Monday, December 29, 2008

In Defence of the Senate

Almost from the moment of its creation, Canadians have griped and complained about the Senate. It’s not elected. It’s not effective. It’s a patronage dumping ground.

With Prime Minister Harper’s elevation of eighteen new members to the chamber of sober second thought, it might appear that many of those criticisms have merit. However, there are far more reasons why we should keep our second federal legislature just the way it is. Reasons such as:

* Keeps meddlesome people out of the public marketplace where they could likely do much more damage.
* Unites Montreal and Toronto sports fans by rewarding former Leafs and Canadiens players with Senate seats.
* Helps maintain the mainstream media’s overwhelmingly liberal bias by removing the few remaining Conservative TV pundits.
* The Red Chamber would otherwise be of little use except possibly as a Parliamentary daycare. * Avoids the additional public expense of caring for dozens of aging superannuates.
* Keeps at least part of the government out of the messy paws of the proletariat.
* Helps stimulate the national economy in a time of financial crisis.
* Gives Mike Duffy something to strive for.
* Makes for a nice cushy reward for successful party bagmen and bagwomen.
* Eliminates the need to run House of Commons bills through Spellcheck.
* Gives Colin Kenny something to do when not running his tanning salon.
* Saves millions of dollars by avoiding reelection campaigns.
* Reduces the national unemployment rate.
* Helps reward hardworking, right-of-center businesspeople who just couldn’t get a fair break in Canada’s pinko-socialist economy.
* Provides a venue not only for sober second thought but also for thorough triple dipping and quick quadruple moonlighting.
* Allows prime ministers to simultaneously bash patronage appointments and reward party faithful.
* Ensures budget surpluses don’t get out of control.
* Adds extra interesting stop on Parliamentary tours for high school students.
* Provides excellent recruiting ground for new Cabinet members.
* Boosts hotel and restaurant industry in downtown Ottawa.
* Confuses Americans who think we have a real Senate.
* Gives Albertans something to bitch about.
* Doesn’t pester and annoy the electorate with regular elections.
* Puts the "bi" in bicameral legislature.
* Provides extra space for special events like state visits, the opening of Parliament and staff Christmas parties.
* Gives citizens better odds than the lottery - every Canadian has a one in a million chance of getting a Senate seat.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Night Before Christmas (U. S. Version)

'Twas the night before Christmas in Bush’s White House,
Not a creature was stirring, even Cheney that louse;
The occupants were all in a sad state of grieving,
For in a few weeks, they all would be leaving.

They’d had a good run these neo-con pols,
They’d sold out their country in return for their souls.
Eight years of spending on the rich and connected,
Had bankrupted the nation and just about wrecked it.

First starting with tax cuts for those with too much
Followed by intelligence failures and such.
And then there were wars, one good and one bad,
The one in Iraq was particularly sad.

That was a start for this unusual leader,
For he was no thinker, no planner, no reader.
He ruled with his gut and not with his brain,
And managed to screw up again and again.

But that didn’t stop Mr. Bush from his plan
To reward his old pals whenever he can.
And though he had less than one month to go,
He figured there’s no point in taking things slow.

Then out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I knew that something was surely the matter.
So I ventured outside to have a quick look,
And to see if I’d find there a thief or a crook.

When, what to my wondering eyes should I view,
But a pork barrel wagon for the elite chosen few.
With a cagey head driver with one true belief,
I knew in a moment it was the Commander in Chief.

More rapid than eagles his right wing friends came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
"Now, Wolfy! Now, Rumsfeld! Now, Libby and Karl Rove!
On, Condi! On, Cheney! On, Hastert and Snow!
To the top of The White House! to the top of the wall!
Now give away! Give away! Give away all!"

With big corporate handouts to help pave the way,
The President guided the patronage sleigh.
And out to the hustings his gang of friends flew,
With the sleigh full of goodies, and the President too.

George W. managed in the blink of both eyes,
To give away billions to just the right guys.
A bundle of subsidies came tumbling forth,
And oil drilling permits for parkland up north.

His eyes -- how they twinkled! His dimples how merry!
His philosophy simple; his speech quite contrary!

Although few days remained in this President’s game,
It was clear that he knew absolutely no shame.
He handed out pardons like candy they said,
And even got rid of the tax on the dead.

A wink of his eye and a slight verbal quirk,
Soon gave me to know what was really at work.
This guy was no dummy, no amiable dunce,
It was just a big cover to fool all the chumps.

And fool them he did wherever he went,
While doling out goodies to those of his bent.
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like an Exocet missile.

But I heard him exclaim, as he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to some, and to the rest - serves you right."

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Night Before Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the House,
Not an MP was sitting, not one single louse.
The country was mired in a frightful recession,
Yet Parliament strangely was no longer in session.

The government was nestled all snug in its bed;
While majority visions still danced in its head;
And the House and the Senate and I in my robe,
Had just settled down for a lengthy prorogue.

When out in the land there arose such a clatter,
I called the PM to see what was the matter.
But he wasn’t worried, he had no more cares,
He simply urged folks to buy even more shares.

So I ventured outside to have a quick look,
And to see if I’d find there a thief or a crook.
When, what to my wondering eyes should I view,
But a new Liberal leader with a slight bluish hue.
He was very substantial, a political biggie,
And he answered at once to the sobriquet Iggy.

More rapid than eagles his cronies they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
"Now, Manley! Now, Dryden! Now, Rae and Dion!
On, Kennedy! On, Findlay! On, Leblance and Brison!
We’re ready to embark on a grandiose mission,
Although we can’t rule out yet a short coalition."

But the PM was ready to fight this new guy,
He’d already bested Dion and McKay.
So he ordered his minions to lie and to fudge it,
And concocted a brand new federal budget.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard in the land
The gleeful outstretching of each corporate hand.
As I drew in my breath, and was turning around,
The whole Liberal surplus came tumbling down.

The Prime Minister managed in the blink of both eyes,
To give away billions to just the right guys.
A bundle of bailouts came tumbling forth,
For friends in the east, in the west and the north.
His eyes __ how they squinted! His dimples how scary!
His philosophy simple; his speech quite contrary!

He viewed the world only as friend versus foe,
And told all the naysayers just where they could go.
He knew his opponents were woefully weak,
And a confidence vote they’d surely not seek.

So he suppressed all his urges to lie and to hector,
And promised new money for each corporate sector.
For he knew if he only survived this next vote,
He could carry on sailing the national boat.

A wink of his eye and a slight verbal quirk,
Soon gave me to know what was really at work.
This guy was no dummy, no amiable dunce,
It was just a big cover to fool all the chumps.

And fool them he did wherever he went,
While doling out goodies to those of his bent.
He sprang to his feet, unresigned as of yet,
And took to the skies like a Challenger jet.

But I heard him exclaim, as he flew out of sight,
"If Ignatieff wants one, I’ll give him a fight."

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Rod's Nuts Nestled In A Legal Vice

Sung to the tune of "The Christmas Song":

My nuts nestled in a legal vice
The A-G knocking at my door
Multiple counts being read by Fitzgerald
A list that’s running to a score

Everybody knows some turkey wants a Senate seat
Who’ll help to grow my bank account
Candidates who are ready to cheat
Will know to bring the right amount

They know that Rod will play for pay
I’m selling lots of extra goodies every day
A Senate seat, a post or two
And they’re all on sale just for you

And so I’m offering just like the Mob
Expecting a little something, too
All I want is some cash or a job
And if not, well, "screw you"

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Not-so-secret Santa

In a shocking development, Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich has been arrested on corruption charges. The 51-year old Democrat has been charged with effectively trying to sell Barack Obama’s vacated Senate seat to the highest bidder.

The transcripts of numerous wiretapped conversations seem to suggest that Mr. Blagojevich was looking for a cushy appointment for himself or his wife in return for the Senate appointment. According to the criminal complaint, he said that he wanted to make $250,000 to $300,000 a year.

As it turns out, according to Gov. Blagojevich, all of this is just a simple misunderstanding.
"I wish the federal prosecutors had just come and talked to me," said the Illinois governor. "I could have easily explained all this and saved them the bother of going to court."

Apparently what the authorities heard on their wiretaps was nothing more than innocent conversations about the upcoming seasonal festivities in the governor’s mansion in Springfield.
"Look, I know it looks bad," said Blagojevich. "But those conversations are all taken out of context. Every year about this time, I call up various friends and acquaintances and invite them to my annual Christmas party."

