July 31, 2004
Hobnobbing With Celebrities And Politicians Leaves You Exhausted
It's over -- but it's not over. I still have a couple of "convention posts" to get up here. Someone should have warned me that no one sleeps at these conventions -- you get up at 7 and stay up til 3:30 a.m., and do it all over again the next day. A number of technical problems -- undoubtedly caused by the vast right-wing conspiracy -- plagued me on the first day, and for a while some bloggers couldn't publish to their web sites from the Convention Center because of a mysterious "proxy cache" problem. (At least there wasn't a check caching problem.) Dave Johnson's computer showed signs that his hard drive was dying the first and second day -- his computer would just shut down and check itself now and then -- and those problems simply disappeared later in the week.
I scheduled an interview with a congressman (Carol McCarthy of NY) and they brought me the wrong congressman (the great John Lewis of Atlanta). I should have asked Congressman Lewis about all these New York issues I had questions about anyway, but an intern so touched to meet Lewis that she began sobbing shut me down. (I gave them some privacy.)
We bloggers didn't know what to do when we got there and neither did anybody else. More than a couple reporters and seasoned conventioneers told me they had no idea what they were going to write about.
Below the fold »
Richard Avedon's handlers told me they had been given a chair and garbage storage area as their "salon -- and that Avedon was obsessed with the theory that Wolf Blitzer was actually seven different people. As they told me this, Joe Klein shook Avedon's hand just feet away from me, Sam Donaldson stood looking like he had been the victim of taxidermy -- as motionless and erect as his statue in the Museum of Wax here -- and Wolf Blitzer zoomed by, obviously trying to move past before Avedon saw him. Wolf's beard somehow looks less threatening in person than it does on television.
George Stephanopholous, waiting to interview someone in the stands off the floor, looked scared and tired.
A guy working at Dunkin Donuts proudly showed me that his Convention Hall pass was signed on the front by Hillary Clinton and on the back by P. Diddy.
On the train back home, Al Franken came through our car and the man next to me, an amateur photographer, sprang up to tell Franken that he had a picture of Bill O'Reilly picking his nose. (Franken told him to caption it, "Need a cocktail fork, Bill?")
Al Franken looked like he had just woken up and needed to go back to sleep -- the hair on the back of his head was crushed and parts were sticking up pointing every which way. That's the way I feel, and I suspect it will be a day or to before I begin to recover.
But I will, and soon we'll be back in business. . . .
« I take my satire straight, thank you.
Posted by Tom Burka at 1:25 PM
July 30, 2004
Zell Miller Demands Speaking Role At Dem Convention
Eager To Not Bash Bush, Say Colleagues
Republican Democratic Senator Zell Miller -- who has been given a speaking role at the Republican National Convention -- demanded a speaking role at the Democratic Convention.
"I wanted to put in a good word for the achievements of Democrats willing to work closely with Republicans to accomplish real good for Democrats working with Republicans," Miller said.
The winning entry was by Andante of Collective Sigh.
Below the fold »
There were many, many fine entries, all of which made me laugh out loud. I'd like to pick some runner ups but I'm just way too tired -- it's 3:00 a.m. and I have a 9:15 a.m. train to catch out of here.
But they'll be coming! Thanks to all who participated, whether you wrote a headline or just laughed at one. It is you who make this a community worth blogging for.
Update: I'm working on the runners-up, and I'll also be posting the swag that Andante will get for her win. . . .
« I take my satire straight, thank you.
Posted by Tom Burka at 3:04 AM
July 29, 2004
Hope Has Arrived
Kerry Accidentally Accepts Nomination During Morning Rehearsal
TV Stations To Show Reruns Of "Lassie" Tonight
During a rehearsal at the Fleet Center this morning, Senator John Kerry, who was practicing his speech at the central podium, accidentally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination, approximately ten hours early.
"I gratefully accept the nomination of the Democratic Party," he said, and a confused Kucinich delegate on the floor immediately moved to accept the nomination, which was seconded and passed by American Samoa.
Although Kerry immediately realized his mistake and tried to "take back" his acceptance, a member of the Rules Committee informed him that there were "absolutely no take-backsies."
