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Veggie Tales: Why Congress wishes to beplumpen your children, and 9% of you are totally OK with that

GateHouse — Last week a Washington Post poll revealed that the United States Congress currently enjoys a nationwide approval rating of 9%. That is nine percent, as in one integer, as in Very Close To Zero, as in if you asked “Do you approve of the job Congress is doing?” to a group of zinfandel-sipping monkeys with typewriters in a warehouse in Des Moines, they would all say “Dear God no not at all are you NUTS?,” because monkeys are actually pretty smart.

Needless to say this 9% statistic is shocking, mostly because I would have guessed somewhere between 9 to 40 percentage points lower. NINE percent approval? Are you sure you didn’t mean nine people? Where do you thumbs-up smiley-faced keep-up-the-good-work types LIVE I wonder? Do you live in Congress? Are you all Boehners? Do you know what the Gallup people meant by “Congress?” Do you think they meant “Con-Air?” Do you think you were approving of Nicolas Cage? Because if so that’s still a dismayingly high number.


Trailer approval rating: 16%


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Congress will be happy to get back to work just as soon as naptime winds down

GateHouse — SSSHHHSHSSHSHSH OH MY GOSH WOULD YOU KEEP IT DOWN PLEASE? You’ll wake the Congress! Wait, wait, come into the kitchen … over here … OK. Now. Mercy.

Sorry to yell, but Congress is really, really tired these days, and when Congress gets tired, it gets really colicky. The thing is, the more tired Congress gets, the harder it is to get Congress to take a nap, and don’t even get me started on trying to feed Congress when it’s like this. I’ve taken to putting Congress in the car and driving around for a while, but even if Congress falls asleep, you have to carry Congress back into the house, and Congress usually wakes up during the transition and starts in all over again.

Oh, don’t get me wrong – Congress doesn’t want your pity. It just wants your understanding and care and teary-eyed sympathy and a warm knowing hug, be you Democrat or Republican, black or white, fireman, teacher or 19-year-old Georgian kid toting 50 pounds of gear in arm hair-singeing 115-degree heat every day. Because Congress, as you may have been told by Congress, works extremely hard, up to five days a week, and sometimes it just needs to stop all the grueling labor involved with walking to more than a half-dozen smartly decorated offices a day, take several weeks off at the end of a summer, hit the tiki bar, put the Jimmy Buffett on and recharge the ol’ batteries. I mean, we all do it.

But don’t take it from me! Take it from Debbie Dingell, wife of Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., who reports — and you may want to stop what you’re doing for this part, particularly if what you’re doing is writing to relatives in Iraq, Afghanistan or New Orleans, or trying to figure out which groceries you’re abandoning this week so you can purchase gas — that her husband is really, really, really, REALLY kind of pooped.

“I’ve been around a long time,” Dingell told The Newspaper last weekend, “And this is the worst it’s ever been … fatigue has set in. It’s time for a break. All I hear from people is, ‘I cannot wait to get out of here.'” Oh, you think you had it bad, with your double-shifts and part-time night jobs and second or third tour? Imagine what it must be like for political consultants, lobbyists, Capitol Hill staffers, legal advisers and state representatives, who sometimes have to put in over-eight hour days for the express purpose of getting absolutely nothing done on Iraq. Workloads are mushrooming! People are getting home at 7 p.m.! Dogs and cats are living together! Cocktail hours are being skipped! SKIPPED!

(Oh hey, speaking of Iraq, sure, they have 12 cops and running water in almost 30 buildings, but they are totally rocking on the vacation thing: Their parliament is taking a full month off in August, which they’ll spend resting, regrouping and hitting up Dollywood. Here’s how out of whack the average vacation policy is in America: Iraq’s is way better).

This has been going on a while. You may remember a few weeks back, when the Democrats did this thing where they planned to stay up all night, get some things done and maybe, if there was time, play some “Guitar Hero II” and toilet paper Alberto Gonzales’ place. You may also remember that in doing so, the Democrats quite literally brought in cots and ordered pizzas, because all Democrats are apparently college freshmen. You may also remember that at the end of the night, which was about 11:30, the same thing happened that usually happened to me as a college freshman at 11:30 p.m.: nothing. Everyone went home, the cots were dismantled, no Iraq progress was made and the country’s valuable politicians got a little bit less sleep than usual.

But just in case you’re not feeling sick with empathy by now, because you’re a heartless jerk whose soul is made of gunk, perhaps your calloused soul can be touched by House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, who reports that “it’s hot, it’s humid and people are tired and ready to go home.”

