Ethics and House members make for strange bedfellows

It has been an Interesting Friday on Capitol Hill, to say the least.
Call it Black Friday. And that reference has nothing to do with Halloween.
A House ethics report was uncovered by the Washington Post on a publicly accessible computer network and the fallout has unleashed a cauldron of ghoulish and scary stuff.
Early coverage of the leaked report focused on the investigation of seven members of a powerful defense panel. But more details are emerging about investigations of dozens of other lawmakers.
Give the Post bulldogs a shovel and those folks can dig halfway to China in a hiccup. The Post has unearthed that the ethics office has reviewed the tax records of at least four House members representing California and New York for allegedly receiving thousands of dollars in tax breaks from the state of Maryland after claiming primary residence there.
Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.), a quarterback bust as a No. 1 pick of the Washington Redskins years ago, is also being probed for receiving preferential treatment in a land deal.
Politico says the “ethical dust storm will empower the Republicans and could imperil efforts to get health care reform through the House next week.”
So what’s the chances of the swine flu causing House members to call in sick for awhile?

Pop the champagne corks! The recession apparently has receded … but

Guess what, boys and girls?
The economy apparently no longer sucks like a vacuum cleaner.
News escaping from Washington today like air from a balloon breathlessly proclaims the economy grew at a 3.5 percent pace in the third quarter, the best showing in two years.
This is the best news since Cliff Lee bedazzled the damn Yankees last night.
The money folks claim it’s the strongest signal yet the economy has entered a new, though fragile, phase of recovery and that the worst recession since the 1930s has ended.
Of course, don’t rush out and buy that yacht or NFL franchise just yet.
Many analysts expect the pace of the budding recovery to be plodding due to rising unemployment and continuing difficulties by both consumers and businesses to secure loans.
Don’t you hate those disclaimers even worse than a grapefruit-sized blind pimple taking up residence on the tip of your nose?
So the recession may be over, but our money woes still cling to us like soggy and stubborn Wheaties stuck to the sides of the cereal bowl.

Another sign that the Apocalypse is upon us

Gag me with a spoon, stick a fork in me, twirl me on a spit and nail my ass to the Pagoda in the midst of another rainstorm.
There are reports Jon Gosselin has agreed to star in a cheesy new reality show in which he’ll date Octomom Nadya Suleman, who called Jon “hot” recently.
If there is a God, how could He allow reality television to so soil our souls?

We may not have a shot at surviving the swine flu

Apparently neither the government nor the private sector can handle health care. They both keeping dropping it as if it were a hot potato.
Take the swine flu, for instance. Evidently it could kill us all before the next Today show airs tomorrow morning.
So you would think the feds and the drug companies would go after a H1N1 vaccine with the swagger of John Wayne going into a saloon full of bad guys.
Instead, they’ve been blowing the save. They’re a bunch of Brad Lidges.
GlaxoSmithKline has manufactured a swine flu vaccine, but the FDA has yet to approve it.

Talk about prolonging the process too long and subordinating the outcome. The FDA wrote the book on procrastination.

Meanwhile, other suppliers aren’t exactly churning out a swine flu vaccine with a rhythm like received grace.
Of course, making swine flu is a tad more difficult than making pizza. The vaccine is grown in chicken eggs using 50-year-old technology.
If the damn technology is so freakin’ old, why can’t we outsource it to the geeks in India?
Meanwhile, we’re all sitting ducks (pigs might be a better animal reference in this case) getting knocked around like a volleyball.
Keeping washing your hands, everybody.
And don’t let anybody share your rosary beads.

The Eagles, already counted out for dead, actually appear rather lively — thanks to the ghoulish corpses masquerading as the Redskins

OK, we all were throwing dirt on the Eagles’ coffin a week ago after they committed suicide against the ghastly Raiders.

Now the Birds still may be dead, but at least they’re dead men walking.

Granted, that simply may be because the Redskins are beyond stone cold dead. They’re deader than the Dead Sea. Deader than Adam and Eve. Deader than covered wagons. So dead that Obama now is calling their plays.

The Eagles, despite falling asleep with the rest of America in the second half, etched a 27-17 victory over the Redskins Monday night in our capital.

It was capital punishment. They should have played Dylan’s Tombstone Blues throughout the slaying.

It’s not that the Birds were that awesome as executioners. But a couple of big plays by dynamic playmaker DeSean Jackson and newly acquired linebacker Will Witherspoon put a stake in the bloodless hearts of the Redskins.

Jackson, quicker than a hiccup, burst 67 yards for a score on an end-around and snagged a 57-yard TD strike from an otherwise misfiring Donavan McNabb.

Witherspoon was Johnny-On-The-Spot (if you remember that phrase, you soon may be dead) with a pick-six return off a tip and created another dandy turnover.

Guess what? The Eagles, who have played a bunch of pansies so far except for the surprising Saints, are very much alive in the NFC East at 4-2. Of course, now they have to play some teams who actually have a pulse.