"At the same time," continued the governor. "I ask them what they’d like for Christmas and I sometimes let it slip what I might like, too. But just because my Christmas wish list might include an ambassadorship or two or maybe even a Cabinet position doesn’t mean that I was ever looking to trade for a Senate appointment."

"Heck, if I wanted to make a lot of money, I would have just appointed myself to the Senate," said Blagojevich. "But that’s not what I’m all about. This is the season for giving and, when it comes to giving, I never stop."

Asked about his recorded threat to withhold state assistance to the Tribune Company unless the editorial board of the Chicago Tribune was fired, Blagojevich laughed and dismissed the allegation as baseless.

"I’ve got nothing against editorial board members," he said. "Why, some of my best friends are editorial board members although I can’t think of their names at the moment."

Mr. Blagojevich stated that his biggest regret about the entire misunderstanding is that it had apparently scared off the person who had picked his name this year to be the governor’s secret Santa.

"It’s really disappointing," said Blagojevich. "Now I’ll never know if I was going to get that brand new union post I’ve always wanted or maybe that shiny corporate directorship I’ve had my eye on. That Fitzgerald guy is a real Scrooge, if you ask me."

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

How The Grinch Stole Democracy

Every Member in Parliament liked democracy a lot,
But the Grinch who was leader of the Conservative Party did not.
The Grinch hated democracy, the one man, one vote-version.
Now, please don’t ask why. He just had an aversion.

It could be he hated to give up control.
Some say it’s just that he had no real soul.
But I think that the most likely reason of all
May have been that his heart was two sizes too small.

But whatever the reason, his soul or control,
He stood there near Christmas hating each pol.
For years he’d been wanting not half but the whole,
To augment his new prime ministerial role.

But try as he might with each electoral speech,
A majority of seats was just out of his reach.
But then he got an idea! An awful idea!
The Grinch got a wonderful awful idea!
"I know just what to do!

With a top hat and coat and an electoral trick,
They’ll all surely mistake me for good old Saint Nick.
With a sleigh full of presents or maybe a luge,
They’ll never suspect that I’m really a scrooge."

Then he hollered and yelled for his little dog Jim.
If he needed someone to deceive it twas him.
For Jim was adept at presenting news grim.
"But make sure you slip in a coal lump or two,"
Said the Grinch with his sweater of bright Tory blue.

One of those lumps was no stimulus plan,
Despite the financial crisis that enveloped the land.
The other it seemed was quite minor at first,
But turned out in the end to be quite the worst.

The Grinch had a proposal he thought surely would float,
Whereby parties got nothing for each citizen’s vote.
He figured the others too weak to resist,
And without all that funding, they couldn’t exist.

So the Grinch waited patiently to hear the death throes,
Of the political parties about to let go.
But the sound that he’d now been longing to hear,
Wasn’t heard at all it became perfectly clear.

Instead what he heard ringing out from the House,
Was a joyous eruption, not the sounds of a mouse.
For the parties had screwed up their courage at last,
And decided to banish the Grinch to the past.

And the Grinch with his hidden agenda revealed.
Began to claim that perhaps he’d been healed.
"Maybe a minority is simply just that,"
Said the Grinch whose heart grew perhaps just a tat.

"Perhaps it’s not right to be Machiavellian,
Since the result is quite often simply Orwellian.
I think I can change with a wink and a smile,
But if the parties screw up, then I’m here for awhile."

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Dear Michaëlle

An occasional advice column for the constitutionally forlorn:

Dear Michaëlle,
I’m a 49-year old male who likes quiet walks, romantic getaways and insatiable amounts of political power. I’ve had some luck with relationships but, no matter what I try, I can never seem to get a lasting commitment. I recently came very close to having it all and, if the truth be told, I decided to carry on as if I did. Now it appears that instead of achieving true political love, I may be in for the biggest heartbreak of my life. What can I do to avoid this fate?
A Blue, Blue Tory

Dear Blue Tory,
Maybe your desire to have it all right away is getting in the way of a secure, lasting relationship. Have you considered talking to the other party? Relationships are all about communication, trust and, most of all, confidence. If you don’t have the other party’s confidence, you’re surely doomed to fail. Why not ask your potential partner for a timeout until, say, the end of January and see what happens then? If you try a little re-budgeting, you might just find that you can achieve true love after all.
Michaëlle Jean

Dear Michaëlle,
I am a 55-year old former professor and for years, I sought a stable, one-party relationship. That’s all I ever dreamed of but, alas, it apparently was not meant to be. In fact, I even recently decided to take a break from all this. But then something magical happened. I was approached by two other parties who proposed that we have a three-way relationship. This is all very new for me and, frankly, I’m a bit scared and a little unsure of my political identity. What should I do?
A Formerly Liberal Guy

Dear Former Liberal,
In this modern age, don’t be afraid to explore new forms of relationships. Be careful, though. When you’re entering into a tryst with more than one party, the number of ways that things can go wrong increases exponentially. Although it doesn’t sound very romantic, I strongly recommend that you sit down with the other parties and put your expectations in writing. Who knows? If you come to an agreement, you may have a strong, long-lasting relationship, one that might even last well into the next year.
Michaëlle Jean

Dear Michaëlle,
Honestly, I’ve never been happier. At 58 years of age, I had pretty much given up on my lifelong dream of becoming a leader or even sharing power with someone. But then, out of the blue, this party that, up until now never had the time of day for me, suddenly wants to get really close. Needless to say, I’m thrilled. But why is this other party using unromantic language like "coalition" and "alliance"? I really want to make this relationship work but I’m afraid of getting hurt again.
A Dapper Dipper

Dear Dapper Dipper,
As Tennyson once said: "Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all." If you want to be a leader, you have to take some risks. Just think of where you’ll be if you don’t take this chance. Probably stuck as a perpetual third wheel in the parliament of life. Even if this romance crashes and burns, you will still have had a taste of that wonderful feeling that comes from having power. Reach for the brass ring and the consequences be damned. After all, at your age, you may never have an opportunity like this again.
Michaëlle Jean

Dear Michaëlle,
As a 61-year old Quebecker, I continue to spend half my time in this crazy backwater called Ottawa. I can’t complain too much since I never lack for companionship. But I can never seem to form a stable, long-term relationship with any other party. Everyone wants to sleep with me but no one will be seen with me in public. Lately, I’m even asked to engage in three-ways and other kinky arrangements. It’s not so bad since I’m not even expected to be totally faithful but I must admit I feel used. Should I turn them all down and return to my first, true sovereign love?
A Lonely Quebecer

Dear Lonely Quebecer,
Methinks you doth protest too much. It seems that you are getting just about everything you want without having to take on any responsibilities. At your age, you should enjoy all the attention and forget about your true sovereign love. Vote with your head and not with your heart and you’ll continue to do just fine.
Michaëlle Jean

Friday, December 05, 2008

A Team Of Rivals

With each passing day of President-elect Obama’s transition period, it’s becoming more and more clear that he is determined to create a so-called "team of rivals." Modelled on Abraham Lincoln’s antebellum Cabinet, Obama’s new team includes not only intra-party rivals like Hillary Clinton and Bill Richardson but even holdovers from the current Bush administration like Defense Secretary Robert Gates. But rumor has it that Obama intends to go further than Lincoln ever did, much further as evidenced by these upcoming rumored choices:

Bill Clinton
The former President has reportedly been approached to accept a new White House position: Alpha Dog. Given Mr. Clinton’s past experience in the field of domestic affairs, he is expected to become Washington’s new Prince of Philandering, a veritable King of the Couch. For all matters sexual, Obama subordinates can look to the new Alpha Dog for answers.

John McCain
There is definitely no love lost between these fierce campaign rivals. Yet Barack Obama has already met with the aging Arizona senator with a view to smoothing over their differences. Those present at that meeting report that Obama offered McCain the official new White House position of Grumpy Old Man. "When the neighborhood kids throw a ball on the White House lawn or some young paperboy makes an errant throw," said Obama. "It’ll be John’s job to scare them off with a harsh word or two."

George W. Bush
Like most new presidents, Barack Obama wants to seek advice and counsel from former occupants of the office. Unlike most of this predecessors, however, Obama also needs a diversion in these troubled economic times. That’s why he’s asking George W. Bush to stay on in The White House as the new Chief Fool and Court Jester. Whenever things go awry, Obama hopes to present Mr. Bush in public and remind Americans how much worse things could be.

Dick Cheney
Actually, President-elect Obama hasn’t offered the former Vice President a formal position in his Administration. Instead, he has unilaterally appointed Mr. Cheney to be the head of the Guantanamo Bay military prison dismantling team. Before commencing work, however, Mr. Cheney apparently has been directed to personally inspect and occupy the premises for two to four years.

