Sunday, November 25, 2007

Actor Scott Baio Seizes Power in Bloodless Coup

Late yesterday afternoon, former television star Scott Baio, best known for his role as Chachi on the 1970s sitcom Happy Days, seized control of the United States government in a daring coup.

Baio and a few followers gained access to the White House after promising to sign autographs for President Bush. The group quickly seized power with the help of key Secret Service agents, who turned out to be obsessive Joanie Loves Chachi (a Happy Days spin-off) fans. Bush, Cheney, and others were quickly ushered outside to Pennsylvania Avenue as Baio's group set up shop in the Oval Office.

This morning, reporters asked Baio how he plans to organize his new government. In response to a question about Happy Days co-star Donnie Most, Baio exclaimed "The Malph! There's always room in my cabinet for a mind like that. Did you see him in Stewardess School? Comic genius. I just hope I can convince him to drop whatever important work he's doing to come on board." (Most played the clowning Ralph Malph on Happy Days. He was also featured in the critically panned, commercially unsuccessful 1986 film, Stewardess School. As of press time, it is believed that he most recently appeared in a regional production of Space Balls: The Musical).

Baio announced that the theme song from his 1980s sitcom Charles in Charge would be the new national anthem. "No one knows the words to the Star Spangled Banner anyways, " Baio explained.

Baio was also asked if Erin Moran, his co-star from Joanie Loves Chachi, would be his First Lady. "If she'll have me," Baio replied, a bit wistfully.

After taking questions from the press, Baio read a short statement he said was intended for Ron Howard,who played the freckle-faced Richie Cunningham on Happy Days and later went on to success as a Hollywood director: "Ronnie, I bet you thought you'd heard the last of me after that Cocoon audition. Steve Guttenberg over me? I would have been great with those old people. Well, I guess now you, and everybody else, will have to take me seriously. Call my assistant and we can talk about how I fit into Cocoon III--that is, if you want to keep making movies."

Howard, along with Henry Winkler and several other Happy Days regulars, has reportedly gone into hiding.

The sudden power grab is being called the Suede Revolution, a reference both to the bloodess 1989 Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovokia and the fact that the actors who played Leather Tuscadero and the Suedes on Happy Days helped Baio come to power. Anson Williams, who played Potsie on Happy Days, is widely believed to be the new regime's enforcer.

Early polling shows 11% approve of Baio's new role as absolute ruler, 14% disapprove, and 67% believe he can't be any worse than Bush.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Legal Defense Funds Not Just for the Mighty

Following reports that supporters of former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales have created a trust fund to help pay for his legal expenses in the event that Gonzales faces criminal charges, a Kansas man facing possible drug possession charges announced similar plans.

"I am calling on my friends and supporters to help me in my time of need," Jack Brohamer wrote in an e-mail solicitation to potential contributors, "I am completely innocent, as this is a complete misunderstanding involving poor outdoor lighting and strong incense, but I do not have the means to pay for a proper legal defense since I have spent most of my career in low-paying jobs. Contributions are not tax-deductibel [sic], but are much appreciated."

Brohamer's appeal paralleled efforts mounted on behalf of Mr. Gonzales. A colleague of Gonzales's sent a similar e-mail seeking help to defray potential legal expenses.

Ian Bledsoe, a friend of Brohamer's, explained that "In the hyper-politicized atmosphere that surrounds drug use in the Plains states, a good man like Jack cannot simply trust that the truth will win out. He must obtain the best representation money can buy. And, ideally, a little will be left over to purchase some much-needed Cheetos and herbal refreshment in the event that Jack gets off."

A contribution form attached to Brohamer's email suggests contributions from $5 to $100. The Topeka District Attorney's office's investigation of Brohamer is likely to conclude later this month. So far, Brohamer's fund has collected $35.28, including two anonymous contributions of $5 each and a $15 contribution from a local 7-11 Brohamer frequents.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Bush Announces New Economic Plan

Following dire economic reports, including a record federal budget deficit, a plummeting dollar, predictions of a recession, and declining consumer confidence, President Bush unveiled a new economic plan today.

