Saturday, May 27, 2006

Bush's Shades of Grey

Thursday night George Bush reluctantly admitted,

"...saying "bring it on," kind of tough talk, you know, that sent the wrong signal to people. I learned some lessons about expressing myself maybe in a little more sophisticated manner -- you know, "wanted dead or alive," that kind of talk. I think in certain parts of the world it was misinterpreted, and so I learned from that. And I think the biggest mistake that's happened so far, at least from our country's involvement in Iraq is Abu Ghraib. We've been paying for that for a long period of time."

This was a significant statement and a watershed moment for a man who has refused to publicly consider ever being wrong. But it was not significant for the reason many pundits said that it was. It was not a man finally coming to grips with the reality that his actions had added fuel to the proverbial fire that he was the arsonist for in the first place. He was not apologizing to the families of fallen soldiers after he boasted, "Bring it on!" Nor was he admitting that he was not up to the task as Commander and Chief when he stated, "Wanted dead or alive". His mention of Abu Ghraib in no way included his responsibility for creating the conditions that caused it.

To see Bush's intent all you need do is look at how he made these so called admissions. What he admitted to was making these statements in an "unsophisticated" manner, that they were "misinterpreted" and in the case of Abu Ghraib he only regretted the result of the scandal not he torture itself.

What this episode proves is that Mr. Bush still doesn't get it - and I would say probably never will. It was clearly a calculated act. His "Texas Cowboy "routine wasn't moving his poll numbers in the direction he liked - so he tacked - in a desperate attempt to find better political wind.

It was significant for this reason.

Up until now all George had going for him was his "Conviction", his unwaivering "faith" that he is right - on every decision - on every issue. As Stephen Colbert put it, "He believes the same thing Wednesday that he believed on Monday, no matter what happened Tuesday. Events can change; this man's beliefs never will."

Well that is not the case anymore. With these clumsy statements, the "Decider" has now admitted that everything in his world is not black and white - good versus evil. His faith in his judgment just buckled and he has opened the door for even his most ardent supporters to question his actions. As a result, everyone including his most conservative base now must face - Bush's shades of grey.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Nice Quote!

"You know, there's an important difference in this campaign," Angelides said. "We've got a governor who came into office with seven Hummers. We have the Angelides family with three hybrids. And then we have Steve Westly, who says he's going to buy a hybrid."

California Gubernartorial Candidate Phil Angelides pointing out a the difference between he and his challengers.

Photo of the Day

A rare photo from this years Whitehouse Wife-Swapping Dinner.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Exclusive Al Gore Interview at RetroCrush

My good friend Robert at RetroCrush got an exclusive interview with Al Gore as he promotes his new film "An inconvenient Truth". It is a fascinating and different look at the man who should be President. Who else but RetroCrush would get a quote like this from the former VP?

"....last summer I was walking down the sidewalk on Townsend here, I'm on business here a couple days a week, and I was walking down with my business associates down to the Paragon restaurant, and this group of young people, in their I'd say late 20s were coming in the opposite direction, and they get about 20 feet away, and they don't say, 'Hey! There's the former Vice President of The United States, or something like that, instead, one of them throws both arms up in the air says, 'I HAVE RIDDEN THE MIGHTY MOON WORM!' (laughs) and my associates are like, 'Uhhhh', and I'm all 'Right on, man!' "

Click here to read the entire interview.

Sacramento Love's the Dixie Chicks

The Dixie Chicks new CD "Taking the Long Way" went on sale today nationwide. Determined to purchase my CD on the first day, after work today I stopped at my neighborhood Target only find three empty shelves where the "Chicks" new CD was supposed to be. When I finally tracked down a store clerk, she told me that they had run out of the store's allotment of 50 CD's by mid afternoon, so I had her check the other two Target stores nearby. Both had also nearly sold out, but I got my hands on the last copy at the store nearest my home and was able to blast my little car audio system as I was "Taking the Long Way" home.

So that is three stores selling out the first day and the number one album spot on itunes. Take that - Country Radio bastards.

