President Obama received an award for transparency in government from a group of open government advocates. But it was presented in secret in a White House ceremony closed to the public and the press.

Democrats rejected a Republican effort to cut $100 billion in discretionary spending. Tea Party Patriots co-founder Mark Meckler points out that represents less than three cents out of every dollar budgeted to be spent by the U.S. government. Who's calling whom "extreme"?

Don't look to Congress for good role models. A Roll Call newspaper survey showed lawmakers racked up at least $15,000 in unpaid parking tickets in the District of Columbia.

If Democrats had a private strategy to smear Republicans as extremists, it's no longer a secret. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. blurted it out in a conference call with four Senate cohorts, not realizing that reporters were also on the line waiting to talk about the budget stalemate. Schumer had said the Democratic caucus had instructed him to label GOP spending cuts as "extreme."

If students get a spring break, why not the Vice President of the United States? That must have been what Joe Biden was thinking when he put the budget, Libya and other matters aside and went vacationing in the ritzy resort city of Aspen, Colo. Checking out the slopes is important, right?

Business and media magnate Donald Trump has fired up doubts about President Obama's U.S. citizenship and talks like he wants to ride the "birther" issue to the White House in 2012. So he produced his own "proof" of birth. Except the document is from a hospital, not the state of New York, and thus not official. Try again, Trumpster.

While giving lip service to transparency in government, the Obama administration holds a lot of meetings closed to the press. But stuffing a news reporter into a closet? That happened when Vice President Joe Biden spoke at a fundraiser in Orlando, Fla.  So much for constitutional freedoms.
First it was “ObamaCare”. Now it’s “ObamaRail” that conservatives are targeting as a bad initiative of the current administration. The Hill newspaper reports that many Republicans are attacking the high-speed rail proposals from President Obama as “wasteful spending that imposes new mandates on cash-strapped state governments.” All aboard! No, thanks!
Attention taxpayers: Better take advantage of the tax deduction for charitable donations. For the third straight year President Obama is pushing to eliminate the deduction and there’s a belt-tightening mood in Washington. The loss of this incentive to contribute to churches and charities is viewed as a dire threat to these non-profit entities.

"Congress actually has some leftover money hanging around - $1 trillion in "unobligated funds" in the first quarter of fiscal 2011. Rather than use unspent funds to reduce future deficits, lawmakers prefer to spend that money. It’s a murky business." - The Washington Times

Zany songwriter Ray Stephens ("Ahab, the Arab", "The Streak") is still turning out ditties that give you a chuckle and make you think. Here's one on YouTube that has drawn more than 4.2 million viewers:

The federal government already dictates the size of the toilets we use. Now there's a move to put a tax on our toilet paper. Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle went to Washington to lobby for a 10-cent tax on every roll of toilet paper purchased. His action was prompted by his city's $1.7 billion bill for federally mandated sewer improvements. Please don't squeeze the taxpayer!

Republicans are living for the day when Barack Obama no longer is in the Oval Office. But somebody else -- his own staff -- beat them to the punch. Returning from a five-day absence in Latin America, the president found himself locked out of his office. Staff members apparently didn't know he had cut his trip short and came back earlier than expected.
If Congress had a "Cart Before the Horse" award, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., would be the clear winner. On a day when House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., was to give a speech on the GOP's "pro-growth economic plan" with the text to be released to the press at 5 p.m., Schumer was out with a "pre-buttal" three hours earlier. Another example of the weirdness of Washington.

Wanted: a federal worker to run the Facebook page for the Department of the Interior. Salary up to $115,000 plus government benefits. While unemployment is still high in the private sector cushy federal jobs like these seem to be plentiful.

"I have better people advising me than the president does." - Comedian and late night host JImmy Fallon, getting serious about his frustration with President Obama.

Vice President Joe Biden is a fountain of goofy quotes, but did he really say: "If he gives authorization to war ... without congressional approval, I will make it my business to impeach him"? Yes, in 2007, when he was a U.S. senator running for president ... he was talking about then-president George W. Bush, of course, not Barack Obama, the current war president.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on a junket to Italy, was hospitalized briefly in Rome after feeling "slightly unwell." Guess she forgot the admonition to foreign travelers to drink the wine, not the water.

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty has created an exploratory committee to run for president. The potential Republican contender's first big challenge: explain to unknowing voters "what's a Pawlenty?"
According to a Rasmussen Reports survey, forty-three percent of American adults say filing their tax paperwork is worse than a trip to the dentist. After all, the IRS doesn't give novocaine shots.

A Newsweek citizenship test showed 29 percent of Americans couldn't name the vice president. That might be good news for veep Joe Biden, whose latest irrational outburst was to liken the Republican effort to cut federal spending to blaming rape victims for the rape.

The Washington Times reports this bumper sticker spotted in Tampa, Fla.:"A penny saved is a government oversight." 

Violent anti-Obama protests preceded the president's arrival in Brazil, and he already had been forced to cancel a press conference and a speech in Rio Square. He might have been better off to have stayed in Washington and played golf.

"I only know 'butterfly' in one language. . . you got to learn 'butterfly' in at least 20 languages, okay?" - First Lady Michelle Obama, to her daughters, Malia and Sasha, while she was speaking to a group of teenagers in Brazil.
While voters are wondering what President Obama will do about the federal budget impasse and how to deal with the impact of Japan's nuclear catastrophe and Libya's explosive situation, he decided to get away for a five-day trip to South America. Earlier Vice President Joe Biden escaped Washington for a week in Europe. What was it former president Harry Truman said? "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen."

Headline: "Helen Thomas to appear in Playboy." We trust the 90-year-old veteran Washington reporter will not be the April centerfold.
The Obama administration hasn't had much success in finding work for America's unemployed, but Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has pledged to help Tunisia create jobs -- no doubt requiring a hefty increase in foreign aid. Well, if her plan for Tunisia is successful, maybe we can try it here.

Vice President Joe Biden acquired the title of "stimulus sheriff" when President Obama named him to monitor the $800 billion economic stimulus program to make sure the funds were spent wisely. The "sheriff" might need to turn in his badge after it was revealed that an Amtrak station in Wilmington, Del., partially financed with $20 million in stimulus money and named after Biden came in $5.7 million over budget.

House Speaker John Boehner must feel like some days you can't win for losing. On the same day the Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted to cut $6 billion from government spending, the U.S. debt jumped $72 billion. It's enough to make a grown man cry.

Please turn your attention to Rep. Lynn Woolsey, R-Calif. She has the questionable distinction of being the first lawmaker in this session of Congress to win approval of a special designation for a post office in her district. The Republican majority established a policy limiting the naming of post offices and other federal buildings to one day a month.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., has been in the Senate only a short while but it didn't take him long to conclude that "running our government on the fumes of borrowed spending is ... shortsighted ..." and that he "will no longer support short-term budget plans." That, in short, is how he stands.

President Obama may have former president Bill Clinton beat on "compartmentalizing." He seems to be able to separate his official duties from recreational pursuits quite easily. While the earthquake disaster in Japan unfolded, he found time to play golf. And with Congress in turmoil over the budget, he focused his attention on makng his picks for the 2011 NCAA tournament.

What's up with Medicare? The giant government health program paid claims worth $3.1 million for prescriptions for Viagra and erectile dysfunction drugs for swinging seniors. Bureaucrats blame "computer error." The Capital Cynic wonders how many other careless mistakes are costing taxpayers money.

A new government building in Fort Wayne, Ind., will be called Citizens Square. City officials chose the designation after discarding an earlier idea to name the building for a former mayor, Harry Baals.

While President Obama is struggling with the federal budget issue, he also has a private debt to settle. The mayor of Springfield, Ill., Frank Edwards, has sent Obama a bill for $55,457. That's the balance of an amount owed the city for police protection during a visit by then-candidate Obama in 2008.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius joked at the Washington Grdiron that the Transportation Security Administration should be folded into her department. That would make it convenient for airline passengers to obtain "a boarding pass and a colonoscopy at the same time," she said.

After dissing the Washington Gridiron Club's roast of politicians his first two years in office, President Obama, with an eye toward 2012, made his first appearance at the event, where all but one president (Grover Cleveland) has spoken since the club was formed in 1885. Obama got his first laugh early: after the Marine Corps band played "Hail To the Chief" he ordered the musicians to play "Born In the USA."

Obama kidded Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, a potential Republican rival, saying he had heard that "your friends at Fox News say you don't look like a president. Well, don't worry about it, they say the same thing about me every day."

Daniels did a routine of running gags about his fellow GOP presidential hopefuls as well as Obama. At one point he turned to him and said, "Mr. President, you're not laughing. Who forgot to put ha-ha-ha on the teleprompter?"

The annual Gridiron show is presented by journalists, but is closed to the press ... just like the Obama administration's transparency in government board's meetings. 

President Obama might have chosen a better word in extending condolences to the people of Japan over the devastating earthquake. He declared that America's bond with Japan is "unshakeable."

"I think they already know the color of my underwear." - Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, referring to personal probing during her Senate confirmation process.

"I have to say, with big ears and the name that I have, I wasn't immune." - A message from the bully pulpit from President Obama, telling attendees at a White House conference on bullying that as a youth he was bullied.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., excoriated federal energy official Kathleen Hogan in a Senate committee hearing about government regulations that he said restrict consumer purchases. "Frankly, my toilets don't work in my house, and I blame you ..." Hogan replied, "I can help you find a toilet that works." Committee chairman Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., interjected: "Well, I'm sorry about your toilet." Enough of the potty humor.
A month ago First Lady Michelle Obama said she is "not a big fan of young kids having Facebook", that it is "not something they need."  Then she and the president made an announcement affecting "every single young person in our country" -- a White House bullying summit.  An invitation went out ... via Facebook.

If you live in Massachusetts and don't want to be a Democrat, Republican or Independent, you can register as a Pirate.  State election officials have approved the Massachusetts Pirate Party as a political designation.  Ar-r-r-gh! 

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is on a high horse about what he calls the "mean-spirited" budget bill of the House Republicans. His big beef: it would eliminate funding for the annual "cowboy poetry festival" in his home state of Nevada.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's blunder -- saying Barack Obama grew up in Kenya, not Indonesia or Hawaii -- might cost him a chance to be the 2012 Republican nominee for president. But with gaffes like that, he's eminently qualified to succeed Vice President Joe Biden.

"He's famous for being famous." - Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., about Donald Trump, adding: "He's not going to be president." 
Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., target of an ethics investigation into his affair with a campaign aide, has decided to leave Congress.  The Senate GOP leadership abandoned him faster than Warner Brothers fired Charlie Sheen.

It's difficult to eat soup when the spoon melts in the hot liquid. So members of Congress dining in the House cafeteria no longer will be using compostable spoons, forks and knives made from corn. They've been replaced by utensils made out of oil and natural gas. This is progress?

Vice President Joe Biden, the White House's point man on brokering a budget deal with Congress, opened negotiations and then skipped town. Biden jetted off on a five-day trip to Finland, Russia and Moldova leaving congressional leaders holding the bag with scant chance of avoiding a government shutdown before current funding runs out.

