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Obama calls for clean energy
Adapting smokeless tobacco technology for use with coal
On the eve of Friday's start to America's annual Earth Month celebration, President Obama today combined an environmental message with a call for a redoubling of the nation's efforts in clean energy.
"Earth Month is a great time to remind your friends and family of the importance of environmental stewardship," Obama told an audience this morning at Georgetown University. "So when you head to the mall in your SUV to do your Earth Month shopping, make sure you only buy Made In China crap that is clearly labelled 'Green' and 'Eco.'
But the president's central focus this day was long term energy policy.
Reminding listeners of his endorsement of clean coal during the 2008 campaign, Obama said it is time to "get serious about clean coal."
"Right now, scientists are working on adapting smokeless tobacco technology you see every day so it will work with coal. In just four or five decades we could be powering our cities with power plants that cleanly chew coal instead of dirtily burning it," he said.
But Obama acknowledged that until clean coal is ready, other kinds of clean energy will be needed in the short term -- and he stressed the effort will be bipartisan.
"Today I am directing the Department of Energy to draft a policy based on an idea from former Alaska governor Sarah Palin. We need to replace our nation's aging nuclear reactors with new ones that use clean atoms, so that the radiation and spent fuel are clean as well."
The president also signalled compromise with Republicans on domestic oil production. "We can have 'drill, baby, drill,' but it has to be clean. That is why the new offshore drilling permits we approved last week only allow drilling for clean oil, for use in a new generation of cars that run on clean gasoline," Obama said.
Walker - AMC could avoid contract negotiations by moving "Mad Men" to Wisconsin
"Mad Men" could become "Madison, Wisconsin, Men," if Gov. Scott Walker's solution to the postponement of the AMC program becomes reality. The network announced today that ongoing contract negotiations with creator Matt Weiner meant new episodes of the popular show would be delayed until 2012.
Walker seized on the news by offering AMC the opportunity to relocate the entire production to Wisconsin. "'Mad Men' would be welcome in Wisconsin, where owners are king and employees know their place," the governor said in an email to TV Guide.
Walker said new episodes of critical entertainment programs are just as important to the public as other services such as police, firefighting and education. "The masses need their opiate. If AMC moved 'Mad Men' here, they wouldn't need to bargain with Matt Weiner anymore, the show could go on," explained Walker.
"Assuming Justice Prosser wins reelection next week, the Wisconsin Supreme Court will rule that the just-published -- and therefore totally legitimate -- law stripping collective bargaining also applies to TV shows," Walker said.
"See, I'm making Wisconsin a good place to do business. In Wisconsin AMC would have the freedom to cut unnecessary pages from scripts, allowing more time for commercials," he said. Walker added that his administration would also prohibit limits on product placement.
"I see a 'Mad Men' with 30 minutes of commercials per hour, and scenes filled with made-in-Wisconsin products like milk, cheese and beer," Walker said.
Lawmaker wants to make bat crap the official state crap of Montana
A Montana Republican today picked up the gauntlet Governor Brian Schweitzer threw down last week, introducing a bill in the state legislature that would make bat crap the official crap of the Big Sky state.
Representative Tom McGillvray made the issue his top priority after an off-hand comment by Schweitzer, a Democrat, that many Republican proposals "kind of makes some of them look bat-crap crazy."
Far from outraged, McGillvray instead took Schweitzer's remark as a compliment, declaring, "heck, we are bat-crap crazy. And you can't get much crazier than an official state crap, whoa boy."
"I mean, I have no idea how crazy bat crap is, in scientific terms, but I'm willing to put the Montana GOP's mental health up against the sanity of any winged creature's excrement, any day," he said.
McGillvray's bill designates bat crap as Montana's official state crap, requires the Department of Commerice to promote it internationally, and makes it a crime to "disparage or interfere with" bat crap -- punishable by 60 days in jail and a $10,000 fine.
The bill would also create a bat crap museum in Butte, to be managed by the Montana Historical Society.