"People may think I'm too busy with the war in Iraq to think about domestic issues. Well, I've got a plan that will shut everybody up," a confident President Bush announced. The President explained that he will bring in a "new economic team, that will implement my specific economic goals, namely giving all of America’s assets to a few very wealthy people." A report released by the White House laid out the key points of the President’s plan: a 100% federal tax rate on all people earning less than $1,000,000 annually, immediate repeal of all taxes on those earning more than $1,000,000 annually, and a requirement that all those with no after-tax income become forced laborers on the estates of the wealthy. Only those able to demonstrate a net worth of $5,000,000 or more would be allowed to vote.

"As F. Scott Fitzgerald said, "the rich are different from you and me," the President joked, "damn right we are—we’ve got more money! And now we’ll have even more!"

The President’s supporters were quick to point out the benefits promised by the new economic plan. "We’re taking about an incredibly simplified tax code—no more need to spend hours preparing your tax returns," gushed an excited Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM), "if you’re earning less than a million a year, we take it all. More than a million a year, you keep it all. After all, it’s your money!"

"The unemployment rate will quickly fall to zero—no unemployment. Money will pour into the Treasury's coffers," promised Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY)."As soon as people do their taxes in April, everyone earning less than a million dollars a year will be placed in a kind of indentured servitude, kind of like slavery, except this time it won’t be restricted to African-Americans. Wonder if the liberals will still think we’re racist then?"

President Bush expressed regret that the late Senator Strom Thurmond is not available to lead the new forced labor effort. "The Senator had some experience with tenant farming and sharecropping, and reportedly some memories of the antebellum years. He would have been a natural for implementing the new universal labor program," President Bush explained.

A few Democrats said they would opposes any legislation aimed at implementing the President’s plan, but the White House expressed optimism about getting new laws passed quickly. "After all, most Democrats in Congress are doing pretty well themselves," quipped White House spokesperson Dana Perino.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Democrats Hand Over Own Balls to President at White House Ceremony

In a Rose Garden ceremony this morning, a congressional delegation led by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) formally handed over their balls to President George W. Bush.

"Recent actions make clear that we don’t need these any more," said Senator Schumer as he handed over a small plastic bag containing his genitalia. "We thought it only fitting that we hand over the essence of our once proud manhood to the man we now roll over for on command: President Bush."

Sen. Feinstein echoed Schumer’s words, just before bowing deferentially to the President and his retinue, which included Vice President Cheney: "As a woman coming of age in the 1950s and 60s, it took me a lot of hard work to develop and maintain these balls. When I graduated from Stanford, women weren’t taken seriously—everyone told me to get a job as a secretary or a teacher, and then get married and raise kids. But I didn’t back down to anyone, and I ended up becoming a United States Senator. That’s why I’m sure the President appreciates exactly what my hand-over signifies, and why this act is so meaningful."

President Bush graciously accepted the delegation, and thanked them for their gesture. "Today’s ceremony only formalizes what is already clear: most Democrats in Congress have about as much spunk as a neutered golden retriever. Sorry, that’s an insult to the retriever."

Leading experts agreed with the president. "After the Democrats took control of Congress last fall, most people assumed they would move swiftly to confront a deeply unpopular president, especially on the catastrophic war in Iraq," said P.E. Gordon, associate professor at the Kennedy School of Government. "Instead, they capitulated on issue after issue where the public had their back—Iraq, warrantless spying, habeas corpus. A lot of voters who expected change are asking themselves: do the Democrats have any balls at all? Well, I guess it’s clear now that, actually, they don’t"

After the ceremony, the President declared that "I will be issuing an executive order declaring that all Democratic members of Congress have to take out my trash and do my laundry, on a rotating basis, according to seniority." Sen. Feinstein eagerly stepped forward to schedule a time when she could be placed on laundry detail, as Sen. Schumer shifted his feet and chuckled uncomfortably. "I’m just kidding guys!" the president laughed as he tousled Feinstein’s hair and poked Schumer in the ribs. (A spokesman for the president later announced that Executive Order 11876 would in fact be issued shortly,assigning certain "high-level caretaker duties, vital to national security" to congressional Democrats).

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) also attended today’s ceremony, although he had already turned in his balls in late 2001.

