Traffic is the new sex.
Stick with me. Sen. David Vitter, who recently announced that he is running for governor of Louisiana in 2015, is ahead in a recent poll. You may recall Vitter's apology in 2007 after his phone number surfaced during an investigation of the prostitution ring run by the notorious "D.C. Madam," Deborah Jeane Palfrey, who later committed suicide. The details of his dalliances involved infant wear. He said he committed "a very serious sin in my past for which I am, of course, completely responsible."
His lead in the polls is in keeping with other comebacks by officials caught in sexual scandals. After his own prostitution scandal, former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer got a television show and ran a creditable race for New York City comptroller.
Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford survived trying to cover up his infidelity with a tall tale about hiking the Appalachian Trail and returned to Congress. Bill Clinton, who was impeached for his transgressions, left office with a 68 percent approval rating, and his wife is the leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Compare that with the fate of politicians involved in traffic scandals. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is the subject of multiple investigations for the epic gridlock on the George Washington Bridge. His non-best friend from high school, David Wildstein, whom he appointed to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, is singing like a bird. Kentucky Sen. Paul Rand is pursuing questions about how federal funds for Superstorm Sandy were spent, and several mayors are anxious to tell him. Even Christie's idol, Bruce Springsteen, mocked him on late-night television. Just 35 percent of Americans see the governor favorably, down from 52 percent in a Gallup poll in June. He's gone from a 32 point net positive rating last summer to a 5 point net negative now. Before Bridgegate, he topped many of the polls about potential Republican presidential candidates. A Washington Post/ABC poll puts him in third place now, with the support ojust 13 percent of Republicans, behind Rep. Paul Ryan and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
Republican Gov. Nathan Deal of Georgia also has seen voters tap the brakes over his traffic record. Deal was a shoo-in for re-election in his Republican-leaning state until "Snowjam '14" (it's never good for a catastrophe to get a name) created a crushing traffic jam on the interstate. Deal was missing in action as the snow began to pile up, and he initially blamed poor weather forecasting for the failure to clear roads or stagger closings so that everyone wasn't hitting the freeway at the same time.
The overnight crisis — a baby was born on the interstate, people were trapped overnight in their cars while their children slept at school — attracted national attention. On NBC, Al Roker scolded Deal for calling the storm a surprise when all he needed to do was turn on the TV to find out it was headed his way. Late-night host Jay Leno joked, "Drivers were stranded, traffic was at a standstill for 12 hours, and everyone was asking the same question: 'What did we do to piss off Chris Christie?'"
Now it's the people of Georgia who are ticked off at Deal, who was lunching with the mayor of Atlanta when both should have been glued to the Weather Channel. A survey showed 1 out of 3 people blamed Deal, not Mother Nature, for the traffic nightmare. In a statewide poll, 57 percent of Republicans rated Deal poor to fair.
According to Public Policy Polling, while Deal still holds a lead over his likely opponents who haven't yet begun to advertise, including State Sen. Jason Carter (yes, grandson of), only 36 percent of voters approve of Deal and 41 percent disapprove, a terrible place for an incumbent to be.
He would have been better off having lunch with a hooker. Just ask Senator Vitter.
Traffic is the new sex.
Is English getting dissed?
Is the English language being massacred by the young, the linguistically untidy and anyone who uses the Internet? Absolutely.
Is that anything new? Hardly.
Many words and expressions in common parlance today would have raised the hackles of language scolds in the not-so-distant past. For evidence, let’s look at some examples from recent newspaper articles.
'Too big to fail' equals 'too eager to borrow'
Four years ago this month, President Barack Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Act into law, promising that the 848-page financial law would “put a stop to taxpayer bailouts once and for all,” he said. But recently, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren told a Detroit crowd that “the biggest banks are even bigger than they were when they got too big to fail in 2008.”
Sheltons travel for better life for family
Some time around 1865 a mixed-race African American couple, William and Mary Shelton, made their way from Mississippi to east Texas. Nothing is known for certain of their origins in he Magnolia state, or the circumstances under which they began their new lives in Texas.
Film critic Turan produces book
Kenneth Turan, who is the film critic for National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition,” has written a book “Not to be Missed, Fifty-Four Favorites from a Life Time of Film.” His list of movies span the gamut from the beginnings of filmmaking through the present day.
There are some surprising omissions on his list. While he includes two films, “A Touch of Evil” and Chimes at Midnight” made by Orson Welles, and one, “The Third Man,” that Welles starred in but did not direct. He did not however, include “Citizen Kane,” that was the first movie Welles made, that is often cited by both film critics and historians as a favorite film.
Logan County’s disputed zone
Watchers of “Star Trek” may recall the episode from the original series entitled, “Day of the Dove.” In this episode, Captain Kirk and his crew are forced by a series of circumstances into a confrontation with the Klingons. The conflict eventually resolves after Kirk realizes that the circumstances have been intentionally designed by an alien force which feeds off negative emotions, especially fear and anger. Kirk and his crew communicate this fact to the Klingons and the conflict subsides. No longer feeding upon confrontation, the alien force is weakened and successfully driven away.
Russell leads in Sun poll
Polling results of an unscientific poll at www.edmondsun.com show that Steve Russell, GOP candidate for the 5th District congressional seat, is in the lead with 57 percent of the vote ahead of the Aug. 26 runoff election. Thirty readers participated in the online poll.
Healthier and Wealthier? Not in Oklahoma
Increased copays, decreased coverage, diminished health care access, reduced provider budgets and increased frustration are all the outcomes of the Legislature’s 2014 health care funding decisions. Unlike some years in the past when a languishing state economy forced legislators into making cuts, the undesirable outcomes this year could easily have been avoided.
Medicaid reform a necessity
Historically, education spending by the state of Oklahoma has been the largest budget item. This is no longer the case. In recent years, the state of Oklahoma spends more on Medicaid (operated by the Oklahoma Health Care Authority) than common education and higher education combined, according to the state’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.
Remembering lessons from 1974
This week marks the 40th anniversary of an important milestone in America’s constitutional history. On July 24, 1974, the Supreme Court voted 8-0 to order the Nixon White House to turn over audiotapes that would prove the president and his close aides were guilty of criminal violations. This ruling established with crystal clarity that the executive branch could not hide behind the shield of executive privilege to protect itself from the consequences of illegal behavior. It was a triumph for the continued vitality of our constitutional form of government.
RedBlueAmerica: Is parenting being criminalized in America?
Debra Harrell was arrested recently after the McDonald’s employee let her daughter spend the day playing in a nearby park while she worked her shift. The South Carolina woman says her daughter had a cell phone in case of danger, and critics say that children once were given the independence to spend a few unsupervised hours in a park.
Is it a crime to parent “free-range” kids? Does Harrell deserve her problems? Joel Mathis and Ben Boychuk, the RedBlueAmerica columnists, debate the issue.
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- Is English getting dissed?