The Manchurian Debate

“…and that’s where the snipers will be perched.”


Fools / Russian

George W. Bush, left, and Vladimir Lenin, right (and probably the only time these two can ever be said to be approximating these respective positions, mind you).


Who Writes Your Material?

Where on earth does hard-hitting editorial cartoonist Sean Delonas come up with his ideas?
Oh, right.


At least they agree it was Central California

“Powerful Quake Strikes Central California”
Associated Press
“Moderate Earthquake Shakes Central California”
Voice of America


Highlights of John Kerry’s recent attempts to grapple with humor, or, the newly-introduced “Laughter Initiative 2004”

Just an ill-informed guess, but Presidential candidate John Kerry appears to be scouring the latest issue of The Onion for ideas pertaining to “what is funny” and “what to do at the Mercury Lounge later this evening”
The Associated Press, in the wake of other reports on the success of the Bush camp’s usage of humor at political rallies earlier this week, has now provided equal time to the president’s opponent in a rote assessment of John Kerry’s skills at invoking laughter.
Literally – the piece is rote and by the numbers.
According to the piece’s writer, Nedra Pickler, “even while speaking on the very serious topic of Iraq last week at New York University, Kerry made the audience laugh six times at President Bush’s expense.” Did you get that? Six laughs, to be precise. Furthermore, the subject matter of Iraq is deemed to be “very serious” for some inexplicable reason, though Sen. Kerry has been able to invoke “laughs” and “chuckles” from audiences who have been treated to his riffs on the President’s disavowal of bad news in our latest colonial acquisition. Later, we learn that audience members have also “guffawed” at these events, but it remains unsaid whether or not anyone may have ventured so far as to “chortle”, though that’s a definite likelihood if they were treated to Kerry’s time-tested “Bush is sooooo stupid, that…” routine. Seriously, that bit kills every Tuesday night at the Laugh Factory.
Thankfully, Pickler assists politically-minded stand-up comics everywhere by detailing some of the senator’s signature lines:

Kerry said the occupation of Iraq is riddled with problems, “yet today, President Bush tells us that he would do everything all over again, the same way.” Kerry paused for affect before asking sarcastically, “How can he possibly be serious?”

Oh, fuck, that snide sumbitch! He pulled the asshole card right there! (Full disclosure: I, too, am an asshole.) Hmmm. This quandary creates some sort of mid-post smug-asshole-dilemma, I suspect, that can only be resolved by a battle of humorous invocations of colloquialisms:

Kerry used an idiom likely to be heard among teenagers in a shopping mall, but not on the Senate floor.
“You’re going to hear all this talk, `Oh, we’ve turned the corner, we’re doing better, blah, blah,'” he said, running on the phrase as his Wisconsin audience erupted in laughter. “You know, blah and blah and blah.”

Damn, he really has been polishing his material by watching a great deal of MTV2 and Fuse…since my initial instincts, as a recreational reader of Lingua Franca and Congressional Quarterly, were to recommend that Kerry try something more traditional, along the lines of: “You will proceed to hear a series of speeches emanating from the President’s operatives, henceforth declaring, ‘We have turned the corner, we’re doing better, et cetera, et cetera, ad infinitum.'” The senator from Massachusetts, on the other hand, clearly knows his shit.
To demonstrate this, we’ve got this nugget of merriment:

Kerry was cracking up his partisan crowd by telling Wisconsin voters they shouldn’t be wary of changing horses midstream when the horse is drowning. He tied the metaphor to reports that the Bush campaign insisted that podiums in Thursday’s debate be set relatively far apart to obscure Kerry’s five-inch height advantage.
“May I also suggest that we need a taller horse?” he said. “You can get through deeper waters that way.”

From an objective standpoint, even I can admit that qualifying this bit as “funny” is a stretch that even Olympic medalist Carly Patterson wouldn’t attempt to make (Ha, ha…see you next week at the clubs, suckas!!!).


“I’ve got a debate…this week. This week. People will hate me. They already do. I’m boring, they say. Fuck them! And my wife, my wife…she still loves her dead husband. Hey, you, get me another Sam Adams right here. This one’ll be gone real

RELATED: “A Beer with John Kerry,” GQ, September 2004, by Michael Hainey. An actual excerpt:

GQ: Beer good for you?
JK: Sure.
GQ: [to bartender] Two Buds.
GQ: Cheers, Senator.
JK: I had a tough day. Damn hot.



That’s a heart. And it’s for you. Well, it’s for you if you plan to blog about I ♥ Huckabees this week.
But be careful. It’s easy to mess up this special tag and wind up with the wrong title, like:
I ♣ Huckabees (Way too violent.)
I ♠ Huckabees (The ASPCA does advocate the spaying and neutering of Huckabees, but only by a trained veterinarian.)
I ® Huckabees (Only David O. Russell can say that!)
I ‾ Huckabees (Only Jon Brion can say that, and he doesn’t tend to over-score the movies he works on. Well, other than Magnolia, that is.)
And, finally, a title that seems unlikely since Huckabees is opening in limited release against Ladder 49 and Shark Tale this Friday:
I $ Huckabees.
I’d ♥ that, but I doubt we’ll see it.


You mean, they have journalists in Iraq too? Shit, you’re kidding right?

A whole lot of back and forth has gone on in the realm of media bias critiques, punditry and the like claiming that FOX News is too conservative and the NY Times too liberal, etc. In particular, analysts have wondered whether media bias has filtered out good news from Iraq or if, like Vietnam-era journalism, war is simply an ugly story to cover. Of course, it is.
Mistake or not, Iraq is supposed to be an emergent democracy now and all of this bias bickering – which is truly nothing new in America – obscures Iraqi journalism and the development of a free press. Of course, how could those childish and crazy Iraqis possibly have any clue how to write anything objective?
Maybe, just maybe… the Iraqi weekly Al Zawra answers the question “Who Kills Hostages in Iraq?” as well as providing “An Inventory of Iraqi Resistance Groups,” translated for American consumption here through the Project on Government Secrecy site. While pundits bicker, most resistance stories in the American press focus on beheadings and terror masterminds, searching for Al Qaeda links. Al Zawra gives us the lowdown on the growing organization and scope of the actual resistance movements, where they come from, and how they’re structured.
Sorry, it’s “grave.” Just grave, nothing more.


“Hey, good luck in Iraq, you guys…You’ve got it easy. My advisers tell me it’s getting better over there. Wait, what?”

Via Agence France-Presse: “US President George W. Bush shakes hands with some of the 292 US soldiers aboard a charter jet at Bangor International Airport in Maine. Bush boarded the jet in an impromptu event shaking hands with all the soldiers before they flew to Iraq to serve (AFP/Stephen Jaffe)”