I often buy one of those Fred Meyer-brand Hostess-knockoff pies. They now are 3 for $1, or 34 cents for one. Sometimes a frozen burrito is 3 for a dollar. 34 cents for one. And a candy bar, depending on which brand is having a sale, can be 3 for a dollar — 34 cents for one. It’s a bit tricky to get a sole pound of an orange or apples when they are on sale for 33 cents a pound, but I guess I just have to round it for a dollar’s worth of oranges or apples.

The number 34 is thus a magic number for me, though it results in some vaguely ingratiating troubles. See: if I am buying one of those pies (lemon or chocolate or apple), along with a candy bar (Butterfinger, maybe?) and a frozen burrito — the cost is $1.02. I have to either find a penny, or end up with 3 pennies along with some other change. The “3 for a dollar” is rounded up. Incidentally, if I buy 2 burritos and 1 pie, the cost is $1.01. The first item of any of them is 34 cents. The second and third are 33 cents.

A new CBS News poll released late Monday places President George W. Bush’s approval rating at an all-time low of 34% percent. Many in the media had noted a Bush “bounce” earlier in the year, but now his approval rating has plunged 8% in just one month.

The Bush bounce once made me think that Bush had found his floor, and the floor was just under 40. Need you know that I always thought 40% was more or less the floor for a presidential approval rating, certainly for a second-term president. But now that I think about it, sometimes the 40 cent yogurt is on sale for 30 cents… so floors can be dropped. If I were really desparate to get things to under a dollar I could thus buy the on-sale yogurt, a pie, and a burrito. That’d make 98 cents. And if only Bush had gotten to a 98 percent approval rating just after 9/11 instead of 91%, maybe his approval rating would only be eroded to 40% right now.

Was Bush’s approval rating rounded up from “3 for a dollar”, or a pure and honest third of Americans approving of his performance?

Vice President Cheney’s approval rating, already dismal, still managed to plunge–from 23% in January to 18% now.

I can’t think of anything I can purchase at Fred Meyers that costs less than 25 cents. So what the heck am I supposed to make of Dick Cheney’s approval rating. I think I bought a scarce bit of onion for purpose of sticking on hamburger once for 18 cents… so I guess Cheney is worth onion. I’m thinking that Cheney’s approval rating drop comes largely off the heels of shooting a man. Which, to float back to that topic, here’s the most troubling facet of the thing to me, from his interview with Brit Hume:

Well, ultimately, I am the guy who pulled the trigger, that fired the round that hit Harry. And you can talk about all of the other conditions that existed at the time, but that is the bottom line. And there is no — it’s not Harry’s fault. You can’t blame anybody else. I’m the guy who pulled the trigger and shot my friend. And I say that’s a day I’ll never forget….

Why did he even bring up the “other conditions that existed at the time” if not to alleviate some of his responsibility? (The most troubling part of the interview, that of him giving himself the power to declassify information, had nothing to do with the hunting of the lame quail.)

In other approval rating news, more Americans trust the Democrats on national security than they do Bush and the Republicans. This comes off the heels of Evan Bayh’s national security speech which captured the imagination of Americans like no speech since Kennedy’s Moon Speech. (Yes, I elaborated a jibe from Ed Schulz for that last sentence, but you understand the meaning.)

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