National ____ Day

Today, January 29 is National Corn chip Day, and I almost missed it. It’s also National Whatever Days for a bunch of other things, just like every other day is.

Check out link1 and link2 for all sorts of other holidays and “nation fill in the blank day”.

Where's Shrubo?

“The question is, where were you, Governor Bush? What would you do as commander-in-chief if someone in the National Guard did the same thing? At the least, I would have been court-martialed. At the least, I would have been placed in prison,” said Senator Daniel Inouye, Democrat of Hawaii.

He was referring, of course, to the 12 month period where our Fearless Leader was nowhere to be found during his stay with the National Guard.

Michael Moore provides a number of links to news articles about the absence, and to Peter Jennings’ interview with Wesley Clark where he asked about Moore’s support.  Since the link is Moore’s entry page, the information will probably be gone soon unless you look for it within the site, probably in the Must Read section.

Real State of the Union

Shrubya will give his version tonight.  Here’s a sampling of numbers he won’t be talking about:

$113 million: Total sum raised by the Bush-Cheney 2000 campaign, setting a record in American electoral history

$130 million: Amount raised for Bush’s re-election campaign so far

130: Number of countries (out of total of 191 recognized by the United Nations) with an American military presence

58 million: Number of acres of public lands Bush has opened to road building, logging and drilling

And the last disturbing one is
53%: Percentage of American citizens who approved of the way Bush was handling his job as president when asked on 16 January, 2004

Super Pizza Sunday

According to Advertising Age Research, last year’s Super Bowl had 88,637,000 viewers (138.9 million according to the NFL) at 43,433,000 homes watching commercials that cost $2,100,000 for 30 seconds of air time. That’s $23.69 per viewer over the course of the game, but less than 25¢ per 30 seconds. The first Super Bowl ads cost $42,000 ($239,167 inflation adjusted) for 30 seconds. This year, the price is up to $2.25 million. What will be eaten during this year’s 62 half-minute events?  Pizza. Super Bowl Sunday has evolved into a national party day:  The average number of people at a Super Bowl party is 17. More pizza will be sold Feb. 1 than any other day of 2004:

  • Domino’s will deliver about 1.2 million pizzas, 42% more than on a regular Sunday, and its drivers will cover 4 million miles.
  • Papa John’s expects its business will jump 70% in some areas.
  • Grocery store sales of Kraft’s DiGiorno and Tombstone frozen pizzas typically jump 20% during Super Bowl week.

Pizza Hut, the world’s most powerful and influential pizza seller, will unveil what it considers its biggest product idea in years: four square, topped-to-order pizzas in one large pizza box, which, at $11.99, costs about the same as a regular large pizza. It will spend $50 million to launch the product, and fill the national airwaves with as many as 75 commercials throughout game day.

Personally, while pizza is probably my favorite food, I hate Pizza Hut pizza. And although their franchises originally didn’t want the new pizza, in part because they had to get new equipment to make it and it may reduce the number of two pizza orders, it should be good for them. Now it’s not only the edges of the pizza that won’t have topping, the lines separating the four parts will also be empty. What a great way to sell bread at a premium.

A Zippy Map

This is a cool graphical representation of zip codes.  Click on the map and type in a code.  As each number is typed, the map shows the limits for that part of the zip.

You need to be running the Java VM, which is no longer included with Windows, for this applet to work. 

Hold The Buns

By now most people have seen the Carl’s Jr. ad for their low-carb burger.  It uses lettuce to hold things together instead of a bun.  It turns out that In-N-Out has had this for a while on their “Secret Menu“;  it’s called “Protein Style”.

They don’t have a name for what I eat at home:  everything sitting on top of half a bun.  I guess I could get a Double Double “Flying Dutchman” style and a mix it with a dry “2×4”.  And then be really, really full.

Stealth Signing

Almost no news has been reported about the government’s new powers to look at your finances.  That’s because it was signed on a Saturday at the same time that Hussein’s capture was announced.  The only reporting seems to be from the San Antonio Current article With a Whisper, Not A Bang:

By signing the bill on the day of Hussein’s capture, Bush effectively consigned a dramatic expansion of the USA Patriot Act to a mere footnote. Consequently, while most Americans watched as Hussein was probed for head lice, few were aware that the FBI had just obtained the power to probe their financial records, even if the feds don’t suspect their involvement in crime or terrorism.

The Bush Administration and its Congressional allies tucked away these new executive powers in the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004, a legislative behemoth that funds all the intelligence activities of the federal government. The Act included a simple, yet insidious, redefinition of “financial institution,” which previously referred to banks, but now includes stockbrokers, car dealerships, casinos, credit card companies, insurance agencies, jewelers, airlines, the U.S. Post Office, and any other business “whose cash transactions have a high degree of usefulness in criminal, tax, or regulatory matters.”

The fact that I couldn’t find this on any of the news services made me do a little more research than usual.  I found the text of the bill, H.R. 2417, and an announcement that it was signed.  But even that doesn’t make clear what happened because the text of the bill refers to the United States Code.  The new meaning of financial institution is finally made clear there.

On and on…  it seems the article is correct, but perhaps not as sweeping as it sounds.  That’s because only the smaller institutions were added; the big ones were already there.  At least from what I can tell from that legal morass.