President Obama said to reach an agreement on budget cuts Democrats and Republicans should come together on common ground ... or did he say battleground?

If Donald Trump should become a candidate for president, can't you just hear him saying: "I have a perfect solution for reducing the federal payroll: 'You're fired!'"

Has Bill O'Reilly met his match? In the midst of an interview with Sarah Palin, she told the bombastic Fox News host not to interrupt her while she was explaining her position on entitlement reform. So much for the "no-spin zone."

The nature of the job demands that a president be decisive. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., might have taken himself out of the running when he changed his mind about making a highly-hyped "major announcement" about being a Republican candidate in 2012.

If you wonder why states - as well as the federal government - are faced with financial shortfalls, look at Missouri where an investigation by News 4 in St. Louis shows recipients of food stamps and welfare payments are spending them in places like Hawaii, California and Florida. The station reported that in January Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards were used to purchase $3,521,974 worth of food outside Missouri. That's a big chunk of lost tax revenue.

Did you know there's a brewery at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. in Washington. Yes, that's the address of the White House. And yes, inside they're making beer. Honey from the Obama beehive was used for the first batch of homemade brew. Watch for the first lady to start growing hops in her garden patch.

Is it a sign of things to come that Vice President Joe Biden lost an election in his home state? Residents of a Wilmington, Del. suburb were asked to vote on a name for a new elementary school. Biden was a finalist but voters denied him the honor and decided keep the name of the old school.

Some Republican lawmakers might be smarting after remarks by Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. -- others might be snickering. Boxer accused GOP senators demanding spending cuts for the Corporation for Public Broadcastig of having a "vendetta against Elmo."

Uncle Sam has 15 agencies that deal with the nation's food safety system and 80 programs across multiple agencies that focus on economic development. So says the General Accountability Office, the government's own watchdog. The 345-page report turns the spotlight on waste and duplication estimated at up to $200 billion. That's a pretty solid argument for spending cuts.

As he welcomed visiting governors to the White House, President Obama said he hoped they felt free "to make yourselves at home." Then, staring pointedly at potential Republican candidate Haley Barbour of Mississippi, he added: "I don't mean that literally."

The Obamas are really living high in the White House. The New York Times reports the president, to keep in shape, has his old trainer fly from Chicago to Washington every week. The Washington Examiner questions why this is necessary in a recession and when each flight produces 50,000 pounds of carbon emissions. Good for the body maybe, but bad for the environment.

The Times of India calls Sarah Palin's planned visit to New Delhi next month "a huge leap of faith and distance." Others might see it as "getting some foreign policy credentials to run for president."

February 2011

"More people own ferrets than watch Fox news." - New York Times columnist David Brooks, quoting a Stanford political scientist. One blogger wrote: "More people own unicorns than read David Brooks."

Public officials have to get accustomed to being the target of insulting remarks and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld faced a supreme test on his recent book tour when he appeared on a satellite radio talk show. A left-leaning comedian pressed the longtime Washington insider to deny he is actually a flesh-eating space lizard. Rumsfeld laughed it off.

"What planet is he from?" - Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty, R-Minn., after making clear he was questioning President Obama's policies, not his place of birth.

The Obama administration has picked a California Democratic fundraiser as the first openly gay White House social secretary. One irreverent blogger commented that he joins the staff of "the first openly socialist president."

Go get 'em, tiger!" Rep. David Wu, D-Ore., who circulated a photo of himself dressed in a tiger costume, has filed for re-election.

As violence flared, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi issued a call to "dance ... sing." His message must have been heard in Washington where President Obama and the first lady hosted a swinging party with lots of singing and dancing to the "Motown Sound."
"I’m not one of those politicians who thinks that because I’m in public office I’ve got to be nice all the time." - New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Remember Al Gore's "lockbox"? It's ba-a-ck, thanks to Senate Democrats who want to insulate the Social Security trust fund from budget cuts. A "Saturday Night Live" skit is just waiting to happen.

An earmark by another name is just as sweet. So say Sens. James Inhofe, R-Okla., and Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., who invited their fellow porkbarreling senators to submit requests for specific projects in a big water resources authorization bill.

There's a report out saying that more than half of American pets or overweight or obese. Does Michelle Obama know about this?

When will politicians learn not to get expensive hair stylings? Remember former vice presidential candidate John Edwards' $400 haircut?  Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., was seen heading toward an upscale Madison Avenue hair salon where a haircut by the owner Eiji starts at $350.

The sun rose in the East. A Democrat, Rahm Emanuel, was elected mayor of Chicago. The sun set in the West.

President Obama's former White House chief of staff faces a mountain of problems, including a huge budget deficit. Well, he can always blame it on George W. Bush.

Rep. David Wu, D-Ore., admits he made a mistake by sending out photos of himself dressed in a tiger costume. Some of his staff members asked him to get psychiatric treatment.

Well-known conservative Christine O'Donnell has two left feet. That's what the former Senate candidate from Delaware told her Facebook followers when she asked their advice on whether to accept an offer to go on the "Dancing With the Stars" TV show.

California Rep. Jane Harmon spent tons of money getting re-elected, then decided to resign to become head of a Washington-based research institution. Angry voters launched a grass-roots movement urging the wealthy Democrat to pay the $3 million cost of a special election.

While many lawmakers are sounding alarms about children and old people in this deficit-minded Congress, three senators have another concern on their minds: bats. Sens. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., are sponsors of a bill to provide a fund to respond to epidemics of White-nose syndrome and other diseases that affect bats. Just one more batty idea for spending taxpayers' money.

What do President Barack Obama and the Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson have in common? Neither was among the 1,900 people invited to the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Tut, tut!

Budget-cutting must be very hard work. After voting to trim government spending by $61 billion, House members took a weeklong break to visit their home states ... except, maybe, those where taxpayer protests are going on. The Senate got a two-day jump on the House. The president of the Senate, Vice President Joe Biden, took his family on vacation in the Florida keys.

How do you make news just by dressing nicely? If you're Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg it's showing up for a meeting with President Obama wearing a suit instead of his usual hoodie, T-shirt and jeans.

"If this is open government I think I'm going to have to look for something else." - Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., after an all-night session on the FY 2011 spending bill.

A clown who won a seat in Brazil's Congress acted silly on his first vote, but it was unintentional. He accidentally pressed the wrong button.
Although it wasn't on the scale of the Russian revolutions, 249
rebellious House members voted to dethrone nine "czars" appointed by President Obama. That still leaves about two dozen powerful advisers who answer to nobody but the president.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., says if Congress can't come to agreement on a funding bill for the rest of the fiscal year there's a possibility of a government shutdown. The Capital Cynic asks: "Would that be so bad?"

House Republicans are leading a crusade to cut spending and Rep. Steve Womack, R-Ark., wants to do his part. He introduced an amendment to eliminate funding for President Obama's Teleprompter.

If you don't think growth of the federal government is out of control, consider that in 1965 total spending was $118.228 billion -- in fiscal 2011 the budget for the Department of Health and Human Services alone is $909.7 billion.

"I sent a grand total of two e-mails as president." - Bill Clinton, who took office at a time when only about 50 websites existed on the Internet.

ABC News has characterized the Obama White House Press Office operation as "state run media." It's hard to believe the mainstream press is sounding like Rush Limbaugh.

America's favorite pastime may no longer be the same if two senior Senate Democrats have their way. Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., want baseball pitchers and other players to quit chewing tobacco. What about those brass spittoons under desks on the Senate floor, gentlemen??

Headline: "Obama frames budget as thrifty" He didn't mention his $3.73 trillion proposal works out to about $12,000 per person.

The president unveiled his budget at a Baltimore school where he told the children it was an investment in education for their future. He neglected to say it will add nearly $7 trillion to the national debt the youngsters will be saddled with.

"Purity is not a winner in politics." - Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, an ex-lobbyist and prospective Republican candidate for president, who believes electability is more important than ideology.
Advice to the lovelorn from First Lady Michelle Obama: "I think in our house we don't take ourselves too seriously, and laughter is the best form of unity, I think, in a marriage." Is she saying her husband is a joke?

Egypt's longtime president, Hosni Mubarak, is gone, and so is King Tut. A statue of the ancient ruler was among several artifacts missing from the Egyptian Museum of Cairo following a break-in.

"... he was willing to take one for the Gipper ..." - President Obama, casting himself in the role of Ronald Reagan, in relating a story about his outgoing press secretary, Robert Gibbs, giving up his tie for Obama to wear for an important speech.

Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., says he doesn't eat tomato based products. Interesting, since his wife became wealthy from the sales of Heinz ketchup and other products of her former husband's company.

A Washington watchdog group is upset about congressmen sleeping on the job. Citiens for Responsibility and Ethics claims 32 House members are violating tax laws by bedding down in their offices on Capitol Hill and not reporting the free lodging as a taxable fringe benefit.

Do you suppose this bird was looking for a bookworm? A hawk flew into the Library of Congress and spent a week living in the dome of the main reading room before being trapped and taken to a raptor conservancy.

"The ballot is stronger than the bullet."
"The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him your friend."
"No matter how much the cats fight, there always seem to be plenty of kittens. "
"Elections belong to the people. It's their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters."
"If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one?"
- President Abraham Lincoln

The House Budget Committee was told Obamacare would result in the loss of 800,000 jobs. Did a radical right-wing Republican say that? No, it was the director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

A group of young Russian women staged a demonstration in St. Petersburg demanding better snow removal. No wonder. They were wearing mini-skirts.

Recession? What recession? Financial adviser Ric Edelman estimates it will cost $2,602 to "score points" with your sweetheart on Valentine's Day. But that includes $981 for a three-night escape to Las Vegas. Only a lovesick congressman could afford that.?
House Republicans lost one member of their majority because he had nothing to hide. Rep. Chris Lee of New York gave up his seat after sending a shirtless photo of himself to a woman over the Internet. "I have to work this out with my wife," he said.

"It's a fun night when we pretend to like the press and they pretend to like us." - Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., at the Washington Press Club Foundation's annual congressional dinner.

A freshman lawmaker in Tennessee says she owes her success in politics to Hooters, the restaurant chain known for buxom waitresses in skimpy attire. State Rep. Julia Hurley, 29, credited her time while working as a "Hooters Girl" for developing business sense and networking skills.

Celebration of the 100th anniversary of Ronald Reagan's birth has produced some wild accusations. The liberal Daily Kos website charges the 40th U.S. president inspired the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. And NBC's Andrea Mitchell accused the GOP of misappropriating the Reagan legacy. Well, after all, he was a Republican.
If there was such a thing as a Congressional Windbag Award, Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, would definitely be the winner. C-SPAN reports Poe addressed his colleagues (or often an empty chamber) 234 of the 317 days the House was in session during the last Congress.

Isn't Bristol Palin a little young to be writing her memoirs? Publication of the life story of Sarah's oldest daughter is scheduled for late June. Should be a quick read.

At the White House Super Bowl party, the poster family for the "war against obesity" served bratwurst, kielbasa, cheeseburgers, deep-dish pizza, Buffalo wings, potato salad, twice-baked potatoes, assorted chips and dips, pretzels and ice cream, with beer to drink.

