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12.23.2005
The War On XMA$

Fox News is right. There is a war on XMA$. And one of the dastardly fiends behind the hostilities is me. I’m stuffed to the gills with incorrect holiday sentiments here and I’ve only been to a mall a couple times. The first holly covered trigger that set me off was the flacking for this shopping season began the week before Halloween. Red and green bumped orange and black. That’s not right. Not to mention the whole turkey thing getting shunted behind a deluge of commercials featuring a car with a giant red bow on it. No, that’s not going to stir up the vanishing middle class at all. Repeatedly imagining other people buying each other LEXUSES as gifts. And now, NOW, the retail industry is not happy with the degree of greed with which we’ve been consumed, so before the Yule Log has even been lit much less embered down, they’re already pushing AFTER-XMA$ SALES. Hey, settle down. We got a couple days to go here. Okay, I’ve lost and XMA$ has won. I’ve come to the dark side and realize that if I don’t do everything I can to make sure corporate America has a Merry XMA$, the terrorists will win. So, in the spirit of giving till it hurts, let me offer up to the least deserving of us my annual scathingly incisive yet perennially trenchant, WILL DURST’S 2005 XMA$ GIFT WI$H LI$T.

• For Former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich who says he’s thinking of running for the Presidency in 2008: second thoughts.
• For hotel heiress Paris Hilton: a year long sabbatical in Khazakstan. Actually, that gift is for the rest of us.
• For Bill O’Reilly: a four day all expenses paid trip to the Folsom Street Fair in San Francisco.
• For Gavin Newsom: a copy of the unrated version of “Requiem for a Dream” so he can see what sexist and offensive really looks like.
• For Hillary Clinton: A new best seller entitled “It Takes an Impeachment.”
• For the Democratic Senate: The gumption to continue the fight for the rights of minorities. Even if the main minority they’re fighting for these days is themselves.
• For San Francisco Police Chief Heather Fong: a sense of humor.
• For Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice: one blessedly quiet year in a Donald Rumsfeld free-zone.
• For the Democratic House of Representatives: a spine.
• For George W Bush: an approval rating higher than his average test scores in college.
• For Televangelist Pat Robertson: a Clue Train Fast Pass so he can ride for free for 30 days.
• For Supreme Court Justice nominee Samuel Alito: a Harriet Miers Swimsuit Calendar.
• For Cindy Sheehan: whatever it takes to prompt more cries from Rush Limbaugh that she’s just a polticial tool.
• For Harriet Miers, Bush’s personal lawyer who called him the smartest man she ever met: a round trip ticket to anywhere she wants as long as it's not Texas.
• For Vice President Dick Cheney: a 5 gallon tub of sneer removal.
• For Barbara Bush: less photo-ops (and I only remember one).
• For Alaska Senator Ted Stevens: the permission to drill for oil in his own butt.
• For the King of Pop Michael Jackson: enough sense to stay the hell in Bahrain.
• For California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger: a shoehorn necklace to assist in his chronic Foot-in-Mouth disease.
• For all members of our Armed Forces currently involved in this mission to extricate our oil out from under their sand: a safe return and yes, that does include our mine-sniffing dolphins.

Political comic Will Durst is willing to help Senator Stevens out. Personally.
Don't forget! The Will & Willie Show. Starting January 2nd. Mon-Fri. 7-10 AM. 960. The Quake.,br>And, The Big Fat Year End Kiss Off Comedy Show XIII. December 26th through the 31st. Will Durst, Jim Short, Deb & Mike, Steve Kravitz and Arthur Gaus.
 
12.15.2005
The First Green President

NBC’s Brian WIlliams asked George Bush if the federal government’s faltering response to Hurricane Katrina was due to racial indifference and for a half a second you could hear almost Dubya’s vertebrae fuse together as he perceptibly grew about a quarter of a millimeter and his voice trembled and he snarled with a noticeable lack of tele prompting, “You can call me anything you want, but do not call me a racist.”

Which was not the point, but it is true. It's not fair to call the President of the United States a racist. This is not a man who gives the tiniest whit about black or white. This is a man who only cares about green. And whether or not you have any. In this country, if you’re rich, you’ll get taken care of. If you’re not, you won’t. Pretty much as simple as that.

He is neither an ageist or a sexist or a fascist or a typist. Or a homophobe. Or a xenophobe. Or a xylophone. Rather, he is a cashist. The First Green President, but the only whales he’s saving are the Vegas kind. Tax cuts for the wealthy. Economic stimuli for the wealthy. Legislative amendments for the wealthy. Overseas incentives for the wealthy. Judicial appointments designed to nurture favorable decisions for the wealthy. Secret winking loopholes for the wealthy. Complimentary all you can eat seafood buffets with a pearl in every oyster for the wealthy. No bid contracts for his buddies. Who happen to be, say it with me now…wealthy.

For the poor: you got your cuts. Winter heating subsidy cuts for the poor. Student aid cuts for the poor. Health cuts for the poor. Food stamp and nutritional cuts for the poor. Education cuts for the poor. Outlandish dress codes at State Dinners to further disenfranchise the poor. Outsourcing jobs to create more poor. With George Bush in charge, it's a bull market for poor.

In other words, if you got money, just sit still and you will be showered with more. If you ain’t got, he and his people will throw up plexiglass, guard dogs, razor wire, enough red tape to wrap a moose: whatever it takes to keep you from getting.

I know the theory on paper is trickle down. Rich people spend their money and it trickles down to the poor. But the theory on paper is crap. Rich people hang onto their money. That’s how they got rich. You give us poor people money and we’ll spend every damn penny we get our grubby little hands on. Why do you think we’re poor? Blowing it on superfluous stuff like food and rent and medicine and gasoline. Silly profligate us. Besides, I’m tired of being trickled on.

So, let's be straight about this. Kanye West is dead wrong about the President. George Bush doesn’t hate black people. George Bush doesn’t hate poor people either. He just LOVES rich people. A whole lot. Like a fellow waiter back in Milwaukee used to say, “it's not that I like the rich more than the poor, it's just that they tip so much better.”

Political comic Will Durst actually thinks poor people tip better. But the rich do order more expensive bottles of wine.
Don't forget! The Will & Willie Show. Starting January 2nd. Mon-Fri. 7-10 AM. 960. The Quake.
And, The Big Fat Year End Kiss Off Comedy Show XIII. December 26th through the 31st. Will Durst, Jim Short, Deb & Mike, Steve Kravitz and Arthur Gaus.
 
12.9.2005
White House Report Card

The bipartisan 9/11 Commission released a report card on the administration's efforts in the wake of the 9/11 attacks and to say the news wasn't good is like saying abandoned mine fields make for lousy hot air balloon staging grounds. George Bush ought to thank his lucky stars he doesn't have to take this report card home to Poppy and Babs, because I'm betting he'd be grounded for at least a semester and have the keys to his Porsche 944 turned over to Jeb. Needless to say this is not the kind of card that greases the skids for entrance into Yale but that never bothered a Bush. Come to think of it, I'm sure this kind of thing has happened before. 1 A, 12 Bs, 9 Cs, 12 Ds, 5 Fs and 2 incompletes. A C- average. Half a grade below the C student Bush proudly calls himself. But this report was strictly focused on the Administration's response to 911. The Commission totally ignored other areas of the job. So, in the interest of a more informed nation, and a fully rebuked President, I'm here to do the rigorous work of finishing off the Bush Administration's Report Card.

IRAQ. F.
Got us a new strategy for victory. Apparently our old strategy for victory was defective. You know what? Custer had a strategy for victory too.

ECONOMY. A.
Everything's just ducky if you're an oil company executive.

ECONOMY D-.
Not as ducky for those of us who aren't oil company executives.

ENVIRONMENT. D.
One bright note: defying conventional wisdom, the environment is still with us. One thing you can say under the Bush Administration, is that the nature trails are wider and more plentiful and the fishing more challenging.

TECHNOLOGY. C.
Due to the diligence of our intrepid Vice President, incredible strides continue to be made in the development of military craft and weaponry.

IMMIGRATION. C.
A mixed bag. Thousands of Mexicans continue to stream north across the Rio Grande looking for decent paying jobs while at the same time thousands of Americans continue to stream north across the Canadian border looking for inexpensive pharmaceuticals and health care.

TORTURE. F.
Administration promotes most torture friendly atmosphere since William Shatner ended his singing career.

ETHICS. D.
Would have been an F, but the main reason is it's mostly Republicans caught taking bribes. Nobody wants to bribe a Democrat, because they can't get anything done.

EMERGENCY RESPONSE. F-.
Wasn't aware New Orleans levees were at risk. My Aunt Hoogolah in Rhinelander, Wisconsin knew. Didn't know refugees were huddled in darkness of the New Orleans Convention Center. Anderson Cooper knew. Hell, he probably turned out the lights.

CRONYISM. F.
Like most Bush appointees, FEMA head, Michael Brown, couldn't distinguish his ass from yellow paint.

UNITING AMERICA. F.
Because of him, this country is more polarized than a pawn in a poorly manufactured magnetic chess set. Inspired large groups of Christians to speak out against tolerance. Hope he's proud.

ORIGINALITY. D.
President obviously copied directly from Dick Cheney's foreign policy homework assignment.

EDUCATION. D.
Encouraging continued Republican hold over Congress and White House by refusing to fund his education reforms.

JOBS. D.
American job market is imploding. Only growth industry is bankruptcy lawyers.

TAKES RESPONSIBILITY FOR OWN ACTIONS. Unsatisfactory.
Goes so far in allowing industry lobbyists to write legislation, there's a tasseled loafer repair shop in the basement of the White House.

PENMANSHIP. Satisfactory.
Pleasant cursives in his autopen signature.

WORKS WELL WITH OTHERS. Unsatisfactory.
Appoints John Bolton as US Ambassador to the UN. A man, who is to diplomacy what Oscar Wilde was to whitewater rafting.

Political Comic Will Durst feels like a pawn in a poorly manufactured Civil War magnetic chess set.
Don't forget! The Will & Willie Show. Starting January 2nd. Mon-Fri. 7-10 AM. 960. The Quake.
And, The Big Fat Year End Kiss Off Comedy Show XIII. December 26th through the 31st. Will Durst, Jim Short, Deb & Mike, Steve Kravitz and Arthur Gaus. See Calendar page for details.
 
12.2.2005
FAQ: Plan For Victory
Frequently Asked Questions
About President Bush's Plan For Victory

Q. President Bush recently announced his "PLAN FOR VICTORY." What does this plan entail?
A. It's two pronged. There is a short term plan and a long term plan.

Q. And what are they?
A. The short term plan is to keep the Democrats from regaining control of Congress in 06.

Q. And the long term plan?
A. Keeps the Democrats from regaining control of the White House in 08. Or acquire photographs of Hillary Clinton in bed with a goat and/or a woman.

Q. So, nothing about Iraq then?
A. Well, now that you mention it...there was something about the brave freedom loving Iraqis and how together, we are winning the tough struggle against violent extremism, but it was just more of the same in an attempt to rescue his poll numbers from falling through the floor like an anvil made of dark matter.

Q. What is the PLAN FOR VICTORY going to replace?
A. The PLAN FOR QUAGMIRE we've been following the last three years.

Q. Didn't he reveal a strategy for winning?
A. Yeah, but, you know what, so do the Chicago Cubs. Every spring. Don't imagine election bound Republicans are looking forward to changing their slogan to: "We'll get em next year."

Q. What is their slogan now?
A. Lately, it seems to be "Incompetent Corrupt Cronies 'R Us."

Q. Didn't he also refuse to set a timetable for withdrawal saying it would send a message to the world that America was weak?
A. Yes, he did. So apparently he's okay with continuing to send a message to the world that America is a big bad bully who will beat the crap out of you if we don't like the way you look at us.

Q. Don't we run the danger of alienating our allies if we just cut and run?
A. Cut and run? There's no running. This isn't running. This is walking. Backwards. Really fast backward walking. Who knows, we might even walk backwards really fast right into Iran or Syria.

Q. How does the President define victory?
A. According to a separate 35 page document accompanying the speech, titled "National Strategy for Victory in Iraq," victory means creating the conditions that allow us to leave.

Q. Is he saying that getting out of Iraq is our only path to victory?
A. No. No. No. A lot of victories await us. Tiny victories and little victories and medium sized victories. Not to say we haven't experienced victories already. A couple tiny victories, a moral victory, and an election victory. And if we string a bunch of these little victories together, it could add up to a nice medium sized victory. Or a gaggle of little victories and a medium victory or a series of medium victories coupled with one or two moral victories could add up to a big victory. And two or three big victories could result in a humongous victory.

Q. What is that?
A. A Republican victory. In November 06 and 08.

Q. What is the best case scenario?
A. We try to incubate democracy in the Mideast and whenever the political costs at home get too high, we declare victory and leave, leaving our secret prison camps intact.

Political comic Will Durst is declaring victory over his comedy club career. Don't forget to catch Durst at Zanies in downtown Chicago tonight through Sunday. 312. 337. 4027.
 
11.26.2005
Giving Thanks

Aaah. Thanksgiving.The very bestest holiday of them all. Food, family, football: three of the four Fs. Not to mention 4 story tall helium balloons on rope tethers. What a day. 40 foot cartoon characters, tryptophane overdosing, lime Jello with carrot shreds, AND a chance to see the Dallas Cowboys lose? Where's the bad? The good news is that right now it's not that difficult to come up with a list of what to be thankful for. You start with the old stand bys: a wonderful family, good health, odd friends, and the fact that we're Americans and don't have to worry about the President calling in an airstrike and bombing us...yet. Then you move on to the obvious. Anchor Steam Christmas Ale and double cheeseburgers on a butter grilled bun. But in these troubling times it's also important to look beyond our personal cubicles and find the universal threads that weave together to make up the fabric of our lives. I have no idea what that meant either. Mostly it's just a segue into a list of other things we should all be thankful for. "We" meaning that highly influential splinter group encompassing political comedians and editorial cartoonists.