Buy the way, the reason I purchased my CD at Target instead of through my Amazon link was to get the exclusive access code to purchase tickets for the "Chicks" upcoming North America Concert appearance in my area. A great marketing trick and I now have 4 great seats for the early September concert.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Photo of the Day

From Condi's Boston College commencement speech today. The young people of this country are getting it.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Seemingly Indicated Possible Laws

On Sunday Attorney General Alberto Gonzales brought up the idea of federal prosecutions of journalists who report based on leaked information.

"There are some statutes on the book which, if you read the language carefully, would seem to indicate that that is a possibility," .......... "We have an obligation to enforce those laws. We have an obligation to ensure that our national security is protected."

Lets examine this statement a little.

"If you read the language carefully" - What statute is not written or meant to be read carefully? What I think Alberto means is that if you look really really closely - say through a microscope there are tiny extra words between the words - written so small that they are almost undetectable that say: "President George W. Bush get to do whatever the F--K he wants regardless of the law"

"Would seem to indicate that that is a possibility". Now that is a strong statement isn't it? It would stand up in court of law. Nicely put Alberto!

"We have an obligation to enforce those laws." An obligation to enforce carefully - seemingly - indicated - possible laws. Right!

Mr. Gonzales I have a new law for you. How about adding language to any immigration bill that allow us to deport a grandchild of illegal immigrants if they butcher the Constitution?

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Building a Wall for the Future!

With an unexpected opportunity to blog off the clock while staying at a friend's house in Rijeka, Croatia, I've suddenly realized that the two main sources of inspiration for most of my posts here at Left-Over – a frequent rekindling of anger over the course that George Bush and his cronies have taken my country, and the consistently hilarious stupidity of the many lies offered by his defenders – just don't exist for me here!

I'm sure I could muster more anger and/or derisive laughter about the state of affairs in Croatian politics if I understÅ‘od them better, and I don't want to be overly idealistic, but what I see here – at least in the small town life of the residents of Losinj – is a simple appreciation for hard work, and for the sometimes hidden, long-term benefits that go completely unvalued in American life.

For lack of time, and the building aggravation of using a keyboard that has letters scrambled like a game of musical keys, I will limit this post to a description of one example.

Every day of the last week, I have walked along a cobblestone path that leads to the house where I am staying at least three or four times. For the first few days, I kept noticing a man who was engaged in the task of building a stone wall. Working alone, he would mix a small batch of morter, and carefully select each stone, probably weighing about 75-125 lbs each, to fit in the wall like a puzzle. Each time I passed, the span of wall about 20 feet long looked nearly identical to the last time, but after a couple of days it seemed about a foot higher.

After watching him for about 5 days, I finally asked the man how long he had been working on the wall. In broken English (fortunately, I've found that nearly everyone speaks at least ˝a leetle,˝ which soundly beats my Croatian), he explained that he had been working on the wall for three weeks, ˝but only for about 4 hours per day˝. In 95 degree heat and no shade, I initially thought this to be a foolish endeavor, particularly since the island is loaded with trees and one could build a wooden fence of similar length in about a half a day.

But then, I tried to consider the long-term benefits of the rock wall. First of all, the island is also full of rocks, and they essentially free – with a minimal need for processing. Further, moving the rocks into a wall frees up valuable soil for growing food. Wood, on the other hand, would have to be shipped to the island by boat or milled from the existing trees on the island, robbing it of its natural beauty. And the rock wall will be there for hundreds of years with little, if any, need to maintain it.

The rock wall just means that this guy has to invest a month in the hot sun stacking rocks – for benefits that will not be immediate, and are intended to be shared by future generations. But the rock wall will preserve, and even improve, the natural environment in which it is built.

Think about that for a minute: Investing for future generations in a way that preserves and improves the natural environment!

And the funny thing is, from what I've also seen while I've been here, this guy building the rock wall probably still had a state-of-the-art cell phone, a satellite dish on his house, and a new car with five or six cup holders!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Reagan: "Tear Down This Wall" - Bush: "Build That Fence"

So the President who completely ignored a terrorist threat memo that turned out to be precisely correct, and his administration that can't respond to a natural disaster with more than a weeks detailed notice, that can't seem to rebuild the damaged levees, who's war plan can't effectively train Iraqi security forces or articulate any sort of exit strategy, who's Medicare drug bill is a complete disaster and who's caught in so many high level scandals and criminal proceedings that no one can actually remember them all - are now pushing legislation to "temporarily" militarize our southern border and build a gigantic 300 mile - 900 million dollar fence.