"I'm the same guy." - President Obama, denying to interviewer Bill O'Reilly that he is moving to the center for political expediency.

Do Joe Biden and Dick Cheney actually agree on something? As angry mobs in Cairo protested the dictatorial rule of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, the sitting vice president declared he is not a dictator. His predecessor called Mubarak a good friend and ally of the U.S. But they probably can't save Mubarak's job.

"I am not worried about the deficit. It is big enough to take care of itself."
"Government is like a baby. An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other."
"I have left orders to be awakened at any time in case of national emergency -- even if I'm in a Cabinet meeting."
"It's true hard work never killed anybody, but I figure, why take the chance?"
"I have wondered at times what the Ten Commandments would have looked like if Moses had run them through the U.S. Congress."
- President Ronald Reagan

Now we know: Parrots tend to be left handed - or more accurately, left footed. That's the finding of a study by researchers in Australia, presumably not funded by U.S. taxpayers.
"I believe that all government is evil, and that trying to improve it is largely a waste of time." - H. L. Mencken


Freedom of speech is lacking not only in Egypt but also at The New York Times, which will not publish letters to the editor saying the paper is "wrong."

No hair-pulling allowed? That's an unstated goal of the 17 female members of the U.S. Senate, but they do have an informal nonaggression pact that is reinforced by regular get-togethers - no men allowed. Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., dean of the group, said, "We committed to maintaining a zone of civility."

President Obama invited Jennifer Lopez to the White House to watch the Super Bowl with him, according to news reports. Maybe he wants to try out for "American Idol"?

Brazil is a country with high economic growth, no foreign entanglements and a yearly Carnival in Rio described as the largest party on Earth. But apparently that's not good enough. Brazilian lawmakers are working on a constitutional amendment to protect the pursuit of happiness.

Punxsutawney Phil failed to see his shadow and predicted an early spring. The world famous groundhog did not share any wisdom about the outcome of the Super Bowl or the future of Egypt.

It doesn't have the glitz and glamor of the Oscar, and in fact the Porker of the Year Award is one nobody would want. But the Citizens Against Government Waste names a winner every year anyway. Sen. Ben (Cornhusker Kickback) Nelson, D-Neb., is among the finalists.

California Gov. Jerry Brown cited the pro-democracy unrest in Egypt to make a case for extending tax increases to balance the budget.  Not that a liberal Democrat ever needs any excuse for raising taxes.

"We have three branches of government: we have a House, the Senate, we have a President ..." - Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., boldly chopping off the judicial branch.
January 2011

Troubled Egypt got a new vice president. Why can't the U.S. be as lucky?

MSNBC mad dog Chris Matthews recently suggested Sarah Palin is too dumb to run for president, accusing her of "not knowing things she ought to know." Later that same Chris Matthews, commenting on Egypt's strategic location, said: "It has, of course, the Panama Canal." Guess he's not running for office.

"The Windy City is about to get a lot windier, what with certain former White House staffers heading to Chicago to jump-start President Obama's 2012 re-election campaign." - Jennifer Harper, "Inside the Beltway" columnist for The Washington Times.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi obviously enjoyed the life she led in the nation's capital during her relatively brief tenure as Speaker of the House, but Air Force records indicate she could hardly wait to get out of town. The California Democrat traveled on military aircraft 90 times between April 1, 2009 and Jan. 1, 2010. In a previous two-year period, her jet-set style cost taxpayers more than $2.1 million. Her successor, Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, uses commercial aircraft.

Your Government at Work
The Washington Examiner expressed outrage over what it calls "sky-high costs for a sky-high project." The newspaper reports the Federal Aviation Administration has spent $1.8 billion to replace a 43-year-old system that directs aircrafts at high altitudes. The project is running behind by six years, which drove costs up.

One of the repressive actions taken by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak against protesters was to shut off Internet access. Guess what? There's talk in the U.S. Senate about giving President Obama the same kind of "kill switch."Crisis in the White House: Not a terrorist attack, but an email outage crippled the daily operations for several hours. President Obama couldn't use his Blackberry. The press office had to resort to reporters' pool reports on paper. Luckily, the Internet Twitter account was not affected. Farmers seldom get good news from the federal government, which imposes heavy regulatory demands on their business, so this is worth sharing. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has decided to allow the planting of genetically modified sugar beets in time for spring planting. Greenies will try to block the partial deregulation.

The president has renominated Dr. Donald Berwick to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., says he believes the controversial doctor "would be a great head of health care in maybe England or Sweden."

"We will be out of Afghanistan by the end of this year." - President Obama, in a significant misstatement of his administration's policy. (He should have said Iraq.) If Ronald Reagan, or any other Republican president had made such an error, talking heads would have raised questions about their mental sharpness.

President Obama's choice for his new press secretary is Jay Carney, who has been serving as Vice President Joe Biden's communications director.  Guess he gave up trying to keep Biden's foot out of his mouth.

The Obama administration seems to be applying a double standard in promoting the health care plan Democrats rammed through Congress last year.  More than 700 waivers have been granted to exempt certain companies, unions and charities from the mandatory law.  Republican Sen. Charles Grassley wants an investigation.
In the late January snowstorm that hit the nation's capital, even the president gets stuck in traffic. Returning from a trip to the campaign battleground state of Wisconsin, President Obama found his helicopter grounded and the White House arranged a motorcade. The line of vehicles weaving in and out of rush hour traffic took an hour and left many angry commuters in its path.

Whoopi Goldberg might be the last person you'd think would be speaking up for a leader of the Tea Party movement. But the co-host of "The View" defended Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., against jibes that she didn't look into the camera in a post-State of the Union response. Goldberg said "... whether we like her politics or not, still she should be given ... respect."

President Obama declared in his State of the Union speech: "At stake right now is not who wins the next election." Then a few hours later he launched his 2012 reelection campaign with a trip to Wisconsin, a critical battleground state.

If President Obama's really serious about cutting government spending he should cut off the outside lights at government office buildings. WUSA9 reporter Andrea McCurren discovered one month's electricity bill at one agency alone - the Labor Department - was more than $1 million. 

Odd couples sitting together at the State of the Union include Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., (who came up with the idea) and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.; Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., and Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y.; Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla.; and Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.

He's not a candidate for anything - he already has an important job - but Antonin Scalia was a big hit with the Tea Party Caucus anyway. reports the long-serving Supreme Court justice "charmed the crowd with his wit" in a closed-door session that drew 50 members of Congress.

Senators face the prospect on voting on a piece of "Swiss cheese" sometime this session. That's what Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said the House health care repeal bill will look like when the Senate is done with it.

"Every president, regardless of party tries to stroke every erogenous zone in the electorate." - Conservative commentator George Will, dismissing the State of the Union speech as a "political pep rally."
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is enjoying the sweet taste of victory after winning a Republican "straw poll" in New Hampshire. That will last only until he comes in second in another meaningless poll.

After saying he had failed to find proof of citizenship for Barack Obama, Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie suddenly has discovered that privacy laws bar him from disclosing that information anyway. So he has abandoned efforts to dispel claims the president was born outside Hawaii. What's stopping Obama from producing the evidence? 

President Obama goofed in introducing one of his "great friends" at a New York event, mispronouncing the name of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. It's an occupational hazard for politicians.
It wouldn't happen in the U.S. Congress, would it? A member of the British Parliament was speaking when suddenly a brightly-colored tie he bought to support the Fight Against Bowel Cancer starts playing an annoying melody. Meanwhile, in the German Parliament a member revolted against wearing a necktie and was tossed off the president's dais.

"It is better to ask some of the questions than to know all of the answers." - Keith Olbermann, quoting James Thurber, in an abrupt surprise departure from his MSNBC talk show.

Although no major party contenders have announced yet, there will be plenty of competition in the 2012 presidential race. So far, 76 candidates have filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission, including Rutherford B. Hayes, a 42-year-old Navy veteran who owns a gutter-installation business in Seattle.

No yielding on human rights or manipulating currency, but Chinese President Hu Jintao's U.S. visit produced one positive result: the two pandas loaned to the National Zoo can stay another five years.
A family disagreement, Washington style. Because he's upset about the popularity of partisan cable news, especially conservative radio talk shows, Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., is calling for a return of the controversial Fairness Doctrine. His daughter, Mignon Clyburn, is a member of the Federal Communications Commission and she's opposed to such a policy in "any way, shape or form."

"I worked in a Chinese restaurant." - Barbra Streisand's response when asked how she got invited to the White House state dinner honoring China's president, Hu Jintao. Hope she wasn't expecting to pick up any tips. 

Here's an urgent message to the new Congress from Al Gore: Forget about health care repeal, the debt limit and other matters. The devastating floods in Australia and Brazil are signs of climate change and "we need to take immediate action," he said.

Supporters of President Obama seeking to quash speculation by "birthers" that he was not born in this country have had a bit of a setback. Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercombie told a Honolulu newspaper he hadn't been able to turn up a hospital-generated birth certificate for him. But he'll keep trying because, as he says, the issue will have "political implications" for the 2012 election.

"I'm looking forward to returning to private life." - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, telling NBC she hasn't committed to serving a second term in an Obama administration. Write that down.

One son of Ronald Reagan, Ron, says he showed signs of Alzheimer's disease while still serving as president. Another son, Michael, questions whether there might be something wrong with his half-brother's memory. Both sons are hawking books about their father.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, turned down an invitation to the state dinner for the president of China, Hu Jintao. Guess Boehner just doesn't care for Chinese food. 

Hu's coming to dinner. China's president Hu Jintao is paying a visit to Washington and will be feted at a state dinner. But don't look for him to spend much money. He has a very low regard for the U.S. dollar.

"We need to quit paying attention to all the media says." - Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., in a quote on "Meet the Press" bound to be picked up by news media of all types.

"I think it’s pretty clear that the founding fathers would have hated your guts ..." - TV liberal loudmouth Bill Maher, channeling Thomas Paine and others, in a message to Tea Party supporters. That was after blaming the Tucson shootings on the lack of government health care for everybody.

Conservative radio host and attorney Mark Levin has threatened to sue anyone who tried to tie him to the tragedy in Tucson -- and that would include MSNBC's Chris Matthews, who might also face a class action suit for applying the term "cracker" (an expression of contempt for poor white people) to critics of President Obama.

So much for the president's call for civility. 

The new chairman of the Republican National Committee seems destined to make a mark in history. Reince Priebus might very likely reach the end of his term before news reporters learn how to spell and pronounce his name.

U.S. officials are getting tough on the immigration situation. They denied a visa for a nine-year-old British boy whose grandparents had planned a surprise trip for him to go to Disney World. The reason: a "risk" that he would not leave the U.S. at the end of his holiday.

A poll shows three in 10 Americans commit "financial infidelity" by lying to their spouses about money.  Wonder if the wife of Rep. John Tierney, D-Mass., was up front with her husband about helping her brother engage in tax fraud?  She drew a 30-day jail sentence.

"I read the bills," said Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., in an interview about his first year in office, succeeding the late Sen. Edward Kennedy.  That's one accomplishment to brag about.