• China. For its status as a safe publicity haven for any politician sinking in the polls faster than a gravel truck with no brakes off a hairpin cliff turn into a mountain lake. Re: November trips for both California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and President George W Bush.
• France. Because now the French are revolting. But that's redundant, isn't it?
• Robert Novak for his inability to keep a low profile since leaking the name of CIA agent, Valerie Plame.
• Our State Department for invading a country based on the ramblings of a source the CIA nicknamed "Curveball."
• Corporate marketers for their conspicuous patriotic refusal to infringe on the sanctity of the Fourth of July by delaying the start of their Christmas campaigns until early August.
• The 23rd Amendment for prohibiting this President from serving more than two terms.
• Vice President Cheney for his epic condescension. A man without whom we would never be cognizant of the subtle intricacies of the concept of "compassionate torture."
• President Bush for his use of the tactic of "stonewalling," washing all us Boomers in a nostalgic wave of a better time.
• The Administration for wanting to have their turkey and eat it too. Swift Boating anybody who dares suggest we leave Iraq, then having generals leak plans to do the exact same thing.
• Karl Rove, Scott McLellan, and Scooter Libby for their unceasing and continuing efforts to stretch the bounds of human incredulity. And oh yeah, let's not forget Tom DeLay and Bill Frist. And Pat Robertson. And the entire Executive Branch. And every Democrat breathing save Congressman John Murtha. I salute each and every one of these gentle people for their part in making us rethink on a daily basis exactly how much crap we're willing to swallow to keep our SUVs full of gas.
• Congress. For the construction of a Prescription Medicare plan just a wee bit murkier than the instructions for a wire bookcase translated from the original Mandarin into Sanskrit before being printed on grey paper with insufficient toner in something resembling English. A little.
• Lobbyist Jack Abramoff for the pure chutzpa of convincing an Indian tribe to pay for his FedEx Stadium luxury suite to watch the Redskins play.

Will Durst had his turkey and ate it too. And it was good. Catch Durst at The Chandelier Ballroom in Hartford, Wisconsin this Saturday night, and at Zanies in downtown Chicago all next week.
 
11.17.2005
Son Of The Scoundrel: The Sequel

Oh no you did 'ent. Don't you tell me that you did. Not again. Because only a gutless swine would trot out that weak tired line of crap. Again. Dividing America. Again. You didn't really say it, did you? That anyone who criticizes you is endangering the troops? Not again! Can I just ask, where the hell do you get the cajones, after everything we've gone through the last three years, to let that pathetic argument oooze out of your pie hole one more time? Must come from your mother's side.

Please tell me I'm wrong. Please tell me you did 'ent give a speech on VETERANS DAY accusing your critics of being the ones who are dividing this country. That all that is necessary to comfort the enemy is to possess the temerity to question your bogus transparent motives for going to war against a nation with absolutely NO CONNECTION to 911. A war you have since claimed to have gotten the permission of God to execute. You know something? You got a mean God. Probably likes giving spina bifida to babies.

And don't tell me either that you made this declaration while employing members of our armed forces as a backdrop to give you the cover of credibility. Hiding behind the very people you put in harm's way. Again. I take it back. To call you a gutless swine is to disparage the contribution that male pigs with empty intestinal cavities have given to this great country of ours. Spineless jellyfish is more like it. Something to be scraped off the bottom of a shoe.

Yeah, sure, fine. Lots of people agreed that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction in 2002. Teddy Kennedy, Bill Clinton, Saddam's neighbors, France, Denmark, your wife. Lots of people. Who cares? They were wrong too. What difference does that make? Since it's been proved beyond a reasonable doubt (which excludes Limbaugh and Hannity) that your administration jobbed the figures these people were able to review. For crum's sake, I KNEW Saddam didn't have any WMD. Why? Because he didn't use them.

"Then why did he claim to have them?" Who the hell knows? I work in bars. And you know what I see all the time? People taking swings at cops. All the time. Why the hell would they do that? The best case scenario of swinging at a cop is you miss while his head is turned and he doesn't see it. Makes no sense at all. And yet it happens all the time.

You also claimed Saddam had a mess of mushroom clouds waiting for us, 45 minutes away. No he did 'ent. You can't tell a bunch of people lies, have them repeat what you told them and then claim that you were influenced by the people you convinced. Besides, you have never listened to a single word Ted Kennedy has said in his entire life. Why would you start now. What are you going to pull out of your butt next: his brother's Domino Theory?

Sir, you are a failure of monumental proportions. A blanched husk of an empty shell. If they had an opposite of Mount Rushmore, your face and Milton Fillmore's would anchor it with whichever Harrison gave the three hour speech in the rain, caught pneumonia, and died. And I just wish someone would be willing to take a bullet for this country and commit fellatio on you so we could impeach your lying ass.

Even before he went there, political comic Will Durst knew that Brazil is a big country. Don't forget to catch Will Durst, Friday, Sunday, and Tuesday in the Sacramento Opera production of "Die Fledermaus." And Saturday at the Performing Arts Center in Grass Valley.
 
11.2.2005
Libby On The Label

When it says Libby Libby Libby on the label label label, it means testimony given, is mostly fable fable fable.
The team in charge of Scooter Libby's defense has already tipped its hand as to the Vice Presidential Chief of Staff's legal strategy in the Valerie Plame case. Apparently he's going to stick with the "I'm a busy guy" defense. We've all seen it before. They trot out a stack of papers as big as a phone book, and call his phone logs"Defense Exhibit A." "We're talking about a busy person here people. How could this man possibly be expected to remember at what precise time he betrayed one of our secret agents as revenge on her husband for criticizing our government's motivations for going to war? This is the chief of staff of the most powerful man in the free world. Payback is his job description. Exacting vengeance on perceived enemies is a 24 hour a day job. For him, the skirting of the boundaries of treason is like you and me going to the copy machine. You want the truth America? Let me tell you something, YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH."

In the interest of avoiding this boring, tiresome and cliched charade while at the same time fulfilling my duties as a consultant to Court TV, I've provided a couple other possible defense strategies the Vice President's team might want to check out.

• Too pre-occupied with the grave responsibility of preserving the safety of our great nation from evildoers to recall exact sequence of events over 26 months ago.

• Perjury! Since when is perjury a crime? What are you guys, liberals?

• Playing Scrabble in the Presidential Suite of the Mayflower Hotel with Dick Cheney, Bill Frist, Karl Rove, and Tom DeLay at the time. What time? Any time you want.

• Indictment is simply the desperate death rattle of a partisan prosecutor determined to advance the empty agenda of a hollow opposition party by exploiting extreme legal technicalities.

• Come on. His accusers are jailed journalists. Who you going to believe? The people committed to protecting us from terrorists or a bunch of Geraldo wanna-bes?

• He was on Twinkies at the time.

• Fixing broken crutches of crippled children at an orphans hospital at the time of reputed phone calls. And why weren't you?

• Russian Embassy microwave interference distorted his space-time continuum.

• You can't send a guy named Scooter to prison.

• Couldn't have made calls in question as he was consulting with Evangelist Pat Robertson in a one on one seminar about how to better spread the message of our Savior Lord Jesus Christ across the globe.

• If the glove doesn't fit, you must acquit.

• Inner ear infection caught while rescuing drowning puppies in the Euphrates River had him all discombobulated. But he's much better now.

• Recently diagnosed with an 18 and 1/2 minute gap in his memory.

• In the middle of obsessing over the cancellation of "Buffy the Vampire Killer," subsequently went on a two week ecstasy bender and can't recall anything from that time period except a Portuguese seamstress named Eva and a three legged goat.

• Unable to process precise memories due to lead poisoning contracted while growing up as a poor black child in Queens.

• Before single handedly stymieing a hitherto unpublicized terrorist attack in the Cookbook section of a Borders Books Store in the Crystal City Mall, he took a direct hit from a radioactive Al Qaeda bicycle pump hose causing him to suffer from debilitating headaches and occasional blackouts.

Political Comic Will Durst did some of that.
 
10.21.2005
Contract On America 2.1

The calendar says the middle of Autumn but for the Democrats it should be dead solid Springtime. As a group, I'm fairly flabbergasted they aren't spending all their spare time twirling and spinning and throwing spears of asparagus into a bonfire while wearing nothing but stringed acorn necklaces...or however it is that godless secularists make their sacrifices. For this should be a good time. One that calls for slow-motion skipping on the beach with bouquets of ribbons attached to helium balloons trailing in the breeze over their sun-kissed shoulders.

Why? Because the GOP is in deep doo doo. How deep is the doo doo? Real deep. So deep that every Republican member of Congress will soon be issued a three foot length of bamboo for use as a breathing tube. So deep that watching Saddam Hussein plead "not guilty" is just a grim reminder that it won't be long before Karl Rove, Scooter Libby, and Bill Frist get the chance to do the same. So deep that the best news the Republicans received all week was their House Majority Leader avoided a nationally televised perp walk by surrendering to Houston authorities on his own.

One would think the Democrats reaction would be to capitalize on their adversary's troubles. To grab the feet of the majority party and run down the stairs of the Washington Monument with the head of their opponent bouncing off each of the 897 cement steps. One would think and one would be as wrong as plaid velour. Instead, their response is a bad Xerox without any toner.

Trying to replicate Newt Gingrich's 94 Congressional coup, Nancy Pelosi announced the Dems are putting together their own Contract with America. And of course they are in the process of mucking it up worse than a pig on roller skates spinning china plates. Instead of easy-to-comprehend slogans designed for ordinary voters, the leaders of the shadow opposition are contemplating such reforms as "Support fair wages with good benefits so no one goes to work every day and comes home poor and dependent on public services" which lilts trippingly off the tongue like a diseased cattle truck off the side of Bryce Canyon. Then there's "An End to a Culture of Cronyism, Incompetence, and Corruption in America," as sexy as Alan Greenspan naked. And 20 points if you can get that image out of your head in under an hour.

So, I have come up with a list of contract items the Democrats can use to ingratiate themselves with their supposed base. No need to thank me, I'm here to help.

The Democrats New Improved Revised Contract with America 2.1.
1. The It's the Economy, Stupid, Part 2 Act.
2. The Stop Shooting Ourselves in the Foot Act.
3. The "Common Sense" Don't Invade Countries that had Nothing to do with 911 Act.
4. The We Don't Hire Buddies' Roommates (Kennedys Excepted) Act.
5. The Health Care Good, Oil Companies Bad Act.
6. The Clinton Aura Restoration Act.
7. The Stop Whining Already Act.
8. The Fiscal Responsibility, No, Really, Act.
9. The Promise to Remember We Are Not Republicans Act.
10. The Never Run Another Effete Intellectual from Massachusetts for President Ever Again Act.

Political Comic Will Durst especially likes number 10. Don't forget to catch Durst with A. Whitney Brown at Cobb's Comedy Club in San Francisco Thursday through Sunday, Oct 27-30. 415 928 4320.
 
10.14.2005
The Stealth Judge

Can someone please have the simple common human decency to help me understand why all the usual suspects on both sides of the aisle are on such a high twitch concerning the Harriet Miers nomination to the Supreme Court? As a liberal hearing that Charles Krauthammer has contempt for her appointment, my first reaction would be "hey, sign her on, she's my kind of woman."

Besides, isn't it kind of "neat" the President picked someone who thought he was "cool?" That's what Ms. Miers called the President. She also said, "He is the smartest man I've ever met," which is, admittedly, a bit disquieting. Makes you wonder just how many gentlemen the lady has actually met in her life. I'm guessing a number in the low double digits. 30 tops. A majority of whom must have been encountered at bus shelters on the way to Rocky Mountain Oyster eating competitions.

Defending the selection of his longtime personal consultant, President Bush said, "I picked the best person I could find," which begs the question of how hard he was looking. Perhaps it was part of his famous multi-tasking philosophy and he went with the best person he could find while still hanging on to the leash walking his dog in the Rose Garden. Or maybe it was one of his charming country boy practical joke searches and she was the best person he could find blindfolded on his hands and knees in 20 minutes. Or it was a test of the emergency justice network and at the sound of Dick Cheney making "whoop whoop" noises, he went with the best person within range of the Oval Office cordless phone. Who knows, maybe she won a spot check of the cleanest tray in the White House Mess and an appointment to the Supreme Court was first place.

White House Spokesperson Scott McClellan acknowledged a few candidates pulled their names from consideration due to the nature of the confirmation process. This is a shame because one of them apparently was a better "best person" than Miers if not the bestest "best person" Bush could find. But their demurrance is totally understandable, since all DC confirmations these days are akin to throwing raw meat between cranky lion cages. McClellan said "it was just a couple of people" who asked their names be withdrawn, but Scott has been known to be a bit unreliable concerning his grasp of figures, so some people are questioning whether his "couple" might actually mean 142. Okay, the some people are me, but still.

Slapping at the feistiest Dobermans nipping at his far right flank, the President got Conservative broadcaster James C. Dobson to announce he supported Miers based on "things that I know, that I probably shouldn't know." Ooh, that's good. Super secret double cryptic wisdom. Unimpeachable confidentiality. From Bush or God himself, doesn't matter, since one channels the other these days. Which way the direction flows is a subject still up for debate.

Harriet Miers' major qualifications seem to be loyalty and friendship, which sounds more like a background check for First Pet, but he's the President. He gets to pick. Since she describes herself as a born again Christian Evangelical, I'm sure he considers her stealth stance on Roe vs Wade to be a slam dunk, but the wearing of the robes does funny things to a person. Although she claims not to have an opinion on abortion rights. Unh-hunh. Yeah, I believe that. The same way I believe those lions lack an opinion on that meat.

Political comic Will Durst likes his raw meat cooked.
 
9.30.2005
Put The Hammer Down

The old adage is, any halfway decent prosecutor can convince a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich. And that old saw may just be true because this week a grand jury in Travis County, Texas indicted a hammer. Not just any hammer but "The Hammer." House Majority leader Tom DeLay was indicted on a single count of criminal conspiracy and multiple counts of "cranky old man" and "doesn't work well with others." To say he's not happy now is like saying Barium enemas are not highlighted on many Resort Spa menus. And ironically enough, when I speak of a Barium enema I think of Tom DeLay.

In his press conference denying the charges, Teflon Tom channeled some stoic Beast from the Bible probably named Balthabazar or something. His righteous indignation was enough to smite evil doers right through the tv screen as he characterized his indictment as one of political motivation. What? Politically motivated? In DC? No! You can't be serious. What next? Lobbyists with tassels on their loafers? What's ludicrous is, in terms of the politically motivated, Tom DeLay wrote the book. District Attorney Ronnie Earle may actually be responsible for royalties to be paid to the subject of the indictment.

DeLay also called Mr Earle's indictment of him "one of the weakest, most baseless indictments in American history." Wow. In American history!?! Say what you will about Mr. DeLay faults, a lack of self-esteem is apparently not among them. Although it does seem a bit histrionic coming from the man personally responsible for re-igniting the Bill Clinton impeachment train just when it seemed most everybody was willing to shut up, go home, and launder their own blue dresses. "Lying to a grand jury is an impeachable offense" was his exact quote. Hmmm, interesting. How bout bribery, extortion, and general venality?

