December 30, 2004.
Web Posted at: 9:30 am UTC
The following is another sample news bit for The Daily Show that I wrote for a submission I’m working in for the show. When you read it, try and picture Jon Stewart delivering it in his usual smarmy and smug manner. Disclaimer: I am not a writer for The Daily Show. I am, however, a freelance contributor to the Late Show with David Letterman. So there.
This past Sunday in Ukraine they held the rubber match of the country’s presidential election. In one corner we had current Prime Minister and Moscow-backed puppet Viktor Yanukovych. In the other corner we had one time pretty boy and current horribly disfigured opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko. Preliminary results indicate that Yushchenko beat Yanukovych 52 percent to 44 percent, though the results won’t be made official for several days.
Sunday’s election was a do-over of last month’s runoff between the two Viktors, which was won by Yanukovych. The Ukrainian Supreme Court overturned those election results following reports of widespread voting fraud.
Interesting – a Supreme Court overturning the results of a fraudulent election. Hmm.
In addition to voting fraud evidence also came to light that Yushchenko was poisoned with dioxin laced soup, which has since led to his dramatic Michael Jackson-like disfigurement and a significant drop in sales for Campbell Soup’s Ukrainian division.
Sunday’s election was the third presidential election in the Ukraine in the last two months. So, think about that the next time a presidential election comes around in this country; at least we only have to feel guilty about not voting once every four years.
International observers have been quick to endorse the results. First up to weigh in with an opinion, the United States, no stranger to voting irregularities and Supreme Court interference in presidential elections herself.
(Show video of Colin Powell)
Speaking on behalf of the U.S., lame duck Secretary of State Colin Powell who declared the election free and fair – and then proceeded to fax his resume to President-elect Yushchenko along with a note saying “Will defend dubious grounds for going to war for food.”
The European Union and a team of international observers have also declared the election results to be fair, as has Belarus, and I think I speak for everyone when I say, if there’s one country that knows about free and fair elections, it’s Belarus.
In short, Sunday’s election should finally bring closure to the Ukrainian people, looking to end their long national nightmare.
(Show video of Viktor Yanukovych)
Or does it?
Shortly after the preliminary results were announced, Prime Minister Yanukovych issued a statement saying, “Not so fast, Comrade!.” Yanukovych announced his intention to dispute the results by filing a challenge with the Supreme Court.
(Show video of empty streets in Kiev, with no protestors in sight)
Yanukovich vowed to bring huge numbers of his supporters to the streets of Kiev to protest the election results and, in response, tens of thousands of Yanukovych supporters … stayed home, in what is apparently a clever new form of mass protest.
(Show video of a three Yanukovych supporters holding flags and sharing a beer)
Yanukovych claims that 4.8 million Ukrainians were denied the chance to vote, 4,799,997 of who are apparently only pretend people.
Included among the missing Yanukovich supporters was current president Leonid Kuchma, who failed to make an appearance or issue a statement following the preliminary election results. Instead Kuchma spent the day trying to return a half empty bottle of dioxin to the Kiev Walgreens.
Despite what appears to be a clear victory for Yushchenko, there was still a noticeable geographic split among voters, much like in our own recent presidential election.
(Show map of Uraine, with Yushchenko regions shaded in blue and Yanukovich regions shaded in silver)
In this map Yushchenko states are colored blue, while Yanukovich states are a light shade of dioxin silver. Clearly, this is a country in need of healing.
President-elect Yushchenko, after making a brief appearance Monday night to claim victory, remained out of site the rest of the day, in order to meet with his advisors – and to avoid frightening small children.
But with the election appearing to be finally over, the Ukrainian Parliament has turned it’s attention to Yushchenko’s upcoming inauguration and the age old inauguration question: do you go with the cream of dioxin soup, or the more traditional cyanide noodle soup?
December 23, 2004.
Web Posted at: 10:30 am UTC
Deface the Nation
The following is a sample news bit for The Daily Show that I wrote. Disclaimer: I am not a writer for The Daily Show (either full-time or freelance). Just practicing writing in the voice of the show. If you work for The Daily Show and like it and want to hire me as a writer, that’d be swell. I’m low maintenance and dependable, though I do take frequent bathroom breaks. Shoot me an email and let’s talk turkey.