Because Convention rules specify that no nominee may accept a nomination twice, Kerry cannot accept the nomination this evening, and television networks are planning on showing reruns of "Friends," "Seinfeld," and "Lassie."
Posted by Tom Burka at 12:55 PM
July 28, 2004
Hope Delayed At Security Kiosk Outside Fleet Center
Security has been so tight at the Fleet Center that even delegates have sometimes had difficulty getting inside.
Hope Campobello, a New Jersey delegate, was on her way back into the Democratic National Convention when she was detained by security personnel because she refused to surrender a liquid. It is prohibited to bring liquids into the convention. As a result, Ms. Campobello missed John Edwards' acceptance speech.
"Hope was on the way," her husband Gino Campobello said. "But she was too damn thirsty to give up her Diet Coke."
Ms. Campobello had managed to get the Diet Coke through the metal detectors, over the barbed wire, and past the Royal Canadian Mounties when a bunch of police dogs, carefully trained to detect soft drinks, sounded the alert.
Hope refused to give up her Diet Coke because Diet Cokes, which are somehow sold by Verizon inside the Fleet Center, cost thirteen dollars a can.
John Edwards, always a champion of the tired and thirsty, refused to give up. "Hope is on the way," he said.
"I don't know. I think Hope got lost or something," said her husband, an hour or so later. "Maybe she just gave up and went home."
OYSH Editor Immensely Relieved To Discover He Is Taller Than Kucinich
And Kucinich was wearing shoes, too.
Immediately After Obama Speech, Kerry Develops Laryngitis
Opinions You Should Have has learned that John Kerry will be unable to deliver his acceptance speech on Thursday night as planned.
Just moments after Barack Obama delivered what some, even Republicans, are calling "one of the best convention speeches of the past twenty-five years," Kerry developed "a bad case of laryngitis."
"He really can't speak," said a spokesman.
When Kerry accepts the nomination, the DNC is considering rebroadcasting Clinton's Monday night speech, which many called "masterful," Obama's speech, or simply allowing Obama to deliver the acceptance speech for John Kerry.
Earlier yesterday, John Kerry gave a speech to the United Association Of Caffeine Processors, none of whom fell asleep.
Posted by Tom Burka at 9:15 AM
July 27, 2004
Hellmann's Mayonnaise To Back Kerry
Candidate To Go For "Whole Condiment" Sweep
The prestigious Hellman's Mayonnaise family endorsed John Kerry today, in what spokesmen hoped presaged "an entire group of condiment endorsements," known in the political sphere as "the whole jar of pickles."
Kerry, who corralled Heinz Ketchup with a simple marriage ceremony, is hoping to sew up the Krafts sometime in the coming week. Kerry is also trying to branch out: next Tuesday he is to meet with influential and powerful Chef Boyardi.
It is reported that Grey Poupon is on the fence, however. "We are attracted to the Republicans because they are rich, arrogant, and incredibly stuffy," said Lord Poupon earlier today.
"On the other hand, we are liking the Kerry very much," he added, "because we are French."
Posted by Tom Burka at 5:32 PM
July 26, 2004
Guam Delegates Threatening To Capture Plum Massachussetts' Floor Spot
Feisty "Red-Shirted Warriors" Ready To Rumble
Courageous and strong-hearted delegates from Guam, the U.S. territory that has fielded the smallest number of delegates on the floor, 12, surged forward in what appeared to be a carefully coordinated thrust into Vermont, Connecticut, and Maryland, making a stab at capturing the coveted seating held by Massachussets directly in front of the stage.
Guam's delegation had been relegated to the "cheap seats," a tiny parallegram situated just to the north of the Virgin Islands' 13 delegates and far to the side of the floor. Just about seven minutes ago, during the speech of Gloria Fledt of Planned Parenthood, the Guam delegates screamed, "Massachussetts or bust!" and surged forward, pushing delegates in their way into Minnesota and North Carolina.
The Virgin Islands watched calmly throughout the ordeal, sipping pina coladas and fanning themselves lazily as they watched the chaos. "Guam needs to learn to relax, mahn," said a strangely Jamaican sounding member of the delegation.