Are we in for a presidential campaign with a candidate promising more and better pizzas?  Could be.  Herman Cain, a talk radio host and former CEO of Godfather's Pizza, has launched an exploratory committee, thus becoming the first official candidate for the 2012 Republican nomination.  With extra cheese, an appetizing choice perhaps.

Ever wonder what happened to Rita Jenrette, who made news 30 years ago by having sex on the U.S. Capitol steps ... with her husband, then-Rep. John Jenrette?  She's now Princess Rita, married to an Italian prince and living in Rome.  Her scandalous caper launched a successful entertainment career for a group of congressional staffers that took the name "Capitol Steps." 

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has drawn some ridicule for tearing up frequently. But when you consider the task he faces in trying to get all the varieties of Republicans - including the Tea Party-backed members - to work together, who wouldn't cry?

A week after new lawmakers were sworn in, a poll showed the public's approval rating of Congress had gone up from 13 to 20 percent. They had better enjoy it while they can, because opinion is apt to change after members have been on the job a little longer.

"The Hammer" has received a crushing blow. Former Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas, who earned the nickname while serving as House Majority Leader, was sentenced to three years in prison for conspiracy and money laundering in the handling of campaign donations. He has appealed the conviction.

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."

If there is any bright spot in the lamentable Tucson shootings it is that Rep. Gabrielle Giffords miraculously survived.

There are conflicting reports about whether former Sen. John Edwards got engaged to the mistress who broke up his marriage to his late wife, Elizabeth. Who cares?

Did you hear the one about the penguin who strolled into the lions' den? It happened at a zoo in Berlin when a 5-month-old penguin decided to come in from the cold. No harm done, because the lions were snuggled up asleep. Only the zookeeper's feathers were ruffled.

The two top Democrats in the House of Representatives must still be in shock. Dethroned Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., blames her party's trouncing in the November election on former president George W. Bush. And former Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., speculates that Tea Party followers come from unhappy families. Get real, losers!

The current buzz in Washington is about who will succeed Robert Gibbs as White House press secretary. The Washington Post went way out on a limb with one name mentioned as a possibility: Major Garrett, former Fox News correspondent who was a constant irritant to Gibbs. But stranger things have happened in the nation's capital.

Former Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld has written a book about Elvis Presley ... well, not just Elvis but a whole array of world figures he has known during his colorful career. His 832-page memoir, "Known and Unknown," is due for publication February 8. published a pithy but apt quote from an anonymous House Democrat about life in the minority: "So far, it sucks."
Those anti-fluoridation activists of the 1950's are back at it, with some justification. Federal health officials now say many Americans are getting too much fluoride from drinking water, toothpaste and other products, causing splotches on children's teeth and other problems. Nyaa-naa-naa-nyaa-nyaa!

President Obama was against raising the debt ceiling before he was for it. Various administration officials have issued dire warnngs if Congress votes against increasing the $14.3 trillion ceiling. But four years ago, then-Sen. Barack Obama took a position against upping the limit, which then was $9 million, decrying politicians' lack of leadership and failure to rein in federal spending.

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., sounds like he intends to kick butt in his role as House Oversight Committee chairman. But first his broken toes have to heal. The chief congressional investigator suffered multiple fractures in a home accident. 
Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, became Speaker of the House of Representatives with a speech pledging humility. But it's hard to look humble holding a gavel the size of a sledgehammer.
Republicans have changed the rules to allow members to use electronic devices in the House chamber — as long as it doesn't "impair decorum." Does that include playing cell phone games?
"We need jobs." - Vice President Joe Biden, chatting with a senator's 7-year-old grandson during the swearing-in ceremony for the 112th Congress. 

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.

If Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez had his way, actor Sean Penn or movie director Oliver Stone would be the U.S. ambassador to his country. The nutty dictator also favors former president Bill Clinton and said he and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton talked about him New Year's weekend. Chavez knows how to make news.

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.

Melodee Hanes, a former aide to Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., didn't become U.S. attorney after the Senate Finance Committee chairman tried to get her the job, but she won a consolation prize. After living together on Capitol Hill since divorcing their spouses, the couple have become engaged. 

The White House has lost almost a quarter of its value since President Obama moved in, according to real estate online venture Some might say the same thing about the presidency.
Figures compiled by CBS reporter Mark Knoller show that President Obama has spent nearly 48 percent of his time in office outside Washington. Yet one of his top advisers recently said he wants to get out more -- and not just to the golf course. Guess who's coming to your locality in 2011?

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.

All good things must end, but President Obama wasn't quite ready to wind up his Hawaaian vacation as planned so he tacked on another day. Well, you can't really blame him for being reluctant to leave the warm climes and return to chilly Washington.

President Obama's New Year's resolutions:

Most American taxpayers would agree a president needs to take a break from Washington now and then. But a million-dollar-plus vacation in Hawaii? An online news journal, Hawaii Reporter, estimates it cost at least $1,474,200 in public funds for President Obama and his family to have an extended holiday in the sunny state. Transportation, security, lodging for White House staff -- it adds up pretty fast.

Here's one for the books: The 111th Congress added more debt than the first 100 congresses combined -- a whopping $3.22 trillion, or $10,429.64 for each person counted in the 2010 Census. What a way to begin a new year!

Researchers report that New Year's resolutions barely last longer than a week. Like politicians' campaign promises?

President Obama's budget for the 2012 fiscal year will be delivered about a week late, in mid-February. There's really no hurry. Congress never got around to acting on this year's budget and has kept the government running almost month to month.

Saying so doesn't make it so. After declaring a "season of progress" at an end-of-year news conference, President Obama's approval rating hasn't improved, averaging around 46 percent in Gallup polling.
New Jersey's popular conservative governor, Republican Chris Christie, says he's not running for president in 2012, so he probably isn't worried about jeopardizing his political career by enjoying a holiday getaway in sunny Florida while his state was digging out from a punishing blizzard. Christie remained in "regular contact" with his office from Disney World, a staffer said.

A blog post about a White House ban on photos of a shirtless President Obama on vacation in Hawaii drew several uncomplimentary comments from readers. One said he "has the chest of a 12-year-old." Another sneered, "For crying out loud, he has 'man' boobs." And also: "But everyone else has to go through full body scans at airports." 
"I don't expect, quite honestly, big changes." - White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, commenting on mid-term plans for President Obama, who won the presidency on a promise of change.

Chris Matthews a birther? The liberal MSNBC host openly praises President Obama but wonders why he doesn't tell the governor of Hawaii "send me a copy" of his birth certificate, adding: "let's just get this crappy story dead."

Headline: "President Obama Attends Church" Why is it news that the vacationing president took his family to a worship service in Hawaii? Because it's only the seventh time he's done so since taking office. But his staff says he receives a daily devotional on his BlackBerry.

The U.S. economy is improving. How do we know? Champagne sales are up. The experts tell us an increase of 8 percent, up to $780 million, is a positive sign. But how much bubbly can you buy if you don't have a job?
Now we know what's in the fine print of the massive tax bill signed by President Obama before he left for a Hawaiian vacation. The AP reported the new law is filled with tax breaks for producing TV shows, grants for putting up windmills, rum subsidies for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, and - get this - a write-off for people who buy race horses. But millions of homeowners lost a deduction for paying local property taxes.
"She has pushed a button and unleashed the Hounds of Hell, and now they’re out there slavering and barking and growling. And that’s the same kind of tactic ... that the Nazi troopers used in Germany in the ’30s." - Author Joe McGinnis, who rented a house next door to Sarah Palin to write a book about the former Alaska governor. The Media Research Center awarded him "The Half-Baked Alaska Award for Pummeling Palin."

President Obama has been reading up on books about other presidents and he chose a biography of Ronald Reagan to peruse during his Hawaiian vacation. Hm-m-m. Why not a best-seller like "Decision Points" by George W. Bush, which has sold more than two million copies in two months?

Theories on why Bristol Palin bought a five-bedroom house in Arizona for $172,000 in cash:
- She had to do something with the money she earned from "Dancing With the Stars."
- After her mother's TV series on Alaska, she decided she wanted to go someplace where they don't shoot moose and you can't see Russia.
- She's gearing up to take John McCain's place in the Senate.

On the record: "We have to cut spending." - Vice President Joe Biden, in an ABC News interview in which he also said the White House would hold the line on taxes. Mark his words.

It didn't rain on the vacationing Obama family's parade ... it was worse. Recent heavy rains in Hawaii forced the Oahu village of Kailua to release untreated sewage into the bay and beaches around the Obamas' rental home. Not much of an escape from the foul air of Washington.

In case you didn't get a Christmas card from former Gov. Mitt Romney, R-Mass., here's a report. Below a photo of Romney posing with his 14 grandchildren is this teaser line: "Guess which grandchild heard that Papa might run again?"

First Lady Michelle Obama got a special Christmas gift from taxpayers. Her early departure for a two-week Hawaii vacation cost an additional $36,000 or more, according to

Before leaving for a holiday break from Washington, President Obama did some breastbeating about some accomplishments of recent weeks. But he failed to mention one significant action: he ordered a breastfeeding policy for the federal workplace.

"We are thousands of people working 24/7, 364 days a year to keep the American people safe." - Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. Terrorists will just have to guess which day her department is closed.

Security agents were on the job at the Lafayette, La. regional airport. A suspicious package caused an hour-long delay for users of the airport. The package turned out to contain a frozen crawfish-stuffed chicken and a miner's headlamp. The local newspaper said the airport shutdown "was of a nature most fowl."

Remember the "bridge to nowhere" in Alaska?  There's another one.  The Federal Highway Administration has given approval to proceed with the $1.075 billion Knik Arm Bridge, which is supposed to reduce the cost of trucking freight from south central Alaska to the North Slope.  About $54 million has already been spent on the project, much of it for consulting services.

On the final episode of "Larry King Live" the venerable host drew laughter when he said both he and a special guest, former president Bill Clinton, were members of the "zipper club."  King explained that both had had open heart surgery where "they have to zip you up again."  Said Clinton, "I'm glad you clarified that."
A newly elected senator from West Virginia, Democrat Joe
Manchin, is off to a shaky start. He skipped controversial Senate votes on "don't ask don't tell" and youth illegal immigrant amnesty to attend a Christmas party.

"Read all the papers through today and I can't find a new plan to save the country. Kind of slack season before Christmas, I guess." -Will Rogers, December 18, 1934.

It appears House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is getting used to having less responsibility. Not only did was she a no-show at the signing ceremony for President Obama's tax compromise bill, she didn't even cast a vote.

Incoming House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, is drawing snide criticism for his tendency to tear up occasionally, but he - not his critics - will have the last laugh.

When snow falls in Washington and a Hawaiian vacation beckons, First Lady Michelle Obama gets her priorities straight. She announced she was taking off with daughters Sasha and Malia and the White House dog Bo for the scheduled holiday family getaway, leaving the president behind for the windup of the congressional session. Taxpayers surely won't mind paying for two planes instead of one, right?

President Obama skipped out to an elementary school to read excerpts from his book, "Of Thee I Sing," but refused a little boy's request for an autograph. Guess he had to save his signature for the tax compromise bill.

The nation's newest advocacy group somehow doesn't fit the stereotype of slick lobbyists wearing Gucci loafers. A Virginia man, Rob Clayton, has launched the American Redneck Society to advocate for rural Americans. Says Clayton, "I have a sense of country, and a sense of humor."

