year-old Rare Collection scotch, one of the world's finest single malts.
"I’ve got to go home to tuck in the girls and walk the dog and scoop the poop." - President Obama, ducking out of a $7,500 per plate dinner prepared by celebrated Rhode Island chefs.
Bumper sticker: "Read my lipstick: Palin 2012"
A State Department official used a Twitter account to send a "Happy Birthday" message to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He should have said "trick or treat."
Forty aircraft, six armored cars and three helicopters will be used when President Obama, accompanied by his wife and two daughters, take a post-election trip to India. Presumably the White House kitchen sink will be left behind.
Now we have a clue as to why President Obama and his followers are liberals: it's in their genes. Scientists at Harvard and UC San Diego have determined that political ideology is affected not just by social factors but also by a certain receptor gene -- that, and how many friends you had in high school.
President Obama has an "enemies list" much larger than President Nixon ever thought of having. It doesn't just include Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. It's everyone who doesn't agree with his liberal agenda. He told a Hispanic audience, "we're gonna punish our enemies and we're gonna reward our friends." Pure Chicago-style politics.
Rhode Island Democrats backing their candidate for governor, Frank Caprio, were angry about President Obama's refusal to endorse him, but Caprio said, "he can take his endorsement and shove it." His opponent, Republican-turned-independent Lincoln Chaffee, is a friend of Obama, said a White House spokesman.
Although President Obama and his wife Michelle will have the entire 570-toom Taj Mahal for themselves and staff on their early November trip to India, they won't spend much time there. Obama has a whirlwind schedule in Mumbai and the first lady has a "likely" trip to Kamathipura to meet with commercial sex workers. The president cancelled a visit to the Sikh Golden Temple because of White House fears it would strengthen beliefs that he is a Muslim.
Many members of Congress will go home to lick their wounds after bruising battles in the mid-term elections, but President Obama is leaving the country. He scheduled a 10-day overseas trip to Asia, visiting India, Japan, South Korea and Indonesia the first week in November. A nice cure for post-election blues?
President Obama's greatest achievement? It took from 1776 to 1990 for the federal government to accumulate a total of $3 trillion in debt, according to the Treasury Department. It took only from January 20, 2009, President Obama's inauguration day, to October 15, 2010 for his administration to add $3 trillion to the debt.
Recession? What recession? Americans are expected to spend $2 billion on Halloween costumes for adults, children and pets this year plus $1.8 billion on Halloween candy. That's scary.
Where's that economic stimulus money when you really need it? In Las Vegas fans are mourning the closing of the Liberace Museum. Owners were forced to blow out the candelabra because funds were depleted. Couldn't they have auctioned off some of the colorful entertainer's feathered capes and bejeweled costumes?
Guess which metropolitan area never stopped growing during the recession? Washington, D.C., the center of national government, enjoys relative prosperity because of massive federal borrowing and spending. How ironic that where the mistakes are made is the area that benefits most.
When you gotta go, you gotta pay. A "toilet tax" is being considered in Nassau County in New York. The proposed sewer usage fee imposed on hospitals, schools, libraries and other non-profits is being called the "taxpayer relief act."
"Politics has gotten so expensive that it takes a lot of money to even get beat with." - Will Rogers
"Personally I'm in favor of money spent on election campaigns. The more money the better. It puts money into circulation that otherwise would be loaned out at a ruinous rate of interest." - Will Rogers
One simple way to cut government spending would be to get a new Speaker of the House who lives closer to Washington. California Rep. Nancy Pelosi's cross-country flights with members of her family and staff cost taxpayers $2.1 million dollars over a two-year period.
Asked about the reason for an increase in racial tension while he has been in office, President Obama's answer was "a tribal attitude." Imagine the furor if Rush Limbaugh or Sarah Palin had said that.
"There's no such thing as 'shovel-ready' projects." - President Obama, admitting to The New York Times that he mischaracterized the economic stimulus program.
"It's just too hard to explain." - Vice President Joe Biden, asked why Democrats aren't running on the administration's accomplishments.
With their candidates trailing Republican challengers in many races, Democrats rolled out their biggest gun. First Lady Michelle Obama, who has a favorability rating of 68 percent, may be welcome in some states where her husband is not.
"I’m not in a position to stop it. I don’t believe in standing in the way of an avalanche." - George Soros, billionaire backer of liberal Democrats, when asked about the prospect of a Republican takeover of Congress.
"If the only charge Democrats can make three weeks into the election is that somehow this may or may not be foreign money coming into the campaign, is that the best you can do?" - CBS Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer, questioning White House adviser David Axelrod.
At a Philadelphia rally where he urged voters to "get fired up" for Democrats in the mid-term elections, President Obama had two distractions: someone in the crowd who threw a book at him and a man who stripped naked to win a $1 million prize.
In his drive to get re-elected, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid tells constituents Nevada needs him in Congress to keep federal funds flowing to the state. He argues that it's his "constitutional duty" to spend taxpayers' money. Which constitution is he reading?