Guam's rebellion was finally quelled when they began to listen to the droning, almost hypnotic voice of Phil Angelides , Treasurer of California, and they passed out, which Guam delegate Feroll Magnesia later claimed "had nothing whatsoever to do with our swimming in the Charles' river yesterday."
Posted by Tom Burka at 7:15 PM
Press Eats Bloggers' Breakfasts
Especially Enjoy Waffles, Say Media
Moments after the beginning of a special breakfast for bloggers thrown by the Democratic National Convention Committee , members of the conventional media swarmed in and devoured the food on bloggers' plates.
"How long have you been blogging?" said a representative of AP, nibbling on a tasty croissant.
Bloggers melting under the unexpected and intense media scrutiny were glad for a respite from media attention.
"I'm absolutely glad the media so enjoys bacon," said Dave Johnson of Seeing The Forest. "I just wished they hadn't eaten my laptop."
Posted by Tom Burka at 2:35 PM
July 24, 2004
First Words From The Convention Floor
Eric Rice of Audioblog.com made what I'm sure he'll come to see as the epic mistake of offering audioblog accounts to ten of the convention bloggers. Thanks to him, we're going inside the Convention to make history with the first words broadcast by a blogger from the convention floor.
Posted by Tom Burka at 10:44 PM
July 21, 2004
Lay Unaware He Was CEO Of Enron, Say Lawyers
Thought He Was Retired From Small But Lucrative Dentistry Practice, They Claim
Lawyers for Kenneth Lay today claimed that Lay not only knew nothing of the corrupt and illegal practices of Enron, but was shocked to learn that he had been CEO of the company.
"So that's where all those large checks were coming from," Lay is reported to have said.
While Lay had initially advanced the claim that he knew nothing of any illegal practices -- and indeed, it seems, nothing of the day-to-day operations -- of the company that he ran, his lawyers today decided to "take Lay's defense a little further."
J. Frumious Bandersnatch, Esq., explained that Lay had thought that he was retired, and that all of his money had come from an extremely lucrative dentistry practice he had invested in years ago.
"He knew the money had something to do with drilling, but that's about it," Bandersnatch said.
Lay was also said to be surprised to learn that George W. Bush was President, that he and his company had been the top contributors to Bush for many years, that he had asked Dick Cheney to appoint an energy industry lackey to the directorship of the Federal Energy Regulation Committee, that Cheney did, and that "Friends" was no longer on television.
A tip of the hat to Doug Everett of KDVS-FM for the idea.
Posted by Tom Burka at 1:40 PM
July 19, 2004
CDs And DVDs To Be Packaged In Permanently Sealed Packages To Stop Piracy
Necessary Step, Say Record Labels, Movie Studios
Major record labels, CD and DVD manufacturers decided today that they would hitherto release only CDs and DVDs in permanently sealed, unopenable packages to combat piracy.
"We feel that the packaging we have used so far, which hinders the buyer from opening his purchase for a good ten to fifteen minutes, was too tentative and weak," said Blad Futtworth, a musician and representative of the RPMAA, an anti-piracy group. "We have decided to fully commit to protecting the copyrights of our products."
"We still want people to buy our products, but we don't necessarily want them to hear them," said Manson Fruitfly, President of Riff Records. "If they can hear it, they'll probably want to illegally copy it."
New CD's and DVD's will be encased in seamless envelopes of unbendable titanium, itself containing unbreakable synthetic diamond shells.
Additionally, legally purchased downloads will be entirely scrambled from now on, said Fruitfly.
"We've finally licked this piracy thing," said Futtworth. "Now we, as artists, can concentrate on simply making the best product we possibly can."
Posted by Tom Burka at 12:48 PM
July 13, 2004
U.S. Election Held Yesterday "Just to Be Safe"
Better Safe Than Sorry, Says Bush
U.S. officials discussing the idea of postponing Election Day to prevent a terrorist attack instead held it nearly four months early, in order to prevent what they called "a possible terrorist-related disruption of the democratic process."