A version of this piece also appears at, Opinions You Should Have.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

President Bush Discusses Post-White House Plans

As President Bush heads into the last year of his presidency, his thoughts naturally turn to post-White House plans. At a press gaggle aboard Air Force One, President Bush discussed some of his ideas yesterday.

"I've been thinking about writing a book--Presidenting for Dummies. You know, like those Sex for Dummies or The Internet for Dummies books," an animated President Bush told reporters. "Chapter 1 would be something like: So now you're president: how to get started. I'd include stuff about foreign policy and budgets."

The president touched on a number of other ideas, including undercover agent ("don't out me like Scooter Libby did, guys!"), cub reporter, special envoy to the Middle East, and oddly, marine biologist ("I like that Seinfeld episode where George pulls the golfball out of the whale's blowhole").

Presidential scholar Tom Brookens of the University of Massachusetts commented on the president's plan. "Bush isn't as dumb as some people think--it's more a lack of intellectual curiousity. I'm sure if you put him in the right environment, with the proper encouragement, he could do something impressive. Sure, he won't be writing constitutions for new democracies, winning a Nobel Prize, or running for Congress, but maybe he could do something with his hands, under supervision, for short periods of time, with plenty of breaks. As long as he's not planning catastrophic wars, pretty much whatever he does will probably be fine with most Americans."

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

President Bush Personally Presses Musharraf to Hold Elections, Gently Reminds Bin Laden to Turn Himself In

With Pakistan under martial law, President Bush boldly stepped into the breach yesterday and told its President, Pervez Musharraf, that he must hold elections and relinquish his post as military leader.

Leading experts marveled at the President's genius. "Other leaders might have cut off aid to the troubled nation, one of the world's 11 nuclear powers. Lesser men might have introduced United Nations resolutions calling for sanctions," said Stan Papi of the Council on Foreign Relations. "Americans can rest assured that their president understands that all it takes to resolve a crisis like this is a simple phone call."

President Musharraf reportedly responded by meekly apologizing and promisingto give up his dictatorial powers immediately. President Bush hung up the phone and next called Russian President Vladimir Putin, asking that that the Russian leader put an end to his autocratic rule. "I told Putin, look, it's time to cut it out," said President Bush at an afternoon conference. "Of course, he agreed, and asked exactly what I wanted him to do, and when. I understand he'll also be sending me a care package of caviar and those funny little Russian dolls."

Later yesterday, President Bush broadcast an appeal to Osama Bin Laden, politely asking the terrorist leader to turn himself in as quickly as possible. State Department officials anticipate that Bin Laden will make arrangements for his surrender in the very near future.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

AG Nominee Mukasey Explains When Waterboarding May Not Be So Bad

In written responses to questions posed by members of Congress, Judge Michael Mukasey, President's Bush's nominee for Attorney General, explained that whether waterboarding is illegal depends on the "facts and circumstances", including the "particular technique" employed.

Mukasey further explained his answer at a press conference this afternoon."I have heard that some practitioners of waterboarding make sure to place a pillow under the head of their subject, just before they tie him or her down, place cloth over the mouth, and pour water through the cloth to simulate drowning," Mukasey stated. "Is that torture? I'm not sure. In other cases, the waterboarder may test the temperature of the water before pouring it down the waterboardee's throat in order to be sure it's neither too cold, nor too hot. I don't know about you, but that kind of sensitivity would, in my view, go a long way toward beating a torture rap."

The ghost of 15th century Spanish inquisitor Tomas deTorquemada agreed with Judge Mukasey. "This is the kind of thing I'd be very uncomfortable judging until all the facts are in. Saying all waterboarding is torture is like saying it's always wrong to place a suspected heretic on the rack, or to burn a known witch at the stake. These things are open to interpretation."

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Bush Foreign Policy Patterned on Board Game

A former classmate of President George W. Bush said today that he believes the Bush administration’s foreign policy has its origins in a board game Mr. Bush frequently played in college.

