Is The "Secret Senator" Going Down The Tube?

For some time now, there has been some speculation over the identity of “the secret senator.” This was, up until now, an unknown member of Congress who was responsible for blocking passage of the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act, which would require the government to publish online a database of federal spending.

Now it’s been learned that the senator is Alaska’s Ted Stevens.

Republican Ted “Bridge to Nowhere” Stevens’ spokesperson told CNN that the Senator wants to do a “cost/benefit analysis” first.

How much would that cost/benefit analysis cost? If Stevens has his way, we’ll never know without a lot of legwork, which is the whole point I suppose.

By the way, the senator would appear to be about the least qualified to talk about issues concerning the Internet. I never get tired of listening to this. Here’s Senator Stevens describing the Internet. It’s a “series of tubes…” Sure, when Al Gore originally created the thing it may have been, but I believe those tubes have been replaced with a big wire hooked to a doohicky that you have to crank and get Miss Fanny the operator on the line so you can surf the web.

Here’s the summary of the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act:

S. 2590 would direct the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to oversee the creation of a single comprehensive searchable Web site that would include information on all federal grants, contracts, and other funding awarded to public and private organizations.

CBO estimates that implementing S. 2590 would cost $4 million in 2007 and about $15 million over the 2007-2011 period, assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts.  Enacting the legislation would not affect direct spending or revenues.  S. 2590 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA); any costs to state, local, or tribal governments would result from complying with the conditions for receiving federal assistance.

Fifteen million seems a small price to pay for a guy who had no problem asking over $400 million for a couple of bridges in Alaska. Of course, $15 million so taxpayers can see where their money goes may not seem like much in the big picture of government spending, but to dry-humpers of the pork-barrel, concerns over the “expense” aren’t necessarily financial in nature.

Look at it from Ted’s perspective though. Asking Senator Stevens to pass S. 2590 is like asking John Dillinger if he’d please vote to install security cameras in the city bank. What would we expect him to do?

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Note: If you’re seeing only this post, the entire blog can be accessed at DougPowers.com

Is The “Secret Senator” Going Down The Tube?

For some time now, there has been some speculation over the identity of “the secret senator.” This was, up until now, an unknown member of Congress who was responsible for blocking passage of the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act, which would require the government to publish online a database of federal spending.

Now it’s been learned that the senator is Alaska’s Ted Stevens.

Republican Ted “Bridge to Nowhere” Stevens’ spokesperson told CNN that the Senator wants to do a “cost/benefit analysis” first.

How much would that cost/benefit analysis cost? If Stevens has his way, we’ll never know without a lot of legwork, which is the whole point I suppose.

By the way, the senator would appear to be about the least qualified to talk about issues concerning the Internet. I never get tired of listening to this. Here’s Senator Stevens describing the Internet. It’s a “series of tubes…” Sure, when Al Gore originally created the thing it may have been, but I believe those tubes have been replaced with a big wire hooked to a doohicky that you have to crank and get Miss Fanny the operator on the line so you can surf the web.

Here’s the summary of the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act:

S. 2590 would direct the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to oversee the creation of a single comprehensive searchable Web site that would include information on all federal grants, contracts, and other funding awarded to public and private organizations.

CBO estimates that implementing S. 2590 would cost $4 million in 2007 and about $15 million over the 2007-2011 period, assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts.  Enacting the legislation would not affect direct spending or revenues.  S. 2590 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA); any costs to state, local, or tribal governments would result from complying with the conditions for receiving federal assistance.

Fifteen million seems a small price to pay for a guy who had no problem asking over $400 million for a couple of bridges in Alaska. Of course, $15 million so taxpayers can see where their money goes may not seem like much in the big picture of government spending, but to dry-humpers of the pork-barrel, concerns over the “expense” aren’t necessarily financial in nature.

Look at it from Ted’s perspective though. Asking Senator Stevens to pass S. 2590 is like asking John Dillinger if he’d please vote to install security cameras in the city bank. What would we expect him to do?

——–

Note: If you’re seeing only this post, the entire blog can be accessed at DougPowers.com

CBS Has The Photoshop Software Warming Up in the Bullpen, Just in Case

Isn’t the mainstream media getting into enough trouble because of Photoshop? Now CBS is using it to make Katie Couric look slimmer.

