Surprise, surprise! Health care summit much ado about nothing

Suffice it to say that neither the Democrats nor the Republicans were feeling very zippy after yesterday’s seven-hour health care summit.
President Obama was especially gloomy when said he is not sure Democrats can “bridge the gap” with the GOP to reach a compromise on the plan, and he strongly suggested that Democrats will try to pass a sweeping overhaul without GOP support by using controversial Senate budget rules that would disallow filibusters.
Things are getting tighter than a vise, it seems.
Obama then threw down the proverbial gauntlet by observing that this fall’s elections would write the verdict on who was right.
Despite all the lips quivering and Adam’s apples jiggling during that marathon session, both parties might have been more productive if they had spent those seven hours looking for loose change in the sofa or placekicking inanimate objects or concocting cockamamie excuses for wasting everybody’s time.
The showdown did little to change the underlying dynamics of the debate.
The Democrats still are fighting the clock, which has been kicking their butts, to finish health care.
Throw in an uncertain timeline, a legislative path so convoluted it needs a GPS, Obama’s reconciliation attempt boomeranging off both the Republicans and Harry Reid, and health care reform is choking on confusion and conflict.
A Heimlich would seem to be in order.

Allison Baver another shiny product rolling off the Wilson athletic assembly line

They must sprinkle the kids with stardust in the Wilson High hallways.
How else to explain why their athletes grow up to ride currents of destiny and be as dazzling as sapphire?
Whether it’s Olympic medalists Allison Baver (bronze in short-track speedskating 3000-meter relay last night) and Kristy Kowal (silver in the 200-meter breaststroke at Sydney in 2000) or NFL quarterbacks Kerry Collins (Tennessee Titans) and Chad Henne (Miami Dolphins), Wilson grads are fluent in athletics on a world stage.

Once again the global warming geeks shriek that this place is hot while we shovel snow by the sweat of our brows

OK, perhaps in my wrinkled years I suddenly am dumber than a snowplow … but I simply can’t understand this blizzard of global warming doomsday rhetoric.

Please smirk as you read this because while we continue to get buried in a hellish hail of snowstorms, scientists — perhaps frozen out of their minds — continue to claim Mother Earth continues to get hotter than a city guy who just found somebody else’s car parked in the spot he spent 4.75 hours shoveling out.

Do you believe this past January was the hottest January ever and this past November was the hottest November ever? If I live to the twelfth of never, I won’t believe that! And not only that, but supposedly 2000-2009 was the hottest decade of all time.

If things are all so hot around here, why am I not wearing cargo shorts, a “Can You Beat Zeke?” T-shirt and flip-flops today?

Humans are frail vessels and I’m deathly afraid we all will freeze to death as global warming geysers like Yellowstone on steroids.

Don't throw a rod but Obama's mechanics already are gearing up for 2012

Past is prologue.

Barack Obama’s brain trust — trust me, there is a brain or two there if you dig deep enough with a scalpel — is laying the groundwork for 2012.
Hardly a surprise that Obama’s top advisers are privately preparing for the president’s reelection campaign.
After all, most presidents — LBJ being a notable exception because of the quagmire that was Vietnam — have had to have their fingers pried from the White House door.
While Obama’s open road to change has sprouted considerable potholes in the past year or so, his 2008 campaign was an intricately plotted caper.
His 2012 campaign is likely to be run out of Chicago and managed by White House deputy chief of staff Jim Messina, with White House senior adviser David Axelrod reprising his role as Obama’s muse and overseeing the campaign’s tone.
No change there apparently.