"It was J. Paul Bremer's idea," said Enrico "Ticky" Tavi, a member of a secret commission responsible for the change. Tavi said the Commission is in charge of "safeguarding democracy."
"I'd say we achieved a real 'July surprise,'" said Tavi. "We sure caught those terrrorists off guard."
Although turnout was at a record low -- only a little more than 50 votes were cast -- George W. Bush carried every state, and won every vote except one.
"We're still looking for that guy," Tavi said.
Posted by Tom Burka at 12:42 AM
July 12, 2004
You Could Win A New
Why wait until the Democratic Convention for convention news -- when we can make it up right now? And who better to invent the truth than you, loyal readers, you who think up comments that are often wittier than the fake news article preceding them?
So, here's the offer. Write up the funniest headline for the news I will be -- or should be -- reporting from the DNC Convention floor in two weeks, and I will write the article from the convention floor, featuring your very funny, laugh-out-loud headline, post it here, plus I will personally send you a t-shirt (or perhaps even cooler memorabilia) of the thrills, the spills, the chills and sheer eclat that occurs as the Democratic party "chooses" (or whatever it actually does to) its nominee. (Maybe a Dean delegate convention hat, even.)
So what are you waiting for? Write, people, write!
Posted by Tom Burka at 12:10 PM
He Gets Letters . . .
Michael Bérubé has obtained a letter our fearless leader recently sent to the Pakistani government:
I'm writing to you about an extraordinary, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Go, dear readers, and enjoy.
Posted by Tom Burka at 11:33 AM
July 9, 2004
Sinking Bush Poll Numbers Increase Likelihood of Terrorist Attack, Says Ridge
Connection Unfathomable, Say Rove, Cheney
Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge announced today that analysts had concluded that the likelihood of a terrorist strike in America increases whenever the President's popularity rating declines.
"There's a distinct correlation between the President's popularity ratings and increased terrorist activity," said Ridge. "Whenever President Bush's numbers go down, it's far more likely that we will be attacked by al Qaeda."
"The only thing we can advise is for U.S. citizens to like President Bush as much as possible to keep us all safe," Ridge concluded.
Standing in front of a wall of high-tech flat screen monitors, Ridge addressed reporters in the new Department of Homeland Security Security Operations Center.
"I can't for the political life of me say why this is happening," said Ridge. "I'm utterly stumped."
Ridge denied that Gilligan's Island was showing on one of the many screens behind him. "Oh, no," he said. "That's an uncharted desert isle."
Posted by Tom Burka at 9:45 AM
July 8, 2004
Bush To Pass Broader Tort Reform Bill
Will Ban Trial Lawyers From Office Of Vice-President
President Bush introduced a bill today that will bring sweeping new tort reforms, including banning trial lawyers from occupying positions in the White House.
"It's bad enough these bloodsuckers are cluttering up our courts," said Bush. "Now they want to live and work in our places of government." Bush said CEO's and businessmen, not lawyers, should be running the country.
Bush said that it was mere coincidence that the proposed law would bar Sen. John Edwards from seeking the Vice Presidency. "John Edwards couldn't spark Dick Cheney's pacemaker," said Bush. Bush was careful not to repeat his comment yesterday that "Cheney can be President," because immediately afterward Cheney said, "Great," and commandeered the Oval Office, which he has refused to leave.
The President also sought to introduce a measure calling for "Grand Jury Litigation Reform," restricting fees collected by lawyers representing Presidents in connection with grand jury litigation.
"I can tell you from personal experience," said President Bush, "these fees are just too high."
Posted by Tom Burka at 12:10 PM
It's Official. We're Reporters.
Opinions You Should Have Credentialed For Democratic Convention, Thousands Weep
Yep. We can take a statement from you and everything, and then we can quote you as saying anything we like.
We've been officially designated an "on-line (sic) daily computer service or newswire" for the upcoming Democratic Convention and have been granted press credentials to cover the event.
We (that is to say "I") applied as a correspondent for OpYSHA, as well as The American Street and Jesus' General. Needless to say, the DNCC could not turn us down.