On Monday President Bush held his first press conference since being reelected to outline his second term agenda. Knowing that it will be no easy task to live up to the stunning success of his first term President Bush is, apparently, going to try anyway.
First up, the war in Iraq. The president began with a vigorous defense of his trusted Secretary of War – damn, did it again! Excuse me, he began with a vigorous defense of his trusted Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld against those who have criticized him for not personally signing condolence letters to the families of troops who have died. Mr. President, what do you say to those who say Secretary Rumsfeld is cold and uncaring?
(We see President Bush saying, “Beneath that rough and gruff no-nonsense demeanor is a good human being.”)
Touché, Mr. President. Touché.
The President also added that beneath that rough and gruff no-nonsense demeanor is a man who occasionally likes to “go commando,” which I think is more information than any of us wanted to know.
The President then addressed the situation on the ground in Iraq
(Show clip of Bush acknowledging that Iraqi troops might not be ready to take over the security of the country.)
Well, that’s not all that surprising seeing as how OUR troops still aren’t ready to take over security of the country. The president went on to say that, in fact, Iraqi troops aren’t even ready to take over security at the mall.
(Show clip of Bush saying, “When the heat got on, they left the battlefield– that is unacceptable.”)
Well, yes but at least they MADE it to the battlefield, unlike other people we know.
(Show clip of Bush saying, “We are under no illusion that this Iraqi force is not ready to fight in toto.”)
“In toto”? Sounds like somebody’s been watching “The Wizard of Oz” again.
Now Mr. President, what would you call the results of our actions so far in Iraq?
(Show clip of Bush saying, “I would call the results mixed.”)
Mixed? Well, yes, that’s one way to put it, I guess. Another way to put it would be to say the results are NOT mixed. In fact, you might say that the results are pretty much all bad. But hey, you say tomato…
The president then turned his attention to a federal budget deficit that’s been ballooning faster than Kirstie Allie after the Cheers wrap party. The president vowed to cut the deficit in half in five years. He then proceeded to lay out a detailed plan to achieve this goal that included “maintaining spending discipline”, “belt tightening”, “penny pinching” and, if necessary, “corner cutting”. Clearly, if nothing else, the man has a well thought-out plan.
President Bush then moved on to the issue of cabinet nominations. He defended his nomination of Bernard Kerik to be the Secretary of Homeland Security.
(Show clip of Bush saying, “In retrospect he made the right decision to pull his name down. The lessons learned is continue to vet and ask questions.”)
I’m just wondering, but, before you can continue to vet and ask questions, don’t you first need to BEGIN vetting and asking questions?
The president also addressed the question of who he’s going to nominate to be the first Director of National Intelligence, a position recently created after Congress passed a bill enacting many of the recommendations of the September 11 commission, which the president initially opposed and only decided to support when it became politically convenient. Nevertheless, he vowed to find the right candidate – or at least, a candidate.
(Show clip of Bush saying, “I’m going to find somebody who knows something about intelligence…”)
Right. OK. Good idea. Here’s another idea: how about finding somebody who HAS some intelligence for a change? Just a thought. I’m sorry, please continue.
(Show a clip of Bush saying, “…and capable and honest and ready to do the job.”)
(Jon laughs) Capable and honest and ready! Ha ha ha. Good one, Mr. President. Oh, I guess he was serious there. Well, good luck with that, Mr. President.
December 17, 2004.
Web Posted at: 3:00 pm UTC
Ed Helms on the Intelligence Overhaul Bill
The following is a sample bit for The Daily Show that I wrote. Disclaimer: I am not a writer for The Daily Show (either full-time or freelance). This is just a piece that may or may not be included in a writing submission that I’m working up to send the show so that maybe, someday, He may, in His infinte wisdom and mercy, decide to perform a miracle and get me a job writing for the show. Unlikely? You bet. But then again that whole rising from the dead on the third day thing seem didn’t seem too likely, now did it and look how that turned out! A boy’s gotta dream.
This week President Bush signed into law the largest overhaul of U.S. intelligence in the last 50 years. The bill consolidates all of our intelligence agencies under a single director of national intelligence. Here to help us make sense of the changes is our own Senior Intelligence Correspondent Ed Helms. Ed, this is a very complicated piece of legislation. Could you summarize what the implications of the bill are for us?