Entrepreneur 101: Lingerie model puts on clothes to run one of the world's largest drug gangs using beautiful angels as smugglers

With the economy the way it is, I guess it doesn’t hurt to transition to a different line of work.
Granted, some transitions are more jolting than others.
Perhaps this isn’t quite on the same plane as say a sitting president running away from the White House to become a circus clown, but Angie Sanselmente Valencia apparently punted on being a lingerie model in Colombia and moved to Argentina to become the ringleader of the one of the world’s largest drug gangs.
Valenica, who evidently grew weary of working in her underwear, brought some glamour to the smuggling world — which traditionally has not been pocked with beautiful people. After all, when’s the last time you saw a gorgeous drug dealer in Reading? Like never? The folks caught in drug busts here always seem to be afflicted with some sort of carbuncle/algae/fungus condition.
Authorities said Valencia recruited could-cause-cardiac-arrest-in-a-yak models to transport cocaine from Colombia to Cancun every 24 hours, after which the coke was trafficked to Europe.
Valencia devilishly described her working girls as “unsuspicious, beautiful angels.”
However, all good things — OK, bad things, too — must come to an end. One of the angels was busted at an airport in Buenos Aires with 55 kilograms of coke last month and sang like a canary, er, angel.
Valencia, crowned Colombia’s “Queen of Coffee” in 2000, is thought be on the run in Argentina or Mexico after the scam was blown. Then again, if Reading ever stops having snowstorms, perhaps she could seek sanctuary here.
By the way, if you’re wondering how a gorgeous lingerie model starts her own drug-smuggling operation, it apparently was a matter of the heart. She was dating a notorious Mexican drug lord known as “The Monster” but left him to set up her own empire.
She obviously is entrepreneurial and courageous. Somebody nicknamed “The Monster” likely doesn’t have the demeanor of Mister Rodgers when his girlfriend dumps him and starts taking coke off his plate.
Or maybe he simply figured destiny threw him a left hook right on the kisser.

Eagles jettison Brian Westbrook, a falling star who once was a skyrocket in flight

All is not well in the disposable NFL universe.

The Eagles had to let go of one of their all-time greats today.
They released Brian Westbrook, their brilliant but brittle multi-purpose threat as a runner, receiver and returner.
Indeed when it came to the aforementioned 3 Rs, Westbrook was one of the most feared and dynamic weapons in the league.
But running backs are not built for the long haul. It’s a position that is the property of the young and healthy.
With Westbrook’s eight-year run gradually compromised and diminished by an endless spate of injuries, and the $7.25 million he was due in salary this coming season, the Eagles sadly pulled the welcome mat from under him.
He will be missed. Remarkable as a player and a person, he always had seemed hijacked from a young boy’s dream.

Obama rolls out a health care package so watered down that it should come with a lifeguard

There have been so many proposed versions of health care reform that if you tried to count them all on the digits of the 31 million uninsured Americans, you’d run out of fingers and toes.
The latest pollination of plans came today when President Barack, trying to save his health care overhaul from going totally belly up on the coroner’s table with a big tag on its toe, unveiled (minus the drum roll) a nearly $1 trillion, 10-year compromise that would allow the government to deny or roll back egregious insurance premium increases that make consumers deathly sick with anger.
The latest proposal, although more Republican friendly than before, likely would be DOA in Congress anyway.
But it makes for good White House posturing just days before Obama’s televised health care powwow where he wants Democrats and Republicans to smoke the peace pipe and risk getting lung cancer because all of them, of course, have health care.

With his Plan A of change put on ice like the Canadian hockey team, Obama downsizes to a Plan B of incremental reform

The Obama plan, with a majority in both chambers serving as the steroids to his presidential muscle, had been to cut through Congress like pruning shears through a thicket and register a stunning list of LBJ-like and FDR-like legislative achievements.
But with the spotlight of the White House magnifying every misstep and the Republicans doing a Tarantino bloodbath on Obama’s agenda, things have changed.
Even change has changed.
The Obama administration now is retooling with a new strategy that focuses on incremental reform rather than sweeping legislative change.
The strategy is to use Obama’s White House platform to position him as an agent of popular change, with less reliance on a complicated legislative agenda.
The game plan is to stanch the Democratic bleeding before the 2010 elections.
Perhaps the voters will recognize that even Mr. Big Government can downsize!