And we are supposed think that this will solve the problem.

Forgive me if I'm a little skeptical.

Once again props to Senator Feingold for voting against this lame legislation. He was one of only sixteen.

Monday, May 15, 2006

This is How Bush Will Cut-N-Run!

So let me get this straight. 6000 National Guard Troops rotated out every two weeks for one year. If my math is correct that would be 156,00 total troops. Where are they all going to come from?

Sounds to me like a Bush found a way of concealing what will be essentially his "Cut-N-Run" from Iraq. And just in time for the midterm elections.

Welcome home soldiers, you've earned a free Mexico vacation ......well sort of.


With a little time to digest Bush's speech last night, I woke up this morning with a mental picture of our National Guard troops at the border armed with only a counter.

You know like the guy at the entrance to Costco who you have to show your membership card to before you enter. In my college days before I was a member, I used to sneak past that guy all the time. There were free food samples on the other side.

Best free lunch in town!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

The Burden of a Champion

This afternoon while I was running errands I happen to turn on my local sports radio station and caught some of the pregame show for the Sacramento Monarch's, our WNBA Champion team. It was and interview with the coach discussing the teams invitation to visit the Whitehouse for a Bush Photo Op on Tuesday. The head Coach was talking about how this had messed up his preseason schedule and was lamenting the fact that this event would cost his team a number of practices. That's when he said,

"But when the President extends an invitation you have to go - no matter what you think of him".

American Idiot Watch

While Seenos is away I can't help but make my first nomination for his title of American Idiot.

Yesterday while scanning the Net I ran across several references to this:

"do your duty. Make more babies," because he had found out, from a recently released report, that nearly half of all children under the age of five in the United States are minorities. Gibson added: "You know what that means? Twenty-five years and the majority of the population is Hispanic." Gibson later repeated: "To put it bluntly, we need more babies."

This is incredibly offensive on so many levels, but most importantly it highlights the overtly racist fears of the hard right in this country. My God is this what we have come to?

When you add to this his campaign against the imaginary "War on Christmas" and his appearance last night on "Realtime with Bill Maher" - where he repeated every proven administration lie about the "Plame/Wilson" CIA outing - it is a no-brainer.

I nominate you John Gibson as the quintessential American Idiot!!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Is it Almost Fitzmorial Day?

Jason Leopold at Truthout has the details of Turdblossum's pending indictments. I sure hope it's for real. I won't pop the Champaign until someone else confirms.

Way To Go Joe!

This - from of all people Joe Scarborough:

Hey, memo to the president and congressional leaders who signed up on this lousy program; We don‘t trust you anymore. We don‘t trust you with our phone bills. We don‘t trust you with our bank records. We don‘t trust you with our medical histories. From now on, if you want to look at Americans‘ private records, get a damn search warrant!

Read his entire monologue here.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Bush Bests Dad - Hits 29%

Well George has finally out does his father at something. Too bad it's being disliked by the American people. Welcome to the 20's!

Glass Houses

With the news today that the NSA is capturing records of most of the telephone traffic in the country, I can't help but take a ride down the administrations "slippery slope".

If capturing this information secretly is OK, then what about forcing all HMO's to supply medical records. We are still trying to find a rather tall man with kidney problems aren't we?

He could be in Toledo.

And after the NSA has all our medical records they could force the credit card companies to hand over all their transaction records. The administration might be interested in that flight simulator program you purchased last year.

Oh what the hell - lets just force everyone to live in glass houses.

That would make us safer, wouldn't it?

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

A Very Brady Whitehouse

Mike at Born At The Crest wrote something this morning that got me thinking. I hope he won't mind me "taking the ball".

For a time when I was a kid there was a part of the day that I looked forward to more than any other. It was the weekday hour from 4-5pm, when after school my two favorite TV show reruns played back to back.

