Tag Archives: News

Obama praises compromise plan

22 Jul

The U.S. House on Tuesday night passed the “cut, cap and balance” deficit reduction plan backed by tea party conservatives but dismissed by President Barack Obama, who offered strong praise for another proposal put together by a bipartisan group of senators.
The so-called Gang of Six plan — drafted by three Democratic and three Republican senators — presents a possible compromise to Obama and congressional leaders as they approach a deadline for a deal on cutting federal deficits in order to gain Republican support for raising the federal debt ceiling to avoid an unprecedented default.
It would cut the nation’s debt by about $3.7 trillion over the next 10 years — similar to the president’s call for roughly $4 trillion in savings.
Obama called the plan by the Gang of Six senators “broadly consistent” with his own approach to the current debt ceiling crisis because it mixes tax changes, entitlement reforms and spending reductions.
However, the top two Democrats in the Senate said they don’t think there is enough time before the government needs to borrow more money on August 2 to pass the comprehensive Gang of Six plan.
Meanwhile, the Republican-led House of Representatives voted 234-190 to pass the “cut, cap and balance” plan that would impose strict caps on all future federal spending while making it significantly tougher to raise taxes — the solution favored by hard-line conservatives.
The vote was almost completely on party lines for the measure that included the requirement that Congress pass a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution before agreeing to extend the federal debt ceiling.
“While President Obama simply talks tough about cutting spending, House Republicans are taking action,” House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said in a statement after the vote.
Boehner called the House measure “exactly the kind of ‘balanced’ approach the White House has asked for — it provides President Obama with the debt limit increase he’s requested while making real spending cuts now and restraining future government spending and debt that are hurting job growth.”
Obama has said he would veto such a measure, and Senate Democrats are expected to kill it. On Tuesday, the president said legislators “don’t have any more time to engage in symbolic gestures” with time running out to raise the debt ceiling in order to avoid default.
“We have a Democratic president and administration that is prepared to sign a tough package that includes both spending cuts (and) modifications to Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare that would strengthen those systems and allow them to move forward, and would include a revenue component,” Obama added. “We now have a bipartisan group of senators who agree with that balanced approach. And we’ve got the American people who agree with that balanced approach.”
Obama also refused to rule out the fallback plan proposed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, that would raise the debt ceiling up to $2.5 trillion through the 2012 election. If Congress fails to raise the current $14.3 trillion debt ceiling by August 2, Americans could face rising interest rates, a declining dollar and increasingly jittery financial markets, among other things.

Heath Bell slides his way into All-Star appearance

13 Jul

San Diego Padres closer Heath Bell(notes) made one of the most unusual entrances in baseball history during Tuesday night’s All-Star game, sliding just short of the Chase Field mound after running a dead sprint from the left field bullpen. The move came as a surprise to almost everyone in attendance, including the Fox cameraman who was assigned to keep up with the 240-pound pitcher — a task at which he ultimately failed.

Bell’s arrival was “well executed” said San Francisco Giants closer Brian Wilson(notes), but it almost didn’t come to pass during the eighth inning of  the National League’s 5-1 victory. Although the imaginative Bell had told friends and teammates he was planning on adding the last wrinkle to his usual running start, he started to have second thoughts after NL manager Bruce Bochy gave an impassioned pregame speech about the game counting for homefield advantage in the World Series.

“But then we were up by four runs,” Bell said with a smile in the postgame clubhouse. “And I saw (Pablo) Sandoval and said, ‘OK, better get out of the way.”

Judging from the picture above, Sandoval enjoyed the show. Chicago Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro(notes) — perhaps thinking of a way to commit a trademark throwing error in the Midsummer Classic, something he did the very next inning — seems somewhat less enthused.

Man down! Heath Bell slides his way into All-Star appearance

If you’re wondering if San Diego manager Bud Black and the rest of the Padres’ brass were sitting at home with terrified looks on their faces, Bell said that probably wasn’t the case.