What I'm delicately hinting at here is Mr. DeLay and ethical lapses are not unfamiliar dance partners. They go together like Chaplin and jerky film. Like grease and skids. Like Spiro Agnew and brown paper bags full of cash. The guy is a walking "12 days of Corruption." "Fiiiiiiive trips to Palm Springs. Four admonishments, three reprimands, two censures...and an indictment in the Lone Star State."

September. Not a good month for Republicans. Bush's spiritual advisor, Karl Rove, still under a cloud in the Valeri Plame leak. GOP Lobbyist Jack Abramoff, indicted in one case and under investigation in others. Top White House procurement official, David Safavian, charged with obstruction in Abramoff probe. Majority Leader Doctor Senator Indian Chief Bill Frist, under investigation due to questionable stock sales. And in his talk to the nation from New Orleans, President Bush misbuttoned his work shirt. That's right. The President of the United States can't even dress himself anymore.

This is not to say that DeLay is screwed dead in the water. For all we know, he could pull a Martha Stewart and come out of this smelling like a rose, i.e., go to prison, lose some weight, and end up with a spinoff of "The Apprentice." Instead of Trump's "You're fired," or Stewart's "you don't fit in," he could lift his ideological twin, Dick Cheney's favorite kiss off: "Go f*** yourself." I smile everytime I imagine him practicing that line in front of a mirror.

Political Comic Will Durst thinks it would be splendid to bring the same decorum for which the US Senate is so justly famous, to network television.
 
9.21.2005
Empty Promises Are The New Black

It didn't matter how great the ovation that greeted the brooding Michael Chertoff as he expanded his line of carefully embroidered denials, or how detailed the chiseled John Roberts' fashioned his impenetrable suit of murky conviction, or how dark were wove Donald Rumsfeld's comfortably reliable patchwork deceptions, it was abundantly obvious that everyone in the known universe (Washington) was waiting for the Big Pump to drop. That the balloons signaling the end of Fashion Week at the White House wouldn't fall until himself, the Dubyah, unveiled his Gulf Coast rhetoric onslaught and to say Karl Rove, the creative director at House of Bush, didn't disappoint, is akin to inferring that Karl Lagerfeld has an impish sense of humor.

Commandeering an oppressively desolate Jackson Square as a backdrop, President Bush swaggered briskly to his podium resplendent in a starched blue work shirt echoing his watery theme in the middle of a breathtakingly beautiful Big Easy night. As a dramatically staged response to critics who had heaped derision on the House's slapdash and untailored response to Hurricane Katrina, the results were nothing less than stunning. The work shirt was a masterly touch, featuring sleeves impeccably rolled up, undoubtedly the result of one of the many master sleeve rollers Rove reportedly has on call from the fabric slums of Milan.

Introducing a new line of fresh nonsense can be an exceedingly tricky business but the Commander in Chief was up to the task as he deftly paid homage to the classic material and traditional patterns of past designers such as Johnson and Roosevelt, offering up the simple and timeless elegance of the promise of government help. He even playfully dipped into the trademarked "Emperor's New Clothes" Family line, doling out rustic albeit purely ornamental anecdotes and one liners. From his first crooked smile to his halting farewell, this was an exercise in white space and a triumphant return of the empty but well-constructed suit we've come to know and love during times of crisis.

Liquid and pliable and fluid and inexact, the sludge coming out of his mouth cleverly matched the toxic moat surrounding the Ninth Ward. If one color stood out, it could be called ochre, auburn, burnt sienna, or as it is probably referred to in the House of Bush: good ol' brown. But not Brownie. You could see it in his speech, although his breeding and discretion kept him from describing the river of human feces that floated past former parade routes, his verbal weave was oddly reminiscent of it. Perhaps in an attempt to play off George's Wild West heritage, Mssrs. Bush and Rove consciously manufactured audio reverberations of the litterings of a bull pen, and his target audience, a group of well screened and thoroughly devoted fascistnistas, were simultaneously stunned and dazed by the audacity and humility of it all.

It was a night of fusion; a celebration of the sober alongside the frivolous and if anybody could pull off this attempt at a return to business as usual by way of ridiculous theater, it was George W Bush. Whether this season's line can catapult his fortunes back from his last disastrous attempt is of intense interest to the House of Bush's comrades and competitors. Has he re-ushered in a new era of nostalgic deficit spending or is the runway smoke machine set on eleven? Still your beating heart: time will tell.

Political Comic Will Durst thinks the runway smoke machine is set on eleven.
 
9.7.2005
What They Said/What They Meant: Katrina

Who: President George Bush: 2 days before Hurricane Katrina made landfall.
What He Said: "A State of Emergency exists in Louisiana beginning yesterday."
What He Meant: "But since I'm still on vacation, I need to stage a few photo-ops strumming a guitar and playing golf first."

Who: Dennis Hastert.
What He Said: "I don't know about that (rebuilding New Orleans.) That doesn't make sense to me."
What He Meant: "It's just poor people, right?"

Who: President Bush.
What He Said: "We want to make sure that we can respond properly if there's a WMD attack or another major storm."
What He Meant: "It was Al Qaeda again."

Who: Barbara Bush at the Houston Astrodome.
What She Said: "So many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them."
What She Meant: "It's just poor people, right?"

Who: President Bush: in Alabama 4 days after the Hurricane.
What He Said: "Out of the rubbles of Trent Lott's house—he's lost his entire house—there's going to be a fantastic house. And I'm looking forward to sitting on the porch."
What He Meant: "If you expect help, you better move to a state run by Republicans. Even better, a state run by my brother."

Who: Homeland Secretary Michael Chertoff.
What He Said: "The conditions at the New Orleans Super Dome were no where near as bad as the TV images suggested."
What He Meant: "Lying next to dead people in toxic waste without food and water while terrorized by thugs ain't such a bad thing."

Who: President Bush, Sept. 1, 2005.
What He Said: "I don't think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees."
What He Meant: "I don't think anyone imagined people would fly airplanes into buildings."

Who: Senator Rick Santorum.
What He Said: "You have people who don't heed those warnings and then put people at risk... There may be a need to look at tougher penalties on those who decide to ride it out."
What He Meant: "And when I say tough penalties, I mean worse than drowning in your attic."

Who: President Bush speaking about FEMA chairman Michael Brown.
What He Said: "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job."
What He Meant: "For a former head of the Arabian Horse Association."

Who: Barbara Bush at the Houston Astrodome.
What She Said: "What I am hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay here in Texas."
What She Meant: "For crum's sake, I live in Texas."

Who: President Bush.
What He Said: "What I intend to do is to lead an investigation to find out what went right and what went wrong."
What He Meant: "We will track down these evildoing Hurricanes. They can run but they can't hide. We will liberate the brave freedom loving Hurricanians."

Who: President Bush.
What He Said: "I remember New Orleans as a great town where I used to enjoy myself —occasionally too much."
What He Meant: "I could use a drink."

Who: President Bush.
What He Said: "If things went wrong, we'll correct them, and when things went right, we'll duplicate them."
What He Meant: "One list is going to be longer than the other."

Like President Bush, political comic Will Durst could use a drink.
 
9.3.2005
A Speck In Katrina's Eye

Hard to fathom the chaos I'm seeing on my TV soggy but safely ensconced here at my Dad's house in Milwaukee. A wrung out speck of comic detritus lucky to have dodged the wrath of Katrina's Eye. And a mite sheepish. Always told anyone who bothered to listen I wanted to experience a Hurricane, but then, when the chance finally came, I hiked up my skirts and ran like a little school girl. And am extremely glad I did.

My scheduled two dates last weekend were going to be a working vacation with the emphasis on the drinking like a fish part. Working on Saturday at Martine's, a club in Metairie, and then the House of Blues Parish Room (little venue—seats about 240) in New Orleans on Sunday. Followed by a flight out of Armstrong International to Milwaukee to see my Dad Monday morning. Cue ominous music.

After landing Friday night, the joke was the damn Hurricane was going to screw up not just the whole town but our shows as well. We would make a fortune with our "Dive the French Quarter" t-shirts, featuring a logo of a tiny floating scuba diver holding a hurricane glass. Easy less than a 1% chance of it ever happening kind of laughter. Saturday morning the chuckles started to stick in our throats like a canape made out of sawdust. Katrina stubbornly refused to veer off and wimp out like all New Orleanians distractedly assumed she would. People exhausted from evacuating Hurricanes that had never come. Who had heard the weathermen cry "Chicken Little" too many times: twice last year and twice the year before. People suffering from a serious case of Hurricane Fatigue.

But that didn't factor into our thinking. We were just comics trying to salvage a gig (me and Bill Dykes, the producer/comic who booked the mini tour,) so we spent an hour haranguing the general manager of the HOB, that "the show must go on." "How bad can it be?" "We'll just work for the waiters and service staff of the clubs in the Quarter. The ones who can't leave. Screw the tourists. It'll be therapeutic. Besides, she's not supposed to hit till Monday."

Corporate fiscal sense prevailed in his decision to close the whole joint after Sunday's Gospel Brunch and he only kept that open because it had pretty much sold out. As for us, he really didn't have any choice since most of his staff had already called in reporting they were getting the hell out of Dodge. Then the Gulf casinos announced they were closing at 2am Sunday morning. Casinos closing. Not a good sign. Huge corporations turning away free money. If there were a canary in the coal mine of a Hurricane scare, this had to be it.

Bill and I went shopping in a semi-frenzied grocery store (shared chagrined grimaces as we showed up at the cart at the same time from different directions with arms full of bottled water—and a couple of six packs and Doritos.) A quick nap and we headed out to Martine's in Metairie which is a weekly one nighter hosted by comic Jodi Borrello in a suburb about 10 miles west of town. She was excited, as we were scheduled to sell out the 100 seat room. Scheduled being the operative word here. 10 pm rolls around and 9 people showed up. 9. Count em. Oh, I did. Mostly Jodi's family. Great show anyway. For the 9 people. Borrello— Dykes—Durst. Lots of weathermen—Hurricane—natural disaster jokes as one might imagine. Lots of nervous laughter as one might also imagine.

Afterwards, the entire Borrello krewe laid rubber steaming directly from the show to higher ground in Opelousas near Lafayette. Bill and I commenced to perform what must be the norm when you think of preparing for the worst impending natural disaster in our nation's history— a tour of the French Quarter.

The streets were dead—no, really dead. Not Quarter dead. Rhinelander, Wisconsin week after New Year's dead. Boarded up dead. Eerie dead. Neon signs advertising "Hurricanes" lit above the makeshift plywood shutters dead. A few bars open. We hit "Mimi's" in the Marigny for a quick bite right before they boarded up. In answer to the question that opened each casual meeting: "You staying?" the answer was invariably "no." EVERYONE was leaving.

Dave at "d.b.a.," a club on Frenchman, who had ridden out every Hurricane in memory, (a Big Easy badge of honor worn with pride) said HE was splitting. And I saw Bill's internal engine hum "hmmm." There was a lot of rationalizing going on involving the kids/pets thing, but the media scare job was working. All the TVs in the city were switching between The Weather Channel's trajectory of doom and the 24 Hour Hurricane Watch on the local affiliates which focused on the traffic jams from hell retreating from the Gulf. The general consensus was "Leave or Die! No, really! We're not kidding this time!"

Driving down Decatur street. Nothing, not a thing open, at all...except "Molly's," but that's to be expected. Nobody walking. Only us driving. Not even any cops. Plenty of parking spots. Not a good thing exponential factor five. Finally saw some life up near Canal at Lounge Lizards where "Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes" were wailing away to an almost full house including the Mardi Gras and a Half Girls dressed mostly in white feathers and boas. People milling on the sidewalk outside drinking out of to-go cups. Ahhh, semi-normality. Stayed till three.

Not wishing to openly reveal my weenie doubts about riding it out, I had earlier surreptitiously inquired as to changing my Monday flight to Sunday, but United laughed "hah hah hah hah hah," so I made online reservations with Hertz for a Sunday morning pick-up, and this allowed me to sleep the slumber of the stupid thinking: "if Katrina veers off before i wake up—i'll stay, if she threatens to pummel—i'll drive out—no problem." God laughs.

By dawn Sunday, Katrina had ramped up to category 5 which had everybody shaking like a shaved kitten on a frozen lake. Olden timey weatherman visibly sweating with their sleeves rolled up on the TV. Only 2 category 5s have EVER EVER hit the mainland of the US. EVER, and the New Orleans Superdome is crosshaired directly in the middle of Katrina's unerring greenish blue eye. I call Hertz. They joined United and god in their laughing. "Ha ha ha ha ha— oh I'm sorry sir, that location has been evacuated and the staff escaped in the dead of night." What about me? I could have taken one of your precious cars to high land you silly person. "Click." The airport is closed. I compile a list of my luggage I really NEED to leave with. A couple of vests and my laptop are the only finalists.

I don't know what convinces Bill to borrow an ex-roommate's car and drive me out; a sense of duty, the impending doom, some suspicion my wife will hunt him down and eat his entrails if I die. But we split around 11:30 in a 95 Honda Accord with 84000 miles on it, which needs gas and air in all its tires. Gulp. First we stop at his place and try to convince his present roommate Maggie (no—just roommates) to join our frantic exodus but as an artist she's worried about her pieces and vows to shepherd them through hell and high water. She kisses us off waving a double tall Jack and Coke.

We flee the city through the back roads—Magazine to River Road to Jefferson Highway to Williams catching up with I-10. Our plan is to head west to Houston where Bill lived and has friends and family. And I'll fly out or something. Just AWAY is what counts right now. AWAY from Katrina the bitch. Houston is normally a five and a half hour drive. Takes us that long to crawl twenty miles. Stuck on the Spillway for over an hour not moving at all. Much bathroom activity improvisation ensues.

Against our will we get shunted north on I-55 when we'd rather continue west on 1-10 and fifteen hours after leaving the third world nation with OSHA standards that is New Orleans we plop down on a pair of soft sweet double beds at the Memphis Hilton. Even with gas station coffee and adrenaline shooting through our veins like the first pressings of a Kentucky meth lab, we immediately pass out as the fingertips of Katrina reach out to us via a muted CNN. And that's how we escaped. And I thank god we did and hope we can return someday to even a semblance of the city we left. May God watch over you New Orleans. And please survive, so we can come back and help drink your economy back to health.

Political Comic Will Durst is wearing a stained Bourbon Street t-shirt.
 
8.25.2005
Cry "Havoc" And Let Slip The Gods Of War

You got to feel sorry for poor Pat Robertson. This guy has put his foot in his mouth so many times in the last week, he 's probably learned how to floss with his shoelaces. First, he goes on his television show "The 700 Club," and calls for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. And isn't it refreshing that somebody at last is speaking the truth about our foreign policy? This could be the start of a whole new trend. Next thing you know President Bush will show up at a VFW rally and talk about how that punk Putin is just itching to be iced.

