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The Most Colorful Presidential Nicknames

Well, that's one of the benefit of a Democracy, is you can make fun of or chum around with the Commander in Chief, and not get beheaded for it. Nothing expresses the colorful character of United States culture like the nicknames we give our Presidents. Here are some of the best, with the stories behind them. Shrub (George Walker Bush) - A name bestowed in the writings of the late Molly Ivins, the American columnist and author. Seen by many as the Dorothy Parker of modern politics, it took a sharp wit like Molly's to draw the connection between the surname "Bush" and a reference to the Junior President being hardly capable of filling the shadow of Bush Senior. Slick Willie (William Jefferson Clinton) - Bestowed by an editorial article in the "Arkansas Democrat Gazette", this nickname does the skillful job of referring to the "Teflon" nature of Clinton where nothing ever seemed to stick to him, his charismatic skills, a reference to his way with the ladies, and a kind of 1940's-era risibility, all without condemning him too hard. The Gipper (Ronald Wilson Reagan) - Named after an actual role he played in the movie "Knute Rockne, All American". The movie was about football and Ronald Reagan played George Gipp. The lead character actually had the line: "The last thing George said to me, 'Rock,' he said, 'sometime when the team is up against it and the breaks are beating the boys, tell them to go out there with all they've got and win just one for the Gipper." Reagan actually cheerfully adopted this nickname himself. The Accidental President (Gerald Ford) - Ford had a reputation for being physically clumsy and his many slips and falls were caught on camera. Most famously was when he tripped coming out of his jet, Air Force One, and tumbled down about 12 feet of steps. Combined with this, he had never run for President or Vice President, since Nixon appointed him from Congress directly to the Vice Presidency to replace Spiro Agnew. Nixon then was ironically impeached himself, leaving the tiller of the nation in Ford's shaky hands. Tricky Dick (Richard Milhous Nixon) - No list of colorful Presidential nicknames would be complete without it. First coined by Democratic opponent Helen Gahagan Douglas, during the 1950 race for the California U.S. Senate. The name was applied for Nixon's already questionable tactics when competing for a Senate seat, and even then compared to his later record the public had seen nothing yet. Give 'Em Hell Harry (Harry S. Truman) - This was shouted out from a crowd listening to one of his famously fiery speeches, and the name stuck throughout his Presidency as he earned the reputation of a vigilant watchdog of the nation's well-being. The Sphinx of the Potomac (Calvin Coolidge) - The president was known for being the most taciturn official ever, and legends abound of how difficult it was to get him to talk. This made him enigmatic; nobody knew what he was thinking, and so he was silent and mysterious like an Egyptian sphinx. The Professor (Woodrow Wilson) - Surprisingly enough, an academic with his own thoughts and no need for speech-writers is the exception in the Presidency rather than the norm. But Wilson was one of these, and was one of the few to be hailed as an intellectual. Compare this with later Presidencies where jokes at the expense of the President's I.Q. are the norm. The Lion (Theodore Roosevelt) - It is difficult to pick from the many colorful nicknames given to Roosevelt the first, however, this one sums up his military record before his time in office, and his grit and determination in rooting out corruption on his way to the top. He ruled with a very firm hand, and this nickname speaks of that character in an almost Biblical state of reverence. His Obstinacy (Grover Cleveland) - A President famous for his use of the veto power; he had a rubber stamp and he wasn't the least bit afraid to use it. Cleveland himself later bragged that his greatest accomplishment as President was blocking the bad ideas of others.

Your child's creativity could land him a $25, 000 college fund

"We don't need no education, " popular lyrics by Pink Floyd are still as famous as ever. But in addition to being a good, cool, and a lot appreciated song, this line doesn't really say much about the actual world situation. The importance of proper education, in reality, as many of you have learned the hard way, can't be underestimated. If you want to give your child a good education, any step towards growing his or her college fund is an important one. And I just came across a creativity contest that could help you with that. Starting now and running through October 11, 2012, the maker of Jif Peanut Butter, is inviting families across the States to go to the kitchen and create an original sandwich recipe. The winner of the competition will walk away with $25, 000 college fund. The semifinalists of the contest will be announced in November, followed by online vote in January, after which 5 finalists will get to go to an event in New York City, where the grand prize winner will be announced. In order to participate, your child needs to be in age 6 to 12, and the sandwich recipe must contain at least two tablespoons of Jif Peanut Butter or Jif Hazelnut Spread. Once the recipe is ready, you can submit it at "This year, we’re thrilled to inspire even more creativity by including the new Jif Hazelnut Spreads in the contest, offering a delicious new way for parents and kids to create memorable recipes and moments together in the kitchen, " said Maribeth Badertscher, Vice President, Corporate Communications, The J.M. Smucker Company.