"I'm going to say something outrageous." - Vice President Joe Biden, claiming his propensity to go off the cuff is one of the "skill sets" he brought to the Obama administration.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez asked to be granted special powers to enact laws by decree for one year, just before a new legislature takes office with a larger contingent of opposition lawmakers. President Obama probably would like that, too.

Scan or patdown, plus 24 choruses of "Feliz Navidad"? Passengers at Los Angeles International Airport have an additional treat this holiday season. A group of 17 Transportation Security Administration officers got together to offer musical performances for harried travelers.

Notice of a possible job opening at Tov Pizza in Baltimore. The vacancy occurred when disgraced former lobbyist Jack Abramoff quit after working at the small kosher pizzeria nearly six months following his release from a minimum security federal prison into a halfway house to serve out his four-year term for fraud and corruption.

A new poll shows only 12 percent of Americans approve of the job performance of Congress. But that was before Senate Democrats, having failed to pass a budget or any of the 13 appropriations bills, came forth in the lame duck session with a massive $1.1 trillion spending package loaded with pork. Can Congress' ratings get any worse? Could be."I am very eager to sit down with members of both parties and figure out how we can move forward together. What the American people don't want from us is to spend the next two years refighting the political battles of the last two." - President Obama, November 3, 2010. 

"I'm itching for a fight." - President Obama, December 13, 2010.

Don't be surprised if someone gets past U.S. Capitol security posing as one of the newly-elected members of Congress. Guards have the challenge of putting names with faces of 16 new senators and 93 freshmen in the House. And anyone can buy a fake congressional lapel pin in a gift store in the Capitol.

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.  

Firing the latest salvo in her war on fat, First Lady Michelle Obama declared that "childhood obesity ... is a national security threat." She took time out from a round of calorie-laden holiday parties to join her husband in a bill-signing ceremony for the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act.

Your Government at Work

The National Science Foundation gave $1.57 million in economic stimulus funds to Penn State so researchers could travel to Argentina to study plant fossils. NSF awarded a $141,002 federal stimulus grant to Montana State University to study dinosaur eggs and other fossils. An outrage, says The Washington Examiner.

If you have any charity in your heart for Hillary Clinton, she and Bill would appreciate a small gift to help pay down her 2008 presidential campaign debt (at least $479,000). As little as $5 wins a chance for a free trip for two to fly to New York and spend a day with the former president (if he's not busy standing in for President Obama).

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.

Many lawmakers are upset about the president's tax-cut deal with Republicans, but they want to make sure they get some pork barrel projects for their constituents if it's going to pass anyway. They loaded up the measure with ethanol subsidies for rural areas, urban commuter tax breaks and wind and solar grants for greenies.

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."

Budget writers struggling with the spiraling deficit might want to consider the action taken by the western German city of Dortmund. Facing a 100 million euro ($133 million) shortfall, the city has imposed a day tax on prostitutes. The "pleasure tax" is expected to add some 750,000 euros to the city treasury each year. Most taxes are passed along to the consumer, and who would dare complain?

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?

"Rep. Charles Rangel, you've just been censured by the House of Representatives. Now what are you going to do?" Not go to Disney World, that's for sure. Sighting a gaggle of reporters, the New York Democrat ducked inside the closest door -- and found himself inside the House Republican Transition Office.

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.

"Congress is in a lame-duck session, but instead of acting like lame ducks, they are acting more like chickens with their heads cut off." - Former Gov. Mike Huckabee, R-Ark.

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."

Senator Hindsight (aka Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.) has analyzed the last election and came up with an answer to why Republicans didn't pick up more Senate seats. He said the GOP "made some pretty poor choices when it came to candidates."

Here's a clue to the difficulty of having bipartisanship in Congress. In the tax cut battle, House Republican Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, labeled Democrat tactics "chicken crap" and Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J. said dealing with Republicans is what it would be like to "negotiate with terrorists."

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.

As he gets ready to become House Majority Whip in the next Congress, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., isn't asking for much.  He told a college student crowd that if granted three wishes, his first would be to change redistricting, the second to reform campaign financing, and the third: "make me king for the year."

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.

Incoming House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has made a historic advance for women's rights by establishing "potty parity" in the south wing of the Capitol. Boehner announced plans for building a women's restroom off the House floor so they would have the same convenience as male lawmakers during long sessions. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., might have shattered a glass ceiling by becoming the first female speaker, but a Republican man is giving the 71 women in the House something they can really appreciate.

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.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has blasted the U.S. following the WikiLeaks release of a flood of confidential memos that weren't always complimentary of him and other world leaders. Putin, once a member of the KGB, knows all about government secrecy.

"There is one thing no nation can ever accuse us of and that is secret diplomacy. Our foreign dealings are an open book, generally a check book." - Will Rogers, 1923.

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.

"This stuff is rigged." - Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., caught on a live microphone complaining about the Democrats' process on the lame duck session of Congress.

Nixon-era scandal figure G. Gordon Liddy recently celebrated his 80th birthday with a cake from the Watergate Pastry, according to The Washington Times.? 

Retiring members of Congress usually say they look forward to spending more time with their families and other wholesome activities. But Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., was more candid in a CNN interview. His plan: "Playing more music and perhaps increasing my — my allotment of gin and tonics from time to time."

After getting elbowed in the mouth in an all-male basketball game President Obama decided to play it safe. The next game he played was with daughters Malia, 12, and Sasha, 8.

Outside the Washington Beltway, some folks think WikiLeaks is a new brand of adult diapers.

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.

Grammarians are shuddering over First Lady Michelle Obama's goodwill message to newly-engaged Prince William and Kate Middleton: "Hopefully you will be as happy as Barack and I."

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.

United Auto Workers union members are double winners. The government bailout of General Motors helped save their jobs, and now the sale of GM stock has netted the UAW pension fund $3.4 billion.

Your Government at Work
The Interior Department is providing taxpayer funding for a $350,000 remodeling of a jail museum in Dubuque, Iowa. Perhaps lawmakers who authorize this kind of spending should spend a little time there.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has called for a part-time Congress. With a three-day work week, don't we have that already?

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.

Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., was caught reading Playboy magazine on a recent flight. Well, the Congressional Record is pretty boring.

"We've gotta stand with our North Korean allies." - Sarah Palin, before being corrected by Glenn Beck on his syndicated radio show.

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.

In Ottawa, Industry Minister Tony Clement drew a huge audience response when he declared, "We need more Canadian sex stories." Clement quickly corrected himself - he meant to say "SUCCESS stories," he said, and insisted he didn't have his mind on sex.
Write this down: Hillary Clinton, Gov. Rick Perry, R-Texas, and Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., all say they have no interest in running for president. See how long that will last.

Green alert. Environmentalists have a new target. A recent study shows that radiation from Wi-Fi networks is harmful to trees. Researchers in the Netherlands say all deciduous trees in the Western world are affected.

While Transportation Security Administration employees are busy humiliating innocent airline passengers, the Energy Department's watchdog reports that some government agents hired to drive nuclear weapons and components in trucks sometimes got drunk on the job. How about some non-groping sobriety tests?

"I think she's very happy in Alaska -- and I hope she'll stay there." - Former First Lady Barbara Bush, commenting on Sarah Palin.

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.

"Every once in a while, I do things right." - President Obama, in meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. (There could be some debate about his boast.)

"Daddy is going to start to take the training wheels off." - Vice President Joe Biden's message to Afghans about the U.S. transferring security by 2014.

 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.

"The Republicans mopped up, the Democrats gummed up, and I will now try and sum up. Things are terrible dull now. We won't have any more comedy until Congress meets." - Will Rogers

A man evades payment of income taxes for 17 years and gets a good scolding. If he were anyone else but Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., he surely would face more severe punishment, including fines and possible jail time. But Rangel is not just an ordinary non-taxpayer. He's the former chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, which writes the tax laws. What's wrong with this picture?
Here's a way to avoid the revealing full-body scans and intrusive patdowns that have airline passengers in an uproar across the nation: dress like a Muslim woman, wearing a head cover known as a hijab. The Council on American-Islamic Relations has asked the government for an exemption and might get it.

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.

Former NFL quarterback Heath Shuler scored 43 points but it wasn't enough to win the game when he challenged fellow Democrat Nancy Pelosi in a contest for minority leader in the next Congress. Pelosi, who lost her position as House Speaker in the Republican turnover, racked up 150 votes in the divisive Democrat caucus showdown.

"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.

Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., took a chance on alienating some sports fans when he announced that with Republicans controlling the House there will be fewer "symbolic resolutions." The presumptive new House majority leader said GOP members didn't run for Congress "to spend our time congratulating collegiate basketball teams for having a good season."

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.

This year's elections must have left President Obama with a severe case of wanderlust. Having just returned from extensive travels in Asia and Indonesia, he barely had time to check his mail before heading off to Europe for meetings with NATO and EU leaders.

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.

House Republican Leader John Boehner told newly elected lawmakers they need to stay humble. That's a pretty big order for ego-driven politicians.

Isn't this interesting: Labor union leaders fought hard to get Congress to pass President Obama's health care overhaul. But now that it's the law, many of them are opting out. Records show that unions are high on the list of 111 waivers granted by the Obama administration to postpone coverage of employees, along with restaurant chains and other businesses, according to syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin.

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.

"Take off the pink tutu." - Radical activist Michael Moore's unsolicited advice to President Obama.

Quote of the Week

"We didn't lose because of me." - Outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

One more reason taxes should not be raised: 74 percent of White House staffers got a raise last year. A reward for the great job the administration is doing on the economy?

Maybe the U.S. could take a tip from Brazil, where voters elected a professional clown to Congress. Francisco "Grumpy" Silva had to take a literacy test to meet a constitutional mandate that federal lawmakers be able to read and write.

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.

Move over, Sarah Palin and other potential presidential contenders. The "Naked Cowboy" - a New Yorker named Robert Burck who strolls around Times Square wearing his underwear and a western hat - is floating the idea of a 2012 run as a conservative.

As President Obama's deficit commission announced recommendations that included slashing the federal government travel budget, the president was winging his way across Asia on a 12-day trip and members of Congress from both parties were off on junkets to Spain, Africa, the Netherlands, the Middle East, Afghanistan, Pakistan and other parts of the world. Cutbacks don't come easy.
Nancy Pelosi's loss of her position as House Speaker will save taxpayers around $1 million a year. That's what it cost for military aircraft to fly the California Democrat to her home district and elsewhere. Her expected successor, Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, says he'll continue to use commercial aircraft for his travels.

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. 

If pilots won't use the body imaging machines being installed in airports why should passengers? An airlines pilots union is urging its members to boycott the scanners, citing dangers of excessive exposure to harmful levels of radiation during the screening process.

Nancy Pelosi just doesn't have a clue to why Democrats got such a trouncing in the mid-term elections. She sent out invitations to a party to celebrate "the accomplishments of the 111th Congress."

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?

"I hold that a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical. It is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government." - Thomas Jefferson

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.