The General has realized that I (we), in his words, is (are) "a Frenchman," and so my "reportage" will not be on display on his site. Instead, look for blogging from the convention floor here and at American Street. I have promised to send the General pics of "his kinsmen" picketing and protesting outside the Fleet Center, so look for those at his place.
Yesterday was spent in a frenzy of journalistic preparation, as I zoomed all over town looking for a combat photographer's vest.
I am indebted to Kevin Hayden at The American Street and the General himself at Jesus' General for their kind permisssion to use their names, and hopefully their credit cards, to help gain credentials to the event.
Vive la France!
UPDATE: Doug Everett of Radio Parallax at KDVS-FM and I will also do a roundup of the convention on Thursday, just hours before Kerry accepts the nomination. If you haven't tuned in there (the shows are archived and available at the KDVS site, and there's a live wbecast), you should. Doug is as fine an interviewer as you're likely to find anywhere on broadcast radio. He warmly and smartly tackles politics and current events with interviews of some of the biggest names in the news and media. Plus, he does top-notch political satire.
July 6, 2004
Kerry Chooses Humphrey As Running Mate
Post, Times Totally Miss Boat
John Kerry announced today that dead former Vice-President Hubert Humphrey would be his running mate in the upcoming election. Kerry had the foresight to discuss the ticket with Humphrey many years ago (see picture at left), while Humphrey was still alive. Humphrey, whose death has not impeded his ability to speak, is eager to accept the nomination later this month.
Incredibly, the New York Post reported this morning that Richard Gephardt was Kerry's choice.. Those of us manning this page are helpless to explain how a newspaper or journalistic equivalent such as our own could ever get the facts so wrong.
Kerry's announcement regarding Humphrey also lays to rest the relentless speculation and rumor that John Edwards, and not Humphrey, was chosen. Kerry was forced to abandon his consideration of Edwards when the Disney Corporation was granted a preliminary injunction against his doing so, on the grounds that an Edwards-Cheney Vice-Presidential debate would infringe upon Disney's copyrights and trademarks.
Andrea Flange, a spokesman for Disney explained, "There's only one Beauty and the Beast."
Posted by Tom Burka at 3:02 PM
July 3, 2004
"Fahrenheit 9/11" Not Even About Temperature, Say Republicans
Conservatives across the country are complaining vehemently about what they called "the countless and innumerable inaccuracies" of Michael Moore's documentary and polemic film, "Fahrenheit 9/11."
"For one thing, the title is intensely misleading," said Spartelby Fisk, a Republican gnome. "It has nothing to do with heat. It's a crock."
Fisk said that the film is a travesty. "For one thing, early in the film, President Bush moves in slow motion. President Bush has never moved in slow motion. This is just an out-and-out lie."
At several points Bush is shown in freeze frame. "He's never been that motionless," said Fisk. "This film is utterly dishonest."
Fisk also derided Moore for depicting Bush as "pasty" and "beady-eyed," and oft-times blurry and out-of-focus. "The President has always been distinct and clearly-defined," said Fisk.
In a private conversation, Karl Rove was heard to disagree. "I would never allow President Bush to be seen clearly by the American people. Good lord, how would I ever get anybody to vote for him?"
Posted by Tom Burka at 1:10 PM
July 2, 2004
Report Finds Bush Administration "Ill-Prepared" To Occupy White House
Problems In Training, Organization Made Governing Difficult, Says Report
A broad new Army report concludes that serious problems in training, organization and policy regarding military detention operations in Iraq and Afghanistan contributed to the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison, senior defense officials said Thursday.
The report also found that the Bush Administration was "ill-equipped" to lead the nation when Bush took power in 2001, and that inadequate training, poor organization, policy-making problems, and a "complete lack of judgment" contributed to the government's inability to "do anything right."
The report, by an Army group created to issue reports and say important things about "all kinds of stuff," recommended that future presidents have "more experience with actually governing," or, at the very least, "a clue."
"If they don't have a clue, then they should be given one," said Gen. Hazelnut Cappucino III. "That's what training's all about."
Some other observations included in the report were that the world was round, that the sun usually came up in the morning, and that domestic and foreign policies were better if they were formed with some foresight and actual knowledge.
Posted by Tom Burka at 2:21 PM