Tag Archives: politics

Hail To The Chiefs!

Well, it’s President’s Day again, and time to pay homage to those 44 fellas who have occupied the office of President of these United States.

This holiday began as a celebration of the birthday of Old #1, George Washington, way back in 1879. But these days it is a celebration of all of our Presidents. As such, we bring you a few interesting tidbits about them.

  • Speaking of the Father of our Country, despite popular myth, his teeth weren’t made of wood; they were made of gold, lead, animal teeth, and ivory from elephant and walrus tusks.
  • In addition to being the date on which we celebrate the founding of our nation, the Fourth of July has importance to four of our Presidents: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson (#2 and #3) both died on July 4th 1826. #5, James Monroe, died on July 4th, 1831. And Calvin Coolidge (#30) was born on July 4th 1872.
  • Wondering about #4? James Madison had the distinction of being the shortest President at 5 foot 4, and he weighed less than 100 pounds. Lincoln (#16) was the tallest at 6 foot 4.
  • #12, Zachary Taylor, never voted for President.
  • Andrew Johnson (#17) was drunk at his inauguration…and why not?
  • In addition to being the only President to serve two non-consecutive terms (making him #22 and #24), Grover Cleveland also was the legal guardian of an 11-year-old girl, married her 10 years later, and made her the youngest First Lady at age 21. He also had an artificial jaw made of vulcanized rubber.
  • William Henry Taft (# 27) was our weightiest President at 332 lbs. After leaving office, he lost 150 lbs., as well as becoming  the only ex-president to serve as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
  • #29, Warren Harding bet the White House china in a poker game…and lost it in one hand. Oh yeah, and his middle name was “Gamaliel”. Hard to believe people don’t name their kids that anymore.
  • Another tidbit about Calvin Coolidge (#30): he had a morning ritual in which someone rubbed Vaseline on his head while he ate breakfast in bed. Try it! It’s fun, and healthy!
  • Herbert Hoover (#31) and his wife learned to speak Mandarin Chinese fluently, and would speak it around the White House to prevent others from understanding them.

There are lots more, as every President has had quirks, foibles, and downright faults. That’s important to remember in these tumultuous times: Presidents are human (generally) and as such, have human flaws. Fortunately, the Republic is strong and resilient. Despite every effort to bungle, destroy, or otherwise besmirch the office, the Republic soldiers on.

So, on this day of remembrance, pick out your favorite Prez and pour one out for your homie. Unless it’s Andrew Johnson…he might object to the wasting of alcohol.


Today’s Fact Cetera

After becoming the first President to not get his own party’s nomination for a second term, he got  drunk, got on a horse, and ran over a woman.


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Lame Excuse, Dude

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is a colorful politician — sort of like Genghis Khan was a colorful Mongol. As politicians go, he makes Jesse Ventura look like Woodrow Wilson. Loud, belligerent, passionate, controversial…Mayor Ford is a gift from heaven for reporters used to covering the standard boring politicians.

Throughout his career, Ford has been a bull in Canada’s political china shop. In the latest of a long line of controversies, the Mayor first denied the existence of a video purporting to show him smoking crack. Months later, he finally admitted that yes, he had smoked crack cocaine. But he went on to excuse that behavior by saying that it was during “one of my drunken stupors.”

Well, that’s okay then.

This dubious excuse puts Hizzoner in fine company:

  • San Diego Mayor Bib Filner excused numerous charges of sexual harassment by calling himself “demonstrable” (sic), “outgoing” and “a hugger of both men and women.”
  • Congressman Charles Rangel excused his failure to tell the Internal Revenue Service about the $75,000 in income he received from a shore side villa in the Dominican Republic by explaining that he couldn’t understand Spanish well enough to read the financial statements nor  understand his Dominican business partners.
  • Former Congressman Vito Fossella, after being arrested for DUI, argued that his 0.17 percent blood-alcohol level was not the result of a drinking binge but was caused by the alcohol contained in the hand sanitizer he used hours before.
  • Congressman Richard Kelly excused a video showing him stuffing his pocket with $25,000 in bribes from associates of a wealthy Arab sheik — who turned out to be undercover FBI agents — that he was actually conducting his own personal undercover operation.

By the way, Mayor Ford is no newbie when it comes to lame excuses. In 2006, the then-city councilor was thrown out of a Maple Leafs game for getting into drunken, expletive-laden arguments with fans (whom he referred to as “communists”). When asked about the incident by reporters, Ford at first said he wasn’t even at the game, but later admitted he was, saying “I had one too many beers, and I sincerely apologize.”

