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Political commentary from Andrew Malcolm

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Late-night jokes: Obama's job approval now lower than his uncle's blood-alcohol level

Obama's Uncle Onyango arrested in Massachusetts for DUI 8-11As The Ticket's 72,000-plus Twitter followers and 7,100 Facebook friends/fans know, we regularly share our daily picks of the late-night jokes of interest, usually before broadcast each night. Feel free to pass them on to friends using the "Share" buttons above.

Letterman: Big Labor Day Weekend. The day each year we celebrate our work force. Do we even have a work force anymore?

Leno: So the U.S. economy created zero jobs in August. Zero. President Obama says don't read too much into that. How can we? There's nothing there. It's zero!

Fallon: Denny's is now selling The Mac ‘n Cheese Big Daddy Patty, a burger-melt with macaroni and cheese. I know what you’re thinking – no bacon???

Leno: President Obama's Uncle Omar is in trouble. Imagine getting picked up for drunk driving, jailed and the only person you can call for bail money is $14 trillion in debt.

Fallon: Hurricane Irene caused $7 billion in damages. Mainly to the bodies of people who ate a week's worth of food supplies in one night.

Leno: Did you see Hurricane Irene over the weekend? Got downgraded to a tropical storm. Now, even our hurricanes get downgraded.

Leno: Well, at least Hurricane Irene did something the economy couldn't do. It got President Obama back into the White House.

Letterman: Labor Day Weekend. Big annual family picnic. Geez, where are the hurricanes when you need them? Dennys Logo

Letterman: President Obama’s uncle was arrested for DUI. Here’s the odd part: His blood-alcohol level was actually higher than the president’s job approval.

Leno: As Hurricane Irene approached, 6 million people were evacuated from New Jersey. Today, three of them went back.

Letterman: The CIA is hoping Kadafi's weapons don't fall into the wrong hands. And I said, Wait! Aren’t they already in the wrong hands?

Letterman: Such a lovely day today in New York City. Warm, sunny, blue skies. So because of that, Mayor Bloomberg only held three emergency briefings.

Fallon: A new survey finds that half of all American employees have faked a sick day. While the other half have just lied on a survey.

Letterman: President Obama unveils his next big jobs bill this week. I'm sure that will sail right through.

Fallon: A new study found that women gain more weight after marriage, but men gain more weight after a divorce. Yeah, the divorce usually takes place after the man points out that the woman gained more weight after marriage.

Fallon: Big movie news: Box office revenues were up this summer, although ticket sales were down. I was so confused, I almost spilled my $30 bucket of popcorn.

Fallon: A cute story here. Beyonce reveals that she and Jay-Z are expecting a baby. That kid is gonna have everything! Except a last name.

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-- Andrew Malcolm

Don't forget to follow The Ticket via Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or click this: @latimestot. Our Facebook Like page is over here. We're also available on Kindle. Use the ReTweet buttons above to share any item with family and friends.

Photos: Framingham Police Dept. (Onyango Obama); Denny's.

On Day 938 of his presidency, Obama says he'll have a jobs plan in a month or so

Obama's new armored Bus 8-16-11

OK, let's see if we can sort out this White House jobs package hocus-pocus because President Obama is counting on us not to. And no one wants to fail to not disappoint him:

Last winter in his State of the Union address, oblivious to the gathering storm over the nation's national debt, the Democrat proposed massive new spending and loan programs -- he calls it investments -- to extend unemployment benefits and payroll tax cuts and to rebuild the nation's roads, bridges and other union-made infrastructure kinds of stuff. He had a plan he would share soon.

When in trouble, give a speech. Say, early September. Before all this Rick Perry 40% of the nation's jobs come from Texas stuff really gets going.

The president has mentioned the plan often, despite widespread skepticism due to the lack of stimulus that came from spending $787 billion in stimulus money that was for sure going to hold national unemployment at 8%, but it's now 9.1%.

So, perhaps another such plan might work.Obama's armored Bus Motorcade takes over the road in Iowa 8-16-11

As this administration sees reality, those Republican tea party terrorists kind of hijacked the marathon talks about raising the national debt ceiling, stubbornly and unreasonably making the debt negotiations over reducing the debt and  spending rather than over spending spending.

As a result, it's all their fault that Standard & Poor's lowered the federal government's credit rating for the first time because the rating agency didn't see sufficient cuts.

