August 4, 2004

I'm gazing up at the faces staring blankly at me

* Last year George and Laura Bush (as well as their children and top aides) received about $130,000 in gifts from the Saudi Royal Family. excerpt:

"According to today's documents, compiled by the State Department's Office of Protocol and published in the Federal Register, the single-most valuable item received in 2003 was a $US95,500 ($136,000) matching set of diamond and sapphire earrings, bracelet and necklace presented to First Lady Laura Bush by Crown Prince Abdullah.

"Mr Bush received a mantel clock 'elaborately detailed in silver and gold vermeil' and worth $US8500 ($12,100), while the 'first family' was listed as the recipient of two Bulgari necklace, ring and earring sets.

"Made of pearl and diamonds and diamonds and black onyx - and valued respectively at $US8000 and $US8500 dollars ($11,390 and $12,100) - the sets appear to have been intended for the president's twin daughters, Jenna and Barbara.

"All the prince's presents - including two $US1500 ($2135) gold and silver ceremonial daggers for White House chief of staff Andrew Card and national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, a $US3000 (about $4300) horse sculpture presented to Rice deputy, Stephen Hadley, and a $US1500 ivory and gold letter opener offered to Secretary of State Colin Powell - have been turned over the National Archives, according to the documents."

* Heck's Kitchen previews the Washington Redskins. [no link scroll to story] excerpt:

"Offense...Jesus-lovin' Mark Brunnell came from a long stay in Jacksonville to compete with incumbent third-year quarterback and fellow Jesus-lover Patrick Ramsey. Third-stringer Tim Hasselbeck has an endearing receding hairline. Brunell'll probably start, based on his big contract, experience, and better mobility in the pocket. Ramsey has the quicker release and bigger arm. Running back Clinton Portis was the big get of the offseason, coming from Denver for Pro Bowl Cornerback Champ Bailey. He'll play a big role in Gibbs' run-oriented offense.
"Special Teams...Spurrier didn't give a shit about special teams, and it showed. Gibbs takes them seriously, and we've got a big guy kicker in John Hall (Arrington's best friend on the team) and a punter (and former Buckeye) who won't screw things up in Tom Tupa."

* On Poverty:

"How come its a 'subsidy' when Pan American Airlines asks the government for a hundred million dollars to keep flying, but when people ask for considerably less to keep going, it is a 'federal handout.'" -- Russell Baker

"It would be nice if the poor were to get even half of the money that is spent in studying them." -- Bill Vaughan

"When I gave food to the poor, they called me a saint. When I asked why the poor were hungry, they called me a communist." -- Dom H. Camara


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