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Beats the Pope

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President-elect Barack Obama's rise to power received more global news coverage than the Iraq war and several other leading news developments of the last decade combined.

"The election of Barack Obama ... tops all major news stories since the year 2000," says an analysis by the Global Language Monitor (GLM), which counts citations of Mr. Obama in both print and electronic media and on the Internet "more than double the other main stories of the last decade combined."

Other stories in descending order of importance after Mr. Obama's rise to power were the Iraq war, the Beijing Olympics, the financial crisis, Hurricane Katrina, the death of Pope John Paul II, the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the Southeast Asian tsunami.

"The historical confluence of events in the year 2008 is unprecedented," said Paul J.J. Payack, president of GLM.


Barring a miracle, or House Speaker Nancy Pelosi making a name for herself by putting her foot down to stop this outrageousness, Congress on Thursday will receive an automatic pay raise of $4,700, placing members' annual salary at $174,000.

It's not that lawmakers didn't have ample opportunity to deny themselves their salary increase while the rest of the country has been drowning in unemployment, national debt and bailouts. In fact, Inside the Beltway last January praised freshman Rep. Harry E. Mitchell, an Arizona Democrat and former high school economics teacher, for introducing the Stop the Congressional Pay Raise Act of 2008 to prevent this week's very pay raise from going into effect.

Mr. Mitchell had introduced a similar bill in 2007 to block the previous congressional salary increase. Unfortunately, neither bill reached the floor.


I, Barack Obama, in light of 2009 New Year's resolutions submitted on my behalf by Inside the Beltway readers from coast to coast, do hereby resolve to ...

"... Celebrate Christmas this year in a more traditional way ... and not lazing on a beach somewhere." (Cara Lyons Lege', Frisco, Texas)

" ... Allow the middle-class to go broke with dignity in 2009 ... so they become three months late on their mortgages so they too can receive a handout of which they would never have needed if there was just a little honor among thieves." (Dave Smith, Berkeley Springs, W.Va.)

"... Take and pass a college level course in economics taught by [nationally recognized economist] Walter E. Williams." (Fred Osborn, Ivins, Utah)

"... Effective Feb. 1, the 5.6 percent cost of living raise to Social Security beneficiaries, retired federal and military recipients is cancelled for 2009." (Bill McCarthy, retired military and federal employee, McLean, Va.)

"... Limit congressional terms, stop Congress from raising their own pay and allowances, secure our borders, require a national standard for identification of our citizens, and establish English as our national language for all transactions." (Nelson Johnson, no address)

"... Eliminate pork, i.e. earmark spending, as this is perhaps the one thing most responsible for idiot(ic) elected officials remaining in office for decades. Of course, the respective states availing themselves of the largess of taxpayers across the nation via their long support for idiot(ic) legislators, having received an inch, have taken a mile and, in a bizarre form of a Christian practice, now want to go the second mile. Let Peter and Paul each be responsible for his own financial affairs with no robbery of either or favoring of either." (M. Streek, South Carolina)

"... Govern from the far left in order to ensure a Republican revolution akin to 1994 in 2012. I further resolve to emulate Jimmy Carter to ensure this result occurs." (Jack Watson, Ardmore, Ala.)

"... Refrain from blaming anyone for giving me the worst job on the planet, because I asked for it." (Don Garlock Jr., New London, Va.)

"... Familiarize myself with the various definitions of the word 'is.' " (Ryan J. Baker, Omaha, Neb.)

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