The next day after the spending cuts agreement, with his obedient cabinet in attendance as witnesses, Obama said, yes, spending cuts were important as long as they didn't affect vast investments for the future to extend unemployment benefits and payroll tax cuts and to rebuild the nation's roads, bridges and other union-made infrastructure kinds of stuff.

Other Democrats are designing job plans costing $200 billion per year.

Because the country hasn't heard enough of Obama calling on Congress to do things and his job approval touched a new low of 39%, he laid on a three-day campaign swing through Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois this week at taxpayer-expense because the White House declared it an official trip.Obama Eating Ice Cream cone Dewitt Iowa 8-16-11

Because Obama wanted to hear from regular Americans, he's encased in an armored Darth Vader bus with heavily-tinted windows so no one can see him looking out at regular Americans.

And as the commander-in-chief meanders through the Heartland in this black vehicle, the entire road in both directions is cleared of regular Americans for the president's entourage and motorcade to pass by safely.

The bus is reported to cost about $1 million, which works out to about $333,000 per day for this foray among regular Americans.

On its second day out Tuesday Obama's bus made a couple of stops to chat with high school athletes and to acquire healthy presidential provisions -- one for ice cream cones (POTUS got vanilla) and another to load several bags of popcorn.

At his speaking engagements, Obama stressed the need to extend payroll tax cuts and to rebuild the nation's roads, bridges and other union-made infrastructure kinds of stuff. Also some free-trade agreements. This was a repetition of what he had said on the first day of his Grand Ground Tour.

On his 938th day in office President Obama also said he would soon have a completed jobs plan. Maybe early fall, something like that. And he complained, "We could do even more if Congress is willing to get in the game."

Tomorrow with all this heavy work in his rear-view mirror, the president is scheduled to join his family on Martha's Vineyard for a nine-day vacation.

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-- Andrew Malcolm

For unpredictable commentary on politics, follow The Ticket via Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or click this: @latimestot. Our Facebook Like page is over here. We're also available on Kindle. Use the ReTweet buttons above to share any item with family and friends.

Photos: Jason Reed / Reuters (Obama's new armored bus, Obama's armored bus motorcade takes over another Iowa highway and Obama downs an ice cream cone in Dewitt, Iowa).

Who made the cut for Obama's third Ramadan Iftar dinner

Obama Iftar dinner Speech 8-10-11

 

President Obama's remarks during his Iftar dinner, as provided by the White House

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you so much. (Applause.)  Everyone, please have a seat, have a seat.

Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the White House. Tonight is part of a rich tradition here at the White House of celebrating the holy days of many faiths and the diversity that define us as a nation. So these are quintessentially American celebrations -- people of different faiths coming together, with humility before our maker, to reaffirm our obligations to one another, because no matter who we are, or how we pray, we’re all children of a loving God.

Now, this year, Ramadan is entirely in August. That means the days are long, the weather is hot, and you are hungry. (Laughter.) So I will be brief.

I want to welcome the members of the diplomatic corps who are here; the members of Congress, including two Muslim American members of Congress -- Keith Ellison and Andre Carson; and leaders and officials from across my administration. Thank you all for being here.  Please give them a big round of applause.  (Applause.)   

To the millions of Muslim Americans across the United States and more -- the more than....

Continue reading »

Sarah Palin takes her bus to Iowa; Oh look, it's the Ames Straw Poll weekend

Sarah Palin in New Hampshire 6-11 on an earlier leg of her One Nation bus tour

Sarah Palin.

At least the Iowa bus business looks good in this sour nationwide economy.

Michele Bachmann is moving around her birth state in one. Next week, President Obama will pass through Iowa briefly (and Illinois and Minnesota) on his next talking-at-Americans-about-jobs outing before his next vacation.

Now comes word that Sarah Palin will bring her famous, extremely patriotic "One Nation" bus tour to the Heartland this week, allegedly for a visit to the Iowa State Fair, possibly Friday. The fair opens Thursday with a Mitt Romney speech competing with the annual carved cow in butter. Don't fail to miss that.

If you don't need to sweat within immense crowds amid the smells of livestock and anything you can imagine being fried, C-SPAN will broadcast the state fair's entire list of political speakers from Romney at the open to Bachmann at the close Friday. They're even letting one Democrat speak.

Janet Jackson will be there too, on Aug. 21, presumably with a functioning wardrobe.

Palin's not scheduled to speak at the fair. Palin doesn't need no schtinking fair to speak. She's got her Facebook page with nearly 3.25 million fans listening. And her podium over at Fox.