"George and I played a lot of RISK at Yale," said Bob Pendergast of Darien, Connecticut at a news conference held today in Manhattan. "The way he always started out was to put as many armies as he could in the Middle East. He used to say his dad [President George H. W. Bush, at the time director of the Central Intelligence Agency] told him the key to foreign policy was to destabilize the Middle East by sending troops in to set up regimes that would be friendly to the U.S. I thought this was a dumb strategy—the Middle East has a lot of borders and is hard to defend. Plus it doesn’t really help you get control of a continent—which is what you want to do at the beginning of a RISK game. George said he would do the same thing if he ever became president. George used to drink while we were playing, so I didn’t take this too seriously, but looking at his foreign policy decisions as president, I guess he meant it."

(RISK is a game of world domination sold by Parker Brothers. The object is to acquire control of territories while wiping your opponents off the map.)

Pendergast described Bush as a poor RISK player. "He was so stuck on the Middle East. It was easy to beat him, especially if you were playing him one on one. All you had to do was take control of Australia or South America and let George fight it out with East Africa and Afghanistan [two territories bordering the Middle East territory on the RISK game board]. After we had placed our armies, the game was usually pretty much over."

Pendergast pointed to recent events to support his analysis: "You know how we went into Iraq, right? And now we’re talking about going after Iran, plus we’ve still got troops in Afghanistan? Well, it’s pretty obvious to me that George is going to try to hold the Middle East, and maybe expand into East Africa or the Ukraine from there. If I was [Russian President Vladimir] Putin, I’d be massing troops on the Ukrainian border right now."

Foreign policy expert Robert Kagan of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace was skeptical of Mr. Pendergast’s theory. "I find it difficult to believe that a 21st century superpower would base its foreign policy on a childrens’ board game. Moreover, President Bush is not the only person responsible for American foreign policy—there’s Secretary of State Rice, the Joint Chiefs, Vice President Cheney. In any event, what moron would try to hold the Middle East? What’s Bush thinking, that he’ll take over Asia and start getting 7 extra armies a turn? Yeah, right—like he’ll ever be able to hold Asia. He should fortify his borders in North America and maybe try to come into Europe through Greenland."

Pendergast expressed concern that the administration’s foreign policy might leave the United States vulnerable to attack. "Does [Secretary of Defense Robert] Gates know that Kamchatka can attack Alaska?" Pendergast wondered, referring to the fact that a RISK player can attack North America from a territory named after a peninsula on Asia’s far eastern coast. "I wonder how many troops we have up there? If it were me, I’d be transferring armies up there pretty damn quick, before someone figures out they can come at us that way."

The White House could not be reached for comment, although a reporter who called heard what sounded like dice rolling and excited shouts in the background.

Giuliani Named Free Safety in Charge of Antiterrorism

Earlier today, the Bush administration named Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani to the newly created position of Free Safety in Charge of Antiterrorism. The move is believed to give Giuliani a boost in his presidential bid.

"I'm excited, and ready to kick ass," a perspiring Giuliani said as he danced around in football pads and a helmet. "This new position gives me the authority to take out bad guys wherever and whenever I like, as I long as I observe NFL rules. That means no holding, offsides, or pass interference, but I can freely waterboard or detain suspects without access to an attorney." The latter tactics are not prohibited by the NFL, or current administration policy.

New Englad Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Attorney General nominee Michael Mukasey both agreed that the Giuliani nomination was a smart move. "Here we have a guy who is chomping at the bit to bring in terrorists, and is also a football fan " Judge Mukasey said at an early morning press conference. "The administration has given him the leeway to do whatever is necessary to haul in suspects, while making clear that he has to abide by the well-known rules of conduct that apply during every NFL game. These rules will establish a basic standard for humane treatment that are a needed modernization of the outdated Geneva conventions. Plus, they're a lot easier for everyone to understand and defend at press conferences."

Brady agreed. "Getting terrorists is serious business, and avoiding penalties in the NFL is no easy feat. I expect big things from Giuliani. I hope he doesn't show up when we play the Jets--I'd hate to see Randy Moss or Coach Belichick detained indefinitely. Coach Belichick already had that bad press over the videotaping of other teams' signs. That may well be enough for Giuliani to bring him in and perhaps even initiate rendition proceedings that put Belichick at the mercy of some other team he has no connection with. Plus, I hear Giuliani is a big hitter on pass plays over the middle."

The campaigns of other presidential candidates had no immediate comment. It is believed to be likely that ABC will launch a new reality show associated with Giuliani's new post.