But whatever you do, don't call it 'guano.' "That's Spanish," said McGIllvray, "and we have very strict English-only beliefs round these parts."
The bat crap bill is McGillvray's third this session. He also authored legislation requiring couples with minor children to get marriage counseling before divorcing, as well as a bill to dress up endangered gray wolves as grandmothers -- a revenue-raising partnership with Warner Bros. to promote the new movie "Red Riding Hood."
U.S. manufacturing sector surges
GOP and Fox "fabricating a lot of stuff"
A new report by the Bureau of Economic Statistics has found surprising strength in the U.S. economy despite the slow economic recovery.
"The Republicans are manufacturing like crazy," said Bureau statistician Stan Dardeviasian. "The GOP and Fox are fabricating a lot of stuff. Birther rumors, death panels, the stimulus not working -- you name it, and they're making it. Up."
Led by Tea Party staples such as misspelled placards and cartoons of President Obama as an African witch doctor, Dardeviasian estimates GOP-based fabrication could account for as much as 20% of GDP by the 2012 election.
Traditional business practices are the reason for the uptick, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Wing Xao Wen. "When you turn on Fox News and see Scott Walker blame the running dog teachers for Wisconsin's budget deficit, you can thank the heroic Koch Five Year Plan. Low-taxed Party members provide funding, heroic executives provide leadership, and hard-working Americans in the hinterlands keep the spin machines humming 24/7," Wing said.
And while the GOP owes much of its manufacturing success to traditional distribution channels such as Fox News, said Wing, distribution by new media is increasing in importance, especially James O'Keefe.
However, one labor group alleges much Republican manufacturing is done in sweatshops in the U.S. Pacific territory of the Northern Mariana Islands. On a recent factfinding trip to DeLay, a camp town on the island of Saipan, union investigator Rose E. Terrivetter found large quantities of Republican fabrication being performed by low paid women and children.
"They are able to get away with paying islanders $2-3 an hour to fabricate talking points, which still get the Made In USA label," Terrivetter said.
Bachmann throws her hat in the ring
To campaign to succeed Keillor on "Prairie"
(Stillwater) Beloved public radio host Garrison Keillor need look no further than this Minnesota town for someone to succeed him as host of "A Prairie Home Companion" -- If one aspirant has her way.
None other than Stillwater's own Congresswoman Michele Bachmann has declared she will seek the plumb Minnesota Public Radio host job in 2013, which Keillor revealed last week is when he plans to retire from the popular variety show he started in 1974.
Bachmann, the 6th District representative, said today she is motivated by her admiration for a show which, "over the years has declined in a way that parallels the decline of America due to the meddling of liberal do-gooders."
"'A Prairie Home Companion' has become more and more liberal over the decades. I'm sure I am not the only listener who has been horrified at the way Garrison Keillor has forced cast members like Guy Noir, Dusty and Lefty, Jim and Barb, the Bunsens, and the Krebsbachs to toe the secular humanist line," said Bachmann.
"I'm going to change all that. I think it would be a fabulous idea to turn 'A Prairie Home Companion' into a great pro-America kind of show, with Christian singers, Christian actors, and Christian humor," she said.
Lake Wobegon, Keillor's home town featured on the show, stands to benefit from Bachmann's clout as a lawmaker. Bachmann plans to insert a provision in the next federal budget continuing resolution for $50 million to build an ICE operations center in Lake Wobegon. She also plans to encourage the formation of Tea Party groups, charter schools, and conservative radio stations in the town.
"It also would be good to change Lake Wobegon's name to Lake Muslimsbegone," Bachmann said.
Keillor could not be reached for comment. However, "A Prairie Home Companion" writer Sarah Bellum is cautiously optimistic: "Who better to spin tales about life in Minnesota, than a Minnesotan in possession of a fantasy life that has no equal?"
Right wing hits Obama's NCAA bracket
Criticism rooted in repeated snub of Regent U
The White House's release of President Obama's picks in the NCAA basketball tournament were met with scorn by critics today, with conservative pundits saying the First Bracket "shows the President lacks focus."