And the political celebrity can pretty much set up wherever she wants to park her political bus, and the crowd and media will flock over, even though she has yet to declare her intentions about a presidential candidacy.

The latest leg of Palin's bus journey just happens to coincide with the arrival of a gazillion media people and a bunch of GOP presidential candidates for the Ames Straw Poll, just to the north of Des Moines up I-35. Thursday night there's a nationally-televised Republican debate on the Fox News Channel.

Saturday, of course, is the infamous Ames Straw Poll, actually a state party political fundraiser that attracts attention as if it really means something. (Again, C-SPAN will have live coverage beginning at 9 a.m. Pacific.) Romney and Jon Huntsman are not participating.

Neither is Rick Perry, the conservative Texas governor who's been publicly flirting with the idea of running for the GOP nomination. One can only guess why Perry has chosen the Ames weekend to sort-of-maybe disclose his intentions. But he'll do it in an afternoon speech to conservative writers at the annual RedState Gathering in Charleston, S.C.

As for Palin, she'll be back to Iowa again, headlining a "tea party" gathering over Labor Day weekend.

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-- Andrew Malcolm

Don't forget to follow The Ticket via Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or click this: @latimestot. Our Facebook Like page is over here. We're also available on Kindle.Use the ReTweet buttons above to share any item with family and friends.

Photo: Brian Snyder / Reuters (Palin on an earlier leg of her 'One Nation' bus tour).

Late-night jokes: Conan uncovers a secret clause in the debt ceiling deal

As The Ticket's 70,000-plus Twitter followers here and 7,000 Facebook friends/fans here know, we regularly share our daily picks of the late-night jokes of interest, usually before broadcast each night. Feel free to pass them on to friends using the "Share" buttons above.general george armstrong Custer The Last Stand by Nathaniel Philbrick Viking Penguin

Letterman: OK, Obama reached a debt compromise with congressional Republicans. As I understand the details, it's the same kind of compromise Custer reached with Sitting Bull.

Leno: Did you see the District of Columbia has the nation's worst drug and alcohol abuse problems?  If you watched the Redskins a whole season, you'd need some relief too. Let's not judge.

Letterman: They say we averted economic disaster with this debt ceiling nonsense. Now we're $16 trillion in debt instead of $14 trillion. How is that not an economic disaster?

Fallon: The other day President Obama said, ‘Things will get better.’ Then he opened his eyes and blew out the candles on his birthday cake.

Fallon: Michelle Obama asked her husband’s fans to sign an e-card for his 50th birthday. That explains why Joe Biden's computer screen has magic marker all over it.

Leno: President Obama turned 50 Thursday. A year ago he was in his forties and his approval was in the fifties. This year it's the other way around.Dr Phil

Leno: President Obama is making a three-day bus tour across the Midwest later this month focused on jobs, mainly him keeping his.

Conan: Did you read about that man who jumped the White House fence? There was a brief chase, but the Secret Service was able to convince President Obama to return and continue his term.

Leno: Here's how bad our nation's credit rating is right now. President Obama asked China for another loan. But they won't give it to him unless his mother-in-law co-signs.

Conan: Part of the new national debt deal includes a Super Congress committee to make some very tough fiscal decisions before Thanksgiving. The Super Congress consists of six congressmen from each party, plus Wolverine.

Letterman: Good news in all this debt talk business: Now Congress can get back to doing what it is it does best--I have no idea.

Fallon: A new study says eating healthy adds $380 to your grocery costs yearly. Or as Americans put it, ‘Cool, I saved $380 this year!’

Fallon: After countless rounds of talks and numerous compromises on both sides, finally a deal! My wife will go to ‘Cowboys & Aliens’ while I will go see ‘The Smurfs.'Smurf

Conan: The congressional budget deal would raise the debt ceiling until the year 2013. The best part--it prevents another Smurfs movie until the year 2014.

Conan: Analysts say Oprah could help Obama get the white working-class female vote. And Dr. Phil can help deliver the crucial fake doctor vote.

Conan: Ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was released from prison. He said he spent most of his time in prison hanging out with other Detroit mayors.

Leno: A New Jersey Dunkin' Donuts clerk was arrested for prostitution, turning  tricks in the parking lot overnight. Police were able to crack the case after only 10 years of surveillance.

