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The inspiration for the name [Blue Dog] comes from several sources. It’s a play on the old phrase “Yellow Dog Democrat”—for those who’d sooner vote for a yellow dog than a Republican. It expresses the sense of the group’s founders, in 1995, that they were being “choked blue” by their party’s liberals. And most surprisingly, it is partly homage to the Cajun artist George Rodrigue, specifically his famous faux-naif painting of a blue Chihuahua, copies of which adorned the office walls of two Louisiana members who hosted early organizational meetings…. The Blue Dog Coalition has proven attractive to members who, for various reasons, want to be seen as having a centrist credential. One finds entrenched veterans like Jane Harman of California’s district covering the southern beaches; she is one of the House’s richest members (her husband owns Harman-Kardon, which makes stereo equipment) and is liberal on almost all matters except national security, having supported the Iraq war and survived a 2006 primary challenge from a candidate who criticized her for doing so. And there are newcomers with wobbly support in their districts—the wobbliest of all, by seeming consensus among Congress-watchers, being Walt Minnick of Idaho, a one-time Nixon aide of libertarian bent who resigned in protest over the Saturday Night Massacre, became a Democrat in 1996, and won a close race in a very Republican district. He was helped along when his opponent was caught heckling a Minnick aide during a television interview (and by $900,000 of his own money). Just six members of the fifty-two-member Blue Dog group are women, two are Latino, and none is African-American.–“Who Are the Blue Dogs?” Michael Tomasky, The New York Review of Books
The G.O.P.’s search for the “Republican Kerry”; a Michigan congressman accuses the White House of “red flags” on the Fort Hood shooting; “What do they know that they don’t want us to know?”; the excitement among conservative pundits over Sarah Palin’s upcoming Oprah interview
What have you learned about sex and dating from reading the Twilight series? What could men learn if they read the books?
The intensity of being drawn together by chemistry is amazingly sexy. Being so focused on each other, and having such a deep passion for one another. That’s what I’ve learned.
What’s the best way to pick up a Twilight fan?
Whisper in their ear, “You’re my personal brand of heroin.”
My new girlfriend gets a little rough in the bedroom. The other day she bit my shoulder — hard! It was more disturbing than hot, but I love how worked up she gets. How can I tell her not to draw blood, without sounding like a wimp?
Everyone needs a good bite once in a while, but for most of us, there’s definitely a pain threshold we’d rather not cross. I always find a simple, earnest “Ow!” usually breaks the mood enough to get your point across without stopping the momentum. Or, she could be a vampire. A little blood isn’t such a bad price to pay in return for eternal awesomeness. –“Sex Advice From: Twi-Hards,” Nerve
Bats make great neighbors, but as far as mammals go wouldn’t you prefer one that can sniff out bombs in Afghanistan, go missing during a battle, and then find its way back to base after 14 months wandering in the desert? Note also that it’s doubtful bats will pee on you, unlike beavers which, thirsting for fame, may
Opening a kilo of coke takes time. The outside layer of this particular package bears a colorful pattern of palm trees that makes it look like a birthday present, a thick paperback maybe. Other layers nest beneath the trees: layers of plastic, of carbon paper, of tracing and butcher paper, one stamped producto de calidad and numbered. Below the first layers, the entire brick is slathered in diesel-engine degreaser to keep it moist and mask the smell from detection dogs. Jesse attacks the package with a pocketknife and his fingers, showing neither haste nor undue caution. After all, he has done this many times before. Yet there is something about the kilo that makes it different from the rest; it is, Jesse says, the first kilo of the last shipment of cocaine that he will sell here in Pittsburgh, bringing to a close a successful career that began when he was eleven. –“Game Over,” Robert Anasi, Virginia Quarterly Review;
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”