No, I Cannot Afford Your $100-A-Ticket Political Fundraiser

$100 bill

No, I cannot afford your $100 political fundraiser.

To all the pols out there cluttering my mailbox, inbox and voicemail, save your money. What were you thinking? Don’t invite me to your fundraiser unless the ticket price is much more reasonable.

Please, take a lesson from Barack Obama. Make your fundraisers affordable for the average person. Forget this over-priced nonsense. No, it’s not worth my while to pay $100 so I can shake hands with Speaker Michael Madigan for two seconds.

I know it takes a lot of money to run a campaign, but it takes votes to win one.

To those of you who are holding fundraisers with reasonable ticket prices, thank you. The recession hit me hard, and I’m thinking twice or thrice before I write a check or tap out a credit card number these days. I’ll give what I’m able to those of you who made modest requests.

I’m finished with my rant now. Thank you for listening.

Sidney Crosby and Team Canada Takes Olympic Hockey Gold

Congratulations to Team Canada on taking Olympic gold in hockey Sunday in Vancouver.

Congratulations to Sidney Crosby on netting the winning goal in overtime.

Congratulations to the U.S.A. with the youngest team in the tournament, clinching an overtime bid with 25 seconds left in the third period.

With the exception of the Miracle on Ice (which I have yet to see in color) and game seven of last year’s Stanley Cup Finals, that was the most amazing hockey game I’ve ever seen in my life.

O Canada! Indeed.

Strange Russian Song Garry Meier Played On The Air At WGN

Garry Meier played this bizarre Russian song on the air at WGN Radio 720 this week. WGN says, "We can’t quite figure out the lyrics, but then again, there don’t seem to be any."

I would agree. I don’t hear any Russian words at all in the song.

The Russian you see at the beginning is roughly translated, "I am very glad, at last, to return home." I don’t have my Russian dictionary with me. If anyone can do better, please let me know, and I’ll give you credit.

The guy singing looks like he just stepped out of the Lawrence Welk show. That, or he’s a relative of "Smiling Bob" from the Enzyte commercial.

Smiling Bob

Durbin Ready to Pass Health Care Through Reconciliation If Necessary

From the Sun-Times:

Speaking at the opening of a community health center in the West Side Austin neighborhood Saturday, U.S. Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Illinois) said it’s “unfortunate” that senate Republicans won’t join Democratic efforts to pass a health care bill, but that the Democrats are ready to go it alone.

“I think they’re going to oppose our efforts,” said Durbin. “Now we have to get the job done.”

Durbin wouldn’t venture to predict predict when the bill will pass, but said he believed it will be “a matter of weeks, not months.”

Durbin noted that the process of “reconciliation” could be used as a way to improve a senate bill already passed.

I knew Durbin wouldn’t let us down. President Obama and the Democrats have opened every possible door for the Republicans to get involved and be part of the solution. Unfortunately, Republicans can only think in sound bytes.

The time for passing health care reform has finally arrived. May it happen soon.

Rep. Trent Franks: Blacks Better Off Under Slavery (Video and Text)

From Media Matters for America:

Arizona Congressman Trent Franks told blogger Mike Stark that African Americans were much better off under slavery. Franks, the most conservative member of the Republican caucus, who has in the past called the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision "the greatest holocaust in the history of mankind," is not new to conspiracy and bigotry.

Last October for example, Franks accused a prominent Muslim advocacy group of "trying to infiltrate the offices of members of Congress by placing interns in the offices." Franks, an on-again, off-again birther, has called president Obama "un-American," accused him of going "against American interests" and even called him "an enemy of humanity." His comments to Stark, as repulsive and abhorrent as they are, seem to be consistent with the reactionary mindset that some on the right hold.

FRANKS: In this country, we had slavery for God knows how long. And now we look back on it and we say "How brave were they? What was the matter with them? You know, I can’t believe, you know, four million slaves. This is incredible." And we’re right, we’re right. We should look back on that with criticism. It is a crushing mark on America’s soul. And yet today, half of all black children are aborted. Half of all black children are aborted. Far more of the African American community is being devastated by the policies of today than were being devastated by the policies of slavery. And I think, What does it take to get us to wake up?

