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The Popularity Index: Obama chokes, Cronkite croaks and Afghanistan smokes 

The author has been sent on the road to discover a lost country formerly known as America. He is reporting from your sister's bedroom, swearing

The author has been sent on the road to discover a lost country formerly known as America. He is reporting from your sister's bedroom, swearing he's only there for the air conditioning, on assignment for Or-Bust.com and The Source Weekly.

Popularity Under 60%?...What's a Guy to do?

"If we're able to stop Obama on this, it will be his Waterloo. It will break him." said South Carolina Republican Senator Jim DeMint. Obviously, Obama's push for national health care coverage is receiving ample pushback, but to summon Napoleon's last defeat, then immediately quote Rocky IV? National polls show that only 49% of Americans approve of Obama's handling of the health care initiative, and that his own stellar popularity is also suffering, dipping below 60% for the first time since taking office. Still Obama seems unfazed and focused: "This isn't about me. This isn't about politics. This is about a health care system that is breaking America's families, breaking America's businesses, and breaking America's economy." Dream for a moment of universal health care, folks. Of being able to go into any hospital and receiving treatment. Ahhhh - Feels good, doesn't it? Now imagine being a Senator (from any party, they're all bought and sold) and having millions in re-election bribes (err, donations) from HMOs and doctors and lawyers and big pharma disappearing - Rather unnerving, huh? See why both sides are scared and delaying?


Poorest, Drunkest Irish Writer RIP

Frank McCourt died on Sunday at the age of 79, closing the book on the teacher and author who made us all feel better about our situations. McCourt wasn't born in Ireland but, rather, Brooklyn, and his family was so broke ("How broke were they?") that they moved back to Ireland, where his father was a professional drinker and his mother 'a long-suffering Catholic' (NOTE: McCourt said this about his mother, so don't start boycotting this fine publication for saying the 'C' word). "Once we were outside a monastery begging for food. I could smell the bread baking inside and the monk finally came out and flung some stale loaves at our feet. `Pick it up out of the dirt, boyo,' he said, `if you need it so bad.'" recalled the author in an interview. His impoverished youth was captured in the Pulitzer Prize-winning Angela's Ashes - published in 1996. 'Tear- and whiskey-soaked book tours' followed, making McCourt rich and more thirsty. Surely there's another author poorer and drunker, but McCourt was a special personality with one great book.

click to enlarge Farewell to an icon.
  • Farewell to an icon.
Farewell to an icon.Cronkite Too?

Yet another sign that the Rapture is in full swing (Jacko, Farrah, McCourt, but not Jeff Goldblum - who is very much alive, despite the urban legend) Walter Cronkite died at 92 last Friday. The first utterly subjective news anchor (for whom the term 'anchor' was invented), Cronkite led CBS News for 19 years - Choking-up while announcing that JFK had been assassinated, getting all giddy during the moonlanding, then turning to America and saying that the Vietnam War was unwinnable. "And that's the way it is..." became his sign-off, further cementing Cronkite's position as the most trusted man in news - So trusted, in fact, that CBS couldn't find another human being capable of replacing him, so it turned to robot Dan Rather when Cronkite retired in 1981, and now the alien being known as Katie Couric.

click to enlarge Genghis knew better.
  • Genghis knew better.
Genghis knew better.Who Mentioned Afghanistan?

Genghis Khan, while sweeping across Asia in pursuit of his enemies and new lands, had scouts return from afar to warn him of a terrible territory, tribal and seemingly designed for ambushes. Genghis said, "F- that!" and avoided this awful place. Afghanistan: Where the USSR and USA met their match. Four more of our troops were killed in a roadside blast on Monday, raising the number of American dead to 30 - with 55 total coalition troops (US, British, Canadian, and the Jamaican bobsled team) killed in July - easily our worst month since Bush got confused and invaded two countries instead of one. Don't worry, it will only get worse: Defense Secretary Robert Gates is now increasing the size of the Army by up to 22,000 - calling it "temporary" (numbering 569,000 total troops) and supposedly to "ease the strain of deployment."

Others News About Peace

The Senate stripped $1.75 billion from the 2010 military budget, inserted to buy seven F-22 fighter jets. $1.75 billion for seven jets, wowza! Lockheed Martin is now very sad, and awaiting a comforting call from former VP Dick Cheney, who is building his own private arsenal to invade Rhode Island. In related armament news, Secretary of State Hillary "Wait till 2012, Palin" Clinton met with India's leaders and secured long-term military and nuclear deals. This is a major breakthrough because we are now supplying long-time enemies India and Pakistan with all of their arms. One big war and we're out this recession!

We Got It Right

Speaking of win-wins, the team at the Source Weekly recently got word that we took home our first Association of Alternative Newsweeklies (AAN) Award for our 2008 Dining Guide. The dining guide represents one of the many team efforts that the paper puts forth each year. Seeing it recognized as one of the top products for all newsweeklies was a nice reward for the staff.

Despite the recent economy we have a great restaurant scene and it's a pleasure to work with them each year as we prepare the issue. If you missed the dining guide, or just need a refresher check out tsweekly.com where you can see all the stories from our most recent guide, which published in late April.

Department of Corrections

Due to a production glitch a page was repeated in last week's paper. Sorry for any confusion it may have created for you, dear reader. For those of you who have been requesting two identical versions of the Natural World column in each issue: You're welcome.

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