The Best Congress AIPAC Can Buy

Many Americans who thought that the health care debate was important must have wondered where their congressmen were in early August during the first two weeks of the House of Representatives recess. It turns out they were not hosting town hall meetings or listening to constituents because many of them were in Israel together with their spouses on a trip paid for by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Fully 13% of the entire US House of Representatives, 56 members, traveled to Israel in the largest AIPAC-sponsored fact-finding visit by American politicians ever conducted. And the leaders of the two congressional groups, 25 Republicans for a week starting on August 2nd followed by 31 Democrats beginning on August 13th, were drawn from the top ranks of their respective parties. House Minority whip Eric Cantor headed the Republican group and House Majority leader Steny Hoyer led the Democrats.

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A Recipe for Fluoride-free Toothpaste

I've read quite a bit about fluoride and how water fluoridation was probably one of the biggest scams of the 20th century (besides the Pet Rock.) Other than buying some Tom's of Maine toothpaste, I never did much about it.

When my wife recently asked me about fluoride, I googled "fluoride-free toothpaste" and found this article on how to make your own toothpaste. The article is quite good and has links to information about that bad, bad fluoride. Then it gets interesting.

She provides a recipe for toothpaste and then folks start chiming in with their comments. Some tried to cook up a batch of their own home-made toothpaste and lightly burned the inside of their mouth. Others, found the enamel on their teeth being worn out. Still another reported their toothbrush bristles turning brown from their version of the do-it-yourself tooth scrub.

I liked the I-can-make-this-stuff-myself attitude, and am tempted to even try this someday. WWMD? (What Would McGyver Do?) There are some other nice things on the blog, too. So, I thought this was worth a post. Smile!

My One Guilty Pleasure

I know most folks watch a fair bit of TV on a daily basis and hit the theaters at least once a month, but I'm just a little bit different. (OK, most  parents of small kids don't get to go to the movies unless they have a good babysitter.) My one guilty pleasure is the TV  show Smallville.

I think I caught the first show years after I had heard people raving about it. Not being much of a comic books guy, I was slow to make the Superman connection. I had a fairly good idea it wasn't about midgets or anything freakish like that. I caught an episode of season 4 on a rerun a couple of years ago. (The show is currently about to start season 9, I think.) Enjoyable, but since I was not in the TV habit, I couldn't commit to keeping up with the series. And, as with most things on TV--especially on the WB--I thought it best for teenage consumption. (Zit medicine is probably the biggest sponsor.)

Yes, Smallville is very youth-oriented. In the first season, Clark Kent is a freshman in high school. (Never mind that he looks about 21.) Still, the stories and the writing are usually very good to brilliant. The way they spoon-feed you the bits and pieces that make up the Superman myth really help lure you in and keep you hooked. Of course, the guy is no where near putting on tights in the show. That's what keeps it fresh and out of the realm of typical comic book fare. Smallville, KS also must be the most dangerous place to live in the good ol' USA. Not because of the tornadoes, but because of all the kryptonite whacking out the high school kids. There's a higher body count in Smallville than there ever was around Bill Clinton!

I bought a few seasons on DVD really cheap when a local video store went out of business. Then, I discovered that the WB offers free shows online. The shows run in order with old shows going away and 3 subsequent shows appearing on Mondays, I think. I've watched all of season 4 and I am guessing season 5 will follow and then they'll start at season 1 once they've gone through all their shows.

There's a bunch of other shows on, including the Lois and Clark show from the 90s. I already told myself I'm just watching this one show, so no "One Tree Hill" or "The O.C." for me. (As if I'd even want to watch those.) OK, maybe a little MadTV every now and then.

Come to think of it, I guess this blog is another guilty pleasure. Oh well. I'm already committed to my post title.  :-)

[Just for fun: Quick! How many actors are in that pic above?? The answer: only 3!!]

Most Corrupt Politicians List is out! Guess Who's on it.

Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, has released its annual Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians for 2009. It includes some pretty big names! One year plus into the era of Hope and Change, we are seeing a lot of the same ol', same ol'. (Note: Political corruption is not exclusively for old white guys.)

A sampling:
  1. Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT): This marks two years in a row for Senator Dodd, who made the 2008 "Ten Most Corrupt" list for his corrupt relationship with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and for accepting preferential treatment and loan terms from Countrywide Financial, a scandal which still dogs him. In 2009, the scandals kept coming for the Connecticut Democrat. In 2009, Judicial Watch filed a Senate ethics complaint against Dodd for undervaluing a property he owns in Ireland on his Senate Financial Disclosure forms. Judicial Watch's complaint forced Dodd to amend the forms. However, press reports suggest the property to this day remains undervalued. Judicial Watch also alleges in the complaint that Dodd obtained a sweetheart deal for the property in exchange for his assistance in obtaining a presidential pardon (during the Clinton administration) and other favors for a long-time friend and business associate. The false financial disclosure forms were part of the cover-up. Dodd remains the head the Senate Banking Committee.
  2. Senator John Ensign (R-NV): A number of scandals popped up in 2009 involving public officials who conducted illicit affairs, and then attempted to cover them up with hush payments and favors, an obvious abuse of power. The year's worst offender might just be Nevada Republican Senator John Ensign. Ensign admitted in June to an extramarital affair with the wife of one of his staff members, who then allegedly obtained special favors from the Nevada Republican in exchange for his silence. According to The New York Times: "The Justice Department and the Senate Ethics Committee are expected to conduct preliminary inquiries into whether Senator John Ensign violated federal law or ethics rules as part of an effort to conceal an affair with the wife of an aide…" The former staffer, Douglas Hampton, began to lobby Mr. Ensign's office immediately upon leaving his congressional job, despite the fact that he was subject to a one-year lobbying ban. Ensign seems to have ignored the law and allowed Hampton lobbying access to his office as a payment for his silence about the affair. (These are potentially criminal offenses.) It looks as if Ensign misused his public office (and taxpayer resources) to cover up his sexual shenanigans.
Read the entire list here.