No matter how you parse that, it comes out really, really wrong.

The excerpt starts at the 6:22 mark in the above video.

Bush, Cheney Meet for First Time in More Than Year

I don’t know why this is a story, but, since the New York Times published it, for some reason it has caught my eye:

Former President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney met for coffee in their first reunion since PresidentBarack Obama’s inauguration more than a year ago.

Bush and Cheney met Thursday in the Washington area, Cheney’s office said in a statement, declining to give the location. ABC News aired video of Bush shaking Cheney’s hand in front of Cheney’s Virginia home.

The meeting came the day after Cheney left a Washington hospital, where he was treated after a mild heart attack.

The only story here is that they met for the first time in more than a year.

Would you want to be a fly on the wall at that meeting?

No, me neither.

Rep. Anthony Weiner Says G.O.P. Owned By Health Insurance Industry (Video)

Rep. Anthony Weiner goes off on Republicans, saying they are owned by the health insurance industry.

He’s right. American health care is not a business goal. It’s life and death. That’s it.

Watch the video, and let’s pass health reform.

Maddow: Republicans Lie About Reconciliation (Video)

Rachel Maddow calls out Republicans who are being very deceptive about the so-called "nuclear option."

Republicans have used "reconciliation" to pass legislation many, many times over the past several years.

Watch the video, and let’s pass health reform.

PETA Creates Tiger ‘Too Much Sex’ Woods Billboard

Tiger Woods too much sex

Story from WKMG out of Orlando, Florida:

The animal rights group PETA said on Wednesday that it plans on using a billboard featuring Tiger Woods that says "too much sex can be a bad thing" to encourage pet owners to spay and neuter their cats and dogs.

The PETA, which the group said it hopes to post near Woods’ Isleworth home in Windermere, shows a picture of Tiger Woods and the words "Too Much Sex Can Be a Bad Thing … For Little Tigers Too. Help Keep Your Cats (and Dogs) Out of Trouble: Always Spay or Neuter! PETA."

Woods has no formal affiliation with the organization and has not previewed or endorsed the ad, according to the group, which said the image and idea were "too good to pass up."

I’m sure Tiger will be thrilled.

SeaWorld Trainer Killed by Killer Whale (Video and Story)

From CNN:

 A killer whale killed a trainer Wednesday afternoon at SeaWorld’s Shamu Stadium in Orlando, Florida, a public information officer for the Orange County Sheriff’s Office said.

The 40-year-old woman, identified by sheriff’s spokesman Jim Solomons as Dawn Brancheau, was in the whale holding area about 2 p.m. when "she apparently slipped or fell into the tank and was fatally injured by one of the whales," he said.

But a witness told CNN affiliate WKMG-TV that the whale approached the glass side of the 35-foot-deep tank at Shamu Stadium, jumped up and grabbed the trainer by the waist, shaking her so violently that her shoe came off.

From ClickOrlando.com:

Jim Solomons of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office said she fell into the tank and, "this appears to be an accidental death."

"It is with great sadness that I report one of our most experienced trainers has drowned in an incident with one of our whales this afternoon," park manager Dan Brown said.

Brancheau had 16 years experience working with killer whales, the sheriff’s office said.

The park was closed because of the fatal incident, and the Sheriff’s Office is conducting a death investigation at the theme park.

"We have never in the history of our parks experienced an incident like this and all of our standard operating procedures will be under review," Brown said.

Witness Victoria Biniak said she saw the deadly incident from a viewing area.

"The trainer was explaining different things about the whale and then the trainer that was down there walked away from the window. Then Telly (the whale) took off really fast in the tank and he came back, shot up in the air, grabbed the trainer by the waist and started thrashing (her) around," Biniak said. "He was thrashing her around pretty good. It was violent."

Biniak said the attack was so violent that it caused the trainer’s shoe to fly off.

"He was thrashing her around pretty good. It was violent," Briniak said.