Friday, October 30, 2009

White House Trick-or-treaters

It’s Halloween and that means American homes from coast to coast will be visited by scary costumed trick-or-treaters. And that includes the nation’s First Residence: The White House. Here are some of the frightening visitors President Obama can expect this Saturday night.

The Clintons
Hillary drops by to remind Obama what he can expect in 2012 if he doesn’t give her some more treats. She’s not saying she’ll run against him in three years’ time but she’s not saying she won’t either. But if Hillary doesn’t get what she wants, she may just unleash her sidekick Scary Bill.

The Birthers
They’re back and they’re scarier than ever. They’re the Birthers and now they’ve got a whole new crazy story about Obama’s non-American origins. It turns out that he was really born in the Panama Canal Zone as the love child of Che Guevara and former Black Panther Angela Davis.

Joe Biden
He looks friendly and harmless but once he opens his mouth, he can scare the bejesus out of the president. Dressed as a loose canon, Joe Biden also has loose shoes, loose lips and a loose tongue.

Nobel Peace Prize
It hasn’t gone away and it’s even creepier than before. Now the prize is showing up to remind Obama that he has to come to Oslo in December to accept an award that he’s done little to deserve. Like an albatross hanging around his neck, it looks like this prize will haunt him for years.

Sgt. Joseph Crowley
Recently transferred from the Boston police force, Sgt. Crowley pays a Halloween visit to The White House after receiving an anonymous report of a scary black man trying to break in. Hopefully the president won’t protest or he might be charged with GWB - governing while black.

The Public Option
Just when the president thought it had died, the Public Option is back and it’s as frightening as ever with its scary threats of government involvement and universal access. If Obama can’t drive a stake through its Medicare-shaped heart, the Public Option may kill healthcare reform forever.

Sarah Palin
This year, the former Alaska governor is wearing a new scary costume; she’s coming as a Death Panel. In a frightening ironic twist for Obama, the more he attacks Ms. Palin with facts and logic, the stronger she becomes.

The Campaign Promises
This group of Halloween visitors is the president’s worst nightmare. Whether it’s Healthcare Reform; Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell; or The Iraq War, their appearance is a scary reminder of goals unmet. If this gang of trick-or-treaters keeps coming back, Obama may have to find a new residence in three years.

Glenn Beck
Dressed as the Race Card, Glenn Beck drops by to accuse Obama of hating white people. Although the president might protest that the only white person he hates is Glenn Beck, Mr. Beck won’t let truth and rationality defeat his scary demagoguery.

The American Voter
Possibly the scariest visitor to The White House, the American Voter is as crazy and unpredictable as an Oxycontin-fueled, right-wing radio talk show host. One minute he wants change and the next minute he doesn’t. Frightening as it is to consider, this spooky character twice elected George W. Bush.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Brand New Philly Phanatic

Hey Philadelphians. Do me a favor. Do whatever you can to help your Phillies beat the Yankees.

It’s not that I’m a genuine Phillies fan. In fact, if truth be told, I’m still a Montreal Expos fan. That’s right; the same hapless Expos who slunk out of town five years ago to become the hapless Washington Nationals.

In fact, I can’t really say that I owe any one team an allegiance at this point. But there is one thing I do know. Through thick and thin, from my earliest baseball memory to my latest diamond disappointment, there has been one faithful, abiding constant: I hate the New York Yankees.

No matter who wore the Yankee pinstripes over the last fifty years, I disliked them. That encompasses an historical hate on that includes Mickey Mantle, Derek Jeter and every pinstripes-wearing player in between.

So when I ask you Philadelphians to do your best to cheer on your team, it’s not because of a soft spot for the Phillies or even a mild preference for National League teams. It’s a request born of something much deeper and stronger: Yankee hatred.

I think most of you understand where I’m coming from. After all, the Yankees are a franchise whose fans are whining because they haven’t won a World Series since 2003. Big deal. You folks know what a real Series-winning drought is and it sure ain’t six years.

Philly fans have experienced disappointment over the years. Despite making it to the World Series seven times, the team has only won two titles and the first one didn’t come until 1980, a Chicago Cubs-sized dry spell if there ever was one.