(We see Ed sitting at desk next to Jon)
Actually Jon, no, I can’t.
You can’t tell us what’s in the bill?
That’s right, Jon. I have no idea what’s in the bill.
Um, Ed, isn’t that why you’re here? To report on things like this for us?
I am, Jon, but have you seen this bill? It’s 563 pages long!
(Ed pulls out a thick book and drops in on the desk)
And it’s not just long, Jon, it’s a real snooze-fest. Plus, to be honest, I’m not even sure it’s in English.
I see. Well, didn’t the White House offer a summary of it for reporters?
Actually, they couldn’t get through it either. In fact, Jon, nobody has any idea what this bill does. It’s too long, complicated and indecipherable for anybody – even those who wrote it – to understand it.
But, Ed, other news organizations have been reporting that this bill would create a new Director of National Intelligence to oversee all of our intelligence gathering agencies. Can’t you at least confirm that it does that?
It might, Jon. Then again, it may also require every American shave his or her pubic hair for all I know. I really can’t say for sure.
Ed, this is very strange. I thought this bill was enacting recommendations made by the September 11 commission. Surely, you could at least review what they recommended and find out which parts the bill covers?
No, Jon, I’m sorry but I can’t. This bill is the legislative equivalent of the monolith from “2001: A Space Odyssey.” Nobody knows what’s in it or where it even came from. They might as well have passed a bill consisting of nothing more than 563 pages of letters, numbers and symbols randomly typed up by a monkey.
Ed, why would the Congress and the President propose and pass a piece of legislation to overhaul our national intelligence organizations that nobody can understand?
That’s simple, Jon. If we can’t understand it, what hope do our enemies have of understanding it? And if our enemies can’t understand how our intelligence-gathering infrastructure is organized, then we’ve just won half the battle.
What battle have we won half of? Ed, I’m confused here…
Precisely, Jon. As President Bush would say “Mission Accomplished.” Up until now, our intelligence gathering system has been like an open book to our enemies. All they’ve needed to do is watch a few old episodes of “Get Smart” to know how our intelligence agencies work. But not any more, Jon. Now, even WE don’t know how our intelligence agencies work. Frankly, it’s genius.
Let me see if I have this straight, Ed. Rather than streamline and organize our current intelligence gathering agencies and procedures, this bill is an elaborate effort to muddy the waters even further to the point where even the people in charge of our national intelligence gathering can’t possibly understand it?
Precisely, Jon. And if you think this plan is confusing, just wait until you see the Bush Administration’s plan for overhauling Social Security. My sources tell me they have a whole TEAM of monkeys working on that.
Ed Helms, ladies and gentlemen.
December 16, 2004.
Web Posted at: 2:45 pm UTC
All You Need is Crap
Watch out Middle East, your days of having the U.S by the short curly ones may soon be over!
Up there in Minnesota (land of 1,000 lakes and one strange race of crazy, vaguely human-like creatures) they’re about to complete construction of the U.S.’s first – and world’s largest – turkey dropping power plant. That’s right. They’re building a power plant that generates power by burning turkey feces. According to reputable new sources it’ll burn 700,000 tons of turkey pooh a year and will generate enough power for 55,000 homes.
This – THIS – could be the thing to finally free us of our dependence on foreign energy. Think about it, if we now have the technology to generate power from fecal matter then there’s no stopping us! If there’s one thing we’re good at producing in this country (besides pornography) it’s crap. And not just turkey crap. This could open the door to a whole host of new energy sources, all based on burning crap produced right here in the good old U.S. of A.
Right off the top of my head I’ve assembled an impressive list of other abundant sources of crap that could be burned for energy. Check it out:
Other U.S.-produced crap that we could burn for energy:
John Grisham books
Justin Timberlake CDs (and Justin Timberlake)
Transcripts from Larry King Live
Chrysler PT Cruisers
You get the idea. The best part is, whereas there’s a finite amount of oil in the world, we can keep producing and burning crap like this ad infinitum.
God bless you, you turkey crap burning pioneers!
Forget all this invasion and nation building stuff. Let’s bring the boys back home and focus on solving the problem rather than treating a symptom. I’m gonna get the ball rolling right now by burning all of my Election 2004 campaign material.
I just popped the button on my pants.