Sarah Palin
Given the increasing diplomatic tensions with Russia of late, the President-elect is hoping to rely on any available expertise in international relations. To that end, Obama has asked Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to take up residence at the very tip of the Aleutian Islands chain where she can keep an eye on any angry Russians that might be rearing their heads over the horizon. When asked whether she is up for the challenge, Governor Palin simply replied: "Doggone it. You betcha!"

As of yet, there is still no word on possible positions in Mr. Obama’s Administration for Jesse Jackson, William Ayers and Reverend Wright.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Santa Snubs White House

At a hastily called press conference held near the North Pole, Kris Kringle today announced that he would not be visiting The White House this Christmas Eve.

"It’s not that I don’t want to," said Mr. Kringle. "But after last year’s fiasco, I definitely know where I’m not wanted."

Mr. Kringle described how on December 24, 2007, his low-flying, reindeer-driven sleigh was forced down on The White House lawn by two F-16 fighter jets. Apparently his gift-laden sled was picked up on radar resulting in an emergency scramble. After a forced landing, Kringle was immediately taken to CIA Headquarters.

"It was awful," said Kringle. "They kept asking me why I had a beard, why I wore a red jumpsuit and why I had several aliases like Santa Claus, Pere Noel and Father Christmas. They kept showing me pictures of myself handing out gifts to kids and asking me if I was a socialist."

"Father Christmas" (by now dubbed Father Eid by his captors) was then flown to a Middle Eastern country for further interrogation. He was eventually transferred to the American military prison at Guantanamo Bay as a suspected terrorist.

"It was horrible," said Mr. Kringle. "One minute I’m hanging upside down in an underground prison in Syria and the next minute I’m in an open-air cell in Cuba with a prayer mat and a copy of the Koran."

By mid-summer, it was apparent to his captors that Kringle was not a terrorist or an Islamic extremist but rather just a harmless jolly old man who dressed in red and liked to hand out toys and games to children at Christmastime. Released on his own recognizance, St. Nick, as he is also sometimes known, was given airfare back to his home.

"As I indicated at the time," said Mr. Kringle. "I’ve got nothing against Washington. But unless and until things change, I won’t be bringing any gifts to The White House this year."

As luck would have it, change is on the horizon but not soon enough for this year’s reindeer flight.
"I’m given to understand that by next Christmas there’ll be a new family in that house," said Kringle. "And that they have two little girls who apparently don’t mind sitting down with no preconditions to talk with long-bearded gentlemen in funny red clothing. At least that’s the scuttlebutt at the North Pole."

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Washington Auction Sale

"Serving the greater Washington and Baltimore area for over fifty years"
Specializing in estate, bankruptcy and relocation auctions and disposals

Notice of upcoming on-site auction

WHERE: 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., South Lawn
WHEN: Monday, January 19, 2009 at 10 A.M. sharp
WHY: Occupant relocating

This auction will be held on-site due to the wide variety of items on offer. There will be the usual lots of general and household goods. In addition, a number of unusual and one-of-a kind objects will be up for bid. Among the items available are the following:

Lot #6
A wide array of western-style mens’ informal clothing is featured. The owner will be selling off most of his casual wear items including jeans, jean shirts, western buckles and cowboy boots. Used only as temporary costume items, they will now no longer be needed. Also for sale will be an overused Texas accent and several "good ole boy" postures, poses and expressions.

Lot #13
Lot number thirteen comprises a small offering of books, magazines and other reading material. Most of the items are in pristine condition and have not even been opened. Among the printed materials on offer are several brand new, never-read volumes including "Presidential Briefing - bin Laden determined to strike in U. S.", "U. N. Inspectors’ Report on Absence of Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq" and "National Intelligence Estimate Report: Iran ceases nuclear weapons program."

Lot #22
This lot includes dozens of unusual nostrums, knick-knacks and notions. A number of flags, pennants and banners will be up for sale including captured flags of Afghanistan and Iraq and a large window treatment bearing the words "Mission Accomplished."

Lot #31
A wide array of barely used policy positions are featured including "No child left behind", "Cooperative bipartisanship" and "Compassionate conservatism." Also available are several well-worn, overused policies such as "Tax cuts for the rich", "More tax cuts for the rich" and "Permanent tax cuts for the rich."

Item #16
A specialized grouping of oil-related items. Those interested in oil exploration might want to check out the owner’s new offshore drilling permits as well as some generous tax rebates and an astonishing "blind eye" to ongoing obscene oil company profits.

Lot #19
As with most residential dwellings, this one has a workshop. The current occupant is dismantling his entire shop which includes a wide range of brand new, untouched construction and consensus-building tools. Also on offer are a complete set of the owner’s overused deregulators including his mortgage industry deregulator, banking industry deregulator, environmental deregulator and consumer protection deregulator.

Lot #9
The owner will be selling his extensive collection of maps. This lot features a barely used city map of New Orleans, an undecipherable road map to peace in the Middle East and a special Axis of Evil edition desk globe. Also on offer is a unique, one-of-a-kind, unavailable elsewhere map of Iraq of uncertain provenance showing all the weapons of mass destruction sites and the myriad links between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Turkey Turns Down Pardon

For the first time ever, the annual Thanksgiving Turkey Pardon has been cancelled. Not since President Harry Truman initiated the practise in 1947 has the ceremony had to be called off.
White House spokesperson Dana Perino was tightlipped and circumspect in announcing the cancellation.

"The White House regrets to announce that Wednesday’s ceremony will not be held this year," said Ms. Perino. "The President nevertheless wishes everyone a happy and healthy Thanksgiving."

Ms. Perino refused to take any questions leaving reporters to speculate as to why the annual event was aborted. But seldom reliable sources have revealed the probable reason behind the surprising development.

Apparently this year’s bird was not as cooperative as hoped. Despite being offered a full pardon and the position of grand marshal at Disneyland’s Thanksgiving Day parade, "Babbler" and his alternate "Chatterbox" reportedly refused to keep quiet about certain inner workings of the Bush White House.

For a number of years, there have been rumors about the ultimate fate of previous White House turkeys. It seems that, contrary to assurances given, none of the pardoned birds from past years were allowed to live out their lives in quiet comfort. Instead, they eventually turned up on the Christmas dinner tables of various Bush Administration officials.

It seems that Babbler and Chatterbox were prepared to let the bird out of the bag about the fate of last year’s pardoned turkey May and her alternate Flower. Rather than allow that news to get out, The White House took steps to ensure the birds’ silence.

Initially, Dick Cheney sought to take matters into his own hands. Apparently the Vice President showed up at the Iowa farm home of Babbler and Chatterbox with his shotgun in hand and threatened to "blow their freaking heads off."

Luckily, FBI officials intervened and stopped Mr. Cheney from shooting the talkative turkeys. Subsequent negotiations avoided a possible public spectacle and the flightless birds were flown to a neutral country for extended interrogation and eventual rendition to the prison facility at Guantanamo Bay.

There was some concern that Babbler and Chatterbox might spill the beans once Barack Obama takes office and shuts down the facility. But inside sources at the Cuban military base say that they don’t expect to find any evidence of the birds’ presence after Christmas day apart from maybe a wishbone or two.

Friday, November 21, 2008

McCain Soldiers On

Despite conceding the election to Barack Obama, Republican presidential candidate John McCain has vowed to fight on.

"We’ve been counted out before, my friends," said the Arizona senator. "But I’m not one to give up that easily."

Confronted with the words of his concession speech from election night, McCain said that he didn’t remember speaking any of them.

"Heck, I’m 72 years old," said the Republican nominee. "I can’t be expected to remember everything I did in the last few days. Aides put speeches in front of me all the time and I deliver them. That doesn’t mean that I approved them or even remember them."

Asked how he intends to keep his presidential run going in the face of an overwhelming electoral defeat, McCain hearkened back to the primary campaign.

"If you’ll remember," said McCain. "Last year, it looked like we ran out of money and everybody had counted us out. Yet we persevered and won the nomination. I think we can perform that kind of miracle again."

As for specific strategy, Senator McCain was somewhat circumspect.

"I’d be crazy to tell you everything we have planned to win this thing," he said. "But let’s just say that there’s still money left in the campaign war chest and there are a few hundred Electoral College members who might be persuaded to change their votes for a price."

Other possible scenarios reportedly include requesting recounts in every closely contested state, launching numerous voter fraud challenges and renaming California and New York as Texas and Arizona.

