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Barney Bush's duty, God and global warming, Wolverine's wrath

April 20, 2009 |  5:44 am
Former president George W Bush and his dog Barney

While you were sleeping, we were reading and writing:

Suppose B.O. picks up after Bo?

Sounds like Barney, the dog of George W. Bush's, has got the former president trained on the most important duty of a dog-walker in an urban neighborhood.

Hint: It involves a little plastic bag.

Bush was in China this weekend, making another of his paid appearances that started a few weeks ago in Calgary. The retired Republican continues his refusal to criticize his successor, a courtesy that his Democratic successor has not felt obliged to reciprocate.

Bush will only say Barack Obama "was not my first choice."

The 43rd president said that soon after after settling into his newly-acquired north Dallas home, anticipating the new baseball season, he plopped down on the couch and said, "Free at last."

Laura Bush
, he said, then added, "Free to do the dishes."

More importantly, Bush talked about his simple pleasure of casually walking Barney around the Preston Hollow neighborhood, and noted that he dutifully carries the urban dog owner's required plastic bag for removing the dog's duty. Bush then added, "It occurred to me I was picking up what I had been dodging for eight years."

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A Reagan opposes California's governor

Michael Reagan, the eldest son of the late president and California governor Ronald Reagan, has joined the anti-big government Tea Party movement. Another Republican splitting with GOP Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger over his spending and taxing policies.

In an op-ed, Reagan writes:

Americans are tired of being overtaxed and under-represented.  Well, it looks like....


...the fight is on!

Governor Schwarzenegger, California’s legislature, Speaker Pelosi and President Obama –- I hope you are ready for a fight because that is exactly what you are going to get!

Reagan is taking a leading role in opposing the Prop. 1A spending proposal on the state's May 19 ballot. "Prop. 1A?" Reagan says, "No way!"

Michael Reagan oldest son of the late president and California governor Ronald Reagan

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Dare the miserable GOP count on the 2010 misery index?

Gene Ulm has an interesting examination of the Misery Index, the combination of the unemployment and inflation rates.

Of the 15 midterm elections in the last 60 years, Ulm notes fully 13 have been "change" elections, meaning the party controlling the White House loses seats in both the Senate and House as a kind of halftime verdict on the sitting president as American voters rebalance the political teetertotter. Only two midterms have seen the White House party gain seats.

According to Ulm's research, the average Misery Index in "change" elections was 10.1; the average in status quo was 6.86. The president's party lost an average of 26 seats in change elections, with Bill Clinton's first midterm the worst, a loss of 52 Democratic seats in the so-called Republican Revolution of 1994 after the failure of health-care reform.

The Misery Index has now passed 8, with many experts expecting unemployment to rise throughout this year. Double-digit misery seems to spell congressional misery for White House incumbents.

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What would Wolverine do?

In case you haven't noticed, you're spending less money on entertainment and eating out. Hugh Jackman in X-Men Origins: wolverine

A Harris Interactive Poll of 2,355 Americans finds nearly three-quarters (74%) are cutting back such spending now and for at least the next six months.

This despite the nearly-100-day-old Obama administration's encouragement to stimulate the economy by spending.

The number of those anticipating spending less is up almost 10 points since a similar November poll as Obama was elected.

Of course, those people answered the recent poll questions before the release of the summer's new movies on Wolverine, Transformers, Star Trek and a Terminator without Arnold.

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And it gets even warmer come summer

A new analysis of existing data finds that whether Americans believe in global warming has a lot to do with what they believe religiously.

With Earth Day coming this week -- if we can all just make it to the 22nd -- the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life finds that black and white evangelical Protestants are the least likely religious followers to believe that planet warming is caused by human activity, 39% and 34% respectively. In fact, fully 31% of the latter group believe human activity is not involved.

Those without religion (58%) and white mainline Protestants (48%) are most likely to believe the myth of climate change. (Just kidding to see if you're reading closely.) In the overall U.S. population, 48% believe in global warming and "solid evidence" of its human causes.

Among white non-Latino Catholics, the percentage is 44, the analysis finds.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Associated Press (Bush and Barney not walking); Reagan.com (Michael Reagan); "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" (Hugh Jackman).

H/T Mark Silva in the Swamp.

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