Of course, then the inevitable happened: a few near sighted malcontents wondered aloud about Robertson's sanity and whether or not he should be herded off to a quiet place in the country and fed a steady diet of strained food, flavored just enough to hide the taste of the industrial strength sedatives. Not to mention a few Venezuelans who took minor umbrage. So Pat reluctantly went back on TV, not to apologize, but to say he didn't really say what we all heard him say. "I didn't say 'assassination' (unh, yes you did.) I said our special forces should 'take him out.' 'Take him out' could be a number of things including kidnapping." Methinks the Reverend Robertson is either spending very little money on his public relations firm or he has made it his policy to plug his ears and hum "Sugar Sugar" while they speak.

Robertson denied saying he said Chavez should be killed when he went back on his television show and told his audience that maybe, what he meant to say, was Chavez should only be kidnapped a little. Well, why didn't you say so in the first place? Kidnapping is so much more civilized than out and out assassination. Assassination is so final what with the deadness and all. But kidnapping allows room for doubt what with the attendant missingness. Much more mysterious and romantic.

When you get right down to it, he's right; the phrase "take him out" could mean many things. It could mean—place him upright next to the garage like a stack of old National Geographics on garbage night. Or maybe—take him out to dinner and then a movie followed by a long slow drive to Inspiration Point with the top down and the "Best of Tony Orlando & Dawn" playing soft and low. He could have meant either of those—but I doubt it.

Asked to comment about Robertson's suggestion that our government "take out" Hugo Chavez, Donald Rumsfeld laughed it off as a ridiculous suggestion which would never happen because assassinations of foreign leaders are illegal. Nobody pointed out that so are the stealing of elections and the outing of CIA agents and the torture of foreign detainees. Sticky technicalities we've seemed to dodge in the past.

Of course, The Good Rev is being portrayed by the radical right as a wacky uncle who likes his Hot Toddies a tad too much, but remember, this is the guy who once said feminism was responsible for women killing their children, practicing witchcraft and destroying capitalism. So obviously his hold on reality is about as tenuous as a room deposit for Courtney Love's 5th anniversary sobriety party. We can't expect him to lose his television show, but one can only hope his invitations to the Lincoln Bedroom have been assassinated. Or at least kidnapped.

Political comic Will Durst wants to host a show called "The 1PM Club" because that's when he gets up. Catch Durst at Martine's in Metarie, Louisiana on Saturday the 27th and the House of Blues in New Orleans on Sunday the 28th.
 
8.18.2005
Frequently Asked Questions: Cindy Sheehan—Peace Mom

Q. So who exactly is this Peace Mom woman anyway?
A. Cindy Sheehan is a 48 year old from Vacaville, California, who, in response to losing her son Casey in Iraq is selfishly attempting to hoard the honor of being a gold star mother all to herself.

Q. What?
A. She's against the war.

Q. Oh, okay, so why the hell is she hunkered down in a ditch outside the Texas White House bothering the President during his vacation?
A. Vacation? 35 days is not a vacation. 35 days is a sabbatical. 35 days is a retreat. It's five weeks. 36 hours short of a tenth of a year. Longer than the gestation period of most mammals. Where's my 35 day vacation? Where's your 35 day vacation? Where's the American public's 35 day vacation?

Q. Good point, but that wasn't the question.
A. I'm sorry, got a bit worked up there. What was the question again?

Q. What's she doing there?
A. She's camped outside the President's ranch to to meet with him and she vows to stay until he tells her exactly what noble cause her son died for. And she doesn't want to hear "Operation 2 Bucks A Gallon."

Q. Wouldn't you think a President this media savvy would just invite her inside for some cookies and lemonade and get it over with?
A. My theory is he's spent too much time grilling cheese sandwiches on the hood of his pickup and might be suffering from heat stroke. Besides, what kind of a man takes his family to Crawford Texas for a vacation?

Q. Are you saying West Texas in August is not what you call your garden spot?
A. I'm saying it's real similar to hell and that's assuming hell has winged insects the size of footstools.

Q. How has the conservative media responded?
A. You mean the right wing smear machine?

Q. Whatever.
A. Bill O'Reilly jumped on Ms Sheehan like a irritable gorilla stomping the air out of an inflatable life raft in order to fit in the back of an overstuffed Cadillac Escalade.

Q. Any specific accusations?
A. You could say that. You could also say porcupine pelts make substandard day care pillows. Cindy Sheehan has been accused of everything from unpaid parking tickets to the ultimate treasonous act—association with Michael Moore. Won't be long before rumors of a lesbian relationship with Hillary Clinton emerge.

Q. What about the claims that Ms Sheehan has become a tool of the left?
A. A tool of the left. That's a laugh. Fox News calling Cindy Sheehan a political tool. A lot like a rattlesnake calling a scorpion noxious. Or a White House official complaining about the smearing of Karl Rove. You can't make stuff up like this.

Q. Any comment on the criticisms that the protest has morphed from a lonely vigil into pretty much just another gathering of the usual suspects?
A. Last I looked, Jesse Jackson hadn't yet made an appearance.

Q. Any other notables expected to appear?
A. With gas approaching three bucks a gallon, it's only a matter of time before a parading convoy of SUV owners pitching gravel into each other's windshields join the protests outside Bush's ranch.

Political comic Will Durst wonders if Crawford, Texas has any decent barbecue. And if they deliver.
 
8.11.2005
Intelligent Is As Intelligent Doesn't

Taking valuable time from clearing brush on what apparently is the most brush infested ranch in the country, President Bush spoke to members of the press encouraging our country's school districts to incorporate both sides of the debate regarding the development of humanity into their teaching plans: Evolution, the theory that man descended from an infinite number of apes typing on an infinite number of typewriters, and Intelligent Design, the idea that an unseen force (not necessarily god—but not ungodlike either) nudged our genes with big giant invisible fingers to the point where no child is left behind. Or something like that.

This is shocking to the same degree that goats eat shoes. Especially to anyone who's been semi-cognizant the last five years and watched Mr. Bush work his backward magic disproving Darwin with a series of policies stripping workers and minorities and women and anyone who isn't an energy producer (and I ain't talking methane gas) of their rights. Not only does the President not believe in evolution but ironically, he has become his own best argument.

One of the logic wedges Intelligent Designers like to jump into with both semantic feet is that Charles Darwin called his discovery "The Theory of Evolution." "See. It's just a theory!" Oh come on, grow up. What's next? You going to require the Principle of Atomic Force attend PTA meetings? What about the Law of Gravity? Does an initiative for repeal lie in its immediate future? Apparently all we need do is to hire Denny Crain or petition one of those activist judges and voila—broken vases and scraped knees—a thing of the past. Hey, it's just a law! And a bad one at that.

The theory of Intelligent Design maintains life on Earth is too complex to have developed through Evolution. Too complex? Oh no! You mean there are things we don't know? Of course there are. We have brains the size of peas. And I tell you, we keep dumbing down our schools, the concept of fudge will seem complicated. Not to mention innocent before guilty. Wasn't too long ago people thought a solar eclipse was a dragon eating the sun as it rode across the sky on the back of a giant turtle. But that was just my Uncle Bud draining a six pack on his riding mower.

Now don't get me wrong, the Bible is a great book, but it has as much to do with science as gummi bears have to do with aerospace navigation. How soon before 2 + 2 equals whatever God wants it to be? Back in the 17th century, Galileo proposed the Earth revolved around the sun, not the other way around, and was promptly convicted of heresy and imprisoned for the rest of his life at a time when home detention did not include adequate satellite reception. In response to his pardon from the Catholic Church 400 years later, Galileo conveniently was unavailable for comment.

If these people are really seeking alternative theories as to how life originated, I got one. I got a doozy. Santa killed the evil Martian overlords and flew us here from Pluto on his sled. How about that? Hey it's a theory! And I want to see it included on the blackboard of every science classroom as part of the new curriculum: Evolution, Intelligent Design and Santa's Sled. At least my Santa Sled Theory is flexible enough to explain the reason for the human appendix—Martian mark of the insurgent.

Political comic Will Durst still has his appendix.
 
8.3.2005
The Escargot Stratagem

Responding to the American public's mounting suspicion that the White House is either lying to us about the Iraqi War going according to plan, or the plan really really sucks...the Administration has decided the source of the problem is not their doomed policy but rather the slogan they are using to sell it. So "the war on terrorism," has officially been replaced with "the struggle against violent extremism." Which clears things up like a double hulled oil tanker spill in a 9 inch kiddie wading pool.

Like a floundering hurricane losing wind speed over a land mass, the war has been downgraded to a struggle. I don't know about you, but I feel much better already. Hey, is that the cool refreshing breeze of a scheduled steady troop withdrawal? Alas, no, it's Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld being propelled across another verbal skating rink by igniting his own flatulence. Again. Does the term "band aid on a sucking chest wound" have any meaning here?

This particular scheme is something I like to call the Escargot Stratagem. Imagine being a charter member of the Snail Wranglers Anti Defamation League back in the 50s. Tough gig, right? When most Americans would rather chew on pork lips and linoleum than consider sliding the paradigm of slime down their gullet. It wasn't until the slugs with shells were marketed as a delicacy under their French moniker that people worked up the nerve to stab them with a fork much less dangle them within spitting distance of their mouths. Of course, if you ask me, the guy from the Garlic Butter Advisory Board is the real genius here. Throw in "squid" and "calamari" and "Rick Santorum" and "distinguished gentleman" and you see where I'm going with this.

It's all about reframing, such as the word "bribe" being replaced with "campaign contribution," when we all know the major difference between the two is five syllables. The Nixon Years were the Golden Era of reframing, most notably for Reframing Hall of Famer Ron Ziegler informing the press that his previous statements on behalf of the Nixon White House were "inoperative." Which, to this day, remains the best euphemism for "lied like a thieving corn weasel," ever.

The problem here is the word "war." Unfortunate term. Unduly contentious. Steeped with insinuations of antagonism. Indicative of an enterprise to be either won or lost. And having yet to exhibit any of the signs normally associated with winning, like a lack of dead people, its obviously time for a change. "Struggle," conveys more of the murky lifelong commitment that fighting terrorism, excuse me, violent extremism, will require. Like a voluntary congenital condition. Nobody expects to win the war against genital herpes. You simply strive to co-exist. And eventually become a better person because of it. Blah blah blah.

If this were 20 years ago, I would expect the "war on poverty" to morph into the "tussle against insufficient funds," but that war ended. And the poor lost. Or more accurately, extremely rich politicians surrendered on their behalf. One thing you can be sure of, this nomenclatural de-evolution will be shoved down our throats as long as we continue to swallow it, right up to the point that they try to call the President: Beloved Leader. I'm not sure there's enough garlic butter in the world to facilitate that.

Like a lot of Americans, Political comic Will Durst prefers both squid and snails to Rick Santorum.
 
7.14.2005
Roving Target

"Hello, this is the President of the United States. Yeah, I find it hard to believe too, but go ahead and leave a message and either Dick or Karl or my Dad or Laura will get back to you. BEEEEEEP!"

"Yeah, boss? This is me, Scott. McClellan. You know, your press secretary? You remember. Kind of balding? The one who always falls for your finger on my chest, then I look down and you hit me on the nose trick? Listen, I got a problem here. Um, this thing is getting weird. I mean, the reporters won't get off the Karl Rove-Valerie Plame story. They're like rabid wolverines and I'm the wounded bunny. I did the whole "can't comment on an ongoing criminal investigation" deal like we agreed. And kept doing it. Christ, I must have said it maybe 80 times and they wouldn't stop. The hell is that? I thought we had a deal with these guys. Even Carl Cameron from Fox News! You should have seen him: "Does the President still have confidence in Rove?" I wanted to slap that weasel smile right off his smug mug. Some dame even asked "who is Karl Rove" and I totally blanked and launched back into "ongoing criminal investigation" looking like a complete idiot, which I know is what you pay me to do, but holy crap, they just wouldn't lay off. Where's Jeff Gannon when we need him?

Anyhow, boss, please please please tell me we're not going to run that stupid "he never mentioned her name" defense. I mean, c'mon. He did say Joe Wilson's WIFE worked for the CIA. Which unless the guy is the King of Bahrain or an Elder in the Mormon Church or an Eskimo or something sounds pretty definitive even to me. And unh, if you do talk to Mr. Rove about this could you leave my name out of it? To be honest, the guy kind of gives me the heebie jeebies. Remember that time I spilled coffee on his lap, and everyone laughed? Later on he pushed me into my office and started screaming and all the doors and windows shut on their own and the air got dense and I swear his eyes turned all red and stuff and a bunch of papers on a chair burst into flames. They were just a pile of old Posts so it was no big deal, but still &And I've been asking around and I'm not the only one he creeps out. Cheney's chief of staff's head intern told my intern that she walked in on the Vice President and Mr. Rove in that big marble bathroom upstairs dancing around waving dead chicken carcasses and using the decapitated heads as finger puppets. And now she's got warts on her eyes, and I know you don't want to know anything unless you need to know, but this is stuff I think you need to know.

If you ask me, I think we ought to go right back to good old Plan A where we criticize the criticizers. Get McConnell or one of the boys to express their patriotic outrage and say how picking on Karl Rove is endangering our troops and well, you know the routine. That's it, I guess. You know me, I'll do whatever's good for the team. Except for that hot tub thing with Robert Novack. But you were just kidding around, right? Ulp, here comes Matt Cooper. Got to run."

Will Durst truly hopes the President was just kidding about the hot tub thing with Robert Novack. Don't forget to catch Durst at the DC Improv tonight through Sunday and all next week at the Improv at Harrah's in Las Vegas.
 
7.2.2005
The Rare Double Pronged Red Footed Bushie

There are a lot of things President Bush would rather do than give a speech to the nation. Play golf with his dad. Fall off a mountain bike. I even think clearing brush wearing nothing but boots at high noon in the middle of an August rattlesnake migration would win hands down over the speech thing. But this week, America was treated to a rare double dose of the President talking out of both sides of his mouth. Happy and sad that is.

The early part of the week we were presented with his sad serious side. The one without the Texas accent. Where "having learned the lessons of nine eleven, our mission is clear, we must stay the course, and advance freedom in what has become a terrorist's paradise." A situation for which neither we nor the people of Iraq have ever properly thanked him, and being the simple humble man he is, for which he takes little if any of the credit, when truth be told, it is a single-handed accomplishment that he need not share with anyone. Bravo, Mr. President! Bravo!