"I’m known as a straight-talking maverick," said McCain. "And I’m telling you straight up that this thing is far from over. If you count John McCain out, you don’t know John McCain."
Asked to comment on Senator McCain’s apparent about-face, President-elect Barack Obama politely declined and left the matter to his campaign aides.

"Mr. Obama respects John McCain for his long, selfless service to his country," said a low-level spokesperson. "But we don’t think it’s fair to comment in what is clearly a very difficult time for him."

It appears that few, if any, of the McCain contingent are willing to join the senator on his quixotic journey. Vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, reached at her log mansion in Wasilla, Alaska, made the following statement:

"I greatly respect and admire John McCain and I wish him well in the continuation of his presidential run. However, I will not be able to join him on the campaign trail as I have a moose to gut."

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Why Stop There?

The push for a bailout for America’s big three automakers has had some unintended consequences. Other companies are reportedly jumping on the government bailout wagon.

First up is the Studebaker Corporation. Although the company has been defunct since 1967, a few aging former shareholders and directors have banded together to make a pitch to resurrect the business.

"We’re not looking for fifty billion dollars," said former company executive Gordon Grundy. "Heck, we don’t even need billions. A few hundred million dollars would be more than enough to get us up and running again."

Known for its innovative automobile styling in the 1950s and the popular Lark and Avanti models of the early 60s, Studebaker is hoping to capitalize on its expertise with electric cars gained in the early years of the previous century.

"Yeah, we were one of the first to go with battery-powered automobiles," said Mr. Grundy. "And with a little help from the government, I believe we can regain our number one position in the industry."

Also expressing interest in receiving a government handout is Pierce-Arrow, the noted luxury car manufacturer of the early1900s. Done in by the declining market for expensive motor cars during the Great Depression, the company is hoping to kick start its business.

"If we could get just a fraction of what’s being considered for GM, Ford and Chrysler," said company spokesman Hardy Wise. "Then we are confident that we can take on Mercedes-Benz, BMW and even Rolls-Royce."

The Stanley Motor Carriage Company has also thrown its corporate hat into the government giveaway ring. The maker of the famous Stanley Steamer automobile figures that the time is right for a rebirth of the company’s turn-of-the-last-century technology.

"With oil reserves in decline and hybrid technology only a temporary fix," said George Stanley, great-grandson of company founder Francis Stanley. "We feel that steam technology is the way to go."

Notwithstanding its twenty horsepower motor and unsafe carriage design, Stanley Steamer supporters are confident that a cash infusion will help launch the company, if not into the 21st century then at least into the latter half of the 20th century.

Last but not least in the lineup of grant seekers is Markham Buggy Whips Manufacturing Inc. of Buffalo, New York. Dormant for the last one hundred years, the once thriving company feels that the time is right to revitalize its business.

"With a modest nine-figure investment from the government, I think we’re poised to lead an explosion in buggy whip sales," said sole shareholder Fred Markham. "After all, oil is running out and a new horse and buggy era is surely just around the corner."

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Dear Barack

Dear President-elect Obama:

As a longstanding member of the National Association of Satirists, Cartoonists and Humorists, I would like to extend my congratulations to you.

While there are, no doubt, major problems that you must address, I urge you, sir, to consider the plight of NASCAH members. With the defeat of John McCain and Sarah Palin and the imminent departure of President Bush and Vice President Cheney, we are facing what could be the biggest satirical crisis in America since the Great Depression.

The easy satirical times that we have enjoyed for the past eight years are quickly coming to an end. It appears that many of our members did not consider the immediate effect Mr. Bush’s departure would have on their livelihood and assumed that the good times would last forever.

You, sir, however, have lived through several political humor cycles and are cognizant of the ups and downs in satirical material that can occur. Those of us who suffered through the early Clinton years are well aware what can happen to our industry during a lean, markedly unfunny period. Mockable items are dramatically down, foibles and peccadillos can hit all-time lows and scandals are few and far between.

Luckily for those who survived those years, it turned out that good times were just around the corner. Despite the economic growth of the late 90s, our members were blessed with a lampoonable trifecta in the form of Whitewater, Paula Jones and Monica Lewinsky.

I’m sure it comes as no surprise to you that many of our members felt that an Obama-Biden victory would be disastrous for the humor market in general and comedic futures in particular. The thinking was that two intelligent, articulate officeholders in The White House would surely spell disaster for our organization and quickly lead not just to a satirical recession but possibly to a political humor depression.

And that is why I am urging you, sir, to do what you can to assist our membership in dealing with this humor downturn so that we can continue to earn a living. If you could perhaps make the odd mistake, take the occasional pratfall or even once in awhile mangle the English language, we would be eternally grateful.

Or if you cannot see your way clear to screwing up from time to time, please at least consider some other options. Give Joe Biden a more public profile. Appoint Hillary Clinton to your cabinet. Or maybe give Bill an ambassadorship to France or Italy.

Frankly, we were hoping for a future replete with mavericks, hockey moms, Joe Six-packs, fractured syntax and old geezer jokes. It is hard to accept that the easy times are over. But with your help, we will persevere through these next four years and do all that we can to ensure a Sarah Palin presidency in 2012.

Yours truly,

Dave Martin, NASCAH

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Bush-B-Gone Insecticide

The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency today held a special press conference to announce a permanent ban on Bush-B-Gone brand insecticide.

EPA spokesperson Harold Herold stated that Bush-B-Gone has been under investigation for some time. Apparently the product in question has failed agency tests for eight years in a row.

"This is unprecedented," said Mr. Herold. "Not since the Ford Pinto was given back-to-back warnings by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 1971-72 have we even had a repeat offender. To be given this designation eight years running is simply unbelievable."

First introduced on the market in 2001, Bush-B-Gone has had an uninterrupted eight-year run of almost total futility and ineffectiveness.

"Back in late 2000 when we first tested the product," said Herold. "It looked like it might actually work. Democrats liberally sprayed the product over infected areas. Unfortunately, they neglected to cover much of the state of Florida which ultimately resulted in the Bush bug not only surviving but flourishing and infecting The White House and the entire country."

Subsequent attempts to improve the product failed. Notwithstanding numerous weaknesses in the Bush bug, the manufacturer of Bush-B-Gone was apparently unable to reformulate its product to eradicate this annoying pest.

"In 2004, the manufacturer claimed to have added extra ingredients like Iraqwar, Taxcuts and Hugedebt to the insecticide," said Herold. "But it turns out that, by then, the Bush bug had developed immunity to just about everything including the truth."

Some consumers have been deceived into continuing to buy Bush-B-Gone even after it has been shown to be totally ineffective. Recent ads claim that "new improved" Bush-B-Gone "now with extra truth" will finally do the job.

"The sad reality is, " said Mr. Herold. "That Bush-B-Gone is as useless as ever. You can spray and spray all you want but the Bush bug will be here until the end of the year no matter what you do."

It turns out that Bush-B-Gone will play no part in the eventual removal of this noxious insect. Government entomologists have recently discovered that the Bush bug has a set lifespan and that it will expire on January 20th of next year.

However, scientists continue to worry about future outbreaks. Unless a new effective insecticide can be developed in the next four years, it’s possible that The White House will be infected with a newly discovered pest: the Palin fly.

Monday, November 17, 2008

W's Early Retirement

George W. Bush today announced that he would not be serving out the balance of his second term. Instead, the President has decided to take early retirement.

"When I looked at my current employment status and crunched the numbers," said Mr. Bush. "It just made sense to pack it in early."

Like many of his baby boomer colleagues, President Bush was apparently looking to get a head start on retirement.

"I’m already 62 and I know I could have stayed until January 20th of next year," said Mr. Bush. "But I figured, why wait? Most of my friends have hit the links and I’d like to join them sooner rather than later."

Apparently an early escape to the golf course was not the only deciding factor for the President.
"When I met with Barack Obama on Monday," said Mr. Bush. "He kindly gave me a brief PowerPoint presentation detailing all the options for Social Security benefits. Did you know you can get like 70% of the full benefits starting at age 62? Heck, if I’d known that, I might have left even earlier this year."

However, given the generous pension provisions for former Presidents, a steady income for Mr. Bush is pretty much guaranteed. Starting on January 20th, he will draw down $191,300 a year plus close to a million dollars more for office and travelling expenses.

"Look, I’ve put in almost a full eight years," said Bush. "And it’s time I got more than a one-month summer break at the ranch. I don’t think folks realize how tiring it is being the Decider."

Another factor in Mr. Bush’s decision was the number of sick days he had accumulated over his two terms in office.

