Some monks were running low on funds, but didn’t want to close up their monastery. After much consideration, they decided to start selling the flowers they grew. Soon after opening up shop, business boomed, much to their delight. They had plenty of cash now for burlap and oatmeal and all the good things monks need. Unfortunately, their town already HAD a flower shop. The disgruntled owner of the rival store tried everything — having discount sales, spreading slander about the monks, and even poisoning the monks’ flower beds. Unfortunately, they’d been heavenly blessed, and nothing could stop their thriving little business venture. Finally, the rival shop owner sought out a very sinister man named Hugh. No one knew his last name, just that he always got the job done, no questions asked. After the appropriate amount of money had changed hands, Hugh went over to the friars’ place, thoroughly beat the hell out of them, and then destroyed their flower beds. The next day, the monks promptly boarded up the windows and closed their shop permanently, thus proving that Hugh, and only Hugh, can prevent florist friars.
Last Tuesday, as President Obama got off the helicopter in front of
The White House: he was carrying a baby piglet under each arm.
The squared away Marine guard snaps to attention, salutes, and says: “Nice pigs, sir.”
The President replies “These are not pigs. These are authentic Arkansas Razorback Hogs. I got one for Senator Harry Reid and I got one for the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi.”
The Marine again snaps to attention, salutes, and says, “Excellent trade, sir.”
To my special friend Gordon, 25 DVDs: Obama gives Brown a set of classic movies. Let’s hope he likes the Wizard of Oz
By Ian Drury
Last updated at 8:17 AM on 06th March 2009
As he headed back home from Washington, Gordon Brown must have rummaged through his party bag with disappointment.
Because all he got was a set of DVDs. Barack Obama, the leader of the world’s richest country, gave the Prime Minister a box set of 25 classic American films – a gift about as exciting as a pair of socks.
Mr Brown is not thought to be a film buff, and his reaction to the box set is unknown. But it didn’t really compare to the thoughtful presents he had brought along with him.
Marking the special relationship: The Browns put a lot of thought into their gifts for the Obamas – but the gesture did not seem to be reciprocated
The Prime Minister gave Mr Obama an ornamental pen holder made from the timbers of the Victorian anti-slave ship HMS Gannet.
The unique present delighted Mr Obama because oak from the Gannet’s sister ship, HMS Resolute, was carved to make a desk that has sat in the Oval Office in the White House since 1880.
Mr Brown also handed over a framed commission for HMS Resolute and a first edition of the seven-volume biography of Churchill by Sir Martin Gilbert.
In addition, Mr Brown and his wife showered gifts on the Obama children giving Sasha and Malia an outfit each from Topshop and six children’s books by British authors which are shortly to be published in America.
In return, the Obamas gave the Browns two models of the presidential helicopter, Marine One, to take home to sons Fraser and John.
Mrs Brown has been praised for her well-chosen gifts for the Obama children – but Mrs Obama’s gift to the Brown children appeared less thoughtful
The Prime Minister has not had the best of luck when receiving gifts from U.S. presidents.
He was given a fur-trimmed brown leather bomber jacket by George W. Bush during his first trip to America in the summer of 2007.
Commentators gleefully pointed out that the garment was hardly in keeping with Mr Brown’s usual sober attire of business suit and tie.
Downing Street yesterday refused to state which movies were in the box set.
But the Mail has learned it included classics such as Star Wars, The Godfather and Citizen Kane and was produced by the American Film Institute as a ‘special request’ for the White House last month.
Perhaps pertinently, given Britain is floundering in an economic slump, the DVD collection was thought to feature the movie of John Steinbeck’s Great Depression novel, ‘The Grapes Of Wrath’.
The gift also included the Oscar-winning boxing biopic ‘Raging Bull’ starring Robert Di Nero and Alfred Hitchcock’s classic thriller Psycho – maybe a comment on the PM’s notorious short fuse?
And he will hope that at a General Election the British public do not shun his imploration for another term in office by thinking at the ballot box of the famous line from another of the movies, Casblanca: ‘Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.’
But following Mr Brown’s his recent troubles – the UK entering recession, soaring job losses and home repossessions, Labour struggling in the polls and threats of leadership challenges – he may be pleased at being able to settle down for a quiet night in front of the ultimate feel-good movie: It’s A Wonderful Life.
Washington , DC- Congress is considering sweeping legislation that will provide new benefits for many Americans. The Americans With No Abilities Act (AWNAA ) is being hailed as a major legislative goal by advocates of the millions of Americans who lack any real skills or ambition.
‘Roughly 50 percent of Americans do not possess the competence and drive necessary to carve out a meaningful role for themselves in society,’
said California Senator Barbara Boxer. ‘We can no longer stand by and allow People of Inability to be ridiculed and passed over. With this legislation, employers will no longer be able to grant special favors to a small group of workers, simply because they have some idea of what they are doing.’
In a Capitol Hill press conference, House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) pointed to the success of the U.S . Postal Service, which has a long-standing policy of providing opportunity without regard to performance. Approximately 74 percent of postal employees lack any job skills, making this agency the single largest U.S employer of Persons of Inability.
Private-sector industries with good records of non-discrimination against the Inept include retail sales (72%), the airline industry (68%), and home improvement ‘warehouse’ stores (65%). At the state government level, the Department of Motor Vehicles also has an excellent record of hiring Persons of Inability (63%).