In less than 25 minutes, Dubyah managed to slip in 5 references to 911, at a time when over 50% of the country believes he misled us into Iraq. Does the term "stop beating that horse, he ain't breathing, and is starting to smell funny already" have any meaning here? Recognizing the fact that national recruitment is so low, the slogan "An Army of One" is destined to soon become a reality, he also threw in: "there is no higher calling than service in our armed forces." Which apparently is a plea for the privileged sons of politicians to join the Alabama National Guard.

That was the tough one. He only gave it because his poll numbers are skewing lower than snake belly futures. And he gave it in front of 750 soldiers who could only work up enough enthusiasm to interrupt the speech with applause once and that was for the joke applause that always comes when a politician says "in conclusion." You think we're frustrated with a policy in search of a mission, imagine having to defend it against desperate zealots who think you're the devil.

But then, on Friday, it was another story altogether. We got to see the very same George W Bush squeal with girlish delight as he broke into daytime television soap operas to deliver the news that Swing Vote Sandy was retiring from the Supreme Court and now he finally, FINALLY, gets to make an appointment and his accent was so thick I half expected the word "hornswaggle" to slip out at any minute.

And oh yeah, the nation thanks whatshername for her longtime valuable service and blah blah blah and hee hee hee. The excitement shone in his eyes, with an interior dialogue clearer than branch water poured over distilled ice. "Watch out you Senate Dems because here comes the wrath of Rove. And he is going to smite righteously down on you liberal panty waists who only want to give the terrorists backrubs." Determined to announce an appointment in time for Advise and Consent to finish up before the Supreme Court reconvenes in October, you might want to replace the filter in your air-conditioner, because this looks to be one of those long hot summers.

Political comic Will Durst thinks the President is not going to rely too heavily on either the Advise or Consent portions of Advise and Consent. Don't forget. Will Durst @ Summerfest-Milwaukee. The Martini Lounge. Sunday, July 3rd. 6 & 9:30. See you there.
 
6.23.2005
Scoundrel City

"Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel." Samuel Johnson

Okay, get this and get this straight. Criticizing our Government is not the same as criticizing our armed forces. Okay? The same way that criticizing our Government is not the same as criticizing our postal workers. Or criticizing our zoo keepers or our ceramic mosaic tile grout installers. And let me make this clear, I am not in anyway suggesting that any of these groups be criticized. Especially the postal workers.

Furthermore, telling the press that you are disgusted by reports of torture does not endanger our troops. You're all so fired up desperate to know what endangers our troops; I'll tell you what endangers our troops. Greedy cretinous toad leaders who send them 12,000 miles away to a desert to fight a war based on lies. Lies about the threat and lies about a phantom desire to negotiate. That is what is responsible for putting our troops in harm's way. The idiots who sent them into this, and yes, it's time to say it out loud, this quagmire.

Quagmire, as in bottomless morass. Quagmire, as in Vietnam. A minor conflict that tore our country apart about three decades ago. Perhaps some of you patriotic Republicans remember? I know none of you bothered to serve over there, but you must of have seen a History Channel Special on it. Does the movie "Apocalypse Now" ring a bell?

Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi calls the Iraqi War a "grotesque mistake," and House Speaker Dennis Hastert, reacts like she's funding secret poisonous kim chi research in North Korea. "Leader Pelosi and the Democratic leadership should support our troops instead of spreading inflammatory statements." Hey, Hastert! Pay attention. The lady said absolutely nothing about our troops. She was talking about you, you moron, and the rest of the majority leadership. And trust me, I use the term "leadership" extremely loosely. For crum's sake, you pay enough for your polling, put the donut down and read some of it. Most of America agrees with Pelosi. Big fat enormous monstrous grotesque mistake. Repeat after me: "War-bad. Troops-good." See, it's possible to say and to mean as well.

What bowling ball cajones you must have to scream at Senator Durbin, the anti-torture dude, instead of the idiots who keep sending our troops over there without the proper equipment. You should be screaming at the over-inflated egos trying to take away benefits from those very same troops you're so protective of when they come home. It's like teaching the 9/11 terrorists a lesson by invading a country that had absolutely nothing to do with it. Oh, okay, I see. It's a pattern.

Are you saying it's treasonous to denounce torture? Or do you mean to imply torture comes with codicils? "Torture is bad. Unless it's us doing the torturing. In which case it is not torture, but rather results oriented questioning.'" Samuel Johnson was a piker. With these scoundrels, patriotism is not the last, but the first, second and every other refuge. The Republicans need to learn: more strident does not make you more correct. If it did, Joan Rivers would be running things.

Will Durst is extremely happy that more strident does not mean more correct. Mostly because of the Joan Rivers thing.
 
6.8.2005
Reefer Absurdity

In its finite wisdom, the US Supreme Court upheld the Federal Government's ban on Medical Marijuana. Screwing all ten states that legalized it and leaving a lot of folks in those ten states with superfluous Glaucoma diagnoses. Now first off, let me clarify: I don't smoke pot. I don't. Makes me paranoid. No, I'm serious. I am the author of the paranoid trilogy. "What is it? Who are they? Why me?" I get the munchies, go in a restaurant, the waitress says "hi" and I go, "Yes, I am. I'm sorry. Don't tell my Aunt Mary." But you know what, I don't drink Wild Turkey any more and yet harbor no desire for that vile liquid to be made illegal either.

Justice John Paul Stevens said plaintiffs suffering chronic pain should turn to "the democratic process" for comfort. He addressed this opinion to the two plaintiffs who suffer respectively from a brain tumor and a degenerative spinal disease. I'm a thinking the 85 year old liberal Justice needs to bone up on his bedside manner a bit. "Take two democratic processes and call me in the morning." Wonder if this guy has consulted for any HMOs lately? Going to have to revise the new edition of the Physician's Desk Reference by inserting "Activist Judges" next to "Cottonmouth" under possible side effects.

Besides, how can they cite an interstate commerce jurisdiction over homegrown which according to Justice Clarence Thomas, "has never been bought or sold, that has never crossed state lines, and that has had no demonstrable effect on the national market for marijuana?" That's right, I'm quoting Clarence Thomas. Which means tomorrow all the residents of hell might want to break out the sleds and earmuffs. Who knows? Maybe it was a stem of Maui Wowie and not a pubic hair on that Coke can.

That roar from the red states you hear is the orchestrated shout out that Conservtives normally toss whenever we godless heathens have been defeated. And one of the ironies can be found in the accompanying sound of millions of brewskies being popped in celebration. What is wrong with these people? Don't they realize that marijuana grows in the ground? They don't call it "weed" for nothing you know. Think of all the different complicated operations you need to perform in order to make liquor. It's not like you can walk into your backyard and pluck a piña coloda off the cocktail tree. Pot—you pick it, dry it and smoke it. Hope you're not saying God screwed up here are you? It's pot. It's not heroin. It's not acid. It's not even Marlboro Lights. For crum's sake, you can bake it into brownies. Brownies! What's more American than that?

And another thing, why do politicians always insist on lumping all drugs together? Even a fourth grader can tell you that crack is to pot like an Uzi is to a banana. Crack-kills. Pot-giggles. Say you do run into a crazed pothead: what's the worst thing that's going to happen to you? Okay, you might get fleas, but that's about it. So there's Twinkie Cream on your shirt, wipe it off. Can't get the song, "Stairway to Heaven" out of your head, deal with it. Potheads don't mug, they hug. The same can not be said about the Supreme Court.

Political Comic Will Durst restricts his illicit drug activity to mixing Pop Rocks with his Anchor Steam. Oh yeah, 2 benefits. One at Cobbs for the North Beach Mural on Sunday afternoon and the other Monday night at the Punch Line to raise money for Comedy Day. Make your comedy dollar count!
 
6.6.2005
Deep Throated Whining

"Speaking with us today is one of the men who spent some time at the eye of the Watergate storm. The man responsible for installing the electrical tape to cover the door latches during the break-in. Thanks for joining us. As you know, Washington DC is mourning the loss of its favorite 30 year old guessing game, as the whole country now knows the identity of Deep Throat. Being right there where it all began, what are your thoughts?"

"Disgust mostly. Call me an old fashioned felon, but I'm revolted by how the liberal media machine is determined to convince a gullible public what a swell guy this Deep Throat character is. Trying to make him out to be a national hero, when he really was nothing but a lousy rat. Skulking around in darkened garages not breaking into any cars. Deserves the mark of the stupid squealer."

"So you disagree with the notion that Deep Throat provided a great service to the nation?"

"A monumental disservice is more like it. This guy is nothing but a stone hypocrite. Claims he had evidence of corruption. Well, if he was so damned sure, he should have taken it straight to his superiors."

"But isn't it true that L. Patrick Gray, his immediate and only superior at the FBI, was also indicted in the very same coverup?"

"So what? The way Felt handled it was contemptible. Going to outside agencies is unethical. There are proper Christian ways to go about these sort of things, and at every juncture, the choice he made was shameful and dishonorable. Something a terrorist would do. Now, I'm not saying W. Mark Felt was an advance scout for Al Qaeda, but &"

"Say he had gone to the authorities with this information, what do you think would have happened?"

"That's easy. The focus would have shifted to him and the moral considerations of his whistle blowing, and Nixon would have scurried under a rock to wait for the glare to go away."

"Like what happened with Dan Rather and Bush's National Guard duty?"

"Exactly. Nobody bothered to find out if the information was correct or not once it became clear the documents weren't. If Karl Rove were running things, Nixon might still be President."

"Weren't you convicted of burglary of the Watergate offices and subsequently charged with extortion, money laundering and illegal pony insemination?"

"I acted under the direct orders of our Commander-in-Chief for whom I considered it an honor to lie, cheat, steal and pony inseminate."

"Illegal orders."

"I was a good soldier."

"So were the Nazis."

"And your point is?"

"In a prepared statement, Mark Felt's grandson sees his grandfather's legacy as that of a Great American Hero. Do you take issue with that assessment?"

"Hero? The guy's a schmuck. He totally ruined his legacy. Instead of being known as a former deputy director of the FBI with the highest esteem of his colleagues, now he'll always be known as Deep Throat, the guy who ratted out a President."

"And you'll be known as a criminal sleazebag who broke the law, tried to cover it up and spent five years in federal prison."

"Yes, but I still have the esteem of my colleagues."

"Which are mostly career criminals."

"Point taken."

"Well, thanks again for talking to us. Next up, a Catholic Priest gives us a stern talking to on the Michael Jackson verdict."

Political Comic Will Durst believes Conservatives are unclear on the concept of "irony." Catch Durst as a special guest at DC's Funniest Celebrity Contest this week on C-SPAN.
 
5.19.2005
Ring Around The Coercion

As we all know, Newsweek Magazine recently rehashed an oft repeated report involving American interrogators at Guantanomo Bay using religious coercion, in this case flushing a copy of the Koran down a toilet.

According to the magazine, the action was a way of trying to provoke detainees into talking. Love that word "detainees." Sounds so pastoral. "Uncle Achmed, you've missed 7 years of my birthday parties." "I was detained."

After hearing about the article, mobs in Pakistan and Afghanistan erupted into violent Anti-American protests. And not your normal average every day regularly scheduled Anti-American mob protests either. At least 17 people have died and many others were severely wounded. And no, I have no idea how they managed to get their hands on the latest Newsweek. My subscription issue usually doesn't show up until a couple weeks later. For instance, did you know Pope John Paul II just died?

Now, even though it doth protest too much, the magazine is backing down like a badly beaten mule at cliff's edge. Mark Whitaker, Newsweek editor said, "We're not retracting anything. We don't know for certain what we got wrong." Doesn't that also mean you don't know what you got right? Their purported source, a senior U.S. Government official, who for some unknown reason wants to remain nameless, is not sure whether his story is true. Newsweek says HE'S not sure if HIS story is true.

Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. Back up here. This guy thinks maybe he made a mistake. Now, he thinks? Post mob rioting, he thinks? I'm thinking, this guy wasn't thinking. Then of course the White House decides to throw their lily white hands into the mix and is blaming Newsweek for the deaths in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The White House. Blaming somebody for deaths because they got some facts wrong. Apparently, thinking, is not as high on their "things to do" list as irony.

Predictably, Newsweek retracted the article, citing the source's confusion, and Muslims claim pressure was applied to make this guy say he might have made a mistake. In fact, so much pressure was applied so fast, Bill Frist may want to make sure his "nuclear option" is in the same drawer where he left it.

The ludicrous part is the White House blaming Newsweek. First off the magazine tried to vet the article with the Pentagon; second, it was just a tiny three paragraph spread in the Periscope section; not to mention articles alleging similar activities by US interrogators had been printed about a hundred zillion times since the war started. I guess Bush is worried this incident might harm US-Islam relations. Damn, just when things were going so well.

Neither is Newsweek blameless. How do you quote an anonymous source who may or may not have seen something about something else in a report somewhere or maybe it was jotted on the back of a grocery list or glimpsed behind the 24 Nautilus ad on a coffee shop bulletin board or perhaps it was all just a dream? Next time, before instigating world wide riots, you might want to nail down some corroboration.

I'm sure you're blissfully unaware of this, but when it comes to the desecration of the Koran, you could say Muslims have a tendency to become a bit temperamental. You could also say a cooler full of blended Margaritas makes an interesting driving companion and muddy golf cleats are lousy crib mobiles. And if anybody has any doubts, you might want to give Salman Rushdie a call.

Political Comic Will Durst has done the cooler Margarita thing while wearing golf cleats.
Don't forget to catch Durst this Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Jimmy Tingle's Off Broadway Theater in Sommerville, Mass. 617-628-3610. And next Tuesday at Rocky Sullivan's in New York City.
 
5.12.2005
Frequently Asked Questions About The President's Social Security Reform

Q. So what's going on with that whole privatization of Social Security thing these days?
A. Excuse me, but it's that whole PERSONALIZATION of Social Security thing now.

Q. What's the difference?
A. Nothing really. The second one tested better. Privatize—bad. Personalize—good. Liberate—gooder. Lottery win—goodest.

Q. Why does everyone have big beige banana bugs up their butt over the President's plans to finally fix Social Security?
A. A lot of Baby Boomers think of this fix as the same kind of fix a Veterinarian performs on a dog.

Q. What do they think Bush is trying to turn Social Security into?
A. Something not very social and no longer secure.

Q. What about the Wall Street investment dealie part?
A. Dealie part?

Q. You know what I mean.
A. Since the Dow is down about 10% for the year, it's been sort of put on the back burner.

Q. How far back?
A. Way back next to the capture of Osama.

Q. Wow, that far? When was it exactly the Baby Boomers decided to grow up and get old?
A. Don't know. I guess someone must have convinced them "old is the new black." Of course we are talking about free money here. Which could raise the blood pressure of anybody, much less a Grandma wearing a "White Snake" t-shirt. You ever mistakenly take some blue hair's nickel slot seat?