"That’s another thing Barack kindly pointed out," said Mr. Bush. "I didn’t even know I had that many coming to me. In fact, I’ve got enough sick days to cover me all the way up to January 20th and beyond."

There was some speculation that Mr. Bush’s current level of unpopularity had something to do with his decision to retire early. When pressed, however, the President said no.

"That’s not something that just happened," said Bush. "I’ve been unpopular for a long, long time. If I was going to let that bother me, I would have left after my first term."

But it does appear that the surfeit of national and international problems facing The White House may have had something to do with the President’s early departure.

"Yeah, I have to admit that I wasn’t looking forward to dealing with that mess anymore," said Bush. "I think it’s time I let a younger guy take a shot at it. As Barack kindly pointed out, I think I’ve done more than enough for now."

Although President Bush specifically asked that there not be a retirement party for him, it appears that spontaneous celebrations have broken out in almost every major city from coast to coast.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Presidential Idol

The 2008 election is over. But that doesn’t mean it’s the end of political viewing. Check out these new politically-themed shows offered this fall by the networks:

Presidential Idol (Fox)
After dozens of auditions, the field of Presidential hopefuls is narrowed to two finalists. Candidates are judged on their singing, dancing and stickhandling abilities and then eliminated one by one in a state-by-state voting process called the primaries. The eventual winner earns the right to be called America’s Presidential Idol and face a trillion dollar debt, a tanking economy and a never-ending war in Iraq.

The Right Wing (NBC)
Trying to match the popularity of its former hit show The West Wing, NBC has updated the format with a neo-conservative spinoff. New U.S. President Fred X. Shrub wins a narrow victory as a self-proclaimed "compassionate conservative" only to cut social services and deplete the Treasury. Keeping the country on a constant color-coded alert, Shrub and his advisors spend eight years attacking something they dub the "axis of evil."

Bill & Grace (NBC)
Having succeeded with a gay comedy, NBC tries its hand at a new format: the political sitcom. Ex-President Bill sits at home while his wife Grace pursues her own political career. Follow the weekly hijinks as Bill constantly gets into trouble and threatens to derail Grace’s presidential aspirations.

Everybody Sort Of Likes Barack (CBS)
CBS takes its own stab at a political sitcom with Everybody Sort Of Likes Barack. Newcomer Barack takes a run at the Presidency only to find that his aging opponent knows how to fight dirty. Follow Barack’s weekly policy transformations in his quest to match his Democratic predecessors and snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

CSI: Wall Street (CBS)
CBS goes to the well one more time with this new edition of its popular Crime Scene Investigation series. Auditors and financial forensics investigators check out stock market fraud and corporate crime in New York City’s most dangerous neighborhood: Wall Street. Leads are followed, crimes are solved and fortunes are made but almost nobody goes to jail.

NBC capitalizes on the success of its long running medical drama ER with its new series HMO. The new weekly drama traces the bureaucratic and administrative nightmares of ordinary Americans as they try to get coverage for basic health care services. Join the roller coaster ride as patients try in vain to get actual reimbursement for necessary medical procedures.

Anarchy and Chaos (NBC)
The Law and Order gang moves to Baghdad to dispense their special brand of justice. Unfortunately, there’s no functioning administrative structure to help them out. The plucky prosecutors end up spending most of their time trying to recover their stolen vehicles and avoid daytime muggings.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Dear Jim

"[Canada’s Finance Minister] warned public-sector workers they cannot expect big wage hikes in the next round of bargaining for contracts."
- The Canadian Press - October 29, 2008

Dear Jim,

Thanks for the warning but it wasn’t really necessary. I’ve been tempering my wage expectations ever since I joined the federal public service twenty-six-and-a-half years ago. Not to worry; I don’t expect a big wage hike. In fact, after your public announcement, I’m really not sure if I should expect any salary increase at all.

You see, after all these years, I’ve learned one thing about working for the feds. Whether times are good or times are bad, the government in power takes it out on public sector employees. When times are bad, we’re all supposed to be thankful we have a job, bite the bullet and sacrifice for the greater good. When times are good, we’re expected to do more with less in order to help the government reduce the debt, increase productivity, set an example for the country or any number of other excuses.

In bad times, public sector workers are expected to be the leading edge of fiscal restraint. We’re told that we should cut back to set the tone for the rest of the workforce. We’re given assurances that when economic good times return, we’ll be suitably rewarded. And when the good times do return, we are Canada’s forgotten workers.

After years of abuse and belittlement, I know better than to ask for much. Ever since 1991, I consider myself lucky to get anything, much less a "big wage hike."

Longtime federal employees remember 1991. That’s when your predecessor Tory government offered us wage increases of zero, three and three per cent for the following three years. We went out on strike, the employer agreed to change its offer, then reneged and in the end passed legislation imposing a zero and three per cent settlement on us for the next two years.

After that, things just went downhill. We never got that initially offered second three per cent increase. Instead, the government passed legislation which effectively froze our wages for the next four years. Even when so-called collective bargaining resumed in 1997, we were lucky to get two per cent per year from that point on.

To make matters worse, the employer doesn’t even bother to negotiate in good faith. Collective agreements end and deadlines expire and we still don’t get an agreement. As things currently stand, I’ve been without a wage agreement for almost a year and a half. And that’s pretty much business as usual when dealing with your predecessors.

The sad reality is that retired government workers are better off than current employees. Those who retired in 1991, for example, have been getting annual cost of living increases tacked on to their pensions. That sure beats the hell out of a wage freeze and is often better than the miserly two per cent Treasury Board usually doles out.

The reality is that someone retiring from the federal public service seventeen years ago with a full pension (i.e. - 70% of one’s salary) getting a cost of living increase every year is making almost as much as the poor sap who stayed working in that position all those years. I’m not complaining about the superannuate’s pension. After all, he or she paid for that indexation while working. But you have to admit that it’s at least a little unfair that the poor employee struggling through those years of downsizing and increasing work pressures received far less.

Then again, I guess no one has to admit anything. It’s pretty much the same old story. When the treasury is flush, don’t bother rewarding your workers. And when the economy suffers, bring out your favorite whipping boy - the federal public service.

Here’s a deal to consider. Don’t give me a "big wage hike." I’m not sure my heart could take the surprise anyway. Instead, just give me two per cent. After all, apart from six years of wage freezes, that’s all I’ve known for the last two decades. You’ll get to show Canadians that you’re being tough on all those spoiled government workers and I can treat myself to a new shirt to replace the one missing from my back.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Here's A Thought

On November 4th, it appears that most American voters did something they hadn't done in a long time: they voted for the more intelligent Presidential candidate.

"I'm not particularly happy about it," said average voter Jane Doe. "But for some reason things just hadn't been going that well over the last few years and I figured we had to try something new."

Many average citizens felt likewise although most, too, were unable to identify the problem.

"I've always thought it was best to vote for a regular guy," said regular guy John Q. Public. "You know, someone like me who has a lot of common sense and makes decisions based on his gut feeling."

"But since I lost my house and my job, I kind of had second thoughts," said Mr. Public. "Don’t get me wrong; I still really like President Bush but I felt that maybe it was time to give the smart guy a chance."

"It wasn’t easy voting for an egghead," said Ms. Doe. "Make no mistake about that. But we didn’t have much of a choice. Now that we’ve elected a real live smart guy, maybe things will get cleaned up and we can go back to voting for someone like us again. I sure hope so."

The American voter’s disdain for intellectual elites seems to be on the wane for the first time in this century. Poll after poll showed a marked preference for candidates who might actually know what they’re talking about.

"I’ve always preferred the guy who spoke from his heart," said Jane Doe. "But maybe, just maybe, we needed someone this time who also has a brain."

"I agree," said John Q. Public. "Although if he got all high and mighty and snooty I was still prepared to vote for the dumber guy even if it meant our country would end up in the crapper."

"That’s right," said Ms. Doe. "I’d rather throw it all away than be told what to do by some fancy pants know-it-all. If he’s smart and he gets things done right, that’s fine. But I won’t put up with a bunch of ‘That’s how you do its’ or ‘I told you sos’."

When informed of this apparent new trend, Al Gore and John Kerry immediately reverted to speaking in complete sentences. And reports from a graveyard in Bloomington, Illinois indicate there is a strong whirring or spinning sound adjacent the grave of Adlai Stevenson.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Happy Election Day

The frost is on the pumpkin. A chill is in the air. And everywhere you go, you can feel the buzz of excitement. That can mean only one thing: it’s Election Day.

The Election decorations have been up for weeks. It seems like every other lawn has a decorative sign. And many street corners and boulevards are festooned with different placards and posters creating a delightful rainbow of seasonal colors.

