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February, 2010
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Brother, Can You Spare a Dime Bag?

The arrest of George Obama, on charges of possession of cannabis in a Nairobi slum automatically initiated him into an extremely select fraternity –– Siblings Affording Presidential Shame or SAPS. And his brother-from-another-mother, Barack, joins a long line of Commanders-in-Chief who lost some cred because they could in no way keep their own wayward bros in line. The fact that the younger Obama had all charges against him dropped by the Kenyan authorities also follows a venerable tradition of official leniency towards political family members. It also spared our president, a Kenyan demi-deity ,from intervening as in the case of coked-up kin Roger Clinton, whose drug trafficking conviction had to be erased by his Bubba’s pardon.

Perhaps an enterprising Kenyan dope dealer might try to cash in on the Obama scandal by promoting Georgie Joints or Obama Ganja much as clever brewers exploited the public drunkeness and weak bladder of Jimmy’s redneck brother with Billy Beer. Lyndon needed the aid of the Secret Service to get Sam to keep his Johnson to himself. Dick had to tap his tricky Donald, who dreamed of founding a fast-food chain called Nixonburgers with a $200,000 loan from billionaire Howard Hughes that he intended to deep-six.

Neil Bush, he of the Hi-Ho-Silverado S&L Loan swindle and the High-Ho Asian hookers embarrassment should merit SAPS Hall of Shame status for double duty except for a technicality. He did thoroughly humiliate his old man, George H.W., but his kinship with George W. actually served to smear his own reputation.


The Subpar Bowl

The National Football League has announced that the pom poms and circumstance of Super Bowl XLIII have been scaled back to reflect the straitened economic circumstances of its fan base. The Arizona Cardinals will not don their overly-ornate cassocks and mitres during pre-game ceremonies, and veteran QB Kurt Warner will handle the inexpensively produced ratskin ball with great economy, keeping the offense simple –– instead of Jumbos, max protect, and double reverse, he’ll opt for single wing, free safety, and cheap shot.

Their opponents, the storied Pittsburgh Steelers, will choose more modestly tinted uniforms than usual by suiting up in black ‘n’ palladium-nickel while QB Ben Roethlisberger will have his nickname downgraded from “Big” to “Middling”. During Halftime there won’t be much extra in the vaganza, as Bruce Springsteen will rattle off several Depression Era ballads on solo acoustic guitar after The Boss ritually fires the E-Street Band.

The price of a warm, flat Bud at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL will be slashed from $15 to $14.95 and NBC, which is carrying the game, has graciously agreed to chip in two additional seconds to the 30-second spots for which advertisers paid up to $3M. To help struggling bettors, oddsmakers are offering $10 Wal*Mart gift cards with each spread of 3 points or greater, and Vegas bookies will institute a 10-day moratorium on breaking the legs of deadbeats. To further protect Big Game gamblers Congress is setting up a $10B bailout fund, a so-called Field TARP, to cover the shortfall in the vig.


Their Chances: Swim to None

To rescue a drowning economy President Obama has gone all Hasselhoff and assembled a supremely wet and wild squad of fiscal lifeguards. His Baywatch-style bailout team may not be wearing red one-piece swimsuits cut up past their no-loads, but they can be expected to galumph up and down the shoreline in extreme slo-mo toting billion-dollar life preservers for CEOs and investors flailing about in the rough surf.

The chairman of the newly-formed Economic Recovery Advisory Board Paul Volcker has inflatable raftloads of experience with ocean-deep recession –– he had overseen (overlooked?) the previous biggest job losses in the past 60 years as Chairman of the Fed under Jimmy Carter. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s personal example should buoy the confidence of the bobbing bankers by reassuring them that they don’t need to sweat the taxes.

What shipwrecked captain of industry, up to his ass in Chapter 11 alligators, wouldn’t want to be reeled in by a Pam Andersonian Christina Romer as Director of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors or Money Mama Melody Barnes as the Director of his Domestic Policy Council? Won’t Larry Summers live up to his balmy name and spread sweet sunshine over the beached carcasses of a million foreclosed homes as Head of the National Economic Council? And while some might fantasize that it’s President Obama himself providing the mouth-to-mouth resuscitation it will more likely be Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag with his lips on your wallet.


