Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Catching Up: Best of 2004: May

Late-Night Political News from About.com ______________________________ "New Gallup poll of Iraqi citizens came out yesterday — says two- thirds of them want us out of Iraq. Let me explain something to you people. We *invaded* you. We're not your in-laws freeloading during spring break. I imagine the Germans wanted us out of their country too after WW II. We'll let you know when we're ready to get out of there, OK? ... By the way, when are we getting out of there already?" —Jimmy Kimmel "Over the weekend British Prime Minister Tony Blair apologized for the mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners. Apparently some of the prisoners were accidentally given British food." —Conan O'Brien "It's a good thing there are no gay people in the military because otherwise weird sex stuff might happen." —Tina Fey, Saturday Night Live's "Weekend Update" [referring to the photos from the Abu Ghraib prison] "Gas prices are up, the stock market is down, Iraq is a mess and John Kerry is saying, 'How am I gonna beat this guy?" —David Letterman "The White House is now saying that they still do not have a timetable for when the U.S. will be out of Iraq. Although they hinted that it would be early in the Kerry administration." —David Letterman "Earlier today, John Kerry had a meeting with independent candidate Ralph Nader. Afterwards, Kerry said 'The meeting didn't go as well as I had hoped, because my gun jammed.'" —Conan O'Brien "There are now videos from Iraq showing American soldiers having group sex. Well, who said men and women couldn't serve in the armed forces together?" —Jay Leno "Congress now says they are reviewing the sex videos, so at least we have the comfort of knowing they're being reviewed by experts in this area." —Jay Leno "India's stock market crashed. My question is, is President Bush out- sourcing our economy too?" —Craig Kilborn "They asked President Bush why we didn't observe the Geneva convention and Bush said, 'That's easy, we weren't in Geneva. We're in Iraq.'" —Jay Leno "President Bush delivered a commencement speech at a university in Wisconsin. A very inspirational speech. Apparently Bush told the students, 'You can do anything in life if your parents work hard enough.'" —Conan O'Brien Legalization ________ Starting in the fall, pharmacies in British Columbia will sell marijuana for medicinal purposes .... Under [U.S.] law it is illegal to possess any amount of marijuana anywhere in the United States. Penalties for a first marijuana offense range from probation to life without parole. ... [T]he Partnership for a Drug-Free America originally received much of its financing from cigarette, alcohol and pharmaceutical companies like Hoffmann-La Roche, Philip Morris, R. J. Reynolds and Anheuser-Busch [which would have much to lose if marijuana became illegal]. ... [Marijuana] is a powerful, mind-altering drug. ... But it is remarkably nontoxic. In more than 5,000 years of recorded use, there is no verified case of anybody dying of an overdose. Indeed, no fatal dose has ever been established. Over the past two decades billions of dollars have been spent fighting the war on marijuana, millions of Americans have been arrested and tens of thousands have been imprisoned. Has it been worth it? According to the government's National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, in 1982 [when Ronald Reagan began the War on Drugs,] about 54 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 25 had smoked marijuana. In 2002 the proportion was ... about 54 percent. ... In 1972 a commission appointed by President Richard Nixon concluded that marijuana should be decriminalized in the United States. ... * * * * * Clippings ______ ORLANDO, Florida (AP) -- A federal drug agent shot himself in the leg during a gun safety presentation to children in what police describe as an accident. His bosses, however, are still investigating the incident. Clearest sign of a doomed candidacy: During an appearance on "The Tonight Show,'' Gephardt admitted that while he was in the airport in his hometown of St. Louis, he was asked to settle a bet between two women wondering if he was a CNN weatherman or Dan Quayle. Just because your voice reaches halfway around the world doesn't mean you are wiser than when it reached only to the end of the bar. -- Edward R. Murrow * * * * * Yogi Berra Quotes _____________ "He must have made that before he died." -- Referring to a Steve McQueen movie. "I'd find the fellow who lost it, and, if he was poor, I'd return it." -- When asked what he would do if he found a million dollars. "I knew I was going to take the wrong train, so I left early." "You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I'm not hungry enough to eat six." "It was impossible to get a conversation going; everybody was talking too much." "A nickel isn't worth a dime today." "Nobody goes there anymore; it's too crowded." "It gets late early out there." -- Referring to the bad sun conditions in left field at the stadium. "Do you mean now?" -- When asked for the time. "I take a two hour nap, from one o'clock to four." "If you come to a fork in the road, take it." "You give 100 percent in the first half of the game, and if that isn't enough in the second half you give what's left." "90% of the putts that are short don't go in." "Thanks, you don't look so hot yourself." -- After being told he looked cool. "I always thought that record would stand until it was broken." "If the fans don't come out to the ball park, you can't stop them." "It's never happened in the World Series competition, and it still hasn't." "How long have you known me, Jack? And you still don't know how to spell my name." -- Upon receiving a check from Jack Buck made out to "bearer." "I'd say he's done more than that." -- When asked if first baseman Don Mattingly had exceeded expectations for the current season. "The other teams could make trouble for us if they win." "It ain't the heat; it's the humility." "You should always go to other people's funerals; otherwise, they won't come to yours." * * * * * A few months ago, I was having a conversation with one of our Christian fundamentalist friends. She was (and may still be) convinced that God put George Bush into the presidency. The problem with her viewpoint, I tried to explain, was that this makes God responsible when things do not turn out well. It is, essentially, blasphemy; it is the worst way to use God's name in vain. * * * * * Water ____ One glass of water shuts down midnight hunger pangs for almost 100% of the dieters studied in a University study. Lack of water is the #1 trigger of