Italy's New 'Bullet Train' Aims to Shake Up Euro Travel

Italy will launch Europe's first private high-speed train service Saturday, as the country moves towards a more liberal economy. The move could lead other European countries to follow Italy's example of privatizing rail transport and creating new jobs and competition in the marketplace. The new bullet-shaped "Italo" trains can travel at a top speed of 360 kilometers per hour. They are run by NTV, a company headed by Ferrari boss Luca di Montezemolo, which invested $1.3 billion. He says the real achievement was having brought about liberalization in Italian rail transportation. "At last, Italian citizens and foreign travelers will be able to choose, and one of the longest monopolies in our country has come to an end," said Montezemolo. Montezemolo says passengers would benefit from the competition. He adds that the aim is to take a quarter of the market from the state rail network Trenitalia, the biggest employer in the country, by 2014. Transport experts say despite the difficult economic times, the new train could be a positive development. NTV's fleet will consist of 25 trains that are being supplied by French multinational Alstom. "This train is the fourth generation of train for Alstom. So, it's really at the top, and there is no other technology in the world like this one," said Alstom Managing Director Pierre-Louis Bertina. News by Sabina Castelfranco / VOA News.

Delta Airlines to Produce Its Own Jet Fuel

U.S.-based Delta Airlines will soon be the world's first air carrier to produce its own jet fuel. Delta announced Monday it is buying a struggling oil refinery near Philadelphia from the Phillips 66 oil company for $150 million. The refinery has been losing money and its owner had planned to shut it down, leading to thousands of job losses. Delta chief Richard Anderson calls buying a refinery an innovative approach to managing the airline's largest expense. Delta spent $12 billion on jet fuel last year, which was about 36 percent of its operating expenses. Delta says making its own fuel will save it about $300 million a year. News from VOA News.

Michael Bloomberg announced the debut of Taxi of Tomorrow

"New York City cabs have always been iconic, and now they will set a new standard. The 600,000 passengers who use taxis to get around every day deserve the cutting-edge technology and top-of-the-line safety features that this model delivers," said New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. The model he was talking about is Nissan NV200, the Taxi of Tomorrow that was chosen to be the exclusive taxi in New York City starting from late 2013. The taxi made a global debut couple of days ago in SoHo, but it's available for general public for viewing at Jacob Javits Center during the 2012 New York International Auto Show from April 6-15, 2012. [pic1] "The exclusive Taxi of Tomorrow draws on Nissan's global experience in commercial vehicles, as well as insight from New York City taxi drivers and passengers, who helped identify important improvements over today's cabs. The Nissan taxi will deliver unprecedented levels of innovation and comfort to New York's 600,000 daily taxi riders, " said Nissan President and CEO Carlos Ghosn. Among the innovations are floor lighting, independently controlled rear air conditioning, transparent roof panel, electric outlet as well as USB ports for charging the batteries of your electronic devices, easy to clean durable seat fabric, low annoyance horn. Nissan NV200, Taxi of Tomorrow, is also the Only taxi ever to be safety tested and certified with full taxi partition. Nissan NV200 was selected to be the Taxi of Tomorrow in May 2011 after the difficult selection process had come to a successful end. The new Nissan taxis will start servicing the citizens of NYC in late 2013. Also engaged in the vehicle design were The Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, the Design Trust for Public Space and Smart Design also have engaged with Nissan and the TLC.