"Spending time on this trivial matter shows the President lacks focus," said Fox News morning host Brian Kilmeade.
Colleague Sean Hannity said the President's inattention had a ripple effect, spreading to Congress. "Why, just knowing March Madness was approaching was enough for the House majority to spend weeks talking about abortion and NPR instead of important issues," said Hannity.
Unspoken in the controversy is long held Republican resentment toward the NCAA tournament. The source: anger that Regent University, the conservative Christian school in Virginia, has never received a tournament invitation.
"Regent is a great school, with a really competitive intramural basketball program," said Fox's Glenn Beck, pointing out that the program has come along way in the last three decades. "They even run plays," he said.
"The reason the NCAA has repeatedly snubbed Regent is clear -- secular humanist anti-Christian discrimination," declared Beck. "The C in NCAA stands for Communist, and George Soros has season tickets to Connecticut games."
After 9.0 brain tremor, Gilbert Gottfried fights aftermath of core values meltdown
The world is not responding with statements of concern and promises of aid today, as California comic Gilbert Gottfried struggles to survive.
Gottfried has been in crisis since last weekend, when he was struck by a 9.0 brain tremor. Now emergency crews are frantically working to avert a complete Gottfried core values meltdown.
"The tremor briefly interrupted Gottfried's reaction control system, which the layperson would call his 'core values,' setting fire to his career. Not in the good way," said Tammy Wynotte, spokeswoman for TEPCO, The Emergency Publicists for Comedians Organization.
"This caused him to tweet several tasteless jokes about Japan, for which he is very apologetic," explained Whynotte.
Yesterday saw helicopters throwing buckets of cold water on Gottfried, but he is still on fire and not in the good way. As a result, Daily Variety ordered everyone in 'the business' to evacuate to a distance of at least 50 miles from Gottfried.
But while TEPCO engineers are working to control the meltdown, Gottfried's humanitarian crisis is just beginning, said Wynotte: "The subsequent tidal wave of public denunciation has wiped out the Hollywood bubble he lives in, leaving him homeless."
"Since Tuesday Gilbert has been sleeping in a series of makeshift shelters, also known as comedy clubs," Wynotte said.
Wynotte also said Gottfried does not know how he is going to pay to rebuild his bubble, since he recently lost his insurance coverage. Donations can be made to Gottfried relief by calling 1-888-WYNOTTE. Companies are urged to contribute corporate gigs.
"Marriage is the worst of all the unions," Wisconsin senator says
Wisconsin Senate Republicans may have succeeded in passing legislation stripping collective bargaining rights from public employee unions, but the battle is far from over for one lawmaker.
Today Sen. Randy Hopper opened a new battlefront in the state's fiscal crisis, introducing legislation aiming to further weaken unions by making it easier for men to renounce membership in marital unions.
"Marriage is the worst of all the unions," said Hopper, a Republican from Fond du Lac.
"Union bosses keep workers like me as virtual slaves," Hopper continued. "We're made to serve the union 24/7, and most of our paychecks go to mandatory dues."
The bill arose out of Hopper's recent personal experience. Last year he became disenchanted with his union, and decided to switch to what he calls "a non-union situation" with lobbyist Valerie Cass, 25. But Hopper discovered it is not only difficult to renounce his union membership, but also expensive.
"I'm still forced to pay dues to support the union, even though I no longer consider myself a member. It's so expensive I'm going to need a tax cut," Hopper said.
Hopper's legislation would make it illegal to require men pay such dues even after leaving a marital union, turning Wisconsin into a so-called 'right to ***k' state. "The asterisks stand for several things," he said.
"The right to ***k is about freedom, because," Hopper explained, "if you think about it, community property is really a form of Communism."
