From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE...
In the back of the new White House press briefing room is a small, nondescript booth in which a professional announcer records the proceedings in detail for the National Archives. C&J has obtained a transcript of his commentary from Tuesday's press conference with the president:
"President Bush is practically standing still now. He's dropped the news that he didn’t know until last week that Iran had suspended its nuclear weapons program; and, uh, he's being questioned by an NBC reporter. It's starting to get tense; it's---the tension had, uh slacked up a little bit. The president is spinning, uh, just enough to keep the truth from... He's burst into flames! His pants have burst into flames, and he's falling, he's crashing! Watch it! Watch it! Get out of the way! Get out of the way! It's fire---and he's crashing! He's crashing terrible! Oh, my! Get out of the way, please! His slacks are burning and bursting into flames; and the---and it's melting Helen Thomas's shoes. And all the folks agree that this is terrible; this is the worst of the worst catastrophes in the world. Its flames... Crashing, oh! Four- or five-hundred words into the press conference and it---it's a terrific crash, ladies and gentlemen. It's smoke, and it's flames now; Oh, the humanity! And all the reporters screaming around here. I told you; it---I can't even talk to people... Ah! It's---it---it's a---ah! I...I can't talk, ladies and gentlemen. Honest: his credibility is just laying there, mass of smoking wreckage. His poll numbers are plunging into the teens. Oh! And everybody can hardly breathe and talk and Lady, I...I...I'm sorry. Honest: I...I can hardly breathe. I...I'm going to step outside, where I cannot see it. Listen, folks; I...I'm gonna have to stop for a minute because... I've lost my voice. This is the worst thing I've ever witnessed..."
Fortunately Condi Rice stopped by and was able to snuff out the fire by staring at it.
(With apologies to Herb Morrison) Cheers and Jeers starts in There's Moreville... [Swoosh!!] RIGHTNOW! [Gong!!]
Cheers and Jeers for Thursday, December 6, 2007
Note: Yesterday morning I looked in the mirror and felt so hopelessly depressed that I couldn't even bring myself to say "I love you, Bill." All I could manage was, "Damn, you're hot."
By the Numbers:
Days 'til Bush leaves office: 410
Days 'til National Bouillabaisse Day: 8
Percent of Americans who say they'll be buying four or more gift cards during the holiday season: 41%
(Source: USA Today)
Number of students currently enrolled in Arabic language classes at U.S. colleges: 24,000 (double the enrollment of 4 years ago)
(Source: AP via The Week)
Number of prime time Fox News shows that mentioned the Iran National Intelligence Estimate Monday night: 1 in 4
(Source: Think Progress)
Percent of Entertainment Weekly readers who think the late-night talk shows should stay off the air until the writers strike is over: 54%
(Source: Um, figure it out.)
Your Thursday Molly Ivins Moment:
"There's never been a law yet that didn't have a ridiculous consequence in some unusual situation; there's probably never been a government program that didn't accidentally benefit someone it wasn't intended to. Most people who work in government understand that what you do about it is fix the problem---you don't just attack the whole government."
Puppy Pic of the Day: Nice wingspan
CHEERS to a virtual punch in the mouth. Rep. John Conyers has way more patience with TIME columnist Joe Klein's ignorance on the RESTORE Act than I ever would. Yesterday the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee climbed down to Joe's level and spelled out the basic tenets of the act in language a child---like Joe---might understand:
Civil liberties and national security need not be contradictory policies, rather they are inexorably linked. Perhaps nowhere is this interrelationship more true than in intelligence gathering, where information must be reliable and untainted by abuse to be useful. So when we discuss FISA, the first thing we need to do is drop the partisan rhetoric, and stick to the actual record. Under the RESTORE Act, the intelligence community has the flexibility to intercept communications by foreign terrorists without obtaining individual warrants, and the Court and Congress are given the authority to perform their constitutional oversight roles. The only parties who lose in this process are the terrorists, and those who want the executive branch to have absolute and unreviewable power.
Rather than being, in Mr. Klein's words, "well beyond stupid," the RESTORE Act offers a smart and well balanced approach to updating FISA and reining in the excesses of an unchecked executive branch.
The saddest part about all this is that Conyers had to take time out from his busy schedule to explain this---in virtual baby talk---to a fellow Democrat who's also supposed to be a top-tier journalist. Can we put Joe up on eBay?
P.S. This morning, Joe Klein was a guest on MSNBC's Morning Joe (Scarborough). Before he came out, as they were going to a commercial, they cut to a shot of him waiting backstage...sitting in a chair with his nose in a newspaper and an intern standing ramrod-straight next to him holding his coffee cup. Perfect.
P.P.S. During the interview, no one asked Klein why he couldn't be bothered to read the RESTORE Act before calling members of his own party "beyond stupid" in his column that reaches 4 million readers. But the cocktail weenies looked tasty.
CHEERS to touching the face of God! As America yawns at the banality of it all, the Space Shuttle Atlantis is expected to launch into space today. The seven astronauts have absolutely no agenda. They just want to get the hell off the planet for awhile. (We should all be so lucky.)