Food Network announces the second season of Chopped All-Stars

Life without food is suffering. Life without entertainment is boring. Life without learning is stupid. Food Network seems to understand that and is bringing you the second season of Chopped All-Stars. It's a show with 16 contestants, 4 episodes with carefully selected master chefs each asked to create three masterful courses with ingredients from a food basket that no one knowns what's in it. Well, they do know it only contains food, but they haven't got a much better idea. The mystery basket can contiain anything from black beans to chicken feet to crawfish and beef tendon. They have only a limited time to put the meals together and by the end of each episode, the weak ones are chopped. The fifth episode will be the battle between the winners of each of the 4 previous episodes - winner from within the lines of Iron Chefs, winner of the battle between the Food Network/Cooking Channel show hosts, winner of the competition between Food Network Star finalists and the winner of the Chopped judges fierce competition. Here's the full episode list as well as the line-up for Chopped All-Stars. Part 1, "Iron Chefs Do Battle" Premieres Sunday, April 8th at 9pm ET/PT Competitors: Iron Chefs Cat Cora, Marc Forgione, Jose Garces and Michael Symon Judges: Scott Conant, Aarón Sanchez, Geoffrey Zakarian Part 2, "Prime Time vs. Day Time" Premieres Sunday, April 15th at 9pm ET/PT Competitors: Show hosts Keegan Gerhard (Food Network Challenge), Jeffrey Saad (United Tastes of America, Cooking Channel), Aarti Sequeira (Aarti Party) and Marcela Valladolid (Mexican Made Easy) Judges: Amanda Freitag, Aarón Sanchez, Geoffrey Zakarian Part 3, "Food Network Star Contestants" Premieres Sunday, April 22nd at 9pm ET/PT Competitors: Food Network Star Season Seven Finalists Justin Balmes, Penny Davidi, Vic "Vegas" Moea and Chris Nirschel Judges: Scott Conant, Amanda Freitag, Aarón Sanchez Part 4, "Judge Remix" Premieres Sunday, April 29th at 9pm ET/PT Competitors: Chopped judges Alex Guarnaschelli, Marc Murphy, Marcus Samuelsson and Chris Santos Judges: Amanda Freitag, Aarón Sanchez, Geoffrey Zakarian Part 5, "Grand Finale" Premieres Sunday, May 6th at 9pm ET/PT Competitors: Prior episode winners Judges: Anne Burrell, Amanda Freitag, Aarón Sanchez

Russian Stew

Two Russian men have put a whole new meaning to the term 'Russian Stew'. they killed one person, cut him up and sold bits of him to a local kebab shop. Needless to say, they have been arrested but it is not known how many 'extras' there might have been in the kebabs.

Unbalanced justice

Much has been said in recent time about civilians who assault police officers and in some places the crime of assaulting police now attracts an automatic jail sentence. Very little has been said though when the roles are reversed whereby police officers assault civilians. In my view, an automatic jail sentence should also apply in cases of 'police assaulting civilians'.

No Qantas engineers but still flying

There is our favourite airline, Qantas. The airline's senior engineers are threatening strike action over work hours and pay. Qantas said that it will still be flying without its engineers. Yes indeed, given the airline's appalling record in recent times, I thought the airlines did not have any engineers. Qantas promises that all passengers will reach their destination, on the back of a bicycle. And then we have British Airways BA has just announced the sacking of 1200 staff. This will be the scenario. "Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls". "I am your pilot, hostie, engineer, and mother of all during this flight from London to Athens". "After I have taken the aircraft into the air and put it on auto-pilot, I shall provide drinks, we hope". "Please note that after landing at Athens Airport, you may pick up your luggage, in Rome"."Thank you for flying with me and have a nice day". And the Spanish Fly... British Airways, the troubled UK airline, and Iberia, Spain's also financially troubled airline, have agreed to a $7 billion merger. So now we shall two financially troubled airlines all rolled into one. It will certainly make things easier for the liquidators, or undertakers, should the combined airline fail. I have a suggested name for the new airline. "Spanish Fly"

Where does the $900 billion for US health care reform come from?

The first health care bill that drew Republican votes needs $829 billion to become a reality. President Obama has vowed not to sign a bill that will add to the long-term deficit. But where does the money come from? The currently proposed version would bring in the money by taxing sugary soft drinks. The sugary soft industry of course, has no interest in it and has already started campaigns to stop the law makers. Nobody wants to pay, everyone thinks someone else should be supporting the health care industry that over the 10-year period needs at least $829 billion.