Word is that they’re just testing it so they can once and for all create some not only convincing but trimmer phony National Guard documents.

I’m in Manhattan right now, and I can safely say that Couric’s mug is on every damn bus in this place. I saw some guy almost get run over by perky not more than an hour ago. Oh, speaking of fumes, Katie hits the air as CBS News anchor next week, and has scored a coup: and interview with President Bush.

Hmm, CBS tinkering with Photoshop and then Katie scores an interview with the Prez? Something’s in the works.

CNN's Whiz Kids Strike Again

Remember the scene in one of the “Naked Gun” movies where Frank Drebin gives a speech and then goes to the bathroom, forgets to turn off his wireless microphone, and an ensuing audio nightmare is broadcast to a roomful of nauseated people? Well, CNN now owes the Zucker brothers some money for copyright infringement.

It was only late last year when CNN aired an “X” over Dick Cheney very briefly during a speech, for which they later apologized and called a “glitch”:

Well, something’s starting to smell here, because there’s been another glitch that’s made a splash in the news. During President Bush’s speech in New Orleans on the anniversary of hurricane Katrina, the reporter covering it decided to go to the bathroom, but she left her wireless mic on.

Here’s the video.

What viewers heard was President Bush in the audio background, while the reporter in the bathroom chatted with another woman, interspersed with the unmistakable sound of an ascending/descending zipper, overlapping Bush’s words. Had this been Bill Clinton, we still wouldn’t have been sure if the zipper sound came from the reporter or the president.

The reporter, Kyra Phillips, has a more immediate problem. While on the john she called her brother’s wife a “control freak.” I don’t want to be at that Thanksgiving table this year.

Fortunately for Phillips and her network, she wasn’t full of gas that day — rare indeed for a CNN reporter.

———

Note: If you’re seeing only this post, the entire blog can be accessed at DougPowers.com

CNN’s Whiz Kids Strike Again

Remember the scene in one of the “Naked Gun” movies where Frank Drebin gives a speech and then goes to the bathroom, forgets to turn off his wireless microphone, and an ensuing audio nightmare is broadcast to a roomful of nauseated people? Well, CNN now owes the Zucker brothers some money for copyright infringement.

It was only late last year when CNN aired an “X” over Dick Cheney very briefly during a speech, for which they later apologized and called a “glitch”:

Well, something’s starting to smell here, because there’s been another glitch that’s made a splash in the news. During President Bush’s speech in New Orleans on the anniversary of hurricane Katrina, the reporter covering it decided to go to the bathroom, but she left her wireless mic on.

Here’s the video.

What viewers heard was President Bush in the audio background, while the reporter in the bathroom chatted with another woman, interspersed with the unmistakable sound of an ascending/descending zipper, overlapping Bush’s words. Had this been Bill Clinton, we still wouldn’t have been sure if the zipper sound came from the reporter or the president.

The reporter, Kyra Phillips, has a more immediate problem. While on the john she called her brother’s wife a “control freak.” I don’t want to be at that Thanksgiving table this year.

Fortunately for Phillips and her network, she wasn’t full of gas that day — rare indeed for a CNN reporter.

———

Note: If you’re seeing only this post, the entire blog can be accessed at DougPowers.com

Brief Respite to the Big Apple

Until Friday, postings on the blog will most likely be sporadic. In other words, “business as usual.” I should have time to post on a couple of occasions.

We’re off to the airport and then with any luck will be in NYC before noon. The fact that my Detroit Tigers are playing the Yankees in New York this week is merely coincidental, as far as my wife knows.

If any of you are in the Times Square area this week, honk really loud and we’ll meet you for a drink.

How To Get Out Of A Thailand Jail, American Style

So, it turns out that the DNA from John Mark Karr didn’t match that from JonBenet Ramsey.

Who screwed this up? Now we’ve got a creepy dangerous nut case, who was brought to the United States, who should be in Bangkwang finding Jesus with the help of fellow crazies wielding bamboo dildos in an overcrowded cell that reeks of shrimp sweat and curry.

But no, he’s here now, and there’s a chance he could walk, as he won’t be charged with this particular crime.