Turn on the radio or the TV and you’ll be serenaded with Election messages and songs. Whether it’s one candidate touting his new healthcare plan or another candidate questioning the moral fitness of his opponent, the airwaves are filled with the sounds of the Electoral season.

But one thing you won’t see during this festive time are ads urging you to buy gifts for friends, relatives and co-workers. That’s because Election Day is not about buying presents and spending money. Rather, it’s about spending time with your family in celebration of the greatest gift of all: a ballot.

Of all the holidays in the year, my favorite has to be Election Day. In contrast to celebrations like Christmas, New Year’s and Easter, Election Day has not been commercialized. After all these years, it still actually means something.

Of course, every family has its own traditions when it comes to this special holiday. Some like to gather in the morning, exchange last minute suggestions and then head out to the polls. Others prefer to get together for a simple Election Day dinner and then cast their ballots. Still others like to engage in the longstanding tradition of abstaining.

But no matter how you and yours exercise your franchise, just about everyone celebrates Election Night the same way. We all gather around the television set and watch as the millions and millions of votes are counted from every state in the union.

It’s always fun to watch the children on Election Night as they struggle to stay awake for the final results. Their little eyes open wide with amazement as the states on the electoral map are colored in red and blue from one coast to the other. But most of them eventually fall asleep and have to wait to the next day to find out who won.

It’s a magical time of year. People gathering to support their favorite candidate and sharing misconceptions and sleights about his opponent. Citizens congregating in bars and taverns to insult and denigrate one another’s positions. And finally, there is the long-anticipated vote, the day when as many as half of these people will actually cast a ballot based on platforms, personalities or maybe just hearsay and innuendo.

Whatever the outcome, it’s always heartwarming to see the celebration. Even if, in the end, nothing much really changes, it’s nice to see people coming together and sharing in this ill-informed public conversation if only for a few short months. In the spirit of the season, I wish one and all a Happy Election Day.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Electoral Trick or Treaters

Friday night is Halloween and homeowners from coast to coast eagerly await the arrival of precious pint-sized trick or treaters. Except, of course, for adults in various swing states who may have to deal with these scary creatures at their door:

The Hockey Mom
She looks attractive in her $150,000 wardrobe but don’t be fooled. The Hockey Mom is one scary lady. With her lipstick-covered smile, she makes even a pit bull look like a pussycat. The Hockey Mom (also known as The Outsider or The Moose Hunter) can often be spotted trick or treating with Joe Six-Pack and his gang of average Americans.

Not Osama
His skin is dark and his name seems Middle Eastern but he sounds so very, very reasonable. He’s African; he’s American. But some say he’s not African-American. How can that be? Is he a terrorist or just a really nice guy from Illinois? Probably the latter but can voters really take the chance?

The Ancient Maverick
At first, you might think this character is a kindly, old gentleman. But as soon as he starts saying "My friends" over and over and calling himself a maverick, you know you’re in for a real scare. You can try pinning him down but just when you think you’ve got some straight talk, he’ll change his position once again.

Joe the Talker
Don’t be fooled by this pleasant, smooth-talking guy. He’ll ring your doorbell, offer his hand and give you a great, big smile. Seems like a hell of a nice guy. But if you look him in the eye and ask him even one simple question, you’re in for the scariest, non-stop, one-way conversation you’ve ever had. A word to the wise: Don’t ask him if he’s from Scranton.

The She Clinton
Some voters will still remember Halloween visits from a friendly guy named Bill Clinton. So when another Clinton comes calling, they may be in for a shock. The She Clinton is no warm and fuzzy "feel your pain" Halloween character. A full dose of her scary robotic laugh will send most voters screaming for the basement.

The Bushman of D. C.
Most trick or treaters travel in packs but not The Bushman of D. C. With poll numbers that would embarrass even the devil himself, it seems no one wants to go out on Halloween with this guy. The residents of Iraq, New Orleans and Middle America all agree on one thing: The Bushman is all trick and no treat.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Just Like Me

The 2008 Presidential campaign is more and more becoming a search for a candidate that voters can truly relate to. Ever since George W. Bush achieved victory by tapping into the American electorate’s desire for one of their own, candidates have tried to attain an ordinary-Joe kind of mediocrity. Most voters now seem to want "someone just like me."

"I don’t want some pointy-headed intellectual from Harvard," said Tyrone Buhler of Frankfort, Kentucky. "I want a leader who I can understand, someone who speaks my kind of language. There’s no need for all that fancy education. I’ve got my high school and that’s all I need in my President or Vice President. Once someone goes off to university and gets all them highfallutin ideas, they lose touch with what’s real."

"There’s way too much emphasis on foreign policy experience," said Norman Smith of Cupertino, California. "Heck, most of us have never been to all those foreign countries and we sure as heck haven’t met any foreign leaders and it hasn’t done us any harm. When it comes to dealing with foreigners, all it takes is the ability to speak English and some good old-fashioned common sense."

"All this talk about management experience and executive experience is highly overrated," said Evelyn Clough of Eau Claire, Wisconsin. "If you’ve run a household, raised kids or helped coach a hockey team, then you’re more qualified to run Washington than half of these jokers."

"I just don’t trust most of these politicians," said Warren Trout of Marietta, Georgia. "I want a regular guy like me that I can relate to. Someone who can hunt and fish, drink a fifth of Jack Daniels and then drive home in the middle of the night. That’s the leader for me."

"I reckon running a country is pretty much like running anything else," said Trout’s former wife Lurlene. "If you can run a general store or an exotic dance bar then you can deal with anything in government. I bet half of these candidates haven’t even cleaned a fish or field dressed a moose."

"I’m tired of all this complicated talk about options and plans and diplomacy," said Fred Packer of Roanoke, Virginia. "Someone attacks you, you nuke ‘em. Anything else is just a sign of weakness. A candidate who knows how to use a shotgun knows how to protect America."

"How come you need to travel everywhere?" said Sally Packer of Concord, New Hampshire. "I’ve been to Mexico twice on vacation and once we drove up to Canada for a weekend. I think that experience tells me all I need to know about the world. If you can speak Canadian or Mexican, I’m sure that would help if you’re President but I don’t think it’s necessary at all. After all, that’s why we’ve got all those foreign speakers in Washington to help the President out."

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Not So Fast

With the latest polling results showing Barack Obama leading by as many as ten points, it’s starting to look like a potential landslide victory for the Democratic candidate on November 4th. But, surprisingly, it appears that Obama is not that thrilled with this new trend.

Campaign insiders report that the Illinois senator is starting to get cold feet. Even before the events of last week, Obama was less and less enamored of taking on the top job in the nation. And now with the economy in free fall, four years in The White House is looking more like a jail sentence than a promotion.

"You know, maybe John McCain is right," mused Obama. "After all he’s way older than I am and must have lots more experience. Heck, the guy was born in the 30s so he probably even has some personal knowledge about the Great Depression and what you need to do to get out of another one."

Faced with a trillion dollar Wall Street bailout, a trillion dollar war in Iraq and giant liabilities from health care to social security, Obama is reconsidering his decision to try for the Oval Office. It’s not that he doesn’t enjoy campaigning and the huge adoring crowds, it’s just that he’s no longer that keen on actually winning.

Ordinarily, such uncertainty would give the opponent’s campaign a big boost. But that is definitely not the case in this election. In fact, John McCain himself is reportedly also having some second thoughts about his current job search.

"Who am I kidding?" said the Republican nominee. "I’m old. In fact, I’m really old. Most of my friends are either dead or retired. Why would I want all the stress of being President? It’s tough enough keeping track of my seven houses and thirteen vehicles without having to also remember where Spain is, how to use e-mail and what to do with the nuclear codes."

Informal talks between the two campaigns have apparently centered around a possible mutual withdrawal from this year’s election. Friday’s debate could feature an interesting joint announcement.

"We just don’t think it’s a good time to be President," said an anonymous campaign spokesman. "Frankly, given the present dire situation, I don’t think anyone wants the job any more, not even Hillary Clinton."

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Washington Fire Sale

Hurry! Hurry! Hurry! Come on down to Crazy George’s today. He’s selling everything in the store at fire sale prices. In fact, he’s cut prices so low that he’s almost giving things away for free.

Overextended on your loans? Lacking enough capital to cover all those flimsy investments? Don’t worry. At Crazy George’s, we know that it’s not always easy to get credit. But if you’re still breathing and have the word "bank" or "insurance" in your name, we’ll lend you whatever you need, no questions asked.

