"The far left is busy these days," observes Jennifer Bishop, of Austin, Texas, president and chief executive of buttafly.com.
"Between whining about the country's war efforts and attending celebrity benefits for fashionable diseases, they simply don't have the time for trifles like political debate and thoughtful analysis of issues," she says.
Therefore, as a public service, Bishop this month invented the "Hysterical Liberal Magic Eight Ball," found on her Web site.
"So," she says, "if you would like to hold a discussion of current events and politics but can't find any liberals, don't worry. Just click on the magic ball for the answer to any tough question from the point of view of an emotional, irrational liberal."
We asked the liberal eight ball two questions and received two answers: "The solution is to raise taxes" and "You're stupid."
GUNS WITH BRAINS
Criminals who use firearms might not have any brains, but the guns they brandish soon could.
We're referring to the prototype of a "smart gun" being developed under reported contract with the U.S. government. What's unusual about the weapon is that it can be fired only by its owner.
According to the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, a Belgian company has received some $20 million from the U.S. Justice Department to help develop and test the smart gun.
"The idea is to make a gun fire when the owner wants it to, and not to when the owner doesn't want to," says Robert Sauvage, of the FN Herstal Co., which has a manufacturing branch in the United States.
Production of the gun, currently being tested using the electronic recognition device attached only to the owner, could begin in three years.
SPACE FOR GREEN
He was accused of taking votes away from Democrat Al Gore in the controversial 2000 presidential election. Now Ralph Nader, who ran for president in 1996 and 2000 as candidate of the Green Party, is huddling with the Democratic Party.
In fact, Nader revealed at a press conference this month that he's consulting with House Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri on the issue of corporate reform.
"The Democrats have now decided to make this the big political issue for the November election," Nader said. "I spoke to Mr. Gephardt, and he confirmed that their strategy is to link this corruption to the Republican Party."
Meanwhile, Gephardt this week sought the presence of several consumer-related groups to rally behind him at his own press conference.
"I want to thank all the groups that are here and have fought with us to stand up for the people of this country," said the Democrat. "I don't want to leave anybody out, but without their hard work, we wouldn't be here today."
ALWAYS ON THE JOB
Rep. Bill Thomas (R-Calif.), House Ways and Means Committee chairman, emerged from a meeting with President Bush at the White House on Friday and carefully approached a gaggle of reporters, photographers and TV cameramen who had been staking out the West Wing.
"Watch the wires, please," one journalist shouted to Thomas as the congressman maneuvered over several TV cables and approached the waiting microphones.
Eyeing the strands of thick wires on the ground, Thomas commented: "I don't believe this meets OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) standards."
THE FUTURE CONTINUES
He lived every day by the motto, "The Future is Now."
He was the only National Football League coach never to have a losing season over 12 years.
He amassed an amazing NFL record of 118-54-5.
George Allen, unfortunately, isn't alive to celebrate this Saturday (Aug. 3), when he will be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He is to become only the 19th coach ever to receive the honor.
"Dad would always talk about what a great day it is to be alive," Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) recalled in an interview with this column. As the coach's eldest son, Allen, a former Virginia governor, will travel to Canton, Ohio, this weekend to accept his father's honor on behalf of his family.
"This is obviously a big day - and a very emotional day as well," the senator reflects. "I'm giving the speech for my father, actually for my family, and it will be very difficult. Obviously, I wish I could be in the stands watching him, shedding great tears of pride."
And were his father alive today, what might he tell the admiring crowd?
"I know what he would say," Allen says. "He would say this is a 'team' victory. He would speak of his assistants, his players and my mother."
In fact, the senator says that if given the chance his father would attempt to recognize every assistant he ever coached with and every player he ever coached "before they would pull him off the stage."
"A lot of these coaches and players will be there," adds the senator. "It will be the 'Over-the-Hill Gang' reunion riding again. Dad will be there in spirit, and he will be there in our hearts and memories."
Besides coaching football for several colleges, the elder Allen was the assistant coach for the Chicago Bears from 1958 to 1965, head coach of the Los Angeles Rams from 1966 to 1970, and head coach of the Washington Redskins from 1971 to 1977.
When it comes to paying one's fair share of taxes, one has to agree with U.S. Senate candidate Bob Irvin, who served in the Georgia House of Representatives for 15 years, including six years as House Republican leader.
Irvin is best known for passing welfare reform and requiring violent felons to serve at least 90 percent of their sentences. He's also a leading fiscal conservative who saw his popularity rise after he forced tax reductions.
Now, with his sights set on Capitol Hill, Irvin might be a long-awaited answer to overhauling the nation's tax system.
"Our tax system is too complicated and must be replaced," says the candidate, observing that more than half of Americans need help filling out their tax forms.
"The obscure rules and calculations," he says, "have, in the words of Will Rogers, made more liars out of the American people than golf has."
While drafting new criminal sanctions to help ensure corporate responsibility, Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.) summoned a "feisty little" fellow to Capitol Hill.
Government history books remember G. William Miller, former chairman of the Federal Reserve Board under President Carter before eventually becoming his Treasury secretary, as "a feisty little guy, with a boyish grin and a broken nose, (who possesses) that spontaneous, optimistic American attitude that trouble is inevitable but everything is possible."
A chairman of the advisory council to President Kennedy's Committee on Equal Employment Opportunities in the early 1960s, the outspoken Miller, now in his late 70s, sees a parallel threat from the breakdown today in corporate accountability - a "domestic threat to our well-being."
"There have been corporate and business crises before," he pointed out but added that this "is an unusual magnitude, not in just the number of companies that have been in trouble, but also the amount of values that have been destroyed."
How much was destroyed?
Not only have the savings and hopes of employees and families of fraudulent companies been affected, but also, Miller told a surprised Biden, "the loss of capital value since Enron announced bankruptcy exceed the gross national product of any country in the world other than the United States."
Proposed legislation by Democratic House Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt (D-Mo.) to grant permanent residency status to millions of illegal immigrants is "blatant political pandering of the highest level."
"As a legal immigrant from Chile, I am embarrassed and ashamed of our so-called political leaders' constant battling to win over the 'Hispanic vote.' As a Hispanic, I am here to tell you there is no such thing," U.S. English Chairman and CEO Mauro E. Mujica said Monday.
"Why then are Democrats and Republicans falling all over themselves to win the accolades of illegal Mexican workers, instead of working equally hard for the votes of legal citizens everywhere?" he asks.
Mujica says losers in the two-party bidding war for special-interest Hispanic votes are immigrants who "played by the rules and don't jump the queue," not to mention "everyday law-abiding citizens who don't believe in rewarding scofflaws with citizenship."
He says the latest proposal by Gephardt "will only evoke animosity among those immigrants who played by the rules to live here legally or to become naturalized Americans."