Socialite media? Britain's Queen Elizabeth II has joined Facebook. It's a "corporate" account rather than personal so you can't "friend" her. The royal family ventured into social media earlier with accounts on Twitter and Flickr as well as a YouTube channel.

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.

Nancy Pelosi's not ready to give up the perks of leadership. Having lost her shortlived term as House Speaker in the mid-term elections, she's running for the post of Minority Leader - to the delight of Republicans, who made her the poster girl of the campaign.

MSNBC's Keith Olbermann has blatantly knocked Republicans and favored Democrats on his primetime show. But he went too far when he made contributions to three Democratic congressional candidates in violation of network policies. As punishment, he drew a two-day suspension.

Quayle's back! No, not the former vice president, Dan Quayle, but his son Ben, who won a congressional race in Arizona. He might as well get ready to be ridiculed like his father.
"She is a hometown girl who has her boots firmly planted on Alaska soil. She is moose stew and 'bunny' boots much more than she is caviar and glass slippers." - Bob Lester, morning host on KWHL, Anchorage, describing Sarah Palin.

White House officials said reports that President Obama's trip to India was costing $200 million a day and that 34 warships were being deployed for his protecton were wild exaggerations. But they wouldn't let the public know the real facts.
"Taxation is about all there is to government."
"The good old days with most of us was when we didn't earn enough to pay an income tax."
""When a party can't think of anything else they always fall back on lower taxes."
"Everybody is on a trip somewhere if they work for the government.  I wonder when the taxpayers take their trip."
   - Will Rogers

Do you ever have a problem with $100 bills (other than getting some into your wallet)? Well, the Federal Reserve Board has a big problem with the new high-tech Benjamins scheduled for release in February 2011. After $110 billion worth of the new bills had been printed a flaw was discovered and government printers had to be shut down. Guess you’ll just have to make do with the old currency.


."As president, that's my commitment to you: to do everything I can to make sure our economy is growing, creating jobs, and strengthening our middle class. That's my resolution for the coming year."
"I'm willing to work with anyone of either party who's got a good idea and the commitment to see it through."

Is Democrat Bill Richardson running for president again? He put himself back into the spotlight by making a trip to North Korea that the State Department didn't approve and teased news media that he might pardon Billy the Kid. He decided against it in one of his last official non-acts as governor of New Mexico.

December 2010

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.




Extreme measures are being taken to protect the President of the United States on his three-day trip to India. They include  taking special precautions against monkey attacks and removing coconuts from trees in areas he will visit.
Only in America
Pre-election polls in Nevada showed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was viewed unfavorably by 55 percent of his constituents, yet he survived a strong challenge by a Republican with Tea Party backing. What happened? That stays in Vegas.

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"

October 2010

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."

Candidates run for Congress to save the country, but if elected they might find themselves going to school first. Rep. Michelle Bachmann, R-Minn., says she's going to set up classes on the Constitution for newcomers.

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.

If you're planning a plane trip, get ready for your body to be felt or seen by strangers. Increased security measures at the nation's airports require passengers to go through a revealing full-body X-ray scanner or submit to an intimate full-body patdown. Happy flying!

Democrats resorted to desperation tactics in trying to avoid loss of control of the Senate when Bill Clinton, once called "America's first black president", pushed a black congressman, Kendrick Meek, to drop out of the Florida Senate race. It was an effort to throw the election to Gov. Charlie Crist, a longtime Republican before turning independent to challenge the GOP nominee, Marco Rubio. Meek did not meekly bow out.
Sweet revenge! After loudmouth Joy Behar of The View TV program called Sharron Angle a name that rhymes with witch on the air, the Nevada Republican opposing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid received a surge of $150,000 in campaign donations.

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.

Retiring California "governator" Arnold Schwarzenegger, a former Mr. Universe, calls politicians in Washington "wimps." Not very nice, but he could have said "girlie men."

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.

Your Government at Work
The National Science Foundation is paying the California Academy of Sciences $1.9 million during five years to fund a study of the effect of human activity on the insect life of Madagascar, reports the Washington Examiner. The Capitol Cynic says that money could have been better used to fight the bedbug invasion in this country.

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.

" ... they gotta sit in back." - President Obama, campaigning against Republicans, in a quote reminiscent of the struggle for civil rights.
State governments sometimes are as bad as Washington about spending money. The South Dakota Department of Transportation approved a $230,000 grant for a mile-long concrete path for walking and cycling between the Butte County fairgrounds and the town of Nisland, which has on 204 residents.
"A liberal is a man who wants to use his own ideas on things in preference to generations who, he knows, know more than he does." - Will Rogers, February 4, 1923.

Sen. Roland Burris, D-Ill., Barack Obama's successor in the Senate, is a party loyalist and he had some complimentary remarks in the Chicago Tribune about his fellow Democrat from a neighboring state, Sen. Ralph Feinberg. There is no such animal. Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., probably was not amused.

There has been a lot of debate in this country about same sex marriage, but Taipeh has a slightly different situation. According to Reuters, a 30-year-old office worker named Chen Wei-yih was "uninspired by the men she's met but facing social pressure to get married." So she hired a wedding planner, rented a banquet hall and planned a ceremony ... to marry herself.

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.

"I have written a book. This will come as a shock to some of the elites. They didn't think I could read a book, much less write one." - Former President George W. Bush, referring to "Decision Points", due out in November.
National Public Radio CEO Vivian Schiller said she was sorry about the firing of Juan Williams, a widely respected journalist -- "profoundly sorry that this happened during fundraising week."

"But for me, we'd be in a worldwide depression." - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on MSNBC. Even President Obama hasn't made that outrageous claim.
Here's another example of a questionable use of funds from the $787 billion Obama economic stimulus program. Grants totaling $1.4 million went to 37 so-called arts organizations in San Francisco, including a group that puts on a live performance it describes as an experience in which "ethno-cyborgs create slow motion emblematic tableaux variants."

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?

If you're an entrenched congressman facing a tough re-election battle, a $200,000 campaign contribution should bring joy. But for Rep. Barnie Frank, D-Mass., it might be mixed emotions. Frank gave the money to himself.

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.

"What happens when 51 percent of people figure out they can make the other 49 percent of us pay for everything?" - Bumper sticker reported by Washington Times "Inside the Beltway"

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."

Kilroy is here (in Congress) and she's determined to stay. Liberal Democratic freshman Mary Jo Kilroy is trailing her Republican opponent, Steve Stivers, but she plans to win by campaigning with President Obama. A political insider told "she's toast."

"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.

Could it be possible that the Obama administration might try to influence news coverage? It kind of looks that way, considering that General Electric -- the parent company of NBC -- got $24.9 million in funds from the president's economic stimulus program. Despite the gift, GE had a loss of 18,000 jobs in 2009.

"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.

"She came right out and said she's not a witch. Has Hillary Clinton ever cleared that up?" - Humorist P. J. O'Rourke, referring to Delaware Republican Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell's TV ad campaign.

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.

A bright idea?  Rep. Bobby Bright, a Democrat from Alabama, says he won't vote for Nancy Pelosi to be Speaker of the House if he wins re-election.  

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?

Krystal Ball could be the name of a stripper, but it's actually the real name of a CPA running for a Virginia seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. So-called racy photos of her turned up on the Internet and she accused her opponent, Republican Rep. Rob Wittman, of being responsible. Ball said the pictures of her wearing a leotard and a Santa hat were taken at a costume party six years aso. Wittman denies any guilt and asked bloggers to take down the pics.
Vice President Joe Biden says he’ll “strangle” Republicans who sound off about balancing the budget. That will be right after he strangles “Obama’s Wars” author Bob Woodward for speculating that President Obama will pick Hillary Clinton for his running mate in 2012.
Washington lawmakers looking for ways to raise more revenue might take a cue from the Phillippines, where a ban on improper singing of the national anthem is close to becoming law. Violators could be fined more than $2,000 and possibly sent to jail.   

"I am not a crook." - Richard Nixon, in a TV address during the Watergate scandal.

"I am not a witch." - Christine O'Donnell, in an ad for her Delaware Senate campaign.

" ... he uses these idiot boards to read speeches ... " - Former Vice President Walter Mondale, criticizing his fellow Democrat, President Obama, for relying heavily on teleprompters.

A giant leap forward for women's rights: female crash dummies are now being used in tests for vehicle safety. And they get the same pay as male dummies.

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

The St. Cloud, Minn., regional airport has a snazzy renovated terminal paid for by $5 million in state and federal funds. There's just one problem: no commercial flights and no passengers. There's an average of one charter flight per month using the facilities. And the two senators from Minnesota are seeking $1.5 million more in earmarked funds for the airport.

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?

"I'd appreciate a little break." - President Obama, at a Democratic fundraiser. What happened to "I'm all fired up! I'm ready to go!"? Guess it's time for another vacation.

New Yorkers are outraged over an order by federal bureaucrats to change the lettering on city street signs from all capitals to upper and lower case, reports the New York Daily News. The change, which the feds say will make signs easier to read, will cost the city about $27.5 millon.

"It took time to free the slaves." - President Obama, in a campaign appearance.  Is he trying to equate himself with Abraham Lincoln?  

September 2010

Members of Congress, having failed to approve a budget or appropriations bills for most agency operations, went home to ask voters to let them keep their jobs anyway.

Is Comedy Central taking over Washington? One of the cable TV channel stars, Stephen Colbert, did a comedy routine before a congressional committee, and now "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart is organizing a satirical "Rally to Restore Sanity" in the nation's capital which drew compliments from President Obama.
You know Democrats are in trouble when they're getting advice from Mike Dukakis, the former Massachusetts governor and failed 1988 presidential candidate. Dukakis said he "popped in" at the White House and delivered a strategy for the midterm elections: attack Republicans.
President Obama's not looking good in the polls, but he has company. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's negative ratings have hit an all-time high of 50 percent, which makes her as unpopular as oil giant BP. And distrust in the news media is at a record high with 57 percent of Americans saying they have little or no trust in newspapers, television and radio reporting the news fully, accurately and fairly.   

Vice President Joe Biden didn't use the term "cry babies" in scolding liberal Democrats for criticizing President Obama, but he came close. He said they should "stop whining" and "look at the alternatives." His "shoot-from-the-lip" remarks prompted some critics to question why he would pick a fight with the base five weeks before the midterm elections.

George W. Bush caught a lot of flak for government eavesdropping on telephone conversations as part of the war on terror, but his successor is going even farther. The Obama administration will ask Congress to allow wiretapping of online communications on the Internet. If you don't like it, text your lawmaker on your BlackBerry.

The latest stink in Washington walks on six legs and when disturbed emits a smell like sweaty feet, or worse. Just when the Capital City is about to get rid of Congress for several weeks, another pest shows up -- an invasion by swarms of stink bugs. Sometimes life just isn't fair.
The United Nations, founded in 1945 to maintain international peace and security, has a spotty record at best of achieving that goal among the world's nations. Perhaps it will do better with its Office for Outer Space Affairs, set up in 1962. The UN is set to appoint the head of that office, Malaysian astrophysicist Mazian Othman, as a space ambassador to act as the first point of contact for aliens trying to communicate with Earth, according to the London Telegraph. Hmmm. Wonder if extraterrestrials can take the form of stink bugs?