While you’re here, be sure to check out Crazy George’s specials on subprime mortgages. Stuck with a bunch of mortgages with principals bigger than the value of the underlying properties? Can’t unload the bundled investment due to escalating interest rates? No problem. Crazy George will buy those investments at market value and pay you the difference.

And don’t forget Crazy George’s "Deal of the Week." This week, if you’re a bank stuck with a bunch of seemingly worthless derivatives, come on down to our nearest store and ask for the special "banker’s deal." We’ll pay you the market value of the derivatives so long as you just promise to pay us back when you can. It’s crazy but it’s true.

Remember that Crazy George’s is also the home of the permanent tax cut. If you’re making over $250,000 a year, you’ll get a tax cut so big it’ll make your head spin. And that’s not all that will spin. With all that extra dough, you’ll be able to buy that fancy sports car you’ve had your eye on and spin those wheels right out of the dealer’s lot.

Whatever you need in the way of financial instruments or investment rescue vehicles, we’re your one-stop shopping experience. Teetering on the brink of bankruptcy? Failing to meet your obligations? Need more liquidity?

Then come on down to Crazy George’s. Whether you’re a failing bank, a desperate insurance company or a shaky multinational, we’ve got everything you need to keep you afloat. At Crazy George’s the prices are so low, they’re INSANE!!!

(Consumers with net incomes under $250,000 need not apply.)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Dear Mr. Paulson

The Honorable Henry M. Paulson, Jr.
Secretary of the Treasury
Washington, D. C.

Dear Mr. Paulson:

I apologize for writing to you directly but I have been unable to obtain any measure of satisfaction from your subordinates.

As you may or may not be aware, I have fallen on financial hard times. I just lost my job and the bank is about to foreclose on our mortgage. Neither of these events is my fault. It appears to be just one of those things.

When I spoke to those in your employ, they provided little in the way of assistance or sympathy. In fact, some of them have gone so far as to suggest that my financial predicament is entirely of my own making.

I tried to remind these people that your department has been generous in providing assistance to others. In fact, if I’m not mistaken, subsidies have been given to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and someone with the initials A.I.G.

When I look at my own balance sheets, I submit that they compare favorably with anyone who has received a bailout. For example, although I put no money down on our house purchase and was well aware that there was an escalator clause governing the interest rate, I had no way of knowing that the real estate market would go down. As my realtor often said: "Real estate is a great investment."

As for our financial position, again, I feel that we were as diligent as Freddie and Fannie if not more so. In fact, when I crunch the numbers, we were only leveraged at a ratio of 30:1 which compares favorably to their 60:1 ratio. Thus, it makes sense that if you’re going to rescue Freddie and Fannie that you’d want to rescue us, too.

My employment status is now obviously uncertain. I’m not complaining, mind you. I had a good run for seven years although not quite the run that those employed at various financial institutions had.

If I had been receiving annual bonuses of five to ten times my salary over that period, I doubt that I would even be writing to you. But, sadly, my employer was either unaware of such bonus mechanisms or, if so, was apparently unwilling to implement them.

Please consider this a request for financial assistance not to exceed two million dollars. Given the generous sums provided to others, I consider our request to be modest. In the event that you cannot approve this figure, we could likely manage with half that amount, at least for the short term. All we would ask is that you not use our income taxes to pay for the other bailouts. Somehow that just doesn’t seem fair.

Thanks for considering my letter and I look forward to receiving my share of the public largesse.

Equitably yours,

John Q. Public

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

New Debate Options

So far, American voters have suffered through two debates between Barack Obama and John McCain. The first was the standard two podiums-one moderator debate and the second used a so-called Town Hall format. But regardless of the format, both were God-awful, boring affairs.

Which brings me to a modest suggestion for Wednesday’s third and final debate. Rather than revert to the standard format, why not change it entirely and liven up the proceedings? For example, it’s not too late to adopt one of the following structures:

No-holds barred format
Last Tuesday’s debate with John McCain wandering the platform gave an inkling of what might have been if this format had been chosen. Two candidates, two chairs, one microphone and no rules. As one candidate speaks, the other can circle the stage and do all in his power to confuse him. Catcalls, insults, hand gestures, funny faces. Nothing would be off-limits. The only rule? So long as you hold the microphone, the stage is yours.

Washington Cage Match
Madison Square Garden could be the site for the first Presidential cage match. Stripped down to their shorts, both candidates are free to use whatever rhetorical or physical moves they wish. All dirty tricks are allowed including wrestling choke holds, platform mis-characterizations and outright lies and falsehoods. Points would be won by take-downs and put-downs.

Debate Demolition Derby
Two worn out stock cars with two worn out candidates in a dirt-filled oval will make for one heck of an exciting debate. No more words; just well-aimed crashes at the other guy’s banged-up vehicle. The winner is the one with the still-moving car. The prize? Fifteen minutes of prime-time television to the winner to present his platform to the American viewing public. At that point, however, no one is obliged to keep watching.

Rock, paper, scissors
A moderator introduces a series of domestic and foreign policy topics. For each topic, the two candidates go one-on-one for a best-two-out-of-three games of rock, paper, scissors. At the end of the evening, the points are tallied and the winner declared.

Boxing match
Viewers and pundits who have been waiting years to see a debate "knock-out punch" may now get their way. Both candidates are suited up in silk boxing shorts and ten-ounce gloves in what will no doubt be dubbed "The Thrilla and Vanilla." McCain and Obama will literally go toe-to-toe for a twelve-round championship match. Make no mistake; this will be one debate format with a guaranteed winner.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Future Attack Ads

Republican ad: "Santa’s Pal"

VOICEOVER: "Barack Obama says he’s the candidate of change. Barack Obama says he’s the candidate of hope. But what Barack Obama really hopes is that you won’t notice that he hasn’t changed at all. Obama hasn’t been very careful about who he associates with including Rev. Wright and convicted felons like William Ayers and Tony Rezko. But there’s another associate of Obama’s who is even more dangerous."

Overhead shot follows man in red suit guiding reindeer-led sleigh into the night sky.

VOICEOVER: "That man is Santa Claus and Barack Obama is a known associate and fellow traveller. Just listen to this secret recording of Obama at a recent Democratic fundraiser at an undisclosed location."

RECORDING: (voice of Obama) "Sure, I believed in Santa Claus. In fact, in a way, I still kind of do. He symbolizes to me a spirit of caring and compassion and a noble sense of sharing with others. I guess I’ll always believe in Santa."

VOICEOVER: "Is that who Americans want as their next President, a known supporter of a red-suited, child-exploiting socialist? A partisan of someone who distributes free gifts to everyone? John McCain doesn’t believe in Santa Claus. John McCain believes that you work hard and get what you deserve. John McCain believes in America."

JOHN MCCAIN: "I’m John McCain and I approve this message."

Democratic ad: "The Old Man"

VOICEOVER: "John McCain says he’s ready to be President of the United States. John McCain says he’s healthy and mentally able. He says he’s never been more fit. But who are you going to believe, John McCain or the American Medical Association?"

DOCTOR: "Once you reach seventy years of age, many of your basic faculties start to decline sharply. First the short-term memory fades and then even long-term recollections are difficult to retrieve. Cognitive abilities drop off at an alarming rate."

VOICEOVER: "Is that who you want leading our country? Someone who loses the nuclear suitcase and can’t remember the codes? Someone who can’t even remember who Osama bin Laden is, much less move fast enough to catch him?"

DOCTOR: "Once a person reaches seventy, family members should be alert to signs that the person’s mental and physical abilities are declining. It may be necessary to take away the person’s driver’s license and, as the years advance, provide for 24-7 nursing care."

Camera shot shows white-haired, wheelchair-bound person who resembles McCain from behind looking out the window in the Oval Office.

VOICEOVER: "On August 29th, John McCain will turn 72. Would you want your 72-year old grandfather in The White House? Vote for Barack Obama. He just turned 47. He won’t forget about America."

BARACK OBAMA: "I’m Barack Obama and I approve this message."

Political Animal Stories

Barack Obama was recently in hot water over what he thought was a harmless animal analogy. But by likening John McCain’s Bush-like positions to putting lipstick on a pig, he incurred the wrath of Republicans who claimed it was a sexist sleight against McCain’s running mate, Sarah Palin, the self-described lipstick-wearing, Rottweiler-like hockey mom.

The Obama camp is up in arms about the Republican charges and is accusing the McCain camp of engaging in dirty tricks and avoiding the real issues in the campaign. But if Obama’s people had done a bit of research, they would have known that the use of animal analogies in politics is fraught with peril as evidenced by these examples:

John Kerry - October 15, 2004
"My opponent’s positions are more of the same. You can apply copious amounts of makeup products on a porcine creature but that creature will still be porcine in nature."