And when it comes to disappointments, let’s not forget one of the biggest chokes in baseball history, the 1964 6½-game Phold under manager Gene Mauch. That’s the same Gene Mauch who guided the Montreal Expos to their perennial second division finishes for the first seven years of their existence.

Some might say: "Hey, the Phillies won it last year; it’s time for someone else to get a chance." Oh yeah? Someone other than the Yankees maybe. But with the Bronx Bombers, we’re talking about baseball’s richest franchise, a franchise that has won 40 American League pennants and 26 - count ‘em 26 - World Series titles.

The Yankees need another championship like Philadelphia needs another cracked bell. Given your team’s long-suffering history, back-to-back Series victories is not asking for too much. Let those damn Yankees wait for a change. Let them see what it’s like to go decades without a title.

So let me hear you this Saturday when the bad guys show up at Citizens Bank Park. Give them a little taste of brotherly hate and, with any luck, they’ll be run out of town by Sunday night. Not only will Philadelphians celebrate but so will I and millions of other temporary Philly fans.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Obama Re-gifts the Nobel

Ever since the news broke about this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, it’s been pretty clear that President Obama is not that happy to receive it. As with any unwanted gift, there are a number of ways to get rid of it. One of the most popular options is re-gifting as shown by these recently revealed e-mails:

Hillary Clinton
Thanks for offering me the Nobel Peace Prize, Barack. It’s potentially a great honor but I just wouldn’t feel right about accepting it. Those Norwegian guys gave it to you and I think that you should keep it. I’m sure it will be a big plus for you if you ever decide to run for reelection.

Bill Clinton
Thanks for the offer, big guy. I’d really like to take it ‘cause I know that no one has done more to promote world peace and friendly relations than me. But Hillary says I’ll be back in the doghouse if I let you off the hook.

George W. Bush
It was great to hear from you Bobama. Hope all is well in The White House. Did you ever find that extra trillion dollars I hid in the Oval Office? Just kidding; I’m pretty sure I left nothing behind. As for the prize, thanks but no thanks. That middle east mess is all yours now, buddy.

Benjamin Netanyahu
Oy vey! I almost fell off my chair I was laughing so hard. I know you probably don’t deserve the prize but I have to admit that I probably deserve it even less. Plus, it’s kind of a bad luck charm around here if you remember what happened to the last Israeli who got it.

Hamid Karzai
You’re kidding, right? My country’s overrun with Taliban and I can’t even fix my reelection without everybody getting all democratic on me. Believe me, the last thing I need is a secondhand peace prize.

Kim Jong-il
Whoa, whoa! Not so fast. You always giving me hard time about nuclear bombs and rocket testing and all that crazy stuff. Now you want me to do you a favor? How about we talk this over and you tell me what’s in it for me? I was thinking maybe a case of Scotch, a Rolex and a couple of iPods.

Mahmoud Ahmajinedad
Sure, I’ll take it. Does it come with any money or fissionable material?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

An Unseasonable Election

With all this talk of a fall election, it behoves us to consider the merits of an autumnal trip to the polling booth. Is that really the best time?

Personally, I love the fall. Crisp, clear, sunny days with cool nights perfect for sleeping. But is it a good time for an election?

I would say no. After all, why would we want to take away any days from this delightful season? Given our short summers, it would be a crime to reduce our opportunities to enjoy the fall colors and the fall harvest.

Plus we’re pretty busy this time of year. The kids are back at school, the workplace is in post-vacation mode and Halloween preparations are already under way.

So if a fall election is out, what about a winter election? Who would care if a campaign interrupted our six-month annual hibernation?

Well, I would for one. It’s true that there’s not a lot to look forward to during winter. Our time is taken up with such horrid chores as shovelling snow, changing winter tires, washing dirty cars and endlessly putting on and taking off layers of heavy clothing.

Why would we want to insert another unwanted chore in the middle of this season from hell? Canadian winters are depressing enough as it is without throwing in an election campaign to boot. It’s tough enough to make it to spring without listening to Messrs. Harper, Ignatieff, Layton and Duceppe for five straight weeks.

So what about spring? It’s the season of renewal, of new life, new hopes and new beginnings. Surely those metaphors alone should auger well for an election.