Q. But don't these greedy-geezers-to-be agree Social Security is in deep doo doo and needs to be shored up?
A. Well, yeah, I guess, but you got to remember, Bush's Clear Skies Bill allows for more pollution and his Healthy Forests Initiative encourages logging, so you can understand how folks might tend to worry that the real goal of his Social Security Reform is less old people.

Q. What kind of ideas are being implemented in Bush's recently released reform package?
A. Mostly the plan is to forestall future cuts in benefits by cutting benefits in the future. Democrats call it a benefit cut. Republicans call it a cut in the growth rate of benefits. But I think there are maybe 80 other ways to throw benefit and cuts into the same sentence so we're not done here. We might even see "bene cutifits," which probably means "above average salami pants" in Italian.

Q. But doesn't the Administration maintain these benefit cuts are designed only to affect the wealthy? A. Well, yeah, but according to the specifics of the plan, "wealthy" is defined as anybody making over 20 grand a year. Which means that a greeter at Wal-Mart or the kid behind the counter asking "you want lids on these?" is a member of the financial elite in Bush's America.

Q. What happens if Social Security is allowed to fail?
A. Then we'll just have to return Bush's sepia toned vision of an olden timey America that people lived in before being enveloped into Roosevelt's Social Security straight jacket.

Q. Which is what?
A. Faith based retirement.

Will Durst may not be old enough to retire but some of his bones are starting to feel like it. Don't forget. Friday the 13th. Irish Cultural Center. 48th and Sloat. 8pmish. AND next Friday, Saturday and Sunday: Jimmy Tingle's Off Broadway Theater in Sommerville, Massachusetts.
 
5.4.2005
This Little Peta Ate No Roast Beef

Please only bounce the waffle iron off my forehead a couple of times as I tentatively mock and scoff and taunt one of the liberals' most sacred of all cows. Which is kind of a joke, although there's no reason you would know that yet. But before I launch into my superfluous onslaught, let me say that even though I don't agree with most of their missions or goals, I'm glad the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals are there. Just like Michael Moore is the hefty lefty answer to Rush Limbaugh, PETA acts as a wacky counter balance to the National Rifle Association in terms of embarrassing the two major parties on a fair and equal basis.

All us commie pinko yellow rat bastards laugh laugh laugh during those silly legislative seasons when the NRA gets its knickers in a knot arguing how assault weapons can be used as legitimate hunting rifles. Okay, sure, right, yeah, I can buy that argument; I mean you can also use a chain saw to cut butter. Just going to get a little messy around muffin time is all I'm saying. And a hand grenade will signal the end of recess. And they look like idiots. And it's good.

But then you read about a new PETA program where they make field trips to elementary schools dressed in giant fish suits encouraging kids not to eat fish because fish have feelings too and you just want to hide behind one of those giant Red Lobster menus and moan a little. Then during the calamari appetizer a small giggle escapes. But the moan returns. Because we look like idiots. And it's not good.

The worst part is knowing the hysterical laughter being laughed by the far right wing-nut flippo-units on their "anybody who doesn't agree with us hates America" radio talk shows is a brush being used to paint all liberals. I always considered it a little cheap and easy to slam PETA. Like making fun of the long haired blond girl in the peasant skirt spinning and twirling out of time at the front of the stage while the jazz trio is on break. She ain't hurting nobody. Leave her alone.

But now, that girl is pointing at me yelling "fish murderer." Lady, we're talking fish! We can't eat fish, because we might hurt their feelings? The hell are we supposed to eat? Fruit? Vegetables? What's next: be solicitous of the head of broccoli's self esteem? I get the beef and veal deals (they can't move their little heads) and appreciate the meaning of "Free Range Chicken" (fancier packaging and sixty percent markup.) But now I'm wondering if PETA isn't just trying to make up for the backsliding on the anti-fur campaign which is losing ground fast due to the sheer numbers of ex hippies getting rich and old and cold.

C'mon guys, they're fish. Have you ever heard the phrase; "Smart as a fish?" Probably a reason for that. And where do fish sticks stack up on your feelings chart? Behind the grouper and ahead of the sea sponge? Even if you enlist Flipper or Nemo as spokesfish, you got a public relations vacuum here. As my lovely wife Debi Ann says when making out the bills while Annie the cat pads around on top of them: "There's helping and there's hindering." This is what you call your hindering.

Political Comic Will Durst admits to a bit of prejudice in that all four of his major food groups are cheeseburgers. Greasy meat slabs inside of wheat foam covered in congealed bovine juice. Mmm. It's what's for dinner.
 
4.29.2005
Satan's Filibuster

Hey, you crazy faithful, how bout a hand for the Doctor Senator Reverend Indian Chief Bill Frist. Could that guy sweet talk the chrome off the bumper of a 57 Ford or what? And one more time for little Bonita Gonzalez for channeling the Spirit of Ronald Reagan. Should have trusted the Lord to find a way for the Great Communicator to lend a hand in our just cause. And while you're at it, give yourselves a huge hand for not staying home and watching "Davey and Goliath" but filling the Sugar Bowl in TODAY'S NATIONALLY TELEVISED JUSTICE SUNDAY RALLY 2 SPONSORED BY EXXON-MOBIL! A follow up, or should I say a sequel, to our fabulously successful first Justice Sunday Rally, which frightened the liberal media like a little schoolgirl with hairy spiders down her pants.

ls frightened? Yes, of course, because they're doomed to spend all of eternity in damnation, but also because they're afraid of God's righteous retribution. Afraid of the resolve and conviction the Lord filled us with in our triumphant crusade to wrestle the devil's pitchfork, the filibuster, to the ground. Afraid of getting their asses kicked in the 06 midterm elections just as sure as God made little acorns to grow up into mighty oaks and topple over onto the picnic blankets of the godless pinning them to the ground in writhing agony. Afraid that George Bush will appoint more judges that are too conservative. Too conservative? What does that mean, ladies and gentlemen? It's like saying the sky is too blue. Or the grass is too green. Or Dennis Hastert is too bland.

Today's JUSTICE SUNDAY RALLY 2 is a celebration of the destruction of the judicial tyranny that kept Beelzebub's foot on the neck of people of faith: Satan's Filibuster. But we can never get so comfortable that we think our job here is done. So let us turn our attention to other forms of repression the inhuman hater of life utilizes to grease the skids for him and his cloven hoofed brethren in Washington and Hollywood. Including but not limited to:

  • The so-called Miranda Law. If the guilty really want to know their rights, all they need do is read the Bible. I suggest the unabridged books-on-tape version read by Charlton Heston. His Leviticus rocks.
  • That whole "innocent before proven guilty" silliness. A truly spiritual man should be able to tell who's guilty just by looking at them.
  • Perhaps it's time to rethink that term "innocent?" Rather outdated, isn't it; for in God's Eyes, aren't we all sinners?
  • Habeus corpus. You want to know if someone is imprisoned lawfully? The Lord will tell you when someone is imprisoned lawfully. You'll meet them in hell.
  • The 1st Amendment, which we intend to change to: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, EXCEPT THE ONE TRUE RELIGION, WHICH IS ALLOWED TO SMITE ALL OTHER MAJOR RELIGIOUS BUTT, SINCE THEY'RE DOOMED TO SPEND ALL OF ETERNITY IN DAMNATION ANYWAY."

Also, we'll take a few shots at activist school boards and anybody who makes fun of Rick Santorum's hair. But first, let's welcome Tom DeLay who will explain how to find Satan's secret subliminal messages in the New York Times.

Political comic Will Durst keeps looking for Satan's secret subliminal messages in Rick Santorum's hair.,
 
4.28.2005
Leading The Pack Away From The Leader

"Welcome back to 'Meet the Press.' In this segment our guest is the distinguished Representative from the third District of Wyoming. Congressman, as you know, the DC Police have announced today that the House Majority Leader has been found naked in a bathtub next to a dead prostitute, hugging a bloody axe, the suspected murder weapon, to his chest, with the words 'Yes, I did it. Me.' written with the victim's blood on the bathroom mirror in the Congressman's own handwriting. We've just heard a senior member of the Minority delegation voice his argument as to why the leader deserves to have at least one if not both of his hands slapped. Do you sir, agree with this punishment which would involve the admonishment of a member of your own party?"

"Thank you Tim. With all due respect to my good friend of long standing and esteemed associate from across the aisle, I condemn this character assassination of our revered leader, so obviously a scurrilous partisan attack, solely meant to distract we, the party of ideas from accomplishing the tasks the good and hard working people of America sent us here to Washington to achieve. I will tell you who the true victim is here, and it's not this alleged prostitute.' It's America, Tim. And America's crying because it is abundantly clear this is simply an assault by the radical left wing press as part of their fundamental agenda to tear down the leader's leadership in which he excels by leading.

Blood was found? What does that mean, Tim? Are we certain it is blood or could it possibly be just a blood-like substance? Ketchup perhaps? Heinz ketchup perhaps? And let's say the jack booted goons from CSI: DC find it indeed to be blood: might it not have come from one of the apes my distinguished adversary and his godless ilk are so certain we evolved from? Isn't the planting of this so- called blood just another example of the lengths the liberal media conspiracy and treacherous cadre of Al Qaeda sympathizers will go to railroad the man they hold responsible for many of the American freedoms they hate so much.

I was under the impression this was still a free country Tim, where a man is innocent until proven guilty. Have the Communists taken over? Has the Supreme Court suspended the 21st Amendment while I wasn't looking? I have seen nothing outside of a few grainy misleading photos of a naked woman hacked to bits, that leads me to believe this is anything but a conscientious civil servant trying to lead our country out of the darkness we were plunged into on 9/11. We must not leap to conclusions. How do we know the leader wasn't trying to warm the woman with his body heat after her ill fated attempt at suicide?

I'll tell you one thing, our leader is a fighter and if the spineless cowards in charge of this politically motivated lynching think he is going to run away and hide because of one dead prostitute, they got another think coming. I, for one, trust the fine and hard working American people to see through this transparent fabrication as nothing but the fever dream of a bankrupt party striking out with their tiny little girlie fists whose marching orders for this bogus partisan witch hunt can be traced directly to the desk of Hillary Clinton. Thank you Tim. And how bout those Nationals?"

Political comic Will Durst is hoping to score some tickets to see the Nationals square off against their cross town rivals, the Witch Hunters.
 
4.15.2005
Cyclops Pink Eye

President George Bush's nomination for US Ambassador to the United Nations is John Bolton, a well known critic of that very organization. And to say he's a critic of the UN might be an understatement on the order of saying the Swift Boat Veterans were not John Kerry's biggest fans. Bolton has gone so far as to declare that as far he's concerned the UN doesn 't exist. Call me wacky, but shouldn't the guy who's going to represent us at least accept the institution's existence? And does this skepticism extend to the structure itself? If so, how's the man going to get to work? Is he destined to wander aimlessly around the East Side of Manhattan querying strangers as to the location of his own personal Brigadoon?

The 56-year-old State Department chief of arms control, a hard liner with a suspicious view of U.S. arms control treaties, is also on record to have said if you lopped off the top ten floors of the UN, "it wouldn't make a difference." Oh yeah, let's have HIM run our diplomatic corps. Because who knows more about mending bridges than the guy planting the charges in an attempt to set fire to them? What does the administration have in mind for future appointments? Howard Stern to head up the FCC? Michael Jackson as official envoy to UNICEF? Kenneth Lay as the new Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission? Laugh at the first two, the last is not so funny.

Supporters describe Bolton as a blunt, straight talking, tough minded, tell it like it is, not afraid to ruffle foreign feathers while putting America's interests first kind of a guy. But we already got one of those kind of guys in charge of the White House. And Bush ain't too internationally minded either. If the Ambassador Nominee's function is to be the designated Rottweiler, I could understand, but we already got a kennel full of Rottweilers, most of whom appear to have missed the paper training course in obedience school. "Tough Love" is one thing. "Rabid Frothing at the Mouth with an Unattached Ear Hanging Out Between the Teeth" is another.

His detractors insist Bolton is an abrasive, confrontational, insensitive, kiss ass, prudent as a flatulent porcupine, abusive with analysts who disagree with his views kind of a guy. Obviously, politics, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder, but in terms of idealogues, this Administration has developed a serious case of conjunctivitis. And in a bullying Cyclops, with a bigger army than the rest of the world put together, that kind of pink eye can become diplomatically distracting.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not sure I totally disagree with all of Bolton's assessments of the UN. Such as it's as useless as cellophane underwear. And corrupt. And hopelessly entangled in red tape. And guilty of fostering Anti-American attitudes while monopolizing the seafood stand at our all you can eat buffet and discarding their used oyster shells on our nice clean carpeting. But whatever happened to good cop/ bad cop? Bush plays: bad cop/hothead brandishing a multi pronged tazer in the dark cop. What part of the word "diplomacy" does the President not get?

Political comic Will Durst thinks the President ought to give the Mary Poppins soundtrack a listen: paying special attention to "A Spoonful of Sugar."
 
4.8.2005
Email To The Cardinal

To: Cardinal Carmerlengo Eduardo Martinez Somalo
From: Rob Johnson. Mark Burnett Productions. VP in Charge of New Projects.
Subject: POPE!

Dear Cardinal Chamberlain:

Thanks for getting back to me. I know how busy you are, what with 200 Cardinals showing up, not to mention 4 million pilgrims. Must be total chaos. Like an Italian family reunion times infinity. Or is it eternity?

First, let me tell you how sorry I am for your loss. Never got to meet J2P2 personally, but I hear he was an absolutely terrific Pontiff. Think we can assume someone is taking cuts in the line outside the Pearly Gates.

Still no face time with my Holy Father, Mr. Burnett, (he's shepherding Martha Stewart through the eye of a needle right now) but his personal assistant's intern assures me all your concerns will be addressed.

Our goal is not just to make a lot of money on a successful reality series, but to throw a fresh spin on the best damn religion on the face of the planet. To make the Roman Catholic Church hip again. Islam is hot right now. Why? Been in the news recently. Publicity. That's all. Heat. Juice. Moxie. The introduction of a new Pope is the perfect window of opportunity for Catholicism to get a well deserved Extreme Makeover.

"Pope!" plans to go behind the sacristy to reveal the intrgue and romance that goes into a new Pope picking. But not reveal too much. We know you have secrets. We want to preserve them and exploit them.

Couple of quick questions.