daytime fatigue. Preliminary research indicates that 8-10 glasses of water a day could significantly ease back and joint pain for up to 80% of sufferers. A mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on the computer screen. Drinking 5 glasses of water daily decreases the risk of colon cancer by 45%, plus it can slash the risk of breast cancer by 79%, and one is 50% less likely to develop bladder cancer. * * * * * Having Children A note from a friend ____________ I think there are just too many freakin people on the face of the Earth. ... I expect the USA to look like India before the end of this century. Too many people, hungry, no decent shelter, no land left for grazing or even grain production. Polluted water, polluted air. Raw sewage in the streets. ... I paid my very first property taxes this year. I was stunned to see how much I am paying to help pay for other people's kids. The school taxes are killing me, especially since I could not afford to have kids of my own. I specifically chose not to have kids because I could not afford to give them a decent upbringing, yet I have to pay for everyone else's kids? ... I don't think a person who is childless should pay for other people's kids. And if I do, how come I can't discipline the unruly brats in public? ... I am happy to not have contributed to the exponentially increasing, out of control, population explosion. Besides, who would possibly want me for their Mother? Unborn children everywhere thank me. * * * * * Deficits _____ [In 1992, after the Reagan and Bush administrations], the federal deficit was more than $300 billion — about 5 percent of the economy. President Bill Clinton and Congressional Democrats reversed this profligate trend by slashing spending and raising taxes. The strategy was hard to swallow, and not at all popular — not a single Republican member of Congress voted for Mr. Clinton's 1993 budget. Some of us in the president's cabinet thought he had gone further than he needed to; there was too little money left for education, job training and health care. But there is no disputing that the plan had the intended effect. Deficits that had ballooned under Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush were brought firmly under control. Bond traders breathed great sighs of relief. Wall Street beamed. * * * * * The PayPhone Project http://www.payphone-project.com/ It started as an art project. Blue spiral notebook in hand, Mark Thomas spent afternoons walking the streets of Manhattan, compiling the numbers and locations of public pay phones. He posted them on his Web site in the hope that people would call them. "There is real beauty in whimsical acts of contact between strangers," he explained. Soon his list expanded to include public phones at the top of the Eiffel Tower, in the basement of the Vatican, in the middle of the Mojave Desert, and at about 450,000 other places around the world. Word of his project spread, and Cindy in Hawaii reported having had the strangest conversation about beaches with a man answering a pay phone in Brazil. Kim from Sydney, Australia, said she called a phone on the corner of 57th and Broadway in Manhattan, where a guy answered, "Wassup" and said he had never heard of Australia. Most surreal of all was the conversation Mr. Thomas had when he picked up a pay phone in Queens, at the 36th Avenue stop of the N line, and the person on the other end explained that he had found the number on Mr. Thomas's Web site. * * * * * Jon Stewart's Commencement Address at William & Mary _________________________________________ Thank you Mr. President, I had forgotten how crushingly dull these ceremonies are. Thank you. My best to the choir. I have to say, that song never grows old for me. Whenever I hear that song, it reminds me of nothing. ... I know there were some parents that were concerned about my speech here tonight, and I want to assure you that you will not hear any language that is not common at, say, a dock workers union meeting, or Tourrett's convention, or profanity seminar. Rest assured. I am honored to be here and to receive this honorary doctorate. When I think back to the people that have been in this position before me from Benjamin Franklin to Queen Noor of Jordan, I can't help but wonder what has happened to this place. Seriously, it saddens me. As a person, I am honored to get it; as an alumnus, I have to say I believe we can do better. And I believe we should. But it has always been a dream of mine to receive a doctorate and to know that today, without putting in any effort, I will. It's incredibly gratifying. Thank you. That's very nice of you, I appreciate it. ... But today isn't about how my presence here devalues this fine institution. It is about you, the graduates. I'm honored to be here to congratulate you today. Today is the day you enter into the real world, and I should give you a few pointers on what it is. It's actually not that different from the environment here. The biggest difference is you will now be paying for things, and the real world is not surrounded by three-foot brick wall. And the real world is not a restoration. If you see people in the real world making bricks out of straw and water, those people are not colonial re-enactors—they are poor. Help them. And in the real world, there is not as much candle lighting. I don't really know what it is about this campus and candle lighting, but I wish it would stop. We only have so much wax, people. Let's talk about the real world for a moment. We had been discussing it earlier, and I ... I wanted to bring this up to you earlier about the real world, and this is I guess as good a time as any. I don't really know to put this, so I'll be blunt. We broke it. ... I don't know if you've been following the news lately, but it just kinda got away from us. Somewhere between the gold rush of easy internet profits and an arrogant sense of endless empire, we heard kind of a pinging noise, and uh, then the damn thing just died on us. So I apologize. ... But obviously that's the world. What about your lives? What piece of wisdom can I impart to you about my journey that will somehow ease your transition from college back to your parents' basement? I know some of you are nostalgic today and filled with excitement and perhaps uncertainty at what the future holds. I know six of you are trying to figure out how to make a bong out of your caps. I believe you are members of Psi U. Hey that did work, thank you for the reference. ... So how do you know what is the right path to choose to get the result that you desire? And the honest answer is this. You won't. And accepting that greatly eases the anxiety of your life experience. ...