A RonnBlog tip for young would-be politicos: when dealing with the press or the public, it’s best to avoid the words “drunken stupor”.


Today’s Fact Cetera

It is illegal to ride a street car on Sunday in Toronto if you have been eating garlic.

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Your Government At Work

Think Congress doesn’t get anything done? That our legislators can’t solve the big problems? That cooperation between Democrats and Republicans is a myth?

Well friend, think again.

Recently, the bi-partisan leadership of the House Committee on Natural Resources jointly introduced legislation to address a critical danger to our dear Republic.

The Responsible Helium Administration and Stewardship Act (HR 527) is designed to avert the looming crisis posed by a shortage of…

…wait for it…


Yes, our supply of this light, totally chemically inert gas—though the second-most abundant element in the universe—is apparently running out here on Earth. Projections indicate that the only remaining Federal Helium Reserve facility (an underground North Texas facility) has less than half the helium that it once had.

Clearly, this is big trouble for America’s balloon and florist industries, but apparently, there are other parties in peril as well. Helium is also used in medical scanners, LCD screens, welding, electronics, metals, fiber optics, computer chips, aerospace and research.

Obviously, Congress has taken note of this impending calamity and sprung into action.

As helium prices continue to rise as supplies fall, it’s comforting to know that the servants of the public trust are on the job.


Today’s Fact Cetera

Nebraska is the U.S. state with the largest formation of sand dunes.

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Are You Quite Sure?

Now that the elections are over, I hope that politicians of all stripes will find it in themselves to make the compromises necessary to get something…anything…done. However, there are two major stumbling blocks:

  1. The inability to admit they are wrong, even when the evidence is overwhelming.
  2. The unshakeable belief (at least, for public consumption) that they are right.

We all struggle to admit we’re wrong. We seem to be hardwired to avoid blame, even when it’s obvious. Phrases like “It’s not my fault” or “I had no choice” seem to pop out at the speed of light whenever our blunders become evident.

But it’s our political class which take non-accountability to a high art. Have you ever heard a politician say, “I was wrong.”? Yeah, me neither. No party has a corner on this; it seems to be standard issue, along with flag lapel pins and empty clichés.

Once…just once…I’d love to hear a politician say, “Wow…did I get that wrong!”

A man can dream, can’t he?

Which brings us to point #2: that unshakeable certainty thing. It’s one thing to have strong convictions, it’s quite another to hold beliefs that are easily disproved. I would draw the attention of our elected officials to this example: the world is about to end, as predicted by John of Toledo (1186), Martin Luther (1600), Cotton Mather (1697, again in 1716, and yet again in 1736), John Wesley (1936) Margaret Rowen (1925), Dorothy Martin (1954), Pat Robertson (1982), Elizabeth Clare Prophet (1990), Lee Jang Rim (1992), Credonia Mwerinde (1999), and Harold Camping (1994 and again in 2011). All certain of their predictions; all utterly wrong.

Will Rogers once said, “It ain’t what they don’t know, it’s what they know that ain’t so.” We all have things we’re pretty sure of, yet are demonstrably untrue:

  • Remember when French Fries were renamed “Freedom Fries” because the French government didn’t agree with the Iraq war? Unfortunately, French Fries originated in Belgium. The Belgians didn’t support the war either, but no one really cared what they thought.
  • Rice paper contains no rice.
  • There is no evidence that Vikings wore horns on their helmets.
  • Napoleon was slightly taller than the average Frenchman of his day.
  • Albert Einstein did not fail mathematics in school.
  • The Great Wall of China is not visible from the Moon.
  • Seasons are not caused by the Earth being closer to the Sun in the summer than in the winter, but rather by Earth’s 23.4-degree axial tilt.
  • Lemmings do not engage in mass suicidal dives off cliffs when migrating.
  • Hair and fingernails do not continue to grow after a person dies.
  • George Washington never had wooden teeth.

See? People are wrong all the time. Why not just admit it? I’ll go first:

“I was certain that the 2012 St. Louis Cardinals would beat the San Francisco Giants to go on to the World Series, and win that, too. I was completely, totally and horribly wrong.”

There you go. Now let’s all try it, shall we?

Oh, and by the way: The carvings on Mount Rushmore are not a natural phenomenon. FYI.


Today’s Fact Cetera

The man who invented Jell-O was originally looking for a way to make a palatable laxative.

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