The crazy people in Congress

One thing you might not have noticed last week on the night the Democrats in Congress saved the country from going into default was this:

Amid all the chaos of the last-minute deal in Washington, there was an unusual moment on the House floor moments after the bill passed.

A House stenographer and well-known employee calmly took to a microphone and began screaming.
“Do not be deceived. God shall not be mocked. A House divided cannot stand,” she said, according to a House GOP aide. After a few seconds, she was escorted out by the Sergeant-at-Arms, but an audio recording by Todd Zwillich of Public Radio International captured the rest of her rant.

“He will not be mocked, He will not be mocked, (don’t touch me) He will not be mocked. The greatest deception here, is that this is not one nation under God. It never was. Had it been… it would not have been… No. it would not have been… the Constitution would not have been written by Free Masons… and go against God. You cannot serve two masters. You cannot serve two masters. Praise be to God, Lord Jesus Christ.”

House members and aides were surprised and unsettled by the scene.

“I don’t know, she just snapped,” said a GOP aide.

She was dragged away. But we all know if she had been a Republican elected from a Tea Party district, she’d still be speaking.

She wasn’t the only crazy person there. The vote to end the government shutdown and prevent a default was 285 to 144.

Voting yes  to end the shutdown and prevent a default were 198 Democrats and 87 Republicans.

Voting no were 0 Democrats and 144 Republicans.

A vast majority of Republicans voted to keep the government closed and to default on America’s debt. A default would have had a catastrophic impact on the world economy and America’s economic security. We would have faced a market collapse leading to an economic recession and higher unemployment. That’s what the GOP wanted.

But only one crazy person was escorted from the House floor.

‘Dancing the Dream’ at the National Portrait Gallery

The National Portrait Gallery in Washington is currently hosting an exhibit called “Dancing the Dream,” which explores the relationship between the art of dance and the evolution of a modern American identity.

And since evolution is involved, it has to include this:

That Jimmy Fallon/Michelle Obama bit shows up as a QR code in one of the exhibit rooms, but there are posters, photos, paintings and videos of legendary dancers from the 19th to the 21st centuries. Dance forms range from ballet to ballroom and modern dance to video choreography. There are video clips from “West Side Story” and “The Firebird” ballet.

The clips include the last part of this Nicholas Brothers dance routine from the 1943 movie “Stormy Weather“:

You should have heard the groans (of admiration and the idea of torn hamstrings) as this clip played in the gallery. When you see the Nicholas Brothers in action, the dancing in “Saturday Night Fever” or “Michael Jackson’s Thriller” (which are also on display) seem as challenging as “Mom Dancing.”

(And by the way: Thank goodness the government shutdown is over. This exhibit was closed because of it.)

Caffeine madness

Anything interesting happen at your coffee shop recently?

(Of course, I’m going to see “Carrie.”)


Sandra Bullock’s delight

If you’ve seen the movie “Gravity,” you probably walked out at the end saying, “Well, that’s Sandra Bullock’s second Oscar.”

What you don’t know is that Sandra Bullock can (in the kids’ vernacular) throw down the beats. Here she is on a British chat show bringing back a rap classic:

And while we’re at it on movie stars’ doubling as rappers, here’s Anna Kendrick, from “Pitch Perfect,” with Dr. Dre‘s “No Diggity“:

A week’s worth of food: A life and death matter

Photographer Peter Menzel went around the world and visited households to see what a week’s worth of food looked like for the average family. Let’s start here in America.


Now, using that as a baseline, here’s a week in Italy.


I don’t think its going out on a limb to say the American diet really sucks. Tons of packaged and processed food. I feel my cholesterol levels rising and my blood pressure rocketing just looking at a U.S. table that’s accentuated by Burger King, Dominos and McDonalds. When I came back to the states after seven years in Europe, the overwhelming portions of fat and grease at the average restaurant literally made me sick. As in throwing up in the toilet sick. The only thing I can handle at a McDonalds these days is the Happy Meal: a cheeseburger, a half portion of fries, a small drink and a small package of apple slices. Can’t forget the toy.

And I’m not surprised when I look up the life expectancy for the two countries. Turns out Italy ranks 10th in the world at 81.95 years, according to the Web site

The United States comes in at No. 53, with an expectancy of 78.62.

Before we go, let’s take a look at a week’s worth of food in one more country: Chad.


I figure the life expectancy here is going to be pretty bad, and confirms that. Life expectancy in Chad is 49.07 years. Dead last at No. 228 on the planet. If I lived in Chad, I would have been dead for the past nine years.

The contrast between the three countries, and what we put in our mouths, should give Americans pause. The U.S. is the richest country in the world, and we’re dying because we eat crap. Chad is the poorest country in the world, and its citizens are dying because they’re starving. This is shameful.

For more photos from around the world, go to this link at Nutrition News. For the life expectancy figures, check out this link at


The deficit and the Grand Bargain scam

When the powers that be say the federal deficit is the most important economic issue of our time, keep this in mind: