The biggest surprise of the Super Bowl, for me, was seeing Gen. David Patraeus standing in the middle of the field participating in the coin flip. That's making the implicit explicit. The popular culture as the one big melting pot. Guns and chicken wings. Nachos and Machos. Not to mention Prez Obama's Super Bowl bi-partisan party. Can America take much more solidarity? First there's the election, then the inauguration, and now the Super Bowl. The Boss performing as if there's no tomorrow, belting out Born to Run (enhanced like the inaugural quartet?), and Pittsburg and Arizona responding, blue state red state, the president's pick winning at the end. My favorite ad was watching Alec Baldwin denouncing television viewing, showing how a mind is changed to mush, all for hulu.com, which promotes TV watching on the web. Baldwin turns out to be an alien, some sort of slimy creature, which fit into the ad world's theme of bestiality this time around. So much animal love, of one kind or another, with cross-specie kissing taking the cake.

But back to Patraeus, father of the "surge", George W.'s hope for historical salvation. Coin-flipping has been the most successful strategy in Iraq, it appears. And Bush won the last flip: Iraq continues to follow the Bush administration time line. Bill Clinton profited when he first came aboard as president, because papa Bush's recession was just about over when Clinton took office. Iraq is already on its path to become a middle-eastern version of South Korea (the grand hope) as Obama takes office. Obama's 9/11, at this point, is the economy, the second catastrophe brought about because of the departed Bush administration's lack of foresight or competence. Nonetheless, all the Republicans continue to parrot their only song, cut taxes. Why is it whenever the Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell appears on TV I think of sex change operations? Perhaps because of his wife, Elaine Chao, the former Secretary of Business, oops, I mean, Labor. Anyway, the guy gives me the creeps. These people will not go away.

And the folks who cheat on their taxes don't go away, either. This time it is Tom Daschle, once both the Senate Majority and Minority Leader, on the Dem. side. Daschle lost his seat in 2004 and Barack Obama has nominated him to be Secretary of Health and Human Services. Thus, the tax problem. Daschle took the revolving door into influence peddling and also accepted the largesse of a supporter in the shape of a chauffeur and limousine since he left the Senate, and now owes, or payed recently, 140 grand in taxes for the "gift". It must cost a lot to have a driver and car for four years, if that much tax is involved. Daschle's wife has been a long-time lobbyist for airlines, so Tom knows the world of play and pay. But, like Timmy Geithner, now Treasury Secretary, Washington loves Daschle, so it appears all that pesky cash and taxes problem will be overlooked. That Geithner was beloved by so many Republicans is only a cause for worry. It was often said he was the only brilliant man for the job given the complexities of the economic meltdown and I wish someone would have pointed out an act of brilliance on Geithner's part. I guess, these days, being nominated and confirmed would qualify. And it looks like Daschle may too slide in. And Eric Holder, as Attorney General, who approves of pardoning the Rich. But the stimulus plan is not stimulating me. Yet it's clear Barack Obama has changed America's hopes and mood. This time around even the Super Bowl lived up to its name.

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