First up the - “The Brady Bunch”. I probably saw every episode several of times. Who can forget the “Grand Canyon” special, where Peter smuggled beans and franks to his Native
American friend in a flashlight – or the Hawaii special with Vincent Price and the “bad luck” tiki charm.

I loved them all……well most of them. There were a few episodes that I didn’t like - and they came at the end of the shows run - the final six episodes of more than one hundred.

At this point the Brady kids had aged and were not nearly as cute as when the show began. In a desperate measure to boost sagging ratings the producers decided to add a new character -a young cute “Brady Cousin”.

Oliver came to live with the Brady clan and the show was never the same – canceled six episodes later. It was a desperate move and desperate moves in the world of the sitcom always fail.

Not unlike desperate moves by historically unpopular presidents. Tony Snow is the new cute kid of this Whitehouse sitcom. He is the Bush Administration’s “Oliver” - A last ditch effort to divert attention from the aging and out of touch Whitehouse cast.

So from now on “Oliver Snow” will be how I refer to this press secretary for whatever episodes remain of this soon to be canceled presidency. And here’s hoping George and Laura don’t go one step further in sitcom desperation and decide to have a baby.

Tune in later I for my second favorite TV show analogy. Just a hint - It involves a "three hour tour" and Left-Over meeting MaryAnn.

Monday, May 08, 2006

A Brief Hiatus From the World of Politics

This is just a note that for the first time since we began this Blog in October of 2005, I will be leaving the world of politics for a three-week vacation. The image above is where I will be living during this time – on the Island of Losinj, Croatia. I won’t have access to television, and minimal access to the Internet. There will no English language newspapers, and my ability to read what appears in the local news will be limited to what I can pick up using the vocabulary of about a six-year-old.

I am looking forward to it tremendously, but I am also aware that a whole string of events, that I would normally monitor intently as they are happening, will come and go without even causing so much as a ripple in the Adriatic Sea next to my beach towel (or, whenever possible, many feet above my head, as I dive the wrecks and caves that are all around the island).

Although I will likely forget to think about what’s going on in the world of American politics most of the time, right now I’m wondering what will happen while I’m gone.

Will Karl Rove be indicted? Will the number of generals calling for Rummy’s resignation reach double figures? Will any other prominent members of the administration be implicated in the scandal involving poker and hooker parties? Will we find out if the hooker parties really involved “pokim” instead of “poker?” (stop and think about this one before moving on) Will Dick Cheney shoot anyone else in the face? Will any more comedians tear the President and/or the Press a new one? Will George Bush invent any more words to describe his decidatory powers?

I’m going to miss it all, though I will have the occasional, brief, opportunity to stand at a computer terminal in the lobby of the one large hotel nearby, paying by the minute to check my e-mail and take a brief peek at a website or two. At most, I will be able to check about once a week. Hopefully, at some point I’ll be able to submit a quick post from my island hideaway, if the inspiration strikes me.

I will have to be judicious in my use of computer time, so I’m making a request to those who frequent this site. You know what interests us – what we write about. You know what I’d REALLY want to know, if I only have a few minutes to tune in to the rest of the world.

I’ll be creating a link just below the Left-Over Poll that will take you to this post. Please use the comments to add a short summary of no more than a dozen words or so - if something happens in the world that I really should know about. It is where I will check first whenever I have the chance to get on this site.

Until I return, I wish you all the best! Well, at least the best you can have with this clown as your decider:

George Bush's Fish Story

In an interview last week with a German Newspaper President Bush said:

"You know, I've experienced many great moments and it's hard to name the best," Bush told weekly Bild am Sonntag when asked about his high point since becoming president in January 2001.

"I would say the best moment of all was when I caught a 7.5 pound (3.402 kilos) perch in my lake."

An odd thing to say even for this yahoo! So I decided to do a little fishing of my own and discovered some interesting information.

The Texas state record for "Yellow Perch" is 1.4 lbs. more than 6 lbs less than George's catch. So did George set a new state record more than five times the old one or was he just lying again?

There is another species of Perch on the books in Texas and this one does grow to enormous size. The Nile Perch has topped several hundred pounds in some parts of the world and the
record for Nile Perch in Texas is 12.6 lbs. However, it is also listed as a prohibited exotic species and is illegal to posses. So if Bush has planted them in "his lake" he is in violation of state fish and game law.

