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Do You Know How Many Houses You Own? (UPDATED with more mockery)

If you know how many houses you own, congratulations!  Give yourself a pat on the back, because you’re smarter than a certain senator from Arizona.  When asked in an interview how many houses he owns,

John McCain answered:

I’ll have my staff get to you.

I see two problems in this answer.  The first, obviously, is the question of the actual count.  The second problem is that he apparently needs a staff to do his house-counting.  But when pressed about his thoughts on what constitutes being rich, he (or someone on his staff) came up with:

“I define rich in other ways besides income,” he said. “Some people are wealthy and rich in their lives and their children and their ability to educate them. Others are poor if they’re billionaires.”

Well, Senator, . . . I define “rich” as someone who DOESN’T KNOW HOW MANY HOUSES HE OWNS.

Test Your Right-Wing IQ!

The nomination of Senator John (the “Maverick”) McCain has caused a lot of consternation among our nation’s true right-wing heroes who feel he isn’t conservative enough to fill President Bush’s shoes.  How can we separate the men from the boys (and the women, and the Hispanics, etc.) in the right-wing movement?  The following test is a simple way to do just that — calculate your right-wing IQ and use it to exclude the unwashed masses who are stinking up our Big Tent!

Record your answer for each of the following ten questions.  The answers and a grading scale are listed below.  No peeking until you have locked in each of your answers.  The integrity of true conservatives means the “honor system” should work perfectly fine to score your own test.

Ready to begin?    

Medvedev Orders an End to Russian Attacks in Georgia

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev announced in a nationally televised speech on Tuesday that he had ordered an end to the military campaign in Georgia, saying that the Russian military had punished Georgia and restored security.  Various skirmishes had continued overnight Monday but no major offensives on either side were being reported.

From the BBC: Medvedev’s statement included:

“I’ve decided to finish the operation to force the Georgian authorities to peace. The safety of our peacekeeping forces and civilian population has been restored.

“The aggressor has been punished, having sustained considerable losses. Its armed forces have been disorganised”

Senator “Tubes” Isn’t Going Down Without a Fight

Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) pleaded not guilty at his arraignment on Thursday to 7 counts of lying on Senate disclosure forms, beginning the process of clearing his good name.  Stevens maintains that he didn’t knowingly file any false forms.  He did not, however, offer any defense for being an idiot (see “series of tubes”), nor for being a corrupt asshole.

But Stevens’ attorney, Brendan Sullivan, made it clear at the arraignment that their legal team was ready to fight the charges:

Stevens’ legal team asked the judge to move the trial to Alaska, where the senator has been a political patron since before statehood. Attorney Sullivan also asked that the trial date be speeded up to give Stevens his day in court before the Nov. 4 election.

“He’d like to clear his name before the election,” Sullivan told the judge. He added: “This is not a complex case. It should be one that moves quickly.”

Since Stevens is a Republican, his strategy most likely will also include proving that he is not gay, although Sullivan didn’t address that specifically at the hearing.  

Oh My God, Oh My God, OH MY GOD!!!

It’s finally happened:  the two most perfect babies in human history have been born.  Angelina Jolie, with Brad Pitt by her side, gave birth to twins Saturday night, a boy named Knox Leon and a girl named Vivienne Marcheline.  

Iowa is Saved! Bush and McCain Both Visit on Thursday (Updated)

Hooray for us Iowans!  Our long regional nightmare is over!

President Bush visited Cedar Rapids and Iowa City today to personally vanquish the Godless floods that have caused so much damage over the last two weeks.  And John McCain visited Columbus Junction, IA, to vanquish things a few miles downstream from the President.  They shrewdly made separate trips so as to maximize the disruption to local recovery efforts.

(the President recoils in horror as he encounters an average Iowan)

Devastating Floods Continue Across Iowa

I had a chance to take a few pictures of the flooding in Iowa this weekend.  In much of the state you are bound to run across a scene like the following picture.  This is the Iowa River near Amana, IA, about 20 miles upstream from Iowa City:

An Update on Flooding in Iowa (Updated 3x)

(please forgive my recent absence — a combination of the flu and the flood have kept me away from the computer)

Last week I had started on a diary about how flooding in the Midwest was likely to affect food prices, as the corn crop suffers and farmers get too deep into the growing season to re-plant their crops.  Articles like this one and this one described how the flooding would decrease the number of acres planted with corn, and decrease the yield for corn that was planted.  But the rainfall from this weekend made those stories old news.  Up to 10″ of rain fell in some areas, and widespread areas received between 2″ and 6″ of rain.  The situation grew exponentially worse over the weekend as flash flooding hit first from the heavy rainfall, and now sustained flooding will occur as that water works its way through rivers already flooded.

God Switches His Party Affiliation from Republican to Democrat

For many years God was a registered independent.  He mainly spoke to the government through Reverend Billy Graham, who has met with and advised every president from Harry Truman through George W. Bush.  Graham has seldom been publicly political, and according to Wikipedia:

Politically, Graham has been a registered member of the Democratic Party and leaned Republican during the presidency of his friend Richard Nixon.  He has not completely allied himself with the religious right, saying that Jesus did not have a political party.  He does not openly endorse political candidates, but he has given his support to some over the years.

He refused to join Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority in 1979, saying: “I’m for morality, but morality goes beyond sex to human freedom and social justice. We as clergy know so very little to speak with authority on the Panama Canal or superiority of armaments. Evangelists cannot be closely identified with any particular party or person. We have to stand in the middle in order to preach to all people, right and left.”

Rare EF5 Tornado Destroys Parkersburg, IA

The National Weather Service conducted a site survey of the damage sustained in Parkersburg, IA from a tornado that struck the area Sunday evening, and confirmed that it was a rare EF5, the highest measure on the Enhanced Fujita Scale.  The NWS states that top wind speeds from the tornado were estimated to be 205 MPH.  That’s about the top speed of a car running in a NASCAR race.  Now imagine the car is indestructible, is one mile wide, and travels 43 miles.  That’s what hit Parkersburg and several other neighboring towns.  

A Memorial Day Tribute

The picture below was taken in July of 1918 at Camp Dodge, on the north side of Des Moines, IA.  Approximately 18,000 men were assembled on the parade grounds to form a “living” Statue of Liberty.

According to a July 3, 1986, story in the Fort Dodge Messenger, many men fainted-they were dressed in woolen uniforms-as the temperature neared 105 degrees Farenheit. The photo, taken from the top of a specially constructed tower by a Chicago photography studio, Mole & Thomas, was intended to help promote the sale of war bonds but was never used.” (Grover 1987)

Are Iowans Always Polite? Not When McCain Comes to Town

John McCain made a campaign stop in Iowa today and held a town-hall meeting at the Polk County Convention Center in Des Moines.  It was attended by lots of typical up-tight Iowa Republicans, who clap politely when McCain talks about wars in Iraq and Iran, tax cuts for the rich, wacky economic ideas like the gas-tax holiday, etc.

Unfortunately for McCain, the town-hall was also attended by a Baptist minister named Marty Parrish.  

Parrish stepped up to the microphone and politely asked McCain:

This question goes to mental health and mental health care. Previously, I’ve been married to a woman that was verbally abusive to me. Is it true that you called your wife a cunt?

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