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-- Andrew Malcolm

Don't forget to follow The Ticket via Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or click this: @latimestot. Our Facebook Like page is over here. We're also available on Kindle.Use the ReTweet buttons above to share any item with family and friends.

Photos: Viking / Penguin (Custer); John Shearer / Getty Images (Dr. Phil); Mark Renders / Getty Images (a Smurf).

Who made the cut for Obama's big White House birthday party?

Obama wears a birthday party hat at Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum in LondonPresident Obama and about 200 celebrity friends set aside the economic fears and concerns of others to really celebrate his 50th birthday in the White House.

Burgers,  bare feet and lots of dancing is the report from multiple sources.

Those who made the pre-recession invite list Thursday: Al Sharpton, Whoopi Goldberg, Chris Rock, Charles Barkley, Emmitt Smith, Ledisi, Steve Harvey, Gayle King, Herbie Hancock, Stevie Wonder, Grant Hill and Jay-Z.

Also, of course, Tom Hanks.

And the usual political suspects: Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Valerie Jarrett, Bill Richardson, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Tim  Kaine, Bill Daley and Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

Also, the First Mother-in-Law Marian Robinson and her Chicago friend "Mama Kaye" Wilson.

Obama reportedly paid for the affair.

However, the political optics of less than healthy BBQ feasting and shoeless East Room dancing until after midnight while the nation teeters on the brink of renewed recession caused the White House to close the event to the media.

The president left this afternoon on his helicopter for a weekend mini-vacation at Camp David.

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Obama flies to Camp David 8-5-11

-- Andrew Malcolm

Party like it's 2011. Follow The Ticket via Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or click this: @latimestot. Our Facebook Like page is over here. We're also available on Kindle.Use the ReTweet buttons above to share any item with family and friends.

Photo: The Obama wax figure at Madame Tussauds in London has a party hat. Credit: Win McNamee / Getty Images.

Photo: Obama flies off to Camp David, Aug. 5. Credit: Michael Reynolds / EPA

Guess which District of Columbia has the nation's worst drug and alcohol abuse problems?

Capitol Reflecting Pool 7-31-11Here's a taste of federal irony:

Washington, D.C., the powerful, self-important place that is so ready these days to dictate health rules and regulations and tell Americans what they should eat less and more of, turns out to have the worst alcohol and drug abuse problems of any state or district.

And D.C. doesn't even have one senator!

A new study by the feds' Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports that 21.3% of district adults aged 18 to 25 were dependent on or abusing alcohol or drugs in the past year, according to an article in the Washington Examiner.

The national average is 8.9%.

D.C.'s substances of choice are alcohol, marijuana and cocaine, the report said, according to the Examiner. 

The study was concluded before the recent weeks of contentious negotiations over raising the national debt limit to its second record high in two years. No pun intended.

"All ten states that had the highest rates of past month illicit drug use among persons age 12 or older," the study said, "were also the top 10 states for past month marijuana use -- Alaska, Colorado, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont," the Examiner quoted the report as stating.

Among other findings:

Alaska had the highest rate of current marijuana use (11.5%), while Utah had the lowest (3.6%).

We may have reached a plateau in terms of Americans acknowledging the risks of cigarette smoking. No states reported an increase in the perception of risk.

South Dakota and Hawaii had the lowest rate of serious mental illness in the last year (3.5%).

Rhode Island had the nation's highest percentage of serious mental illness (7.2%) .

-- Andrew Malcolm

Don't forget to follow The Ticket via Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or click this: @latimestot. Our Facebook Like page is over here. We're also available on Kindle. Use the ReTweet buttons above to share any item with family and friends.

Photo: Michael Reynolds / EPA (the Capitol reflected in the Reflecting Pool).

Minnesota government shutdown, mixed with snafu, may lead to beer shortage

Coors

Minnesotans will have to head to the Rockies to get Coors Light if something isn't done about their state's government shutdown that may soon lead to scores of beers being pulled from store shelves.

MillerCoors, the maker of Miller High Life and 38 other beers, found itself caught in typical government red tape when it was informed that it had overpaid a state-mandated registration. Minnesota makes brewers register every three years for each product that they sell in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. The cost is only $30 per brand, a drop in the bucket to such a brewer, which might be why it accidentally overpaid.

By the time the state notified MillerCoors of the error, and the company had resubmitted the registration and signed a new check with the proper amount, Minnesota's government had been shut. The state employees who could have approved the registrations were at home, possibly drinking beer, as they had been laid off since the state could not legally pay them.