Thanks for the thorough investigation before extraditing this imaginary-fly-swatting perverted POS back to the U.S., guys.

And The Emmy For "Worst Taste In An Opening Skit" Goes To…

It was only another self-congratulatory love-fest. No big deal. Awards shows are Hollywood’s version of bowing toward Mecca—they seem to occur five times a day while facing Jack Nicholson’s house and chanting, in unison, the most holy phrase: “who are you wearing?”

Hollywood always does a horrible job at hiding (when they even try) their disdain for “flyover country.” We’re used to snotty speeches from the lofty podium berating everything from the treatment of Native Americans, prattling on about the evils of George W. Bush and how we don’t give enough money to poor countries. There is some serious red-state hatred boiling in the Los Angeles and New York celebrity cult, and they’re not shy about letting it fly.

The 2006 Emmy Awards did the same, in a way. This time, the televised Freudian slip came from behind the scenes.

The Emmy Awards aired Sunday night, and the opening of the program featured a skit depicting what was supposed to be a parody of the show “Lost.” The problem for the network is that the sketch was complete with a plane crash at the beginning and subsequently featuring Conan O’Brien surviving the crash and reaching a desert island. Here’s a video of the skit.

This aired the same day that 49 people died in a plane crash in Kentucky. Kiefer Sutherland, Jon Stewart, Sarah Jessica Parker, Mariska Hargitay and crate-loads of Hugo Boss weren’t on the plane, so apparently the news didn’t reach California until Monday morning, if at all.

Was this just an unfortunate coincidence that was simply overlooked by producers? If we can honestly say that the Emmy producers would have aired the skit had the plane crashed in Los Angeles instead of Kentucky, then we can call it an unfortunate oversight. Sure. And Anna Nicole Smith’s baby will grow up well-adjusted.

Not only that, but had the plane gone down at LAX and been carrying, ::gulp:: — celebrities – not only would the crash skit not have aired, but the Emmys would have been cancelled, Inside Edition would have hit the air with wall-to-wall coverage, and Barbara Walters would have been on the phone immediately securing a weepy sit-down with Brangelina, who probably wouldn’t have known anybody on the plane, but damn if those two kids can’t bring home the ratings.

Wondering why the network decided to air the skit isn’t difficult. Frankly, Omaha could have been nuked that morning and the network suits would still have green-lit a parody of “The Day After.”

As far as the shallow glitterati is concerned, if it doesn’t happen in New York or L.A., it doesn’t matter. What will save the producers of the show is the converse: If it happens at the Emmys, most of the country doesn’t care.

That aside, Conan O’Brien helped keep the celebs in check. O’Brien warned that anybody who makes a heavy-handed political comment would be forced to ”make out with Al Gore in a Prius.” There was no heavy-handed political commentary. I think O’Brien’s on to something.

The jokes, opening sketch excluded, were funny—better at least than the awards part of the show. The focus though, the next day, was on the producers’ poor judgment/taste/disrespect in deciding to air the pre-recorded opening segment. In Hollywood, however, they’re probably still trying to figure out what was wrong with that.

When trying to figure out what Hollywood is thinking, it’s important to remember that were talking in some part about people who make millions of dollars a year and borrow their jewelry.

If anybody working for the network had noticed that the skit was probably a bad thing to televise given the circumstances of the day, I’d imagine some sort of apology could have been whipped up to read at the end of the show. After all, there were hundreds of writers in the building anxiously awaiting the reading of their name by a presenter—even though it’s hard to write with your fingers crossed.

In the opening monolog, in an attempt to end long-winded acceptance speeches, O’Brien showed the crowd Bob Newhart, who was supposedly in an airtight chamber, and announced that there was only three hours worth of air in there. “If the show goes over three hours, Bob Newhart dies.”

You can’t help but wonder. If Bob Newhart were replaced in that airtight chamber with some random American in Kentucky, would anybody have noticed or cared if the show went long?

——-

Note: If you’re seeing only this post, the entire blog can be accessed at DougPowers.com

And The Emmy For “Worst Taste In An Opening Skit” Goes To…

It was only another self-congratulatory love-fest. No big deal. Awards shows are Hollywood’s version of bowing toward Mecca—they seem to occur five times a day while facing Jack Nicholson’s house and chanting, in unison, the most holy phrase: “who are you wearing?”