JEERS to the naysayers. Mea culpa: President Bush was right---oceans really protect us from terrorism! Yesterday a
red cold-blooded American man (notice how it's never a woman?) wandered into a Nebraska shopping mall, enjoyed a delicious Orange Julius, tried on sneakers at Locker Room, got his picture taken with Santa...and then whipped out a rifle and shot a bunch of people before shooting himself. Nine dead. Details about the shooter are still sketchy, but the coroner's office says this morning that they needed a magnifying glass to locate his penis.
CHEERS to entering the civilized world. On this date in 1865---79 years after we officially became the land of the free---the13th Amendment was ratified, abolishing slavery. Did we mention that it was 79 years after we officially became the land of the free? Forget the eagle...our national symbol should be the tortoise.
JEERS to ridiculous ratios. Color me not surprised:
Black Americans are 10 times more likely to be imprisoned for illegal drug offenses than whites, even though both groups use and sell drugs at the same rate, according to a study released on Tuesday. ...
The reasons for the disparity include federal mandatory minimum jail terms for drug crimes, which he said hit blacks harder. ... [P]robation officers are sometimes more lenient with white offenders, blaming their problems on factors such as a broken home, than with black offenders, who were more likely to be described as having a failure of moral character, he said.
Let me try to summarize: Indifference + stereotyping + false assumptions = unequal treatment. But I could be wrong. On second thought, I'm white so I can't be wrong! Yaaay!
CHEERS to coming clean. Mitt Romney gives his big speech today about Mormonism. Bully for him. But just so you can absorb his words in the proper context, C&J presents a little Mormon 101. My take: 1) If our ancestors are from outer space, then Dennis Kucinich is a natural to be his Veep. 2) I'm concerned that no one had the brains to tell Joe Smith, "Show me the fucking gold plates already!" 3) If they didn’t have such a phenomenal choir and Grade A beefcake, I'd be skeptical. 4) But I just can't get past the whole no-liquor thing. Oh well. Hell may be hot, but at least they've got a cash bar.
Gong! Gong!! Budda Budda Budda... GONG!!!
This is a really boring news update.
The Department of Homeland Security---created by George W. Bush, headed by Michael Chertoff and congressionally overseen by Joe Lieberman---is all fucked up.
We now return you to our regularly scheduled Fox and Friends NIE scandal coverage.
Gong! Gong!! Budda Budda Budda... GONG!!!
JEERS to familiar requests. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates visited Iraq yesterday to get a firsthand glimpse of what a booming place it's become. His rallying cry: "Whadda we want? Patience! When do we want it? NOW!" Fine. Just as soon as he gives us what we want: body armor, fiscal accountability, Blackwater , uninterrupted pampering of our returning vets, and a redeployment date that starts in 3...2...1...
P.S. Cheney found a pony!!! But, uh, it sure looks like McCain and Lieberman in a horse costume to me.
JEERS to the Prick of Persia. Mahmoud Ahmadinejahd says that the release of the new National Intelligence Estimate means he wins and Bush loses. Which is like throwing a party because you've just found out from the Asshole Commission that you've been voted the second-to-last layer of scum at the bottom of the barrel. Hang plaque on your wall, baby.
CHEERS to taming the wild wild west. On this date in 1790, Congress packed up and moved from New York to Philly. Methinks someone hit the limit on their bar tab.
One Year Ago in C&J: December 6, 2006...
CHEERS to colonizing the big cheese ball in the sky. Guess what, kids? NASA says we're going back to the moon! And this time we get to park our butts there in little love shacks. I hope that's within the Dominos/Netflix delivery area.
JEERS to registering zero on the Suspense-O-Meter. At yesterday's confirmation hearings for defense secretary nominee Robert "We're Losing In Iraq" Gates, the bar was set pretty low: "As long as you're not Don Rumsfeld or a mold-encrusted kumquat---with apologies for the redundancy---you're in." (And Mrs. Gates's homemade rum balls didn't hurt, either). Here's your balance pole, there's the high-wire...get to work.
And just one more...
CHEERS to delightfully twisted minds. Today is Steven Wright's 52nd birthday. Feast on the brain candy...
A lot of people are afraid of heights. Not me, I'm afraid of widths.
"I went to take her out. Her father said, ‘I want her home by eight fifteen.' I said, ‘The middle of August? That’s cool.’"
When I was a little kid we had a sand box. It was a quicksand box. I was an only child... eventually.
I bought my brother some gift-wrap for Christmas. I took it to the Gift Wrap department and told them to wrap it, but in a different print so he would know when to stop unwrapping.
I have a switch in my apartment that doesn't do anything. Every once in a while I turn it on and off. On and off. On and off. One day I got a call from a woman in France who said, "Cut it out!"
"So I’ve been e-mailing my answering machine which has been sending faxes to my cellular subconscious which has call waiting so in case I’m thinking about something else I can get back to myself later."
Don't forget that tomorrow's C&J is a west coast-friendly edition. See ya around 3pm PST (6pm EST). Floor's open...What are you cheering and jeering about today?
Today's Shameless C&J Testimonial:
"Bill's so dirty! They should have given him a bath!"
---Leni Schidt, age 5