Not so fast. Yes, spring is great. But remember, this is Canada. Spring generally lasts all of five weeks which it just so happens is the typical length of a federal election campaign.

Do you want to remember spring as a five-week, coast-to-coast gabfest by our feckless leaders? I didn’t think so.

Which leaves us summer. A lovely season when it occasionally decides to show up. But not the time to hold an election.

Summer is our one chance to get away from it all. And "all" includes politics in general and elections in particular.

As Vivaldi might have said: "So much for the four seasons." So when should we have an election? Personally, I’d say let’s hold an election any time so long as it’s not in the spring, summer, winter or fall. I think most Canadians would be on board with such a seasonable proposal.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Death Panel Implementation

In his recent address to Congress, President Obama derisively dismissed Sarah Palin’s accusation that the Democrats’ healthcare reform package includes provisions for so-called death panels. But recently leaked White House documents suggest that maybe the former Alaska governor was right.

Memorandum *** TOP SECRET ***

To: The President
From: Some Guy
Re: Death Panel Proposal

Once a final bill has been agreed to by both the House and the Senate, it will be time to start planning ahead for the creation, composition and regulation of the new Death Panels.

First off, I strongly suggest that we change the term Death Panel. Secret polling has revealed that an overwhelming majority of respondents don’t react well to that phrase. We’ve been kicking around a few other names for your consideration and have attached them as Schedule A.

Personally, I’m kind of partial to The Taxpayer Reduction Tribunal. Anything that includes the words "tax" and "reduction" is bound to sound good to a lot of voters.

I also like The End-of-life Planning Board and The Early Checkout Council. Everyone likes to plan and an early checkout suggests efficiency and convenience.

Next, of course, you’re gong to have to set your mind to the board’s structure. We’re thinking literally of a tribunal, as in panels of three so we won’t get stuck with tie votes when it comes to final decisions. The last thing a dying citizen needs is uncertainty when it comes to end-of-life choices.

As for those end-of-life choices, I think we should encourage the tribunal to issue their final decisions with as many options as possible to the prospective decedent. It’s always nice to think you have some say over your final fate even if all of the available choices lead to the same result. In this regard, we’re hoping to get group discount rates on everything from cyanide to handguns to help the public minimize the expense of judgment implementation.

So long as the panel hearing a particular case leaves it up to the individual coming before them to effect the panel’s final ruling, they can’t be faulted for just doing their job. I think we’ll only run into problems when overzealous tribunal members insist on carrying out the final decisions themselves.

Of course there will be difficult cases where applicants may not want to abide by the tribunal decision. Sadly, it may be necessary to assist certain reticent individuals to see the wisdom of the tribunal’s ruling.

As with other government functions, we think it would be wise to consider sub-contracting out the job in such cases to designated, pre-approved "death consultants." I understand that there is already a lengthy waiting list of eager applicants.

Finally, in order to achieve some much-needed "buy-in", we strongly recommend that the Chairperson’s position be paid at a significantly higher level and that a prominent American be appointed. We understand that Governor Palin is currently looking for work. If you could convince her to sign on, we think that could be a win-win-win situation for you, Ms. Palin and the American healthcare system.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Dr. Politics

A leaked transcript of a recent D. C.-area therapy session:

DR. POLITICS: Come on in, Mr. Party. Lie down and let’s begin.
G. O. PARTY: Sure, doc, and thanks for seeing me on such short notice.
DR. POLITICS: Not a problem. I always have time for my regular patients. However, I note that I haven’t seen you in over eight years? How have you been?
G. O. PARTY: Not so good. I was doing great for the longest time and then all of a sudden I just lost it.
DR. POLITICS: When you say "lost it", what exactly do you mean?
G. O. PARTY: I mean I lost a majority in the Senate, a majority in the House and the presidency. About all I’ve got left are a few governorships and Rush Limbaugh.
DR. POLITICS: Wow! You’ve certainly been through some rough times.
G. O. PARTY: Yeah, and it’s not looking any brighter doc. What am I going to do?
DR. POLITICS: Now as I recall, you went through a similar experience back in the nineties. Is that right? Maybe we can learn something from how you handled that depression.
G. O. PARTY: Yes I did but that was different. Back then, I sometimes had a House majority and, even though I didn’t have the presidency, I had ways of coping.
DR. POLITICS: Jog my memory, G. O. How did you cope back then?
G. O. PARTY: Well I just kept digging up dirt on the incumbent and calling him out on all his sexual improprieties. It was easy and, to tell you the truth, it was a lot of fun. But these days, that doesn’t work at all.
G. O. PARTY: You see, doc, even though this new guy’s from Chicago, he’s clean as a whistle. I just can’t get any dirt on him. In fact, this time, it’s my friends who keep getting caught with their pants down. It’s downright depressing.
DR. POLITICS: Maybe it’s time to change tactics, G. O. Rather than trying to undermine the other side, perhaps you’d do better if you concentrated on yourself, came up with some new ideas and adopted a more positive attitude..
G. O. PARTY: That’s easy for you to say doc but, honestly, I haven’t had a new idea in years and I’m not sure I’ve got any to offer. How about "More war and less tax"?
DR. POLITICS: No, no, no. That’s not what I meant. Why not hold a policy convention and create a new platform? Or how about working with the other side to come up with some constructive compromises? You’ll be surprised how much better you’ll feel if you try to help others.
G. O. PARTY: I don’t know, doc. I really miss the Bush years. We got to do and say whatever we wanted to and we didn’t have to be nice to anyone. Why can’t things be like that again?
DR. POLITICS: I’m sorry but I see that our time is up. I suggest we book a series of appointments to work on your issues, G. O. Are you free for the next eight years?

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

The Obama Network


TO: The President
FROM: Rahm
RE: Next week’s media schedule

"The Today Show" - 8:10 A. M.
Live appearance on "The Today Show." Be sure to joke about Al Roker’s weight loss and congratulate him on his new healthy lifestyle. Speaking of health, etc., etc..... Fly back to Washington.

"The Ellen Show" - 10:15 A. M.
Brief satellite feed for "The Ellen Show" from the White House kitchen. Demonstrate for Ellen your healthy recipe for chicken fajitas. Speaking of health, yada, yada, yada.

"The Noon Show" - 12 Noon
Appear live on WDCA-TV’s noon show and guest host the weather segment. Point out current warming trends. Speaking of warming, outline administration’s latest plans to deal with global climate change.

"Movie Matinee" - 2 P. M.
Fill in for host on WETA-TV’s "Movie Matinee" and introduce today’s movie: "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington." Use spot to tout your plans to clean up politics in Washington. Be sure to stress how much you love Jimmy Stewart.

"Traffic Report" - 5 P. M.
Live feed to Chicago radio station WGN-AM to do their 4 P. M. traffic report. Be sure to note the increasing numbers of domestically produced cars on the road, undoubtedly due to the success of your "Cash for Clunkers" program.

"Dancing with the Stars" - 8 P. M.
Pre-taped appearance on tonight’s episode of "Dancing with the Stars." Thanks to Tom Delay’s unexpected retirement for unspecified dance-related charges, you were paired with professional dancer Cheryl Burke for a performance of the Washington two-step. After show airs, be sure to highlight the two major steps required to implement health care reform.

"Monday Night Football" - 9:30 P. M.
Brief satellite appearance on "Monday Night Football" at halftime of Carolina-Dallas game. Scripted banter with Mike Tirico and Ron Jaworski about the difficulties in "quarterbacking" legislation through Congress. Stress how politics, like football, is a team sport and that we all need to be using the same playbook, etc., etc. Remember that new Cowboys Stadium has 20,000 square feet of video screen so go easy on the smile.

"The Jay Leno Show" - 10:20 P. M.
Videotaped segment for "The Jay Leno Show." Scripted jokes stress Jay’s revival after leaving "The Tonight Show" and your upcoming revival after slapping down the Republicans. Comments on Jay’s healthy appearance, his car collection and the temperature in the studio lead to discussions of healthcare, the auto industry and global warming.

(Final reminder: Don’t forget to practice your lines for upcoming cameo in the medical drama "Grey’s Anatomy." Still checking to see if we can change script to include reference to "single-payer public option.")