Michael Perry's book Population 485 is truly a classic.  Perry is a firefighter in a northern Wisconsin town and the books subtitle ("Meeting Your Neighbors One Siren At a Time") gives only a hint of the book's content.  There are incredibly funny passages, some incredibly insightful passages, and some truly clear thoughts.  One of my favorite passages from the book:> "It can be argued that one of the nice things about working in the field of fire and rescue is that for the most part, things went to heck in a hand basket before you were called, and so there is nowhere to go but up."Republican Senator Inhofe stands on the floor of the US Senate chamber and says, "Global warming is a hoax."  Should I believe someone who has a batchelor's degree in economics from the University of Tulsa and has worked in the aviation, real eastate, and insurance industries or a worldwide cadre of climate scientists working at numerous colleges and universities including little schools like MIT, Harvard, Stanford, and Berkeley?  Hmm...

Listening to NPR this morning was an incredibly depressing way to start my day.  First, there was discussion of the bill to send 87 billion of our dollars into the monetary black hole known as Iraq.  Of course, not a single dollar of that sum would be a loan, just like El Presidente wants.  Then, NPR managed to report on a lily-livered bill to simply hold emissions steady (not reduce them) without a single trace of irony.  Republicans (minus John McCain) were lining up against the bill because they agreed with Inhofe's statement covertly, if not overtly.  What allows a US Senator to stand on the floor of the US Senate and lie without a single person calling him to task?