Hollywood always does a horrible job at hiding (when they even try) their disdain for “flyover country.” We’re used to snotty speeches from the lofty podium berating everything from the treatment of Native Americans, prattling on about the evils of George W. Bush and how we don’t give enough money to poor countries. There is some serious red-state hatred boiling in the Los Angeles and New York celebrity cult, and they’re not shy about letting it fly.

The 2006 Emmy Awards did the same, in a way. This time, the televised Freudian slip came from behind the scenes.

The Emmy Awards aired Sunday night, and the opening of the program featured a skit depicting what was supposed to be a parody of the show “Lost.” The problem for the network is that the sketch was complete with a plane crash at the beginning and subsequently featuring Conan O’Brien surviving the crash and reaching a desert island. Here’s a video of the skit.

This aired the same day that 49 people died in a plane crash in Kentucky. Kiefer Sutherland, Jon Stewart, Sarah Jessica Parker, Mariska Hargitay and crate-loads of Hugo Boss weren’t on the plane, so apparently the news didn’t reach California until Monday morning, if at all.

Was this just an unfortunate coincidence that was simply overlooked by producers? If we can honestly say that the Emmy producers would have aired the skit had the plane crashed in Los Angeles instead of Kentucky, then we can call it an unfortunate oversight. Sure. And Anna Nicole Smith’s baby will grow up well-adjusted.

Not only that, but had the plane gone down at LAX and been carrying, ::gulp:: — celebrities – not only would the crash skit not have aired, but the Emmys would have been cancelled, Inside Edition would have hit the air with wall-to-wall coverage, and Barbara Walters would have been on the phone immediately securing a weepy sit-down with Brangelina, who probably wouldn’t have known anybody on the plane, but damn if those two kids can’t bring home the ratings.

Wondering why the network decided to air the skit isn’t difficult. Frankly, Omaha could have been nuked that morning and the network suits would still have green-lit a parody of “The Day After.”

As far as the shallow glitterati is concerned, if it doesn’t happen in New York or L.A., it doesn’t matter. What will save the producers of the show is the converse: If it happens at the Emmys, most of the country doesn’t care.

That aside, Conan O’Brien helped keep the celebs in check. O’Brien warned that anybody who makes a heavy-handed political comment would be forced to ”make out with Al Gore in a Prius.” There was no heavy-handed political commentary. I think O’Brien’s on to something.

The jokes, opening sketch excluded, were funny—better at least than the awards part of the show. The focus though, the next day, was on the producers’ poor judgment/taste/disrespect in deciding to air the pre-recorded opening segment. In Hollywood, however, they’re probably still trying to figure out what was wrong with that.

When trying to figure out what Hollywood is thinking, it’s important to remember that were talking in some part about people who make millions of dollars a year and borrow their jewelry.

If anybody working for the network had noticed that the skit was probably a bad thing to televise given the circumstances of the day, I’d imagine some sort of apology could have been whipped up to read at the end of the show. After all, there were hundreds of writers in the building anxiously awaiting the reading of their name by a presenter—even though it’s hard to write with your fingers crossed.

In the opening monolog, in an attempt to end long-winded acceptance speeches, O’Brien showed the crowd Bob Newhart, who was supposedly in an airtight chamber, and announced that there was only three hours worth of air in there. “If the show goes over three hours, Bob Newhart dies.”

You can’t help but wonder. If Bob Newhart were replaced in that airtight chamber with some random American in Kentucky, would anybody have noticed or cared if the show went long?

——-

Note: If you’re seeing only this post, the entire blog can be accessed at DougPowers.com

Monday's Column: Bill Cosby's Battle Against Poverty and it's Pimps

For regular readers here, today’s column has been covered a bit here on the blog, but I reworked the topic a bit and turned it into the weekly offering over at WorldNetDaily.

Comedian Bill Cosby has been speaking in recent years in mostly minority communities about personal responsibility, the importance of education, and more. This has caused a bit of controversy among some circles. Why?

Give a read to “Cos & Effect” for more.