Gilded Boobs

From the moment jiggly J-Lo flashed her glowing mammalian orbs to shush an inebriated ballroom of A-listers and various blisters twittering away at the Beverly Hilton, the 66th Annual Golden Globe Awards lifted and separated America’s sagging spirits like a strapless Wonderbra of hope. In an evening chockablock with feel-good, as well as feel-numb, moments the feel-least might have been the snatching of the best actor belt by Mickey Rourke for The Wrestler, the comeback bout of his body-slammed career.

Bruce Springsteen’s twangy title ballad sung in his Garden State Guthrie mode also nabbed an award. America’s other stiff Woody, Allen, had his oddly unpunctuated Vicky Cristina Barcelona honored as Best Picture – Comedy. Slumdog Millionaire, all the Raj with the cultural colonialists of Blighty who find Bollywood such a hoot, aced the Score, Screenplay, Direction, and Best Picture – Drama categories without having to call a friend.

Further proof of the ESL Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s Anglophilia was the sweep of all other major acting categories by U.K. talent including Colin Farrell (Flematic in In Bruges), Sally Hawkins (homicidally chipper in Happy-Go-Lucky), Kate Winslet twice over (as Ilsa the Bookworm of the SS in The Reader, and Mrs. Oscar Bait in Revolutionary Road), and near-Brit Heath Ledger (dead-on in The Dark Knight.)

The Cecil B. Demille Award was bequeathed to Steven Spielberg, his generation’s Alan Smithee. Apparently television shows that HFPA members had TiVOed between their busy press junket buffets, and that had starred actors whose British accents could be followed phonetically by a Latvian were honored, too, but how much gilt can one bear?


Washington Tee-Hee

As the Senate convenes for the first time in 2009, Minnesota, the Gopher State, will be provisionally represented by the appropriately rodent-like one-time comedian (he was amusing in a Stuart Smalley sketch on Saturday Night Live on 9/29/91 at 12:07:32) and best-selling Rush-and-Bush-bashing author Al Franken. Though Norm Coleman, his defeated Republican foe, will likely challenge his declared victory by the margin of 225 votes (equivalent, ironically, to the average daily audience for his Air America talkshow), for now it will be the alleged funnyman’s duty to promote the chucklesome reputation of the wacky state of Lake Woebegone and Jesse Ventura to the nation. The gathering fiscal gloom in America has both parties encouraging hilarity’s has-beens to run for office so that the government might provide comic as well as economic relief, and forestall genuine Depression with a belly-laugh bailout.

The slamming-the-Senate-door-in-the-face routine that Illinois’ Senator-designate Roland “Em” Burris is performing in DC as second banana to Gov. Rod “the Card” Blagojevich is pretty darn funny, but think of the deadpan delight of native-son Bill Murray earning his Stripes among the Ghost Filibusters and Meatballs on the Hill. Nevada could provide a lounge-full of nominees along the Vegas Strip with the Shecky Green Party vying with the Freddie Roman Guard for the chance to redub the state capital Johnny Carson City.

When Arnold Schwarzenegger steps aside the funny accent should remain in office –-Dana Carvey and Kevin Nealon as Hans and Franz could pump up the body politic by assuming the title of Co-Governators of Caulifornia. Missouri has multiple merry candidates, but wouldn’t the ascendence of Branston’s Borscht Belt Kommisar, Yakov Smirnoff, alleviate the Saint Louis Blues and promise side-splitting state visits with Vladimir Putin?

Can we talk –– a New York Senator Joan Rivers would be way more entertaining than Caroline Kennedy in razzing Gov. Patterson with seeing-eye barbs on the capital’s Red Carpet in Albany. Who wouldn’t vote for Chevy Chase in Maryland or Gallagher in Oklahoma, home to Rush Springs, the Water Melon Capital of the World? Or Carrot Top in Georgia with the nation’s lowest high school graduation rate? Wouldn’t Senators Rich and Chris give Arkansas a Little Rock? And why shouldn’t the governorship of Texas have Austin Powers, baby?


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