Richard Nixon - November 30, 1973
"You can lead a political operative to the Watergate Hotel but you can’t make the operative avoid screwing up what should be a routine break-in."

George W. Bush - September 8, 2003
"A war in Afghanistan is worth two in Iraq."

Al Gore - December 15, 2000
"Don’t count your hanging chads until you’ve hatched an appropriate judicial strategy."

Bill Clinton - March 3, 2006
"Even a fishy president wouldn’t get caught if his intern kept her mouth shut."

John McCain - March 31, 2000
"Every dog has his day."

Mitt Romney - June 18, 2008
"It does no good to beat a dead campaign."

Dick Cheney - January 4, 2004
"The early bird captures the oil."

Donald Rumsfeld - October 8, 2005
"When the cat is away, the military mice will play."

Jimmy Carter - September 15, 1980
"The sun doesn’t shine on the same dog’s back every day."

Ronald Reagan - November 22, 1985
"He who plays with a Nicaraguan cat must expect to be scratched."

John Edwards - August 31, 2008
"He who falls in puppy love leads a dog’s life."

Colin Powell - July 23, 2004
"If you lie down with dogs, you’ll end up with fleas."

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Poetry of Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin is a truly remarkable woman. Notwithstanding her many accomplishments, however, some small-minded critics have suggested that she is an unsophisticated rube and an anti-intellectual. But nothing could be further from the truth as evidenced by the Governor’s recent attempts at modern abstract poetry:

Blink - September 13, 2008
I ------- I answered him yes,
because I have the confidence in that readiness.
And knowing that you can’t blink,
you have to be wired in a way of being so committed,
to the mission, to the mission that we’re on.
Reform of this country and victory in the war.
You can’t blink. So I didn’t blink then,
even when asked to run.

The Be All, End All - October 3, 2008
Nuclear weaponry, of course,
would be the be all, end all
of just too many people
in too many parts of our planet,
so those dangerous regimes, again,
cannot be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons,

My Alaska - September 25, 2008
That Alaska has
a very narrow maritime border
between a foreign country, Russia,
and, on our other side, the land-boundary
that we have with Canada.
It's funny that a comment like that
was kinda made to …… I don't know,
you know …… reporters.

Putin’s Head - September 25, 2008
It’s very important when you consider
even national security issues
with Russia
as Putin rears his head
and comes into the air space of the United States of America,
where ------- where do they go?
It’s Alaska.
It’s just right over the border.

Never Again - October 3, 2008
One thing that Americans do
at this time, also, though,
is let's commit ourselves
just everyday American people,
Joe Six-pack, hockey moms across the nation,
I think we need to band together and say never again.

The Middle Class of America - October 3, 2008
Now you said recently
that higher taxes
or asking for higher taxes
or paying higher taxes is patriotic.
In the middle class of America
which is where Todd and I have been
all of our lives,
that's not patriotic.
Patriotic is saying, government, you know,
you're not always the solution.
In fact, too often you're the problem.

Hey, Joe - October 3, 2008
Hey, can I call you Joe?
Say it ain't so, Joe,
there you go again
pointing backwards again
Now doggone it, let's look ahead

The Maverick - October 3, 2008
He has been the maverick.
He has ruffled feathers.
I think that's why we need
to send the maverick from the Senate
and put him in the White House.

Friday, October 10, 2008


TO: All Members
FROM: The Senior Executive Committee of NASCAH
(The National Association of Satirists, Cartoonists and Humorists)
RE: 2008 Election

This is an urgent appeal to all members of NASCAH to do whatever you can to assist in the election of the McCain-Palin ticket on November 4th.

For those members who may be unaware of the seriousness of the current situation, please be advised that George W. Bush will NOT, we repeat NOT, be serving as President for a third term. The easy satirical times that we have enjoyed for the past eight years may therefore be quickly coming to an end.

It appears that many of you did not consider the immediate effect Mr. Bush’s departure would have on your livelihood. Some of you assumed that despite the brief electoral scare in 2004, the good times would last forever and the satirical well would never run dry.

Luckily, we on the Senior Executive Committee have lived through several political humor cycles and are cognizant of the ups and downs in satirical material that can occur. For example, those of us who feasted on Dan Quayle in the late 80s and early 90s know what it is like to ride a bull humor market only to see it nosedive into a not-so-funny humor recession.

For those who suffered through the early Clinton years, you are well aware what can happen to our industry during a lean, markedly unfunny period. Mockable items are dramatically down, foibles and peccadillos can hit all-time lows and scandals are few and far between. Luckily for those who survived that era, it turned out that good times were just around the corner. As you’ll recall, our members were eventually blessed with a lampoonable trifecta in the form of Whitewater, Paula Jones and Monica Lewinsky.

Although it must seem to our younger members that the current satirical bull market will never end, it can. That is why we are asking you to support John McCain and Sarah Palin in this year’s election.

It doesn’t take a genius to know that an Obama-Biden victory would be disastrous for the humor market in general and comedic futures in particular. Two intelligent, articulate officeholders in The White House would surely spell disaster for our organization and quickly lead not just to a satirical recession, but possibly to a political humor depression like that of the 1930s under Franklin Roosevelt.

That is why we must marshal our forces against Barack Obama and Joe Biden. Tempting as it may be to continue to satirize John McCain and Sarah Palin, you must resist for the short term. If you can hold off for just a few short weeks and help elect the Republicans, we can enjoy at least four more (and possibly eight more!) profitable years.

If you want to guarantee a future replete with mavericks, hockey moms, Joe Six-packs, fractured syntax and old geezer jokes, please join us in supporting McCain-Palin. As Sarah Palin herself might say: "Doggone it, it’s the right thing to do."

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Joe Six-pack

Since the Vice Presidential debate, millions of Americans have decided to speak out. First up among those choosing to voice their opinion are the nation’s hockey moms.

"Yeah, it was cute at first," said Louise Elliot, current President of Hockey Moms of America. "But after the fiftieth time hearing that Sarah Palin is standing up for us, I just couldn’t take it anymore."

Miffed at the comparison made between hockey moms and pit bulls, the ice hockey-loving matriarchs have apparently had enough of Sarah Palin’s antics.

"Frankly, I’m embarrassed to be associated with the Alaskan governor," said Ms. Elliot. "After all, unlike Ms. Palin, many of us know who the leader of U. S. forces in Afghanistan is and most of us have a far more nuanced policy position on the Middle East than her."

But hockey moms weren’t the only demographic ticked off at Sarah Palin’s exploitation of them. Many self-identified Joe Six-Packs have also decided to publicly disassociate themselves from her.

"It’s tough enough to make a go of things as a beer-loving American male," said Bob ‘Rooster’ Cockburn. "Without Sarah Palin claiming that she knows what’s best for us."

The Alaskan governor’s celebrated gun-toting, moose-shooting ways were initially embraced by many Joe Six-Packs. But her continued references to those of the beer-drinking persuasion have alienated even the most dedicated fans of the hops.

"I was on her side right up until the debate," said Mr. Cockburn. "But when she failed to itemize budgetary line-items that she and John McCain would forego given the current economic crisis, frankly, I was disappointed. I don’t expect her to be fully conversant with all the workings of the Office of Management and Budget but we feel that she should have at least a rudimentary knowledge of the functioning of the financial bureaucracy."

Self-described cattle rustlers were also reticent about giving their support to the Republican Vice Presidential nominee.

"It used to be that the term ‘maverick’ meant something in this country," said longtime renegade cowboy Bart Bryson. "But thanks to Sarah Palin, I don’t know what it means anymore. Frankly, I’m now ashamed to call myself a maverick."

Not long ago, the word maverick labelled someone as an independent-minded, free-thinking rebel. But now mavericks have become the laughingstock of the nation.

"After these two lockstep-thinking politicos claimed the moniker," said Mr. Bryson. "The term ‘maverick’ lost all respect. Next to calling someone a ‘liberal’, I can’t think of a worse insult."
Finally, the League of Average Americans has come out squarely against Sarah Palin’s candidacy.

"Sure, it was initially flattering that John McCain chose one of us to be his running mate," said League President Marcia Moore. "But the more we thought about it, the more we couldn’t support this crazy idea. What’s next? Paris Hilton for Secretary of State?"

No word yet from the residents of Main Street and Middle America or the members of the National Association of Lovers of Winks, Folksiness and Facile Expressions.