Thursday, February 24, 2005

Thursday 24 February 2005

Garlic Extra!
More White House Payola; Thomas the Tank Engine Stumped for Amtrak

All aboard!

Just as the Jeff Gannon story fades, it was revealed yesterday that the Bush Administration has again been seen using a paid endorser for it's initiatives.

Despite the recent budget cuts, Amtrak, from 2002, to 2004, paid hundreds-of-thousands of dollars to Thomas the Tank Engine, and an undisclosed amount of friends, to promote rail travel.

Records show that Thomas the Tank Engine, and his friends, made tens-of- scores of public appearances - including private birthday parties - and produced books, television programs and theatrical movies. Often the talking engine made references to Amtrak and promoted, to young children as well as adults, the benefits of train travel.

In a New York Times Op-Ed article yesterday, Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta appeared to be distancing himself from the controversy, in explaining the budget cuts to Amtrak.

In 2004, it was disclosed that the Bush Administration paid PR consultant and commentator Armstrong Williams to promote it's No Child Left Behind policy.

O Solo Mio; Venice To Build Subway To Boost Tourism

Venice Mayor Paolo Costa announced this week plans to build a subway in an effort to boost the ailing tourism for this popular Italian city, famous for it's canals.

While critics argue that Venice is actually sinking, Mayor Costa's plans call for a subway line to run from the airport on the mainland to the center of town, buried more than 150-feet.

Subways cars will be open-air, gondola-style and all engineers and conductors will be required to sing to it's riders. Plans call for the subway to be operational by 2009.

Bravo Going To The Dogs For More Poker

Taking a cue from the art world, and riding it's successful Celebrity Poker Showdown, the Bravo Channel, a subsidiary of NBC, announced a new poker series featuring dogs.

Based on the works of artist Cassius Marcellus Coolidge and his infamous series of dogs playing poker (there were nine paintings in the collection), the program will be sponsored by Westminster Kennel Club. Recently, two of Coolidges works sold at auction for over $500,000.

Celebrity dogs will be featured in the series. Bravo indicated that Benji, Astro, Marmaduke, Winn-Dixie and descendants from the lines of Lassie, Rin Tin Tin and Asta will all make appearances on the program.

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