Friday, October 19

Congressional Math

I was somewhat dismayed to see that the House Of Representatives had not overridden President Bush’s veto of the Children’s Healthcare bill. This was a bill that would have extended child healthcare benefits to families at higher income levels.

Republicans were outraged because they felt that rich families should pay for their own healthcare. As one Republican lawmaker put it “If this passes families making $60,000 a year would qualify for child healthcare.”

My question is this: Is a family making $60,000 a year rich?

I suppose to a family of 4 making $20,650 a year (the official poverty level) $60,000 seems rich. But to a Congressman making $165,200 a year? That's nearly $85 an hour based on a 40 hour work week. Oh, right. This is Congress. Better make that a 4 hour work week. $850 an hour.

When you think about it $60,000 isn’t even enough to buy a house.

$60,000 isn’t enough to put your kid through college.

An for sure $60,000 isn’t enough to buy a Congressman.

Sunday, October 14


I recently attended a screening of the movie Elizabeth: The Golden Age and I must say it was a ripping yarn. In the film Her Majesty got rid of a Scottish usurper, beat up a pregnant rival in romance, and defeated the Spanish Armada.

All this action and bravery reminded me of another British hero.


Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth I, gazed across the green blaze of the Baccarat table and slowly drew on the Galois that was poise between her royal fingers. She exhaled the bluish smoke through her nostrils and took a sip of the Haig & Haig that the waiter had conveniently placed in front of her substantial pile of casino markers. She gazed directly at the dealer, and then at the Spanish Ambassador who sat a bit to her left.

"Banco", she said.

"You will burn in Hell for this, Madame...." sputtered the the Ambassador.

"Elizabeth." she answered calmly. "Queen Elizabeth."

"Better known as Agent 00I," muttered a quiet voice behind her. She turned to see Pope Pius V staring at her darkly, the scar across his cheek glowing bright red.

"We meet again, Pius. How's the arm?"

The Pontiff stretched his right arm away from his body. "Well enough, double-oh-The-First. Well do this!" He tore the mitre from his head and flung it at Her Royal Highness with remarkable agility.

The Queen dove for the floor as the razor sharp edge of the starched cloth headgear sailed an inch and a half from her jugular. "Not bad, Your Eminence," she said as she shoulder-rolled onto her haunches. "Now have a taste of this." She smoothly drew the crown - custom made for her by Christie's in Bleak Street - from her auburn locks and cast it toward the man who had been her nemesis for so many years.

Clutching his throat where two of the seven prongs had penetrated his esophagus and windpipe, the Holy Father gurgled quietly while slumping to the floor. Elizabeth slowly walked over, retrieved the golden headpiece, wiped the blood on the prostrate potentate's chasuble, and re-set it on her head.

"Well, I guess you could say this was my Crowning Achievement," she said as she returned to her seat at the table.

"Now, Armando. Where were we? Ah,Yes". She withdrew another Galois from the bodice of her gown and lit it with the gunmetal Ronson she kept for such purposes. She stared at the Spanish Ambassador for a moment and then smiled.