So which is it George. Are you a liar or are you lawbreaker?

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Photo of the Day.

Here's Dick Cheney meeting with Croatian President Stipe Mesic. I just love the Brokeback Mountain inspired pink tie with cowboy boots!

PS: For a period of time this morning, my post on Cheney's visit to Croatia was number one on a Google search of "Cheney" & "Dubrovnik" Right above stories on Yahoo and CNN! That's not likely to happen again any time soon.

American Idiot: The Nominees

Inspired by a sense of puzzlement over America’s fascination with American Idol, a love for the music of Green Day, and a seemingly endless string of bozos showing no sign of wavering in their support of George W. Bush, despite daily reminders of his incompetence, greed and arrogance, Left-Over began a recurring feature known as “American Idiot Watch.”

In each segment, we highlight an individual who has shown potential to end up as the last person in America who still supports the President as his approval ratings plummet toward zero. When we started the series, Bush was at a 38% approval rating. He is now wavering at about 32%, with the Iraq War a dismal failure over three full years after he declared victory, a sinking economy, soaring energy prices, numerous connections to scandal after scandal, and the approach of another hurricane season after nothing but window dressing in response to the horrors of the last one! There is little reason to think that anything will suddenly give reason to support this monumental failure currently occupying The White House. Yet there are those who will continue to do so, publicly and embarrassingly!

So we will continue to highlight them , and will maintain a running list of all of the nominees with links to the original post describing the qualifications of each one. Here they are:

The Unnamed Woman sitting next to courageous questioner of the President, Harry Taylor.

Former California State Representative, Howard Kaloogian.

Former White House Press Secretary, Scott McClellan.

Current Ohio Representative, Jean Schmidt.

Fox News Anchor, John Gibson.

Current Oklahoma Senator, James Inhofe.

This list will be updated as new nominees are introduced and kept available by clicking the American Idiot icon at the bottom of the sidebar.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Google Foggo

With all the talk about the CIA number three man being involved in those Watergate poker game/prostitute parties, I got to wondering what this Kyle "Dusty" Foggo dude looks like.

This is the only photo that comes up in a Google image search. The caption says Foggo is the guy on top. Funny, I would have guessed his number to be 69.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Gannon, Goss Both Out!

Jimmy-Jeff Guckert-Gannon has now officially outed himself as a homosexual, and good for him! Perhaps he will now come to terms with the fact that the party he supports hates him, and many of its current
leaders would deny him the right to exist without pretending to be someone else. And good for him that he supports outing other closeted homosexuals in Washington who consistently fight against gay rights.

And there is no shortage of questions that jump to mind after Porter Goss’ abrupt resignation as Head of the CIA. Here are a few of the first ones to spring forward:

  1. In his announcement, Bush described Goss’ supposed five-year plan to reorganize the Agency. Who resigns 19 months into a five-year plan, if not for a huge, embarrassing scandal about to burst?

  2. Why did Bush let Goss resign? Unlike the recent departures of Andy Card, Scott McClellan, and several other administration members, Goss was doing exactly the job Bush wanted him to do – purging the intelligence community of non-partisan, career agents. Based on his job performance, one would expect Goss to be in the Rumsfeld category, and Bush wouldn’t let Rumsfeld resign – twice!

  3. Is there any connection between Goss’ resignation and the recent decision to fire Mary McCarthy, after blaming her for leaking information to Dana Priest about secret prisons in Eastern Europe, when she denies even knowing the information?

  4. Are there really pictures? Not that I’d want to see them or anything!

Testing Doesn't = Learning

This time of the year - across the country - children are forced to spend a good portion of their school day taking standardized tests. My nine year old's STAR tests began on Monday and while some kids will ace the test and others will just do their best, a few children will be truly affected by the whole ordeal. These children suffer from test anxiety and for those hours of filling in little bubbles with a number two pencil - it will take years to overcome what this process does to their self esteem.

