Monday, April 07, 2008

Morning Roundup

Congressman Ben Chandler pens an op-ed.
It's of little wonder that Benjamin Franklin is on the $100 bill. His guidance on financial matters remains significant today, even as the bill itself continues to lose value. In an uncertain economy, it is more important than ever to make wise financial decisions. Unfortunately, our federal government has not always followed this sound approach.

Outside my office in Washington sits a sign displaying America's rapidly increasing national debt, much of which is owed to foreign governments. I see this staggering number of $30,000 per citizen every day as I walk into my office - a daily reminder that over the past decade we have not been good stewards of taxpayers' money. America's debt problem translates to personal budgets as well, with Americans averaging over $9,000 per person in credit card debt.

Thinking of these numbers, I am drawn to Franklin's advice: "But, ah, think what you do when you run in debt; you give to another power over your liberty." This statement is as true today as it was in his time. I believe that it is imperative that we return to this fiscally sound principle both as individuals and as a nation.

Although today's financial markets look quite different, Franklin's warning, "Remember that credit is money," is still relevant. Indeed, a credit card can be deceptive. It gives us instant access to cash without the feeling that we are spending actual money - that is, until we get the credit card statement. We are met not only with our balances, but often unexpectedly high interest rates and new fees.
An election year can only mean one thing...comedians have plenty of fodder from politics. Need proof? Here you go.
Vice President Tony Rezko is asked: How did you get into office so fast? A day ago he was in prison, and already the new commander-in-chief has granted him a pardon, muscled out the elected VP and installed Rezko in the Obama administration.

"Obama's wanted to pardon me his whole life," the Chicago influence-peddler explains. "He just couldn't do it till he was president."[...]

In an election year when Clinton tries to score debate points by citing a gag from "Saturday Night Live," the hot topic in humor is humor that's topical. The appetite for satire has "never been higher than right now," Second City vice president Kelly Leonard says.[...]

With Second City's shows still in flux, the casts there are having fun dropping in timely references that may or may not stick for the long haul. An impromptu gag about Eliot Spitzer the other day "brought the house down," Leonard says. "Now, I don't know that that will stay in the show. Three weeks from now it maybe will. But six weeks? Probably not."

A Second City show can become static after opening night, when the scenes usually are locked into place for the next several months. But Leonard has urged his directors to keep the references timely, because updates can be made later without rattling the ensembles. "That's the great thing about having improvisational-based performers," he says.

Another way to keep a Second City show fresh is with loosely structured segments that allow for some variation from night to night. The cast of the upcoming mainstage show, "No Country for Old White Men," has been experimenting with one such bit, about British House of Commons members commenting on the doings of the U.S. Congress. It may or may not end up in the final lineup.
This next one is a great read as a Rabbi explores the archeology behind Sodom and Gommorah. It's very detailed and one that appears to be accurate.

You can watch Nick Stoller and Judd Apatow talk to Access Hollywood about Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

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