Under The Americans With No Abilities Act, more than 25 million ‘middle man’ positions will be created, with important sounding titles but little real responsibility, thus providing an illusory sense o f purpose and performance.
Mandatory non-performance-based raises and promotions will be given so as to guarantee upward mobility for even the most unremarkable employees. The legislation provides substantial tax breaks to corporations that promote a significant number of Persons of Inability into middle-management positions, and gives a tax credit to small and medium-sized businesses that agree to hire one clueless worker for every
two talented hires.
Finally, the AWNAA contains tough new measures to make it more difficult to discriminate against the Non-abled, banning, for example, discriminatory interview questions such as, ‘Do you have any skills or experience that relate to this job?’
‘As a Non-abled person, I can’t be expected to keep up with people who have something going for them,’ said Mary Lou Gertz, who lost her position as a lug-nut twister at the GM plant in Flint, Michigan, due to her inability to remember ‘rightey tightey, lefty loosey.’ ‘This new law
should be real good for people like me,’ Gertz added. With the passage of this bill, Gertz and millions of other untalented citizens will finally see a light at the end of the tunnel.
Said Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL): ‘As a Senator with no abilities, I believe the same privileges that elected officials enjoy ought to be extended to every American with no abilities. It is our duty as lawmakers to provide each and every American citizen, regardless of his or her inadequacy, with some sort of space to take up in this great nation and a good salary for doing so.’
Dobson students question Obama’s plan
By Hayley Ringle
Students inside Jeff Sherrer’s senior AP government class view President Obama’s address via closed circuit television on the campus of Dobson High School in Mesa on Wednesday.
A Dobson High School Advanced Placement government class with strong opinions about Barack Obama watched the president’s speech Wednesday on a small, grainy TV in the corner of their classroom.
Principal, student talk hoops with Obama [http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/story/135650]
Obama lays out plan amid hundreds at Dobson [http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/story/135637]
Some of the students attentively watched the speech, giving questioning looks and comments, shaking their heads and laughing at some of Obama’s words. Other students listened, occasionally glancing up to watch, while texting on their cell phones, reading a book or finishing school work.
The gymnasium’s events were shown simultaneously in rooms throughout the Mesa school, and teachers were given discretion on whether or not to show the speech, the students said.
The students in the class were hopeful things will work out, but questioned whether Obama’s plan would actually work to dig the country out of its economic woes. They also expected a longer speech.
Senior Syna Daudfar took some notes during the speech and was one of the students that was the most vocally opposed to Obama’s words.
At one point, when he talked about the costs of his stimulus plan, senior Maaike Albach and Daudfar looked at each other and said, “Uh, oh.”
“Overall I think it’s a good idea, but he’s not addressing the issues of the economic crisis,” said Daudfar, a John McCain supporter who added he leans more towards being a moderate conservative. “The spending bill he just passed is just progressing the Democratic agenda, rather than addressing the economic issues in the country.”
Daudfar thinks Obama’s plan is backwards, and deals with the “less important stuff” first. “Bailing out businesses” and “providing better regulatory systems for giving out money to businesses” should have been first, he said.
“If businesses can’t afford to hire people, then people won’t be able to work and pay off their mortgages,” he said. “It’s kind of like putting money into a funnel.”
Albach, who is also a Republican, said Obama’s plan sounds good, but questioned how Obama can want to rely on “people’s responsibility,” when that is “what got us in this economic crisis in the first place.”
“This puts us more into debt,” said Albach, 18. “It’s a horrible situation we’re in.”
Senior Brandon Miller wore a shirt with the words, “Hitler gave great speeches too,” above a picture of Obama.
Miller said he had been an Obama supporter “because of his speeches,” but after debating the issues in this class and looking more into Obama’s policies, his vote was swayed towards McCain.
He showed a video on his camera he had just taken of the president’s minute-long motorcade, and talked about what a “great experience” it was to watch it. Miller had also spent a couple of hours in front of the school, hanging out and watching the protestors.
“Even though I don’t support him, I think it’s cool he’s here,” said Miller, 18. “I just don’t believe all the things he’s telling us. His goal is just too big and broad.”
Miller wanted to hear more about the costs and guidelines the stimulus bill entails.
Senior Katelyn Meyer, who also leans more towards being a Republican, said Obama’s plan sounds good, “but it’s easier said than done.”
“I like the refinancing part, and I like the part about mortgages, but I’m afraid we’re going to put the money in but won’t see any effect,” said Meyer, 18, who still thought it was “cool” to say the president was at her school, even though she didn’t get to see him live.
The students also questioned why Obama chose their school for his speech since he wasn’t talking about education, and wondered how much money the district spent on beautifying the campus while district positions and services were being cut.
District officials noted this week that the landscaping project completed over the weekend at Dobson was already in the works and was just expedited by the president’s visit. Funding came from voter-approved bonds.
New sod was laid in front of the school Tuesday, and Daudfar said, “The joke at the school is they’re going to take it away when he (Obama) leaves.”
AP government teacher Jeff Sherrer said his students “feel very strongly about the issues, maybe more than the general population.” He thought at least one of his students was outside protesting, and he had planned to take his students outside as a class project to show them what was going on, but didn’t get the chance.
“These kinds of kids really get into it,” Sherrer said. “During the election we had lots of debates on the issues.”