It's all our fault? Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., says voters are angry because they don't pay attention to what's going on. The truth is they see how this president and this Congress have failed and they don't like it.

Book burning is something you might expect from a totalitarian government. The U.S. Defense Department purchased and destroyed thousands of copies of a memoir by a decorated Army Reserve officer, claiming national security was threatened. The book by Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer had been cleared by his superiors. Shaffer said that trying "to suppress a story in this digital age is ludicrous." 

Billionaire Warren Buffett has a message for taxpayers angry with President Obama and Congress for not fixing the economy: "Get over it." Easy for him to say. He's not out of work with bills to pay.

"Dirty Sexy Politics" author Meghan McCain cancelled a Pennsylvania college book tour appearance on short notice, citing "unforeseen professional responsibilities" - then told her Twitter followers she had gone to Las Vegas with her "favorite crew of sinners." No wonder she was pulled off her father's presidential campaign.

What's all the fuss about Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert testifying before a congressional committee? Minnesota voters sent a comedian to the Senate when they elected Al Franken.

David Axelrod must not be too concerned about job security. The top advisor to President Obama is leaving the White House next year to return to Chicago and work on a re-election campaign for a man many political observers say will be a one-term president.
"Maybe the best thing to happen to us lately is the Tea Party wins." -- Vice President Joe Biden. (Guess he didn't get the Democrat talking points memo.)

News reporters covering a "green energy" conference in Aruba featuring a speech by former Vice President Al Gore were told they would be allowed only five minutes in the meeting room before being escorted out. The Capitol Cynic says five minutes of Al Gore is enough for anyone.

Bristol Palin survived the first round of "Dancing With the Stars" with an in-your-face performance to the tune of "Mama Told Me Not To Come." The London Daily Mail said Sarah Palin's daughter did "a racy impression of her mother", stripping off a gray office power suit to reveal a provocative red dress with tassels. Naughty Bristol.

It's Your Tax Dollars
The Census Bureau sent 140 administrators from 10 western states to Las Vegas for several days to discuss "lessons learned" from the 2010 census. The trip cost an estimated $100,000 in airfare, meals and hotel costs. Guess they didn't hear President Obama say "don't go to Vegas."

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the U.S. is contributing more than $50 million toward providing clean cooking stoves in developing countries. Shouldn't that go on the back burner until something is done about the deficit?

"I feel that my role as a former president is probably superior to that of other presidents." -- Jimmy Carter. He certainly doesn't excel in modesty.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has a weird way of endorsing candidates which probably makes them cringe. Following Delaware Democrat Chris Coons' nomination for U.S. Senate, Reid called him his "pet" - and at a fundraiser he referred to New York's junior senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, as "the hottest member" of the Senate.

"I'm second in line to be president." - Vice President Joe Biden. Read the Constitution, Joe. You're first in the line of succession. Nancy Pelosi is second.

Headline: "Obama Goes To Church." Walking across the park from the White House to attend church wouldn't be news for most of his predecessors, but it was only the third time the 44th president had worshipped in public since taking office 20 months ago.

Only in Washington could a group of House Republicans headed by three men in their 40s and including three in their 70s call themselves the "Young Guns."

If Karl Rove thinks Christine O'Donnell is "nutty", wonder what he has to say about "tea party millionaire" Carl Paladino, Republican candidate for governor of New York, who sent out 200,000 "garbage-scented" campaign mailers.

Comedians are having a field day with Delaware's new Republican Senate candidate, Christine O'Donnell. Bill Maher dug up an old video clip in which she admitted she had "dabbled in witchcraft." Maybe she could put a hex on government spending.
Some people are really addicted to the power of being a U.S. Senator. Alaska voters dumped Lisa Murkowski in the Republican primary in favor of Joe Miller, a tea party favorite. Now she's mounting a write-in campaign. Democrats are rejoicing.

"I'll tweet, I'll text, I'll do whatever it takes." - Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, in reelection campaign ad.

Los Angeles received $111 million in economic stimulus funds
and only 55 jobs were created or retained. That's a cost to taxpayers of $2 million per job. And the city's unemployment rate is still over 12 percent.

She said, she said. Michelle Obama said (through a spokesperson) she never told the French president's wife, Carla Bruni, that life as First Lady is "hell." But she didn't say it was heaven, either.

The Capital Cynic wonders why President Obama wants to send $4.5 billion to Iraq when government auditors report the country's rulers are sitting on a budget surplus of $52 billion. Maybe the U.S. should apply for some reverse foreign aid.

"It's hell. I can't stand it!" - Michelle Obama, when asked about being America's First Lady -- quoted by the French president's wife, Carla Bruni, in a new book. 

Sen. Harry Reid has done a lot of dumb things, but his choice of transportation to a Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas takes the prize. The Nevada Democrat rolled up in a fleet of gas-guzzling SUVs, then hypocritically blasted carbon-based fuels. And he's the Senate majority leader!

RINOS are on the political endangered species list. Candidates backed by the Tea Party movement are knocking off what they call "Republicans in Name Only" in primaries, leading some seasoned observers to believe the GOP might not regain control of Congress this fall after all.
The government insists on telling us how and what we should eat. Having defined what kinds of meals should be served at home, First Lady Michelle Obama now is pressuring restaurants to add more healthy choices to their menus. Meanwhile, she and her husband have a heavy week of partying, including two gala dinners which aren't likely to feature fruits, vegetables and low-fat desserts.

America's newest lobbyist? Lady Gaga. The colorful entertainer is urging her fans to call Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and tell him to schedule a vote to repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" policy for gays in military service.

"The government simply doesn't have enough Viagra to stimulate the economy." - Economic forecaster Harry Dent.

"I am opposed to the building of the 'mosque' two blocks from ground zero. I want it built on ground zero." - Radical liberal filmmaker Michael Moore. 

Sarah Palin's daughter, Bristol, is going to be on "Dancing With the Stars." Her ex-fiancee, Levi Johnston, is running for mayor of Wasilla. What about First Dude Todd Palin? Is he the family's press agent? 

Vice President Joe Biden, crisscrossing America to try to save Democrats from a disastrous loss in the mid-term elections, came up with a new reason to support President Obama: "he's really cool." That's what he told a group of third-grade students in California. He didn't mention the president is prone to "lose his cool" when Biden speaks.

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 took time out from politicking to appoint another government czar. He named environmental activist John Goss as his Asian Carp Czar, to oversee the federal response to keeping the invasive species of fish out of the Great Lakes ecosystem.

Washington lobbyists, take a lesson from Romania. The Romanian Senate voted down a proposal to tax witches and fortune tellers. One senator said lawmakers were afraid of having a curse put on them.

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."  

Snub the tub, says Prince Charles. He urges Britons to take short showers to save energy. It's part of his new green campaign, "Start."

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

The National Endowment for the Arts spent more than $1.7 million in taxpayers' money on subsidies to the ballet, one of the least attended performance art events in the country, reports the Washington Examiner.

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.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs says critics of President Obama “ought to be drug tested.” They probably think Gibbs ought to be drugged and dumped.
Forget the steak, eat a bug. That's the remedy advocated by the United Nations to cut meat consumption and thus save the planet from famine and global warming. Grilled grubs, anyone?
North Korea has offered to settle its debt to the Czech Republic with ginseng, a root that is supposed to improve memory, stamina and libido. Let’s see, what could the U.S. offer China for our indebtedness – mungbeans and movie stars?
What's the hottest issue in Congress? Some lawmakers might tell you it's not the economy or Afghanistan but wild horses. Congressional offices have been flooded with protests against a Bureau of Land Management plan to thin out overpopulated herds on Western public rangelands. The agency, which has a wild horse and burro budget of $63.9 million, says the removals are necessary to protect the animals and the wildlife habitat in general.
Scientists have developed a robot that is able to detect and display emotions. Millions of unhappy wives want to know where they can get one.
With her extravagant holiday in Spain at a time of economic stress, First Lady Michelle Obama earned a new title: "Modern Day Marie Antoinette" (New York Daily News).
When U.S. Senators tire of dealing with the economy and other troubling issues, they can always take off for an exotic junket somewhere. Taxpayers shelled out $2.6 million to cover the costs of foreign trips for Senators and staff during the first half of 2010. The Roll Call newspaper reports that the Senate "is on pace to set an all-time high" for overseas travel this year.

Julie Murphy of Portland, Ore., fought government overregulation and won. The 7-year-old was forced to shut down her lemonade stand because she didn't have a $120 food safety permit, and threatened with a $500 fine. A county official saw the insanity of the situation, apologized and ordered health inspectors to use more discretion.

President Obama talks the talk on energy conservation, but he used a helicopter to travel across town - six miles - to give a speech on the economy.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a public appeal for flood relief efforts in Pakistan, then sent a $10 donation by text message. Was that all the Clintons could afford after Chelsea's wedding?

David Cameron is fast becoming Britain's version of Joe Biden, our gaffe-prone vice president. The British prime minister has been accused by the Labor Party of making a blunder in stating that Iran has a nuclear weapon. Or does he know something we don't know?

With his wife and family not around to give him a birthday party, President Obama had to settle for dinner in Chicago with Oprah Winfrey. But he also invited Elena Kagan to the White House for a celebration of her Senate confirmation as a Supreme Court justice. The occasion also could be a farewell party for Christina Romer, who bailed out as chair of the Council of Economic Advisers. 
If you've been through one of those full body scanners there's a good chance an image of your naked body is on file in a government agency for bureaucrats to view when they tire of downloading porn from the Internet.  

Elvis has left the building -- the Arkansas state capitol building, that is -- but he wants to go back. Elvis D. Presley filed papers with the secretary of state's office to run as a write-in candidate for governor of Arkansas.

Not a very nice 49th birthday present for President Obama: his latest job approval rating (41 percent) is much lower than his age.

Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., has a pet peeve. He recently took the House floor to protest deceptive labeling practices by Chinese clothing manufacturers intent on selling "dog and cat fur to American consumers."

Sarah Palin says illegal immigration fighter Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has "the cojones" and President Obama does not. How does she know?

"The federal government can do most anything in this country." - Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif. Scary.

Headline: Prince Charles: "My duty is to save the world." Isn't that a job for Miss America contestants?

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?

Terrorism alert: The Hamas group has a new line of attack. Islamist rulers of the Gaza Strip have targeted lingerie shops. They have ordered stores selling women's underwear to remove scantily-clad mannequins and posters of racy undergarments. This comes on the heels of a ban on women smoking water pipes in public places.

July 2010  


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?

Oregon authorities found there was insufficient evidence to charge former Vice President Al Gore with groping a masseuse, but he will be branded forever by her description of him as a "sex-crazed poodle."
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is considering a posthumous pardon for Billy the Kid. Will it also include an apology for calling the notorious gunslinger a kid?

When House Speaker Nancy Pelosi promised to drain the House ethics swamp, little did she know her good buddy, Charlie Rangel, would go down the tube.