In the end the result of these test scores mean more to school funding, administrators and politicians than as a gauge to understand any particular students capacity for learning. Year after year President Bush's "No Child Left Behind" program does more to cripple our system than improve it.

But here is something that will encourage a better understanding of this issue. A newly published book written by a good friend of Left-Over titled "Nobody Left Behind: One Child's Story about Testing". It is a fictional story that chronicles nine-year-old Jeffery Taylor's struggle with the all-too-common problem of test anxiety.

We at Left-Over recommend this book to anyone interested in this issue including parents, teachers, administrators and especially politicians. Follow the above link to learn more. Or purchase through the Amazon link on the right.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Hey Richard Cohen, Write Something Stupid!

First, let me state my credentials: I, seenos, write commentary for a blog. This is my standing for stating that Richard Cohen is a pea brain when it comes to writing commentary for the Washington Post.

In his analysis of Stephen Colbert’s recent performance, Cohen begins with a similar contention, and then he expects me to believe he is more qualified to tell me what’s funny than I am in deciding for myself.

First, let me state my credentials: I am a funny guy. This is well known in certain circles, which is why, even back in elementary school, I was sometimes asked by the teacher to "say something funny" . . . This, anyway, is my standing for stating that Stephen Colbert was not funny at the White House
Correspondents' Association Dinner.
He then goes on to give a clumsy description of what comedy is supposed to be, at least according to what he apparently picked up during his developmental years in elementary school as he was being encouraged by his teachers to be the class clown!

And what kind of teacher encourages students to “say something funny” in class. Has it ever occurred to Cohen that perhaps his teachers were using him as an example to other students of how embarrassingly foolish one looks while trying to be the class clown, despite having no sense of humor?

In addition to letting him think he was a funny guy, it’s too bad his teachers also seemed to let him think he wrote insightful commentary. Because here we are, reading crap like this in a major newspaper:
The commentary, though, is also what I do, and it will make the point that Colbert was not just a failure as a comedian but rude. Rude is not the same as brash. It is not the same as brassy. It is not the same as gutsy or thinking outside the box. Rudeness means taking advantage of the other person's sense of decorum or tradition or civility that keeps that other person from striking back or, worse, rising in a huff and leaving. The other night, that person was George W. Bush.
Or this:
On television, Colbert is often funny. But on his own show he appeals to a self-selected audience that reminds him often of his greatness. In Washington he was playing to a different crowd, and he failed dismally in the funny person's most solemn obligation: to use absurdity or contrast or hyperbole to elucidate-- to make people see things a little bit differently.

Yeah, I'm sure it was Bush's "sense of decorum" and "civility" that kept him from "rising in a huff and leaving!" Not politics, or the fact that everything Colbert said was true, and he would look like an impetuous buffoon if he stormed out of the room. Just like his decision not to rise in a huff and leave Iraq because of a few "rude" suicide bombers! He's just so civilized!

And what the hell does "appearing to a self-selected audience that reminds him often of his greatness" mean? Sounds to me like what happens at a Republican-only Bush "town hall" meeting. Or maybe Cohen thinks a funnier comedian would be able to crack up audiences being held in Gitmo!

Like I said, a pea brain!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Oh How I'm Going to Miss Scott McClellan...... Not!

I have been a little out of the loop the past couple weeks and have found it hard to get back on that blogging bicycle (Seenos has done great work keeping our site current). So this evening I decided to go to the well for a little inspiration and found this exchange from Tuesday's WH Press Briefing. Oh how I'm going to miss "Simple Scottie".
Q Scott, you're talking about these stories that Helen raised, and the possible damage to national security. It's been several months since both of those were released. Is there any evidence that national security has been damaged by either of those stories?

MR. McCLELLAN: You're talking about the terrorist surveillance program? Absolutely. It shows the enemy our play book, Peter, and that is -- when we are engaged in a war on terrorism --
Q Beyond the general concept that it shows the enemy our play book, is there any specific --

MR. McCLELLAN: We're facing a different kind of enemy. And General Hayden has talked about how it has been harmful to our national security.

Q -- anything that happened, specifically, that you can point to and say that happened because of this, or didn't happen because of this?

