Nintendo Numbing

John McCaslin

6/25/2008 11:23:27 AM - John McCaslin

Children are famous for making excuses. Now Marc Morano, minority communications director for the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works, forwards an alarming article written by a fourth-grade student correspondent, Zach Webster.

It begins: "According to the Shiloh Creek Running Club, global warming is getting bad. The kids involved in this club can't run as long or as far as they used to. They now have to carry two bottles of water."


It's being dubbed high-level thinking at high altitudes, and who better the thinker than Bill Clinton?

Tickets to the 2008 Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado, which runs June 30 to July 6, sold out in only two hours. Besides Bubba, among the 250 headliners: Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff; former Supreme Court Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor; Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Dana Gioia; Austan Goolsbee, economic adviser to soon-to-be-crowned Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama; and Douglas Holtz-Eakin, policy adviser to the presumptive Republican presidential pick Sen. John McCain.


Rep. Todd Akin, Missouri Republican, now states for the record: "Madam Speaker, on the afternoon of June 18, 2008, I erroneously voted to override the president's veto on H.R. 6124, the Food, Conservation and Energy Act. I intended to vote 'nay' and sustain the president's veto."


That was Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada introducing on behalf of Massachusetts Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, who recovers from brain cancer surgery, a bill to extend the programs under the Higher Education Act of 1965. The measure was promptly considered and approved.

As Mr. Kennedy once famously phrased it: "The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dreams shall never die."


As if on cue, a rare and magnificent double rainbow arched over the U.S. Capitol from the Senate to the House side Monday evening in the midst of a disaster-relief fund-raiser benefiting the victims of Iowa's recent floods.

According to the Bible, a rainbow was a sign to Noah that life would never again be destroyed by flood. Needless to say, the several hundred in attendance at the Washington fundraiser were awed by the multicolored spectacle and expressed hope that the Midwest would be spared additional catastrophe.

"I think from what we see now on this glorious day is God's promise of good times to come for the people in Iowa," observed Rep. Steve King, Iowa Republican.

Other supporters on hand included Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer; Iowa Democratic Reps. Bruce Braley and Leonard L. Boswell; and Barbara Grassley, wife of Sen. Charles E. Grassley, Iowa Republican.

The benefit, it's worth noting, was sponsored by the State Society of Iowa, the Iowa Congressional Delegation, the Capital Area Iowa Club, Iowa State University Alumni Association, University of Northern Iowa Alumni Association, Drake University National Alumni Association, the American Council of Life Insurers, Honeywell and the National Beer Wholesalers Association.


That's Garfield, America's favorite feline, being honored in the U.S. Congress this week on the occasion of his 30th birthday.

We had not realized until informed by Republican Rep. Mike Pence that Garfield was born in Muncie, Ind., to creator Jim Davis. Guinness World Records says Garfield is the world's most widely syndicated comic strip character, appearing in about 2,580 publications each day.

"As Americans have gone from typewriters to BlackBerry and hatchbacks to SUVs, Garfield has remained a symbol of stability in an ever-changing world," Mr. Pence noted. "Despite the turbulence of the past 30 years, Americans can still open their local newspaper to be greeted by the smiling face of Garfield."