President Obama's banter with five women on "The View" won him the title of "Charmer-in-Chief", but didn't create any jobs or shorten the Afghan war.
African-Americans "are sort of a mongrel people." Who said that? Glenn Beck? Andrew Breitbart? No, it was President Obama, on "The View". He had a black father and a white mother.
President Obama passed up the national Boy Scouts' Jamboree 100th anniversary to attend a Democratic fundraiser in the New York home of Vogue editor Anna Wintour and a taping of the daytime talk show "The View." In this Washington heat, who could blame him?
Bad news: Scientists say a giant asteroid is heading toward Earth and could devastate a city the size of London. Good news: It's not expected to arrive until 2182. Too late to distract from Rep. Charlie Rangel's ethics problems.

Chelsea Clinton's wedding could cost more than $3 million, according to published reports. That's a lot of book sales for Bill and Hillary.

Candidates need all the support they can get. John Mantooth, who is seeking a judgeship in McClain County, Oklahoma, has one big strike against him. His daughter took out an ad urging voters, "Do not vote for my dad!" Bad blood makes strange politics.
President Obama's approval rating is at an alltime low -- an average of 45.7 percent in major national polls. Oprah Winfrey, who campaigned for Obama in 2008, has met a similar fate with her TV show. Misery loves company?

Your Government at Work
The Defense Department received $9.1 billion for the Development Fund in Iraq to use for reconstruction in that wartorn country. An inspector general's report says DoD is unable to account for $8.7 billion of the money.
While millions of Americans are out of work and unable to pay their bills, the Obamas continue their lifestyle of the rich and famous. First Lady Michelle Obama and daughter Sasha planned an August trip to a resort on Spain's Costa del Sol with "longtime family friends", leaving the president and their older daughter Malia behind. They'll miss President Obama's $30,000 per head birthday party. But the Obama family will reunite for an August weekend on Florida's Gulf Coast and spend 10 days on the U.S. resort island of Martha's Vineyard. Taxpayers pick up the tab for most of their travel expenses.

In his presidential campaign, Barack Obama promised that if elected things would change for the better.  Just the opposite happened and now he's saying that things could be a lot worse.  He'll have a hard time convincing jobless Americans and workers facing a tax increase.

With the country in a mess and Democrats in control of both the executive and legislative branches of government, President Obama's message to voters is that things could be worse. He's right. If voters don't turn them out, liberals also will control the judicial branch, too.?

Rep. Jason Chaffetz is to be congratulated for his candor, but he's only stating the obvious in saying that Congress does embarrassing things. When a vote was called to memorialize the start of the 142nd season of the Saratoga race course in New York, the Republican freshman from Utah objected and said he would oppose all future frivolous resolutions of this kind. "It's an absolute emrarrassment," he said.
If you get an invitation to President Obama's 49th birthday party in Chicago August 4, be forewarned. It will cost you $30,000 to attend -- a donation to the Democratic National Committee.

Where Your Tax Money Goes: Congress spent $604,000 on bottled water last year.
Democrats chose Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton as their nominee for president. Guess what? As Secretary of State, her approval ratings are higher than the president's. What's more, her husband Bill Clinton also is more popular than Obama, who has dropped to 44 percent in some polls. Congress gets a favorable rating of only 11 percent.
House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, has a strong motivation for doing something about high unemployment. He revealed to reporters that three of his brothers lost their jobs during the recession.

Don’t plan to use a restroom in a public building in Newark, N.J. The budget-cutting mayor has ordered the government to stop buying toilet paper. No decorations this Christmas, either.
What do gold coins have to do with health care? Nothing, but Congress sneaked a provision into the massive legislation requiring buyers and sellers of gold to file forms with the IRS. The law also imposes a 10 percent tax on tanning salon customers. 

President Obama held another beer summit during the visit of British Prime Minister David Cameron. "We have just concluded some excellent discussions, including whether the beers from our hometowns that we exchanged are best served warm or cold," Obama said. The two leaders had bet on the June 12 U.S.-England soccer match, but after a 1-1 tie settled for a straight exchange of brews. They did not lift their mugs in a toast to British Petroleum.

He may be the second highest elected official, but Vice President Joe Biden is not the "most powerful person in American politics." By his own admission, that's House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Biden praised the California liberal at a Democratic fundraising dinner as "the single most strategic leader I have ever worked with" and "the mother of health care."
Sarah Palin is carrying on a tradition of public figures using "made up" words. On Twitter she urged peaceful Muslims to "refudiate" plans for a mosque at Ground Zero in New York. She joins former President George W. Bush, who said his opponents "misunderestimated" him, and President Obama, who came up with the term "wee-wee'd up" in referring to those concerned about his health care plan.

We have a Consumer Protection Agency. Now there's also a Consumer Financial Protection Agency. Isn't it about time consumers had an agency to protect them from the government?
Vice President Joe Biden was quoted earlier as saying "a whole lot of people" would be moving out of Afghanistan in July 2011. Now he pooh-poohs the idea, saying "as few as a couple thousand troops" could be returning home. Let's hope the enemy is as confused as American citizens.
America's first family travels first class. The vacationing Obamas flew to Bar Harbor, Maine in a Gulf Stream executive jet. The Obamas' dog, Bo, traveled in a separate smaller jet, accompanied by some White House aides.

The U.S. Department of Energy, which advocates reducing energy use, spends $76 million a year to keep the lights on. An internal audit states the agency could save $2.2 million annually with more efficient light-emitting diode lighting rather than fluorescent bulbs.
The Obama administration has added another name to its growing list of czars. Sam Kass, the Obamas' personal Chicago cook, has been promoted to Senior Policy Adviser for Healthy Food Initiatives, or Health Food Czar. Watch for the administration to start telling you what you can and can't eat.
Those people carrying signs outside certain plants protesting the hiring of non-union employees are walking examples of hypocrisy. Unions are paying unemployed workers who are not union members the minimum wage, $8.25 an hour, to walk the picket lines, according to The Wall Street Journal.

A rare earthquake rattled the Washington, D.C. area. Could it have been the result of a rare action by Senate Democrats, who actually proposed cutting $14 billion from President Obama's budget for the upcoming fiscal year?

It's a sign of the times: $20 million in economic stimulus funds have been spent promoting the Obama administration's economic stimulus program. ABC News reports one sign on the road to Washington's Dulles Airport, costing $10,000, touts a $15 million runway project that created 17 jobs. Why publicize incredible government failure?

First Lady Michelle Obama, on her first trip to the Gulf since the BP oil spill, urged Americans to take vacations on the beaches of coastal states ... then returned to Washington to pack for an Obama family vacation in Maine.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid must be suffering from reelection campaign battle fatigue. He told a Las Vegas TV reporter there are no illegal immigrants working on construction jobs in Nevada, which flies in the face of a recent study showing that Reid's home state has the country's largest percentage of undocumented workers.
In the realm of unreality, Bristol Palin has announced she's engaged again to Levi Johnston, who fathered her child, then blasted the Palin family and achieved brief fame, then apologized. Mother Sarah didn't know.

The Obama administration really has it in for fat people.  Not only is First Lady Michelle Obama leading a crusade against obesity, the government is insisting on having full-body scanners at all major airports.  The latter idea is also being opposed by skinny fliers.

President Obama's numbers have been dropping in the traditional national polls and now we find that he's behind in another indicator of public opinion.  Lady Gaga beat out Obama  in the number of Facebook "friends" she accumulated - 11.9 million versus 10.4 million for the president. Sarah Palin, with more than 1.8 million friends, was far ahead of Vice President Joe Biden, who has around 240,000 followers in the social media gauge of public favorability.

BP executives won the 2010 "Sitting Duck Award" for their inane comments about the Gulf oil spill.  The award is given by the National Society of Newspaper Columnists to newsmakers who are reliable sources of column material on a slow day.

Airline passengers don't always get the best treatment, but two airports in the Washington, D.C. area have opened "pet relief areas" - complete with fake fire hydrants - to give dogs an opportunity to make a pit stop before boarding the plane.

"I came once again with a distinguished American delegation, because they don’t trust me alone." - Gaffe-prone Vice President Joe Biden, during a surprise visit to Iraq.

Major TV networks gave little mention of President Obama's controversial recess appointment of Dr. Donald Berwick to head the Medicare and Medicaid programs as the new health care reform law is implemented.  According to the Media Research Center, ABC, CBS and NBC gave more coverage to actress Lindsay Lohan's run-ins with the law.

Levi Johnston, former fiance of Bristol Palin, apologized to Sarah Palin and her family for telling lies about them -- thus grabbing a few more minutes of fame for himself.The Denver Post reports an insurance company threatened to cut off a woman's benefits because she had underpaid the premium -- by one cent!  Wasn't Obamacare supposed to such injustices?

A man in Villa Rica, Georgia held his mother hostage for six hours for refusing to iron his clothes.  Let's hope they smoothed things out and she didn't press charges. 
House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, R-Va., stands out from the crowd. While several other top Republicans have called for Michael Steele to resign as GOP National Chairman after a series of missteps, Cantor said, "we'll have to see." He did say Steele should focus solely on running the committee going into a crucial election cycle. In other words, no more ditzy comments about the war in Afghanistan.
Political humor writers have received a crushing blow: former Rep. Jim Traficant, one of the most colorful figures to serve in Congress, can't return -- at least not this year. He didn't get enough signatures put his name on the ballot this fall. The Ohio Democrat got out of federal prison last year after serving a seven-year term for corruption.

"Tar balls in Texas" - No, not a new country song. Crude from the BP oil spill now has washed up on beaches of every Gulf state.
Forget about America being a leader in space exploration. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden says his "foremost" mission -- assigned by President Obama -- is to improve relations with the Muslim world. Guess Bolden doesn't have "the right stuff" to say no.

The general formerly known as "Betray Us" now is officially in command of the war in Afghanistan. In calling for unity among American, NATO and Afghan leaders, Gen. David Petraeus has taken on a big challenge.

"She's a colorful spice in the general recipe of democracy. She's a sexy woman. Yes. Me and Sarah. We could do a romance." - Woody Allen on Sarah Palin.

President Obama's White House staff hasn't found a solution to the national unemployment problem, but his hired hands are doing all right for themselves. The payroll for 469 staff members totals $38,796,307.

"Smoke and mirrors" politics has reached a new height in Congress. House Democrats, who earlier to take no action on a budget this year, have passed legislation that states a non-existent $1.12 trillion budget is "deemed as passed." Now lawmakers can continue unrestrained spending. When will they learn they can't just wave a magic wand and make their responsibilities to taxpayers go away?

Enjoy tax-free shopping on the Internet while you can. There's a new push in Congress to allow all states to collect sales taxes on online purchases, which could total up to $23 billion in new state revenues.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters that unemployment checks are the fastest way to create jobs. Huh? Then why did Congress take a weeklong Independence Day holiday without passing a bill to extend jobless benefits that expired June 1?

COUNTDOWN. Better start planning a bangup New Year's Eve celebration. On January 1, 2011 the largest tax increases in U.S. history will take effect, hitting families and small businesses in three great waves. Read 'em and weep at the Americans for Tax Reform website
Democrats in control of Congress couldn't get enough votes for extension of unemployment benefits before adjourning for a Fourth of July recess, but they won the congressional baseball game13-5.