President Obama is teed off with opponents of his liberal policies and he tees up to work off his frustrations. Since taking office he has hit the golf course 52 times.
In a local TV interview, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was asked to name the greatest living Americans. He responded with the names of Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., and Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W. Va., both of whom are deceased.
Remember that economic stimulus program that was supposed to create jobs? As unemployment keeps rising, we learn that 89,000 stimulus payments of $250 each went to people who were either dead or in prison. The Social Security Administration's inspector general said the error cost taxpayers $22.3 million.
This administration really plays the blame game well. When a crowd in Wisconsin showed signs of being bored by Vice President Joe Biden's remarks about the economy, he reacted by saying, "You're the dullest audience I've ever spoken to."
Michelle Obama has been named the world's most powerful woman by Forbes magazine. Has anybody told Oprah?
"I am not a crook." - Richard Nixon, in a TV address during the Watergate scandal.
Rahm Emanuel, the foul-mouthed dictatorial former White House chief of staff, returned to Chicago to run for mayor and announced he plans a "listening tour" of the city. Well, that will be a switch.
Double snubs: Former Vice President Al Gore failed to mention President Obama at a campaign rally in Florida. Obama skipped a Washington rally to show support for the Democratic agenda and instead went to the presidential retreat at Camp David.
Your Government at Work
As Rahm Emanuel resigned as White House chief of staff to run for mayor of Chicago, President Obama gave his departing aide a big hug. That was at a farewell ceremony where Emanuel was presented a gift of a dead fish wrapped in Chicago newspapers. What kind of signal does that send around the world?
"It took time to free the slaves." - President Obama, in a campaign appearance. Is he trying to equate himself with Abraham Lincoln?
Ed Whitacre, who is stepping down as CEO of General Motors, is generally credited with successfully putting the troubled automaker back on its feet after receiving a government bailout. But does he really deserve a $9 million executive compensation package?
Rahm Emanuel is making moves to run for mayor of Chicago. Maybe he thinks he doesn't have enough power as White House Chief of Staff.
President Obama has been out on the stump boasting about his administration's accomplishments. Why not claim credit for adding more to the national debt in his first 19 months in office than all presidents from Washington through Reagan combined?
Sen Harry Reid, D-Nev., the Senate majority leader, said with a straight face that he had "nothing to do" with the bad economy. That has to be the ultimate claim in the Democrat strategy to blame everything on George W. Bush. Does he think Nevada voters are dumb enough to believe him?
A school in Los Angeles was named after that great environmentalist Al Gore. There's just one problem. The school was built on contaminated soil and poses a health risk to students and teachers.
"They talk about me like a dog." - President Obama, complaining to a union labor crowd in Milwaukee about his treatment by "powerful interests" in Washington.
At the height of the Watergate scandal, President Nixon went on TV, looked straight at the camera, and said: "I am not a crook." With polls showing confusion about President Obama's religion, he might have to make a televised statement: "I am not a Muslim."
Ousted Illinois Gov. Rod Blagovejich says he's innocent of charges he tried to sell Barack Obama's Senate seat. But how can you believe a convicted liar?
Your Government at Work
Voter frustration erupted at a meeting where Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., was speaking. A student anti-war protester threw a pie in his face. Levin didn't see any humor in the incident.
Your Government at Work: The National Science Foundation gave researchers at Cornell University a $1.2 million grant to simulate the sounds of objects being smashed -- to help make action scenes in movies or video games more lifelike.
Would you give a politician the shirt off your back? Tom Ewing did. He's a Fox News satellite-truck operator who was on duty at the Iowa State Fair. He bumped into Rudy Giuliani, former New York mayor and 2008 presidential contender, in the men's room wearing a sweat-soaked longsleeved silk dress shirt. Ewing loaned him his shortsleeved shirt to work the crowds. He did get it back, Fox reports.
Not a very nice 49th birthday present for President Obama: his latest job approval rating (41 percent) is much lower than his age.
Sarah Palin says illegal immigration fighter Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has "the cojones" and President Obama does not. How does she know?
Warning Republicans, President Obama said, "I'm going to call them on their bluff" because he has "a bunch of ideas" for deficit reduction. Ideas like the $862 billion economic stimulus spending boondoggle that funded such projects as a $3.4 million turtle crossing in Florida?
President Obama has done away with his "transparency czar" -- about 18 months after he abandoned his promise of a highly transparent administration.
Having barely had time to unpack her bags from a $75,000 a day holiday in Spain, First Lady Michelle Obama joins her husband for another high-roller vacation -- 10 days on exclusive oceanfront property at Martha's Vineyard that rents for $50,000 a week. That's after a brief stay on the Gulf Coast of Florida ... now that it's clean.
"I will put my urine up against Gibbs' anytime." - Peace activist Cindy Sheehan, reacting to White House spokesman Robert Gibbs' statement that critics of President Obama "ought to be drug tested." She said Obama supporters should be tested for "Hopium."
Gossip columns report Bristol Palin has called off her engagement to Levi Johnston. Could it be because her parents wouldn't give them a $3 million wedding?