  • The silver hammer. Did you really hit J2P2 in the forehead with it to make sure he wasn't sleeping? We need it. For use as a visual bumper along with a musical sting, ala "Law & Order." Konk-Konk. Danny Elfman's working on it right now.
  • Do the failed candidates get voted out of the conclave? Can they be? Are torches snuffed or staffs clipped? Can they be?
  • The ballots. Wouldn 't the show logo look great on them? Discrete, of course. I see a florid Latin script. Should research Michelangelo's old notebooks; find a proprietary font. You might be able to help out with that on your end.
  • Do the Cardinals compete in ritual trials like endurance kneeling? Or who can hear the most confessions in an hour? Host tossing: judged on accuracy and distance? Is that part of the process?
  • Can it be?
  • Black & white doesn't read. Would you consider coloring the smoke coming out of the chimney? (FYI: purple and pink tested off the charts.)
  • Merchandizing wants to know: 1.) Before destroying the old dead Pope's Fisherman's Ring, could we make a replica? Very very very limited edition. Great premium to hand out to critics before sweeps. 2.) Do the Cardinals drink Coke? Is there any rule against it? 3.) Pick-A-Pope!" Trading Cards. Totally out of bounds?
  • The network is worried we're testosterone heavy. Can we throw a nun or two in the mix?
  • We need anecdotes. Any famous wacky conclave pranks? You'd think the Cardinals must have punked one another during some unenlightened age.
  • Understand J2P2 is to be buried beneath the crypt with 147 other Popes. We would kill for that footage. Not literally. You know what I mean. But hey, everything is negotiable.
  • Da Vinci Code. Understand your reservations, but they did inquire again about a tie in and let me broach this one more time: Spielberg AND Hanks. Talk about infallibility. Still your call.

Email me back ASAP. We got ourselves a hook and it's time to hit the lake fishing.
Sincerely Yours. Rob.

With apologies to Steve Martin, political comic Will Durst thinks Simon, Randy and Paula should assist in the new Pope picking.
 
4.1.2005
Plug Me In

At first I thought the only halfway decent thing to come out of the Terry Schiavo Tragedy was watching all those grandstanding politicians choke on their own bugles as they rear ended each other sounding retreat on the freeway exit ramp to the Tampa/St Pete airport at Mach UII. But I was wrong.

Another positive side effect is the vast legions of citizens awakened to the realization that we are responsible for plotting our own deaths. Newspapers are printing primitive but binding Living Wills next to Hagar the Horrible. Which is good. Facing up to our mortality might force a few of us to understand there are more important things to life than which parties somebody was or wasn't invited to and whose Zirconian replica of Paris Hilton's dog's collar looks realer.

Right now, most of the concerned introspective muttering consists of chastened yuppies adamantly professing their refusal to end up a vegetable. "I guarantee that's not going to be me. I refuse to live like a rutabaga. If you love me at all, you'll pull my plug." To these well meaning banana heads, I have one thing to say: "Not me brother. Plug me in."

I want to live. As man, vegetable or refreshing side order of fruit salad with strawberry yogurt sauce. Hell, I never thought I'd make it this far to begin with. When I was a kid, anybody older than 30 was a withered ancient. A prehistoric geezer. A core sample of archaic decay. But even then, I never bought into that whole "hope I die before I get old" crap. And now, I'm aiming for triple digits. A couple more years? If that's all you got, it'll do fine. A month. Part of a week. Cool. Cool. All I want is extra. I want more.

You see, now that I made it this far, I kind of like it. Puppies. Sunsets. Bases loaded, bottom of the ninths. Large print Robert Crais mysteries. Jalapeno flavored potato chips. Life is good. And I plan to hang onto it with the tips of my fingernails. If the only way to keep my respirator charged is by fluttering my eyelids 24 hours a day, I will flutter. Who knows what tomorrow's scientists might come up with? Maybe they'll uncover a fountain of middle age. A perpetual eyelid flutterer. Why do you think they call it the future?

"So you re content to linger like a vegetable?" Yeah. Sure. Why not? What's the big deal? So I'm Mr. Potato Head. Like I wasn't before. You think my soul will be soiled beyond repair because someone referred to me as the Brussels Sprout Boy? Soil me. Isolate a webcam on my hospice bed and pay per view me as the Human Asparagus Video Blog. Water me from a sprinkling hose. Use my open mouth as a pencil cup and call me Shorty.

Test poisonous toad cosmetics on my tongue. Lend me out as a large prone pin cushion at a Tattoo Arts Convention. Fit me with scuba gear, bury me naked with my butt sticking up and use it as a bicycle rack. I don't care. Let me live. That's Will's Living Will. And if I do sink into a coma or become completely brain dead, someone try and remember to hook me up to an IV drip of pure caffeine, because I don't want to miss a thing.

Political comic Will Durst pretty much already has the IV full of caffeine thing going for him.
 
3.24.2005
Wimp II: This Time It's Personal

Wimps rejoice. The glittering realm of wimpdom is vacant no more. "Long live His Wimpiness King George II." Yes, friends, the wimp is back and he's wimpier than ever. As the Arnold is wont to say: "he's a girlie man."  Punked out mamma's boy. You know if he were in prison, he'd be shaving his legs, wearing mascara and calling his cellmate "Sushi Lips." Not that there's anything wrong with that. I'm just saying.

Got to admit it's not completely the 43rd President's fault. This whole wimp thing is obviously a congenital condition inherited from 41. A slow motion victory by one of the more recessive of Episcopalian genes. Like all bad history, bound to repeat itself.

I hear you querying, "what remarkable wimp-like activity has the President perpetrated to reclaim his long lost family heritage? "Well, to be fair, it wasn't a single feeble pander on his part, but a catalogue of pathetic grand standing that placed daddy's crown on his head. But now that you mention it, yes, one particularly nasty piece of business does stand out like a hairy mole on the airbrushed cheek of a Playboy centerfold.

I'm referring to the sorry spectacle of the President flying back to DC from Texas to jump on the holy roller bandwagon entangling a brain damaged coma victim's feeding tubes in its spokes. Don't know if he's trying to energize his base or distract folks from his Social Security debacle or just plain happy to get his face next to a headline that says "coma." But any way you cut it, it's rare to see this kind of World Class Brownosing from a termed out politician. His staff loves to say that Bush is a man who doesn't know the meaning of the word "quit." Well, apparently he's not all that conversant with the word "shame" either.

I can understand Bill Frist and Tom DeLay orchestrating these weasel moves as they're still ambitious poisonous little suckups with Big Christian Right butts in their crosshairs, but shouldn't George be working out of the main downtown plaza of Legacy City right now, cleaning up his contribution to a Presidential Library by shredding documents? And it turns out, he's just a big fat sissy boy like his dad. Isn't that sweet.

Sanctimoniously justifying his attempt to intercede on behalf of a prone human pawn, Bush intoned, "always err on the side of life." Of course the obvious exception would be those darn Iraqis. Didn't"err on the side of life" in that one, did you George?

Instead of waiting for the inspections to work, his beliefs were a mite more secular then, listening instead to his whispering Generals. "If we don't get there in 8 weeks, it's going to get real hot which will make our troops flak jackets itchy." That time he decided to "err" on the side of wardrobe. This time the newly crowned King of Wimps erred on the side of political expediency. Not for the first time and I got a funny feeling, not for the last.

Political comic Will Durst has a feeding tube. It's a brown bottle that says "Anchor" on the outside and holds 12 oz of frothy nutritious liquid on the inside.
 
3.17.2005
Slogans: Good. Policy: Bad

President Bush tapped Karen Hughes this week to be his extra special super secret advisor whose mission, should she choose to accept it, is to repair the image of the US overseas, particularly in the Arab world. What are they code naming this mission: Sisyphus? Does the phrase "Band-Aid on a sucking chest wound" have any meaning here? Perhaps a raffle or a bake sale is also in the works. As my daddy always said, "No matter how many ducky feathers you glue to a tank, you're still not going to get invited to swim in many inflated pools."

It'll be interesting to see what measures Ms. Hughes takes when she finds out the problem isn't so much our lousy public relations but our lousy foreign policies. You want to improve America's image, I'll tell you how to improve America's image. Put a leash on Rumsfeld and stop treating the rest of the world like it smells funny and made a doo doo on the shag rug in front of Mother Teresa's holier sister on Easter.

I got to say, creating the position of Spinmeister General does makes sense; at least we're playing to our strengths. As a country we have always excelled at selling the sizzle over the steak. Just last fall, this nation's veterans chose a borderline deserter over a decorated war hero. And the responsibility for that feat can be laid directly at the altar of advertising. There you go: enlist the Swift Boat Veterans to launch an international campaign finally revealing the truth about Osama's chronic bed wetting.

If Karen Hughes plans to craft a cuddlier image for us, she's going to need a little help. Okay, she's going to need a lot of help. An aircraft carrier group of help. And I'm thinking some snappy slogans could come in handy. Quick. Simple. Buzz worthy. So, in the interest of patriotism, I'm offering up a few. Gratis. Don't thank me, I'm here to help.

30 US Foreign Policy Extreme Make-Over Slogans. 30.

  • When Democracy Reigns, It Pours.
  • America: Just a Big Red White and Blue Teddy Bear With a Whole Lot of Guns.
  • Snap. Crackle. Pow. Thud.
  • Be All We Think You Should Be.
  • Tastes Great. Less Torture.
  • They Don't Call Us The GREAT Satan For Nothing.
  • America 2.0. Now With Improved Press Suppression.
  • What's So Bad About Bread And Circuses Anyway?
  • John Wayne: Not Just an Actor. A Way Of Life.
  • Don't Like Us? Get in Line.
  • I'd Walk A Mile For A Camel.
  • The US: The Ultimate Lying Machine.
  • Wouldn't You Really Rather Have A Republic?
  • Badges, We Don't Need No Stinking Badges.
  • Friendly Fire 'R Us.
  • Democracy: Just Do It.
  • You're In Good Hands With Our State.
  • You Keep the Sand, We'll Take the Oil.
  • Sometimes You Feel Like a Crazed Tyrannical Despot, Sometimes You Don't.
  • Freedom: Breakfast of Champions.
  • We're Everywhere You Want To Be. Deal With It.
  • The New Improved Low-Carb, Atkins-Friendly America.
  • Got Grenades?
  • Don't Leave Home Without It. No, Really. Stay in Your Homes.
  • I Can't Believe I Invaded The Whole Peninsula.
  • Autonomy: It's the Real Thing.
  • The Best Part Of Waking Up Is No Dead Bodies On Your Doorstep.
  • Aren't You Glad You Use a Free Market Economy? Don't You Wish Everybody Did?
  • Better Living Through Sovereignty.
  • Nobody Doesn't Like Britney Spears.
Political Comic Will Durst knew this already, but apparently he is nobody.
 
3.9.2005
Frog Soup

Ever since I was but a tadpole I've been hammered under the weight of this urban myth about putting a frog into a pot of water at room temperature then slowly raising the flame. Supposedly, the frog continues to acclimate itself to the heat until it finally boils to death. I have questions. First off, who goes to the trouble of boiling one frog at a time? Smacks of wastefulness, not to mention the macabre. Do you need to keep hitting the frog in the head with a slotted wooden spoon to keep him submerged or can he loll about with his little front arms over the edge of the pot like a pool patron in search of a towel?

For the true aficionado, a single frog must seem a cruel tease. A torment of forbidden delights. What is the problem with bumping it up to a couple of frogs or a veritable bevy of green? Or does crowding alter the experiment turning it into some sort of weird kinky amphibian hot tub interlude? Also, it seems this whole frog soup arrangement hinges on an unspoken effortless conveyance of live frog into pot of room temperature water in the first place which I suspect is an egregious oversimplification. Is our hoppy little friend anestheticized, and if so, isn't that cheating?

My point is, I need more information, but I do understand the allegory: we are destined to give up our rights one by one without a fight. Of that I have no doubt. If there were a Frog Soup Clock, the little webbed hands would be just closing at midnight. We're entering the dark part of Frog Soup Territory where scales are floating on top of fishy boullion that has turned a bright shade of green and two recent announcements from our fearless lizard loving leaders are contributing more than a soupcon to the soupiness of the situation.

Senator Ted Stevens (R-Ak) has announced his intention to hold cable companies and satellite providers to the same silly primitive standards that the FCC currently holds broadcast networks to, which the spineless House of Representatives has decided should cost half a million dollars per infraction. This advance man for the American Taliban is trying to castrate the Sopranos, relocate Deadwood to outside Peoria, and reapply the muzzle onto the cantankerous mouth of Howard Stern.

For Senator Ted Stevens, who is so concerned with the content of the cable channels he subscribes to, I have one thing to offer: you don't like something on your tv: TURN IT OFF! Most cable boxes come with a remote. USE IT. Turn off The Shield. Watch Nick at Night. Unsubscribe to HBO. It ain't cheap. Use the extra money to buy Disney DVDs or the best of Sesame Street and get your misplaced morality out of my TiVo.

In another part of town, as of April 15th, the Transportation Safety Administration plans to ban all lighters on board all American flights from checked or carry on luggage. Why? Because if the shoe bomber had a lighter, he would have been successful.  I thought that's why we take off our shoes before every flight. Now you want our fire? How bout pens? You could poke an eye out with one of those things. Why not outlaw the wheel in connection with luggage and after we agree to that they'll want our thumbs. Only the guilty need thumbs. A truly innocent person doesn't require fire, pens or thumbs. Hey, what's that smell? I think it's time to start chopping up the garnish because bowls full of hot scaly green broth are ready to be ladled out.

Political Comic Will Durst is surprised Bic and/or Zippo haven't chimed in on this one.
 
2.28.2005
The 12th Annual Will Durst Thank God For These Liquid Squeezbags Because I'm A Comic Awards

Well, look at the time. Can it really be that close to spring when we're forced to wrap ourselves in industrial strength saran wrap to avoid drowning in the leakage of enough weepy Award Show insincerity to fill a 55 gallon drum worth of ego splooey every night? Already? So soon? It seems like only last week we columnists were handing out our End of the Year Awards. And now it's almost March and I got a crick in my neck from ducking all the gold plated statuettes being flung around like lids at an airport Starbuscks kiosk. Like hair spray at a West Virginia Junior Miss Pageant. Like profanities at a Dick Cheney press conference. So in the spirit of the season, let us now settle in for the most serious and consequential of all the awards ceremonies: The Will Durst Thank God for These Liquid Squeezebags Because I'm a Comic Awards. Get yourself a cache of adult amber beverages, sit down and relax. Your gift bag is being diverted to Halliburton's Home Division as we speak.