“I think San Diego is used to me doing a lot of fun stuff,” Bell said. “Honestly, I practice sliding a lot. Behind the scenes, so no one can see me. I feel like I’m an athlete even though I’m a pitcher. Even though I’m a big guy, I can play.”

Bell can play, indeed. This is his third straight All-Star appearance and he’s boasting a 2.43 ERA with 26 saves at the break. On Tuesday, he induced a inning-ending popup from Jhonny Peralta, the only batter he faced on the night.

Despite that impact on the game, Bell probably made a bigger impression on the baseball-watching public. Not only with his unorthodox slide, but with a great interaction he had with two young fans down the left field line. When the two children asked him for his autograph, Bell responded it was against the rules for him to sign during the game.

But what he could do was give the fans his Yoda backpack. Inside were autographed baseballs and Bell followed up by handing out some pre-signed baseball cards.

You Can Become A Dating Guru

13 Jul

When I was first asked to review a book I was all, “Great!  I can be a prestigious, well-respected, nay FEARED, literary critic. When I received the book I was all, “Crap.  How am I going to explain my reading of this book to my husband?”  It’s for ART, I told him.  It’s for the INTERNET, I further told him. The book was sent for FREE, by the AUTHOR, who might one day be FAMOUS, and who included a handwritten note on a pink INDEX CARD.  And he was all, “OK.”  So, without further ado, here is my review of the book entitled 11 Points Guide to Hooking Up, by Sam Greenspan.
1. Even if you’re a person in a committed relationship (married even) you’ll find this book enjoyable. The author is knowledgeable, funny, and…funny. It’s a funny book. Who doesn’t like funny books? Some of the information will be a bit distasteful to you (especially if you’ve spent a lot of time protesting the elimination of your pubic hair, or protesting the idea of threesomes), but overall it is a solid read.
2. If you’re not in a committed relationship, this could pretty much be your bible. The author has taken real-life experience and applied it to a ton of 11 point lists that will help make your dating life easier and more fruitful. He comes off as an expert. I guess he’s been on a lot of dates.
3. THE BAD: I wish he’d organized the lists differently. But that’s just me. I’m an old married chick. So I wish he’d organized the lists in a way that leads the reader to their ultimate destination of either perpetual singlehood or blissful commitment. The list in the “Dilemmas” chapter that talks about things you should do before you’re ready to settle down shows up in the last part of the book, but it’s surrounded by breaking up lists, so for me it would have worked better to organize the lists in order of least-committed information to most-committed information. But that’s just me. THE GOOD: How the heck did the guy write so many lists about dating and relationships?
4. Footnotes. There is nothing I love more in a humorous book than footnotes that are funnier than the text itself. Think Good Omens or A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius but more comprehensible and less pretentious.
6. Simpsons References. If you read his site, you will expect them in the book. If you’ve never read his site, they are a pleasant surprise.
7. Other delicious references. Hall and Oates? Miami Vice? Maid in Manhattan? How the Grinch Stole Christmas? Is nothing sacred to his guy? I hope not.
8. He wrote me a personal note. On a pink and white index card. So the whole time I read this book (and I read the WHOLE book, unlike a lot of book reviewers) I got to use the adorable pink index card as a bookmark.
9. It’s fun for a boy and a girl. This book is great for guys. In fact, I wish that all the guys I dated in my early twenties had a future time machine and had read this book. Actually, no I don’t. They would have been way too smart. And, as much information as this provides a man in the dating world, it’s that much better for women. Because it’s written by a man. And now we know how men think. Silly Sam. Did you even think of that?
10. The drawings cracked me up big time. The author talks about his word limit and lack of graphic capabilities a bit in the book, and I think he said he drew all the diagrams himself and if that is the case I say BRAVO. I loved them.
11. It’s only the beginning. Since the author of this book is also the owner of a website that posts top 11 lists of practically EVERYTHING, it is only a matter of time before he puts out another book on something else. Something practical, that we all need to know. Like 11 Points Guide to Becoming a Gazillionaire, or 11 Points Guide to Cheating Death. The pressure’s on now, Sam. Don’t let me down.

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