Minnesota, however, did not lay off alcohol enforcement officials who have instructed MillerCoors to devise a plan to get their cases of Coors, Blue Moon and other brands off the shelves in supermarkets and liquor stores.

Continue reading »

Healthy-eating advocate Michelle Obama downs 1,700 calorie lunch: A burger, fries and shake (chocolate)

It's good to be first lady.

MichelleObamaoffAF1shorts09EdtdtoherapMichelle Obama has become the nation's foremost advocate for restaurant menu reform and healthier eating to reduce obesity, especially among children. 

She has made much of the need for Americans to routinely pack away fewer calories and carbs, more veggies, fruits -- that sort of stuff.

Plus, of course, get more exercise.

But alas one of those annoying media types, a reporter from the Washington Post, happened to be on the scene in Washington today.

Of course, it's hard to miss when a busy street and a new diner are totally shut down to the public for its normal bustling traffic of lunch-hour customers for the benefit of one VIP eater.

While her husband was telling the country it's time to eat its peas and address the staggering national deficit, Mrs. Obama went out for lunch.

But the healthy-eating advocate was nabbed doing 60 in a 35 zone: At today's lunch Mrs. Obama downed a good-sized ShackBurger.

And french fries.

And a milk shake of the chocolate variety.

According to the Shake Shack's website, that adds up to a whopping 1,700 calories for one meal.

Obama has said that occasional indulgences are OK. This obviously was one.

And Obama may have forgotten that today is July 11 as in 7/11 or 7-Eleven. As such, it is the annual midsummer day when that national convenience store chain offers free Slurpees over in the sticky-floor corner.

However, to make up for the 1,700-calorie indulgence, the first lady did cut back on the cals for her second luncheon drink. She had a diet Coke.

-- Andrew Malcolm

Speaking of health, don't forget to follow The Ticket's Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or click this: @latimestot. Our Facebook Like page is over here. We're also available on Kindle. Use the ReTweet buttons above to share any item with family and friends.

Photo: Associated Press (First Lady Obama leaves Air Force One on a vacation).

Rush Limbaugh rallies Joplin with praise -- and tea

Well, controversial conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh is at it again -- talking about American pride and helping each other, American exceptionalism and other ways of independent thinking in a political era that's made them sometimes seem outmoded.

Unbelievable malarkey.

Limbaugh showed up in Joplin, Mo., which suffered severe damage and more than 100 deaths during a May tornado. He was having a contest to find the American city with the most pride. No, Limbaugh did not pick hometown Cape Girardeau, MoRush Limbaugh, file.

Limbaugh, as you know, is always going on about government interference and only attracting some 14 million loyal radio listeners in doing so.

Apparently, Limbaugh was impressed that Joplin isn't waiting for handouts and outside help and pointing fingers of blame at federal officials for not fixing the damage, like maybe perhaps officials did a few years ago after another major storm somewhere.

Joplin residents have already undertaken a massive rebuilding effort. American neighbors helping themselves and each other, if you can believe such a thing in 2011. For some weird reason this all impressed Limbaugh. (Scroll down for video of his complete remarks.)

So the famous talker showed up there to speak and hand out nearly 4,000 cases of his new tea product, Tea for Two or 2 Teas for You Too or Two If By Sea. Anyway, the bottled drink label has a photo of Limbaugh in a tri-cornered hat riding to warn Massachusetts that Michele Bachmann is coming or something.

Limbaugh, who seems comfortable behind a microphone, told Joplin:

You understand the principle of hard work and self-reliance. You understand the difference between self-interest and selfishness. You are not selfish. You all are going to be working your own self-interest. You’re going to rebuild your lives, and in the process, everybody else’s lives will be rebuilt right along with yours.

American exceptionalism is simply the result of our founding fathers understanding that our government is not to determine the quality of outcomes in life because we’re not all the same. Our country was determined to present equality of opportunity, and what you do with it is your business.

We’re 235 years old. We’re here on Independence Day. We are celebrating the biggest miracle in the history of human civilization. And as I grow older — I just turned 60 — I become more in awe, more appreciative of this country every day.

Have you ever heard anything so silly?

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-- Andrew Malcolm

Don't forget to follow The Ticket via Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or click this: @latimestot. Our Facebook Like page is over here. We're also available on Kindle. Use the ReTweet buttons above to share any item with family and friends.

Photo: Gary He / Associated Press (Limbaugh, file).

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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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