Quotes from the Nerd Prom 2014

The annual White House Correspondent’s Dinner (held last night) allows the President to throw some barbs at himself and the press and is a good time to observe a President’s sense of humor first hand. Known jokingly as the “nerd prom” it gets bigger and bigger every year.  Last year I posted some of my favorite jokes from the President’s speech.  Here’s this year’s version.

I admit it — last year was rough.  In 2008 my slogan was, “Yes We Can.”  In 2013 my slogan was, “Control-Alt-Delete.”  

I want to thanobama dinnerk the White House Correspondents Association for hosting us here tonight.  I am happy to be here, even though I am a little jet-lagged from my trip to Malaysia.  The lengths we have to go to get CNN coverage these days. 

MSNBC is here.  They’re a little overwhelmed.  They’ve never seen an audience this big before. 

We have some other athletes here tonight, including Olympic snowboarding gold medalist Jamie Anderson is here.  Michelle and I watched the Olympics — we cannot believe what these folks do — death-defying feats — haven’t seen somebody pull a “180” that fast since Rand Paul disinvited that Nevada rancher from this dinner.  As a general rule, things don’t end well if the sentence starts, “Let me tell you something I know about the negro.”   You don’t really need to hear the rest of it.  

Colorado legalized marijuana this year, an interesting social experiment.  I do hope it doesn’t lead to a whole lot of paranoid people who think that the federal government is out to get them and listening to their phone calls. 

And speaking of conservative heroes, the Koch brothers bought a table here tonight.  But as usual, they used a shadowy right-wing organization as a front.  Hello, Fox News. 

Let’s face it, Fox, you’ll miss me when I’m gone.   It will be harder to convince the American people that Hillary was born in Kenya. 

Anyway, while you guys focus on the horserace, I’m going to do what I do — I’m going to be focused on everyday Americans.  Just yesterday, I read a heartbreaking letter. A Virginia man who’s been stuck in the same part-time job for years; no respect from his boss; no chance to get ahead.  I really wish Eric Cantor would stop writing me.  

And I’m feeling sorry — believe it or not — for the Speaker of the House, as well.  These days, the House Republicans actually give John Boehner a harder time than they give me, which means orange really is the new black. 

Look, I know, Washington seems more dysfunctional than ever.  Gridlock has gotten so bad in this town you have to wonder:  What did we do to piss off Chris Christie so bad? 

One issue, for example, we haven’t been able to agree on is unemployment insurance.  Republicans continue to refuse to extend it.  And you know what, I am beginning to think they’ve got a point.  If you want to get paid while not working, you should have to run for Congress just like everybody else.  

 Last year, Pat Buchanan said Putin is “headed straight for the Nobel Peace Prize.”  He said this.  Now I know it sounds crazy but to be fair, they give those to just about anybody these days.  

Jon Stewart: America’s toughest journalist

I know, right?  Isn’t that a ridiculous headline?

Not because Stewart is a lightweight;  far from it.  He does ask important questions and doesn’t let his interviewees off the hook.  Jon Stewart

The ridiculous part of it is that it should be someone else.  It should be a real journalist, not a comedian who talks about politics.

But the White House says that Jon Stewart was the toughest interview Obama faced in the 2012 election, and that’s not right.  And Jon Stewart would be the first person to tell you that.

Some of the problem is that the ones who would ask the tough questions don’t get to.  There are some great journalists out there, but the news stations keep them away from the politicians for fear of losing their access or something.  They should get Matt Tiabbi in there and stir things up.

And some just ask dumb questions.  Obama isn’t scared of Bill O’Reilly no matter how much O’Reilly thinks he is.  Obama did a huge interview with him recently where he laughed off O’Reilly’s conspiracy-minded questions about Benghazi and Obamacare.  That was easy.

And it should never be easy.

Breaking news! Something happened 102 years ago!

I am not making this up.

People in doctor waiting rooms and airplane terminals were shocked today to learn the new breaking news from CNN:  The Titanic has sunk!

102 years ago.


This is breaking!  You have to know this!  It’s almost as important as the breaking news CNN has reported every day concerning the downed airplane, which generally is along the lines of “nothing found yet.”  Breaking!

Saturday Night Live even did a skit satirizing this last weekend, and now CNN is more absurd than the skit.

I am not making this up.


What is this “satire” you speak of?

Our most prominent satirist these days is Stephen Colbert, who plays an ignorant conservative pundit so clueless he doesn’t realize he is saying things that help his opponents. Anyone who has a brain understands the character and gets the jokes.

This is a picture my wife made of Stephen Colbert using dryer lint.  It's now hanging in a Ripley's Believe it or Not Museum somewhere.  Her web page is here:  www.heidihooper.com

This is a picture my wife made of Stephen Colbert using dryer lint. It’s now hanging in a Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum somewhere. Her web page is here: http://www.heidihooper.com

And then there are The Humorless.

Recently, Colbert did a hilarious bit about how the Washington Redskins, in order to show their concern for the Native Americans they insult daily with their name, set up a charity to benefit said Natives.  They called it “The Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation” — which is kind of like saying “The Washington Wop Foundation for the Betterment of Italian-Americans” or “The Washington Faggot Gay Rights Foundation.”

Or, as Stephen Colbert put it “The Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever.”