MR. McCLELLAN: I think there are two issues you're talking about. And people have talked about how it has been harmful to our nation's security --

Q How? Can you point to any specific --

MR. McCLELLAN: Because it's showing the enemy our play book. And what happens, when the enemy sees our play book, the enemy adjusts and adapts. This is a different kind of war we're engaged in, against a very dangerous, determined and lethal enemy. And for people to leak information that shows them our play book is a serious matter --

Q Is there any evidence that they have --

MR. McCLELLAN: -- and we take it very seriously. And our law enforcement officials are the ones that enforce the laws on the books.

Q Is there anything that shows us that they have, in fact, adapted or changed as a result of --

MR. McCLELLAN: I think General Hayden has talked about it, Peter. He's our Deputy Director of National Intelligence, and I would encourage you to go back and look -- he has talked about how this has been harmful.

So Scottie what "specifically" do you not understand about the term "specifically". A simple "no" could have saved us all a lot of time, or are you just trying bank some extra on-camera time before you leave to spend more time with your family?

More Fun from Huffington Post

To Drop a Brick on Bush go here.


Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Rules of (Comedic) Engagement

As I listen to conservative pundits, members of the mainstream media, and Bush aides criticize Stephen Colbert for being “unfunny” at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, I can’t help but think about how the French seemed to find Jerry Lewis hilarious, even though many Americans cannot stand him.

Perhaps part of the reason is that, in France, there may be very few people who actually look like this:

However, during a typical trip to my local Costco, I can count on seeing any number of people who would make the "nutty professor" blend into the crowd.

My point is that humor is relative, and often those who find it most funny are the ones who don’t look like the butt of the jokes. This report relays the perspective of Bush aides who apparently walked out on Colbert’s presentation:
Aides and reporters, however, said that it did not overshadow Bush's own funny routine, which featured an impersonator who told the audience what Bush was thinking when he spoke dull speech lines. In fact, some aides crowed over reports that the president easily bested Colbert in the reviews of both comedy acts.
Easily Bested? That’s certainly relative. I would also guess that Bush’s fraternity brothers would have considered Shakespearean comedies to have been “easily bested” by a guy lighting farts with a book of matches! Or a guy making fun of a fat girl! Or of gay male cheerleaders (well, maybe not when George was around!)

There are all kinds of audiences for comedy, and very few rules apply when it comes to the task of trying to make others laugh. As a comedian, you choose your style and your audience, and then you Git-R-Done (yes, there are even some people who find that line funny!)

Colbert has his audience, and they (we) love him! Unfortunately for Bush and the members of the White House Press Corps, whomever decided to invite him to speak at this dinner was oblivious to the customary style of his act. Consequently the White House Correspondents’ Dinner became historic entertainment for much of the country, just not for those in the room! And I say, screw em! Colbert was hilarious!

But one conservative blogger chose to put it like this:
There were two problems with Colbert's act. The first is that it wasn't funny, and the second was that it didn't keep with the spirit of the evening. The Correspondents Dinner prides itself on making the evening a safe venue for all, and the humor is supposed to stay self-deprecating. Attacking one's opponents in this forum is considered bad manners. Colbert has no grasp of his audience or the event, and he paid the price for it.
Clearly, this view is one where Colbert crossed over some imaginary line of decorum. Which brings me back to Jerry Lewis. If a comedian were to do a “nutty professor” style routine making the butt of the jokes an audience member with a mental handicap and extremely poor dental care, it would be mean-spirited and clearly over the line. It isn’t funny to make fun of someone solely for his or her appearance. Although crossed occasionally by thoughtless amateurs, any civilized, professional comedian would avoid crossing that line. I suppose it could be thought of as one of the Geneva Conventions of comedy.

But Colbert didn’t even approach that line. He offered satire - and the target of his jokes was the behavior of members of the audience, not their appearance. Mocking behavior is at the very heart of satire! When it comes to audience behavior, anything goes. Contrary to the opinion of his critics, Colbert had the live audience firmly in his grasp, even if it was a different audience – his real audience – that he was actually playing to.

When you choose to behave in a way that opens yourself up to being satirized, and you are offended when it happens, it says less about the quality of the humor than it says about your own insecurities regarding your behavior!