Sunday, September 6, 2009

Why I Love Living in America

This is from Gail Collins in The New York Times. 4 September 2009.

Remember, kids, footnotes are the difference between research and theivery.

As the summer of ’09 slinks off into the sunset, let’s take a minute to reminisce. Who would have thought, when it began, that we’d spend two whole months burying Michael Jackson? Or arguing about whether or not Barack Obama wanted to pull the plug on grandma?

I think we have a theme, people. “Ghoulish” is not a word you normally attach to “vacation season” except in certain teen-slasher movies. Yet here we are.

Passions about health care ran so high! Just this week, we heard about a clash of demonstrators and counter-demonstrators in which one man got a piece of his finger chomped off. Without taking sides on who started the fight, I am going to come right out and say that this is a bad plan. You cannot achieve universal health coverage by biting off somebody’s pinkie.

Anyway, let’s see how much attention you’ve been paying:

I. Match the locale and the protester:
A) Man with loaded handgun strapped to his thigh shows up for an Obama town hall meeting.
B) Man carrying assault rifle shows up at Obama speech to veterans.
C) Congressman holding town hall meeting is greeted by a raucous crowd including at least one participant packing heat.
D) Congresswoman holding a “Congress on Your Corner” event at a local supermarket is greeted by demonstrators, one of whom has a pistol holstered under his armpit which falls and bounces to the floor.

1) Phoenix
2) Douglas, Ariz.
3) Memphis
4) Portsmouth, N.H.


II. How my state spent the summer:
A) The governor is being sued by a cocktail waitress, who claims he assaulted her outside a nightclub; the lieutenant governor is facing felony charges for misusing state funds; the junior U.S. senator admits he had an affair with his campaign bookkeeper.
B) After the governor was impeached for trying to sell a Senate seat, his wife tried to help support the family by competing on a TV reality show, where she ate a tarantula. When last seen, her husband seemed to have embarked on a new career as a professional Elvis impersonator.
C) A hot race for governor was interrupted when prosecutors indicted three mayors, two state assemblymen, five rabbis and a guy who was allegedly running an organ-trafficking business.
D) Two Democratic state senators switched parties, throwing control to the Republicans, then switched back again. One of them is under indictment for attacking his girlfriend with a broken glass. The other one was named majority leader and promptly tried to give his son a $120,000 Senate job.

1) New Jersey
2) Nevada
3) Illinois
4) New York


III. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota or Sarah Palin?
A) “Right now we are looking at reaching down the throat and ripping the guts out of freedom in this country.”
B) “The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s ‘death panel’. ...”
C) Refuses to fill out her census form.
D) Urged people to be “armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax.”
E) Going to China to address an investors forum sponsored by a Hong Kong brokerage firm.
F) “Only dead fish go with the flow.”


IV. Affairs to remember (Match the admitted adulterers and their quotes)
A) “I made a very difficult decision to tell the truth. ...”
B) “Let’s not make decisions based on hyperbole.”
C) “I haven’t done anything legally wrong.”
D) “There was a gentle shyness ... that I found endearing.”

1) Senator John Ensign
2) Basketball coach Rick Pitino
3) Sheryl Weinstein, mistress of Bernie Madoff
4) Gov. Mark Sanford


V. Match the reality TV stars:
A) “I had no idea how fuzzy it was ... and how all-encompassing that richness of flavor was going to be.”
B) “She’ll call me like, almost like a lame fish.”
C) “The photo shoot was so much fun. It was like going to Disneyland.”
D) “I was jumping up and down going, ‘Thank You, Lord.’ ”

1) Jon Gosselin, of “Jon & Kate Plus 8”
2) Michelle Duggar, mother in “18 and Counting,” who is expecting her 19th child.
3) Tom DeLay, after his invitation to compete on “Dancing With the Stars.”
4) Actor Lou Diamond Phillips after beating the ex-governor’s wife in tarantula eating.


ANSWERS: I. A-4, B-1, C-3, D-2; II. A-2, B-3, C-1, D-4; III. Bachmann: A, C, D, and Palin: B, E, F; IV. A-2, B-4, C-1, D-3; V. A-4, B-1, C-3, D-2