  • BEST MAKE-OVER: Howard Dean. New head of the National Democratic Party. Risen from the dead to preside over the graveyard.
  • WHY WON'T ANYONE RETURN MY CALLS AWARD: Senator John Kerry.
  • HORSE'S HEAD AWARD: Doug Wead, the guy who secretly taped phone calls from Dubya.
  • COMEBACK OF THE YEAR AWARD: Martha Stewart. Emerges from 6 months in prison with a prime time series. An abject lesson to all evil doers to think twice before breaking the law.
  • THE HE KNOWS MORE THAN HE'S LETTING ON AND I'M NOT SURE IT'S GOOD NEWS AWARD: Alan Greeenspan.
  • THE NOT AS DUMB AS HIS HAIR LOOKS AWARD: Donald Trump.
  • BEST CHOREOGRAPHER: Karl Rove. Exit polls, schmexit polls. It's not who votes that counts, it's who counts the votes.
  • THE AREN'T YOUR 15 MINUTES OVER YET AWARD: Paris Hilton for third year in a row.
  • THE MOST IMPORTANT MAN IN AMERICA AWARD: For the fifth year in a row, Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens's doctor. Hang in there, doc.
  • SHEEP'S CLOTHING AWARD: George W Bush for the provision in his education package which mandates high schools turn over names and addresses of students to Defense Department Recruiters. In an era of recruitment shortages, gives a whole new meaning to the program's title:"No Child Left Behind. "
  • PIXIE DUST AWARD: To all baby boomers even halfway counting on Social Security still being around when they get old. Like next week.
  • BEST COMING ATTRACTIONS: The administration's line on Iran. We have no plans to invade Iran at this time. That being said, we're keeping our options open. Sounds to me like the sell by date of at this time has already passed. Pretty sure if it were milk, you'd want to check before dumping it on your corn flakes.
  • UNCLEAR ON THE CONCEPT AWARD: Michael Jackson for wearing lipstick while reading a press release maintaining his innocence on child molestation charges.
  • THE I'M SO LUCKY, I'M UNCONSCIOUS AWARD: Fifth year in a row, George W Bush.
  • STAR WARS AWARD: US Defense Department for using unmanned drones to spy on rebel enemies. Only problem is, I think this makes us the Evil Empire.
  • BEST SCORE: Whoever sold the grilled cheese sandwich graced with the image of the Virgin Mary on Ebay for $28,000. The sandwich now on a nationwide tour. Wonder who's opening? The french fry that looks like Abraham Lincoln?
  • HE OH MY GOD, NOT YOU AGAIN AWARD: Newt Gingrich who is threatening a run at the White House in 2008. President Newt. That's scarier than the Donald Rumsfeld Swimsuit Calendar.
Will Durst has been nominated for numerous awards, but never won. Kind of like the Susan Lucci of stand up.
 
2.21.2005
Bush To Poor: Drop Dead.

You know what surprises me most about Bush’s new Budget Proposal? I’ll tell you what surprises me most about Bush’s new Budget Proposal. What surprises me most about Bush’s new Budget Proposal is that the front gates of the White House aren’t being knocked down by legions of outraged clergy armed with spiked bats and pitchforks and acetylene torches screaming for the head of any of the leering corporate lackeys possessing even the remotest of roles in submitting this moral crime against humanity to Congress. And that the ruling class lets Bush get away with this potentially revolutionary inciting crap. That’s what surprises me most about Bush’s new Budget Proposal.

And I don’t use the term “ruling class” lightly. His tax cuts for the rich: not only do they remain in defiance of the largest deficit EVER, but King Leerer intends to fight to make them permanent. HOWEVER, for any program involving anybody who isn’t rich: oh yes, cuts do exist. Severe cuts. Cuts o’plenty. Cuts to the bone, unless those bones happen to be located in the vicinity of the cholesterol laden limb of a fat cat.

Apparently the plan is to balance the budget on the nutritionally deprived uninsured backs of the inadequately medicated poor. That’s the deal: budget cuts if you’re not rich, tax cuts if you are. Less money for those who don’t have any and more to those who do. That’s how President Fredo says we’re going to get out of the giant deficit hole he’s dug. You can’t put it any more simply. Rich people richer. Poor people poorer.

Here’s just a sample of what he plans for our future with a handy reminder of why. Because you can’t hear it too much. For those of you with a strong stomach and a low threshold of infuriation, feel free to read on. For the rest of you, this might be a good time to check out your horoscope or some of the cheerier comic strips like Family Circus.

  • Tighter restrictions on Food Stamp eligibility so rich people can have more money.
  • Federal Drug Administration inspection teams sacked so rich people can have more money.
  • Highway and infrastructure improvement budgets slashed so rich people can have more money.
  • An 11% reduction in Homeland Security funds available to state and local coordination efforts so rich people can have more money.
  • $250 million cut from programs to train child care doctors and other health care professionals so rich people can have more money.
  • Small Business Administration cut from $3.3 billion to $.6 billion so rich people can have more money.
  • Increase on charges for Veterans Health Care so rich people can have more money.
  • Cutting Federal Foster Care Programs so rich people can have more money.
  • Cutting Medicaid and Medicare benefits so rich people can have more money.
  • Ending community services block grants, a $637 million program that helps pay for community action agencies founded more than 35 years ago as part of the fight against poverty so rich people can have more money.
  • Proposed cuts in aid to farmers, seniors, children, students, cops, veterans, the homeless, the hungry, the environment, Amtrak, AND the Center for Disease Control and Prevention so rich people can have more money.
  • Gutting the low income home energy assistance program which is mostly used by the elderly. That’s right friends, he’s cutting winter heating subsidies to the elderly so rich people can have more money. What are we now: The Gorgar People? Let’s just cut to the chase. You hit 65, we ship you to the Aleutian Islands and place you on an ice floe with matches and a pointy stick. If you a Republican, we take away the stick, because it’s considered an entitlement.
Did the political comic Will Durst mention most of these cuts are necessary to insure that rich people can have more money? Because he meant to mention most of these cuts are necessary to insure that rich people can have more money. And the poor less.
 
2.2.2005
George W Bush 2005 State Of The Union Address Drinking Game

What You Will Need:

  • Four taxpayers: including 1 white guy wearing a suit, 2 people wearing normal clothes (one wearing a blue shirt, the other in a red shirt) and 1 dressed as an old person. (Note: shawls are nice.)
  • A shot glass per person. Everybody brings one, group them on table. White guy in suit gets first choice, red shirt picks second and blue shirt gets third choice.
  • Bowl each of guacamole and chips.
  • 5 bucks. Everybody antes.
  • Much beer. Senior citizen gets cheapest crap you can find, like Old Milwaukee Lite: white guy in suit drinks import of choice and everyone else chips in to buy it; the other two fight it out over Bud and Miller Lite.

Rules Of The Game:

  1. Whenever President Bush uses the words: "tax relief," "mandate" or "bipartisan," drink a shot of beer.
  2. Whenever George W mispronounces "Allawi," "nuclear" or "terrorism," last person to knock on wood drinks two shots of beer.
  3. If he mispronounces "shiite:" first person to stop laughing exempt from drinking three shots.
  4. If the President says the word "Texas," last person to give the longhorn sign and yell "Yeehah!" has to drink two shots of beer.
  5. Whenever George W talks about saving social security, senior citizen takes a shot of beer. First time the President uses the word "personalization," take two shots. Add another shot for each additional "personalization."
  6. If Vice President Dick Cheney is caught napping on camera, white guy in suit has to drink a whole beer.
  7. Whenever George W Bush talks about the evils of abortion or the sanctity of marriage, last person to fall to their knees drinks two shots of beer.
  8. Whenever George W mentions the liberty or freedom of the Iraqi people, stand up, salute with your right hand and drink a shot of beer with your left hand. If he's talking about the liberty or freedom of the American people, stand up, salute with your left hand and drink a shot of beer with your right hand. First person to mess up has to drink two more shots. White guy in suit is exempt from mistakes.
  9. The first time George Bush uses the phrases "activist judges," and "trial lawyers," first person to stand up and yell, "I 'm out of order? You're out of order," is exempt from having to drink three shots of beer.
  10. If only half of televised audience gives George W a standing ovation, red shirt and white guy in suit have to drink shots of beer for duration of applause. If either Teddy Kennedy, Hillary Clinton or John Kerry are shown not standing, blue shirt and senior citizen take over till Bush resumes speaking. Double time if Senators are not applauding.
  11. If George W Bush mentions "Halliburton," "exit strategy" or his inability to find Weapons of Mass Destruction or Osama bin Laden, white guy in suit has to drink a shot of everybody else's beer out of their shot glass, and they get to wipe their glass clean on his jacket.
  12. Whenever George W mentions the phrase "prescription drug plan," take a shot of beer. The first time this happens, last person to finish has to drink two more shots of beer and take out the trash during the Democratic Response. White guy in suit and red shirt need not recycle.

Extras:

  1. EVERYBODY gets to kick the crap out of white guy in suit for 15 seconds, only if Karl Rove's transmission link breaks and Bush begins to mumble excerpts from Hugo Weaving's soliloquy in the first "Matrix" on how humans smell.
  2. White guy in suit gets to kick the old person if George W uses a heartfelt story of a senior citizen's grace under pressure to illustrate a point. Twice if cat food is mentioned. The elder gets 15 seconds to kick white guy in suit only if Bush reveals the anecdotal senior is in the audience AND sitting next to an astronaut. 30 seconds if the adjacent seat holds a member of the Bush family. 1 full minute if it's Jenna.
  3. Remaining guacamole goes home with senior citizen who also gets to keep Tupperware container.
  4. White guy in suit wins pot.
Political comic Will Durst will be playing this game with friends. Needs a red shirt.
 
1.24.2005
A Horror Movie Sequel
Inaugural 2: This Time It’s Really Personal

Exhibiting his mastery of faith-based weather, President Bush’s second coronation circus slipped smack dab between two Washington DC snowstorms amid the most oppressive security setup since some old Chinese guy reclaimed Tiananmen Square. Like every circus, it featured a parade. However, with a battalion of armored limousines and two hour waits to stand on 10 degree street corners behind about ten million strapped law enforcement officers, this wasn’t a parade with a lot of laughs. No balloons, cotton candy or deep fried bananas; the only animals were sniffy dogs, and the few clowns in attendance were all on the reviewing stand.

In his 21 minute, 1430 word speech, the President called for an end to tyranny but I have a funny feeling that does not extend to the Republican majority’s behavior towards the Democrats in Congress. He managed to mention the word freedom 27 times, but surprisingly the word "Iraq" was AWOL, failing to make a single appearance. Probably waiting for the State of the Union for its grand entrance. The point is, George Bush is pro freedom and anti tyranny. Wow. Can’t wait for his position paper on irritable bowel syndrome.

Sporting the lowest approval rating of a second-term president in over 50 years, the President defended the pomp and circumstance of his $40 million party against critics who called it excessive: "You can be equally concerned about our troops in Iraq and those who suffered in the tsunami while celebrating democracy." Other concerns he neglected to mention that one can still hold while celebrating democracy are the heartbreak of psoriasis, curtain rod drawstring strangulation, wind- borne ebola, the critical international shortage of ethical show business agents and huge meteors on extinction level trajectories.

The Evangelist of Freedom went on to say his second inauguration should serve as an inspiration to fledgling democracies in Iraq and Afghanistan and I’m sure both countries are salivating over their upcoming opportunity to hold an event featuring dozens of exclusive feasts such as the one with 21,000 enchiladas, 20,000 quesadillas, and 3,000 lbs of barbecued beef as was found at Texas State Society's Black Tie & Boots Ball. I am guessing the pulled pork sandwiches will be replaced with a couple of bowls of red pepper humus but more fiber is undoubtably a good thing.

Although a member of the Bush family has been part of the ruling Presidential ticket 5 out of the last 7 contests, both 41 and 43 went out of their way to say they don’t appreciate the term "dynasty." Yeah, well, you know what, neither do we and it's probably not because of an allergic reaction to Joan Collins. The only silver lining for Democrats is Dubyah can’t run again, unless Karl Rove starts a clandestine push to jettison the 20th Amendment, in which case, Bill Clinton can run again as well. To which you can hear the blue states rise in unison: "Bring it on!" Will Durst is a political comic whose feet are just now thawing out.

Don’t forget to see Durst at the Performing Arts Center in Kirkland, Washington on Friday the 28th and at the Marin Civic Center Showcase Theater on Saturday the 29th.
 
1.12.2005
Ethics Bye Bye

Well, I hope you enjoyed last year's ethics investigations of Tom DeLay because they are the last ethics investigations you will ever see conducted by the House of Representatives. Did I say "ever?" Because I meant to say "ever." Or let me state it in a classical sense: Nevermore. Let me explain. The House Ethics Committee consists of an equal amount of members from each party: 3 Democrats and 3 Republicans. Under the old rules a tie committee vote meant an investigation would ensue. That is, if all three opposing party committee peoples voted for an inquiry of a Representative, it went through no matter what anyone from the members own party thought. Because what the members of their own party usually think is,"Hey, I don't care what you said he did, leave our guy alone, you big creepy hypocritical bullies. And you know what: they're right.

Now, however, the rules have changed. With their first piece of business on the first day of the 109th Congress, Republican House leaders modified the rule so a deadlock of the ethics committee ends up with no action taken. Which means somebody from the same party as the member under scrutiny has to vote for an investigation, which means investigations. Ever. Again. The era of ethics investigations in the House of Representatives is over. It is history. A memory. Expired. Dodo City. In the archives. It's gone. Wave bye.

Not that I mean to suggest the House Ethics Committee was ever that effective in the first place. As a matter of fact, amongst us comics, it became a shorthand generic joke meaning oxymoronic, as in "House Ethics Committee. That's s a lot like saying: Military Intelligence, or Swedish banana farm or Soviet fashion plate or Henry Kissinger Fact Finding Commission." It goes on, but you get the idea. But there was always the appearance of a self-regulating body. Hands got slapped. But apparently now Republican House leaders believe their people are so corrupt, they can't afford the pretense of propriety anymore. Hand slapping is off limits.

The Democrats whined and sputtered like they always do, "They can't do that!" Well, not only can they do that but they have and here's the real irony: the Republicans are just tracing the playbook written by the Dems back in the 70s on how to play hard ball powertics on the Hill. Of course power goes in cycles and getting stuck with the very stick you whittled is an old tradition in DC. As bad as it is now for the Democrats might be exactly how bad it is for the Republicans in another 20 years. When that very same high pitched whine may be coming from them.

Will Durst is still whining about Calvin and Hobbes.


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