Now, it’s been a long time since I took sophomore geography, but I am reasonably certain that Ohio is in what my teacher referred to as “the North,” and while I imagine it gets what the locals adorably refer to as humid in Ohio, it probably gets considerably more-so in other states, such as Florida, South Carolina, Mississippi and Louisiana, whose city New Orleans remains roughly one retaining wall and major storm away from drifting pleasantly into the Gulf of Mexico for the next few thousand years. But hey, John, you just get yourself into the air conditioning and some lemonade whilst I furnish the rest of your quote: “Most of America wants us to go home. It’s like this every summer.”

Here’s Boehner a few years back, referring to opponents of the war: “They have called Operation Iraqi Freedom a war of choice that isn’t part of the real war on terror. Someone should tell that to al Qaeda.” Why don’t you do it, John, whenever you can get back in?

Congress: We (heart) our little fluffy puppies SO MUCH yes we do yes love you don’t we schnookums


The chairman recognizes the distinguished representative of Wooftown

GateHouse — It is a time of great unrest in the legislative branch. Debate over the Iraq war is ripping the House and Senate apart, superfluous partisan wrangling seems to be at all-time highs, names and labels and accusations are being thrown like sliders past Alfonso Soriano, merciless barrages of spitwads are flying across the aisles, everyone’s giving each other Atomic Wedgies in the hallways and there’s been an epidemic of pantsings, which, needless to say, you do NOT want to happen in any group that includes Dennis Hastert.

Thank goodness, then, that despite all their feuding, their glorious time-wasting, their childish twittering, members of both parties can agree on one thing: Dogs are awesome.

On the day that a suicide bomber made his way into the Iraqi parliament (but, it should be noted, well before the horrors in Blacksburg), the Senate took up the issue of the contaminated pet food that’s been tearing apart both the kibble industry, as well as the world populated by people who eat pet food, and it’s not like I know anyone who does or anything, but come on. There’s gotta be more than you think, right?

Anyway, let us turn the floor over to some of our esteemed Senators, such as Herb Kohl, D-Wis., who said: “For many in America, pets are more than just companions — they are members of the family.”

“An important part of the family,” yapped Bob Bennett, R-Utah, the ranking GOPer on the panel.

“Arf!” said Princess, a small Jack Russell terrier who accidentally made her way into the proceedings and tore up a pillow.

Now I live in a pet-free house, but it’s not my fault: Dogs are a lot of extra work when you have a 3-year-old, and I’m not prepared to have two beings in the house who haven’t quite mastered the idea of where not to poop. Cats are nice, but if one wanders to within 300 yards of my respiratory system, it will cause my windpipe to clam shut. If anyone ever wants to kill me, jam a cat down my throat for about 30 seconds — there will be no evidence, except my gasping corpse and probably some little balls with bells in them very nearby. We have fish, but they’re kind of creepy fish — I don’t want to get into too many details here, but a few weeks ago I noticed one was missing, and shortly thereafter I saw a rib cage drift by. So I’m not the only one in the house who likes seafood. So does the seafood.

Anyway, I don’t have a dog now, but I used to, a small and lively terrier named Cutty, who possessed the fantastic trait of being able, when reasonably excited, to spray a delightful stream of urine all over anyone within about a 10-foot blast radius. But when she wasn’t soaking my jeans, she was as good as a dog could be, except for the time she devoured an entire box of 12 chocolate Santas, the adhesive aftermath of which is something I’d like to forget.

Anyway, again, my point is, I get the pet thing, although I can afford to, because as of this writing I am not in the United States Senate, largely due to that … unpleasantness at the dry cleaners, to which I can never go back.

But apparently I don’t get it as much as Sen. Robert Byrd, who has a Shih Tzu named Trouble, which he calls Baby, according to an AP reporter who should get a medal for detail-finding. “Our pets are our companions, our soul mates and our hedge against emotional turmoil,” said Byrd, 90, sounding a few kibbles short of his bits. Later Byrd called himself — not making this up — Popeye the Sailor Man, quoted the all-creatures-great-and-small poem, and touched back, once again, on Trouble. Er, Baby. “There is a unique, special relationship between pets, like my little dog. She is a Shih Tzu. They were lap dogs. They were trained to be lap dogs in the palace in Tibet, China.”

Where was this all going, you, as well as all residents of New Orleans and Baghdad, are likely wondering with breathless anticipation? More meetings, most likely. There will be investigations into the pet food scandal, you can be sure. And several meetings with committees. Then a brief trip outside so everyone can do their business, and then back inside for more. Next week in the Senate: favorite flavors of ice cream, and adorable koalas!

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