Tiger tees up a mea culpa on his own terms

Once upon a time Tiger Woods’ public life was one of fist-pumping bravado on the golf course while his private life seemed as bland as kissing the person you’re married to … oops, shanked that analogy.

Of course, that was before anybody knew Tiger had hit on more women than he had hit golf balls. The ensuing tabloid feeding frenzy became like wallpaper … clingy, messy and annoying.

Tiger disappeared into the shadows and put his golf game in mothballs as he became the poster child for jokes, sham and delusion.

And now there are subway stations that smell better than his reputation.

Well, in history’s most anxiously anticipated prepared statement before a hand-picked live audience at PGA Tour headquarters in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., and a national television audience (presumably alive as well), the frequently concussed pariah took his first public step on the road to redemption.

It was a controlled media event, much like the ones they used to hold behind the Iron Curtain, because Tiger always has been a control freak. A trait that seems curious indeed since the man evidently lacks self-control.

At times solemn, shaky and defiant, a watery-eyed and contrite Woods repeatedly apologized for the “irresponsible and selfish behavior I engaged in.”

“I was unfaithful,” he said, shocking absolutely nobody. “I had affairs. I cheated. What I did was unacceptable and I am the only person to blame.”

His wife, Elin, was not in the room. Who could blame her? She doesn’t have to be a saint just because he’s a sinner.
Acknowledging he has been in therapy “receiving guidance for the issues I was facing,” Woods said that “starting tomorrow I will leave for more treatment and more therapy.”
Woods apparently slept with anyone and everyone simply because he could.
Egotism is not something you develop over dinner … like a tattoo, it’s etched into the flesh. His sex rehab could take a while.
While Tiger evidently will continue to give up golf for Lent, he did say: “I do plan to return to golf one day. I just don’t when that day will be. I don’t rule out it will be this year.”
Woods also addressed, with all the intensity he addresses the ball on the 18th tee at Augusta, two matters in particular that clearly have angered him.
On the night of Nov. 27 when he crashed his SUV outside his home, which signaled the unraveling of his personal life, Woods said he and Elin did not fight prior to the accident and that there have been no instances of domestic violence at any point in their relationship.
Woods also said speculation that he has used performance-enhancing substances “is completely and utterly false.”
So there you have it, sports and tabloid fans. There has been a Tiger sighting, as brief as it was.
Let’s all hope the man is more nimble than a dairy cow when he returns to the PGA Tour and actually has to field questions from the media.
That could be rather sexy.

So what do you really think when you get stuck next to a fat guy on a plane?

When Southwest Airlines kicked fat filmmaker Kevin Smith off a flight over the weekend because he was too obese to fit in his seat, Smith wasn’t too bogged down by saturated fat to weigh in with more than 200 Twitter posts and a podcast to give the world the skinny on just went down.

The story went more viral than even Tiger Woods’ infidelities. OK, that’s a stretch — like tight Spandex on Aretha Franklin (who’s even bigger than Rhode Island these days).

The Smith incident brought to light a fear we all have when flying: Everybody dreads getting stuck to an elephantine guy — not be gender specific, a woman, too — whose girth squishes and splashes like thick gravy onto you. Which gives you all the elbow room of a newspaper delivery tube.

The only worse thing is to get stuck between TWO fat people.

Granted, since all of us are politically correct these days (in public, anyway), it’s no longer fashionable to dump on folks who have more rolls than Berks Packing.

Instead, the protocol is to smile politely and ask them to sign up for The Biggest Loser on NBC or encourage them to drive past IHOP and go straight to a salad bar.

Then again, it’s not unheard of for some people (present company excluded, of course) to mutter something unkind under their breath.

As for myself, I stay on the bright side of life when positioned next to a Human Himalaya of Porcine Poundage. If the plane crashes, such a person could make for a cushier landing.

Still, fat people should spare us all the angst and fly first class. Or walk. That should burn off a few unwanted calories.