Come on, that’s funny.  By using this comparison, he is showing how insensitive the Redskins are being while they pretend to be enlightened.  “I owe all this sensitivity to Redskins owner Dan Snyder,” Colbert said after making the announcement. “So Asians, send your thank-you letters to him, not me.”

To add more irony, “Ching-Chong Ding-Dong” was a character Colbert created to make fun of Rush Limbaugh doing a stereotypical racist rant when imitating Chinese President Hu Jintao.

But some people just don’t get it, claiming he has “gone too far” and demanding a boycott of his show.  These well-meaning but humor-impaired people are against stereotypes and racism.

Hey, just like Colbert!


Glenn Beck is sorry

Former Shock Jock Glenn Beck is sorry.  Boy, is he sorry. What a sorry human he is.

“I remember it as an awful lot of fun and that I made an awful lot of mistakes,” he told Fox’s Megyn Kelly on Tuesday. “I think I played a role, unfortunately, in helping tear the country apart.”

You think?  You think that maybe your crazy rants were believed by idiots who took it as the truth?  You think maybe you might have helped convince people that anyone to the left of you was some sort of anti-American socialist out to instill Sharia Law on the country? You think that might have done something to divide us?

Beck, who never studied politics or economics and never went to college, is still someone many on the right see as qualified to discuss current affairs with knowledge.   Like Rush Limbaugh, he is just a loudmouth who was given a microphone. His views are just as informed and valid as your crazy uncle everyone avoids talking to at Thanksgiving.

Sure, everyone has the right to a political opinion, but usually when you want to get insight, you ask someone who is educated or experienced, not whoever is the loudest.  (And yes, to compare, Dr. Rachel Maddow is a Rhodes Scholar whose degree is from Oxford, and Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry has her Political Science doctorate from Duke.)

This statement from Beck, unfortunately, came with absolutely no change in the idiocy of his views.  He also claimed that the reason his latest right-wing project was not being more widely distributed was because the Devil was working against him.

Trust me — if the Devil existed, he would be doing everything he could to help Beck tear the country apart.

Bacon is good for you, says interwebs

It’s on the internet, so it has to be true!

The latest article flying around Facebook claims that scientists have found that bacon is good for you, just like eating your fruits and vegetables (but with more grease).Bacon

Of course, if you read the article a bit, you’ll notice it says no such thing. The article points to research done by Professor Michael Ristow that indicates that niacin (vitamin B3) will help you live longer.

Aha, says the interwebs. Look, there’s lots of B3 in bacon; therefore, logically, bacon must be good for you! If you eat lots of bacon, you’ll live forever!

Or at least until all the fat in bacon clogs your arteries and gives you a heart attack when you’re fifty.

Basically, this guy fed worms niacin and found that they lived a tenth longer than the control worms. (“Control Worms” would be a good name for a band.) Worms. Not humans. Professor Ristow hopes to test this on rats next, but even then — and here’s the point — he’s not feeding them bacon. The word “bacon” is not found in his study anywhere.

Yeah, I know. All you bacon-lovers out there are saying, “Why rain on our parade?” I’m not telling you to stop eating bacon if that is what you really want. I’m just pointing out that too often, we read something on the internet that we want to believe so much that we accept it without question. This is especially true in politics, where Republicans gladly seize upon every lie about Obama floating around and Democrats do the same with articles that make Republicans look bad.

Just be smart about the internet. There is no Nigerian Prince giving you money (in fact, there are no princes in Nigeria), Obama isn’t an atheist Muslim (which logically cannot exist), and bacon doesn’t help you live longer.

Oswald shot Kennedy — From Area 51!

It’s the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination and the conspiracy theories continue.

When I was young, I loved reading about conspiracies. kennedy ufo UFOs, the Kennedy assassination, the Loch Ness Monster — they all interested me.  I was completely skeptical about the official version of the story.

As I grew, I realized what a hypocrite I was being.  I was not subjecting the conspiracy theories to the same skepticism I applied to everything else.   Because I wanted to believe in these things so bad, and because they were often easy answers to complicated issues, I was nieve and accepted things without significant proof.  (Insert your own comment about religious beliefs here.)

I’ve also learned, as a lawyer, that every incident will have various stories that contradict each other and make things seem different than what they appear.  Anything you look at in enough detail will provide things that make it ripe for conspiracy theories.

Plus there are many conspiracy books out there that are just full of lies. Exciting lies that sell books. I used to love reading books by John Keel — “The Mothman Prophecies” was one of his. His books were with all the UFO books in the library and were presented as researched factual accounts. I later learned he was laughing all the way to the bank, and had made up most of his evidence. When they finally made a film of “The Mothman Prophecies” they made no pretense of it being anything other than fiction. But for a long time when I was a kid, I was sure it was all real.

Of course, there really are secret conspiracies.  Usually they are money-related conspiracies, involving insider trading, banks conspiring to sell worthless mortgages, and bribes to get around regulations.  But, as I pointed out before, huge conspiracies of this type are really hard to hide.

If Oswald was innocent, then why did he run after the assassination? Why did he kill the cop who confronted him? It’s not as if it is impossible for him to have done the shooting …

Does that mean there wasn’t something else going on? No, because there are still too many unanswered questions, such as why Jack Ruby, who really had no stake in this, would go out of his way to shoot Oswald. Looked more like a mob silencing to me.

But these days I won’t jump to conclusions without knowing for sure. Just because something is possible doesn’t mean I should believe it.