Take a deep breath and see what develops for the Iggles, who definitely are playing second fiddle to the Phillies these days in the City of Brotherly Love.

And how come nobody ever calls Reading the City of Brotherly Love?

Bloody Monday: The carnage continues in Afghanistan and Iraq

Let’s face it, the Middle East always will be a vortex of volatile vulgarities.
I think it was predestined to ever be so in the Bible and the Koran.
The Mideast will never throttle back the turbulence of uncontrolled urges for endless death.
So the bodies continue to pile up like cordwood.
A helicopter crash and separate collision involving two other choppers killed 14 Americans today in one of the deadliest days for U.S. troops in the war in Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, the death toll from Iraq’s worst attack in more than two years climbed to 155 today as Iraqis buried the dead from the twin suicide bombings that devastated the heart of Bagdad.
The Middle East never will be delivered from darkness and ignorance, from fear and fury.

Two pilots were flying along just fine till the sandman apparently came

They say flying is safer than driving, and I do believe that. After all, there are a lot more terrible drivers than pilots out there.
Of course, there are some pilots without a rag of credibility to their game.
For instance, Northwest Airlines Flight 188 from San Diego to Minneapolis took a just a tad longer than expected Wednesday when the pilots overshot their destination by 150 miles.
150 miles!
Even my mother doesn’t overshoot parking spots by that much.
The pilots were out of touch with air-traffic control for 78 minutes. The pilots told the FBI they had been in a “heated discussion over airline policy” and lost track of where they were.
Yeah, and they also tried to sell the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Island to the feds for 24 bucks and some jewelry trinkets.
Not surprisingly, they’re investigating whether the two pilots fell asleep at the controls.
That probe should last about 78 minutes. Come on, what do you think? Their eyelids likely had to be pried open with crowbars.
The solution is to ratchet up the music in cockpits to the screaming point.

Cheney, who essentially kept his gun holstered in Afghanistan, slams Obama for not fully squeezing the trigger

Why doesn’t Dick Cheney just disappear into the murky mists of history?
Forgive me for mixing metaphors and breeds, but the guy is a one-trick pony and as tar thick as a mule farmer.
Everything is a blood feud with the former vice president.
He called out President Obama on Afghanistan last night, accusing the White House of “dithering” over the strategy for the war and urging Obama to “do what it takes to win.”
Excuse me, but after 9/11 when the Bushies should have gone full bore into Afghanistan, they instead opted to dither around in Iraq for years.
So Cheney’s criticism doesn’t jibe with the track record. Bush never put a full-court press on Afghanistan.
By the way, who the hell besides old men like Cheney uses dither anymore?

If you're scoring at home, it's Obama to Dunn to Fox News to Mao … what in the sainted name of Mother Teresa is going on here?

Not to pick on the Obama White House, but don’t the folks there have more than enough important matters to fry their brain cells than picking a fight with Fox News?
Nevertheless, they trotted out Anita Dunn, the White House’s communications director, to take on the men of Murdoch. The men on the right were not pleased.
Indeed, they’ve been doing enough outraged spouting ever since to need lobster bibs.
Dunn is under so much fire she needs a flak jacket.
In a June speech, Dunn said the “two people I turn to most” are Mother Teresa and Mao Tse-Tung.
Granted, both of them are dead so perhaps Dunn communicates with spirits. After all, she is a communications director.
Nobody can pick on Mother Teresa, obviously. But Dunn is being roasted for calling Mao a political philosopher.
Considering his time constraints, philosophy was just so much Chinese to Mao. He was too busy being a revolutionary and a butcher. He likely was responsible for the deaths of some 50 million people. He apparently had more blood on his hands than Hitler and Stalin.
Dunn, meanwhile, is going to her right in her defense. She is trying to pin her quote on Lee Atwater, a one-time adviser to President George H.W. Bush.
Atwater, too, is dead.
Perhaps Dunn should deal with people with a pulse.

A tale quintessentially greedy in all its green hues: Perks keep coming and coming at rescued banks

The banking execs always win. We always lose.
It’s like SUVs against motorbikes.
They nail all of us to our debit cards and leave us there.
Because banking big cheeses are fat cats playing with house money. They’re addicted to money and they lavish on themselves all sorts of perks.
Even as our country’s biggest financial firms were leaking serious water and the federal government was spending hundreds of billions of OUR dollars to save them, the companies were giddily ramping up the perks and benefits they pay their chief executives.
The firms, accounting for a staggering $350 billion in federal bailout funds, brazenly ratcheted up these perks and benefits 4 percent on average last year, according to an analysis of corporate disclosures filed in recent months.
From jets to country club fees, the CEOs were feasting on a feeding frenzy of fringe benefits.
Some chief executives, such as Kenneth D. Lewis of Bank of America and Jeffrey M. Peek of CIT Group, the major small-business lender now on the brink of bankruptcy, each received about $100,000 more than a year earlier for personal use of corporate jets.
All the flimflam in this sad saga about the tantalizing power of money and materialism makes us cry hard enough to shovel our tears.