Speaker Boehner barnstorms against gay marriage
Will attend & object at all gay weddings
(Washington) House Speaker John Boehner boarded a Delta Airlines flight to Des Moines today, his first stop on a high profile, five state campaign to defend traditional marriage. Boehner plans to spend the next month working against same sex marriage in states where the right has been granted by court rulings -- Iowa, as well as Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont.
"When a good friend of mine called to say gays are getting ready to marry in Iowa, I told him 'Hell no they don't! Not if I have to stop each and every one of them.' And the idea was born," said Boehner.
Boehner's idea is to personally stop every gay marriage in the country from now until April 15. "You know the part of the ceremony when the minister says 'if anyone knows of any reason these two should not be joined in wedlock, speak now or forever hold your peace'? I plan to object my ass off, then hit the cash bar at the reception," he said.
The effort depends on an army of Boehner aides and intricate scheduling. First, operatives throughout the five states scour marriage license applications, wedding announcements, church reservations, and department store bridal registries.
Then, information on dates and times of same sex ceremonies are entered into a database, and an itinerary is generated that will enable Boehner to attend all of them -- albeit at a breakneck pace.
This afternoon the Speaker is planning to object to three same sex marriages in Des Moines. Then he is on a chartered bus for objections Friday in Ottumwa, Cedar Rapids, and Davenport.
Then he'll turn over the Iowa fight to local Congressman Steve King, and head east. A Koch Industries helicopter will shuttle him among weekend objections in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont.
Bill would let Jan Brewer create Arizona State Security (A.S.S.)
Saying Arizona's defense needs to be run more like a business, key state lawmakers took to the airwaves today in support of SB-1495, which would create a new National Guard-like military force.
Arizona State Security -- or ASS -- would be under the direct command of Governor Jan Brewer. Brewer would have ASS available to fill-in for the Arizona National Guard when activated by the federal government, and for any other purpose she sees fit.
"SB-1495 creates a much-needed ASS to compete with the National Guard, which is a monopoly with no incentive to reduce costs or increase effectiveness," said Sen. Sylvia Allen of Snowflake, SB-1495's Senate sponsor.
State Rep. Jack Harper is SB-1495's House sponsor, and believes the time is right for ASS. "I think Arizonans want the security that ASS can provide. It's the kind of growth in government power that patriotic, god-fearing people can get behind," said Harper, the fourth term member from Surprise.
In fact, the legislation specifies Harper's district as home of the new force's headquarters, a $20 million ASS Surprise Operations Center to be constructed in the Bumstead area.
But according to Allen, the greatest benefit will be an increase in security for Arizona. "Citizens will rest easy knowing that whenever Guardsmen need help, ASSmen will be right behind them," Allen said.
If SB-1495 becomes law, ASS could be ready for action in 2012.
Charlie Sheen, environmentalist
Wants to save endangered species of pubic hair lice
Embattled actor Charlie Sheen today took his first step on the road to reversing his recent and highly publicized personal and career setbacks.
The star of "Two and a Half Men" told MSNBC he is dedicating the next phase of his life to environmentalism. Specifically, saving the endangered species phthiriasis pubis -- the pubic hair louse.
"The story of the threat to pubic lice is an old one -- a species at the brink of extinction because human beings have destroyed its habitat," Sheen told correspondent Daisy Gillette.
Sheen puts the blame for the louse's situation on increasing rates of pubic deforestation he has had the chance to observe first-hand over the years. "It started small in the late '80s, you'd only encounter it occasionally. But then it became more and more common, and now everybody's doing it," said Sheen.
"I don't think I've seen pubic hair on a woman since '02 or '03," he said, adding: "It doesn't matter what you call it -- shaving, waxing, Brazilian, clearing the landing strip -- it's all destructive clear cutting of habitat the pubic hair louse needs to survive."
Sheen said he has set up a nonprofit, the People Upset By Environmental Depilation Foundation, and is actively seeking donations. The PUBED Foundation hopes to convince the State of California to create a pubic hair louse refuge somewhere in Los Angeles. "I'm hoping Hef will leave us the Grotto in his will," Sheen said.
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