Thursday, October 18, 2007

Jen Eden Gets Some

This is my good friend Jen Eden.


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Dead Report = Awesome!

...And not just because they came out to see the show. Watch the whole thing. Very interesting interview about Orson Wells. I entirely recommend The Dead Report. Watch it!

This Blog is Brought to you by the Letters A, E, J and the Number 11

I've been looking forward to November for a long time. The whole summer actually. November is one of my favorite months due in large part to Thanks Giving and the color orange. I love a feast, pumpkin pie, squash, turning leaves, wine, family, etc...

Not to mention my brother comes home in November, ending his first tour of duty as a full time soldier. We are all thankful for that.

But, I also look forward to the voting season. California likes to do it up right, with strange convoluted measures and the strangest elections you ever did see. I mean the whole country was witness to our gubernatorial weirdness. Arnold Schwarzenegger is still the Governor! It blows my mind.

Unfortunately, the nation is not a party to the San Francisco local politics as often. Sure, everyone has heard about Newsom and his Valentine to the Gay community, his affair with his best friend's wife, and have witnessed the awesome power of his hair gel. But few know that he is running unopposed. It doesn't even feel like there is a Mayoral election coming up in November. There are no ads on TV. Hardly any news stories about people running for Mayor. And there are few political flyers featuring Newsom's handsome face...which is the weirdest thing of all.

There are more than a few people in this city who believe our pretty boy mayor is a front for the millionaires who put him in office. That cooperations like Google and Rupert Murdock are really running this city and they allow the Mayor his pet projects like Gay rights and Care Not Cash because they make good headlines. To ensure that the wizard behind the curtain is never seen, the Mayor is seen everywhere all the time. The PR behind everything the Mayor does is amazing. Nothing is done in this city if it isn't also a photo op or a grandstand or yet another chance for there to be a picture of the Mayor with pretty hair surrounded by a perfect city full of people who are perfectly happy with him.

When the library down the street from us reopened, the Mayor was there to be photographed and to say something about the importance of books and congratulate himself on an excellent resolution created by the board of supervisors and passed by the voters before he got to office that ensured the city's neglected library's would be spiffied up. But wouldn't you know it, more workers were out there that morning before the mayor got there painting over graffiti, shooing away the homeless and killing weeds then I'd ever seen out there before...or again.

All the flash and bang that is the office of the mayor is often more show than action. Yes, he did make a stand for Gay rights by making an issue that was never front and center an issue that could make or break a presidential candidacy. When the hotel workers when on strike, he marched with them. And hallelujah, when you call 311 now it totally works. But Care not Cash has degenerated into Matrix...oh I'm sorry. Are you not a San Franciscan? Not up on the lingo?
Care Not Cash was the platform Newsom ran on in his first bid for Mayor. Created when he was a Supervisor and passed by voters in 2002, Care Not Cash is a simple idea that says if you provide homeless people with the things they need (a real roof over their heads, food, medical support and job training) instead of cash (which they will use for things they don't need like alcohol, drugs and such) then there will be fewer perpetually homeless people on our streets. Sort of give a man one fish and then teach him how to fish for more instead of give him the money that you assume he'll use for fish but will really use for drugs which is why he's on the street in the first place.

It's a good idea in theory. Except for the fact that there was no housing, no food, no medical support and no job training available for the hug numbers of people who received cash from the government before Care Not Cash was put in place. So people who had been receiving about $400 a month suddenly only got $50 a month. Not all of those people were on drugs or living on the street. Also there are a large number of people living on the street and addicted to drugs in part due to mental instability. The city doesn't want to trust them with $400, but they want to trust them to sign up for the program, get themselves to food distribution centers located in odd places around the city (not near the hotels which have been set up as "shelters") and get themselves into and regularly to rehabilitation programs. And most of those rehabilitation programs have to do with drugs, not the mental health problems. And the last problem, and a really important one in my mind, it is dehumanizing to a degree. The loss of independence for a lot of these people, who in some cases choose to live on the fringes, must be an incredible blow. Yes, one can argue that they are not truly independent if they are living off the government and charity, but there is more independence with cash in hand then there is in the Care Not Cash program.

Worst of all the program in the hands of it's creator, the illustrious stiff haired Mayor, has degenerated in to a program that was instituted under former Mayor Willie Brown called Matrix. It too is a simple sounding solution to a big problem. When homeless people do things that are illegal, like pee on the sidewalk, charge them with a crime. The punishment is almost always a small fine.

I'm sure you can see the problems in this plan. First and foremost: Where does a homeless man pee if he doesn't have...you know... a home? And if a man is homeless and there for assumed to have no means of income due to the fact that he has no address how does he pay the fine? What else is it illegal to do in this city? It is illegal to loiter, to be publicly drunk, to camp in non-camping areas, to be a nuisance (and lots of things can fall under this category, from yelling to smelling bad), it is illegal to panhandle, illegal to sell stolen or "found" objects on the street, illegal to be too loud, the list goes on and on. All of these things add up to the typical visible homeless person in San Francisco who is mentally unable to control his or her own actions due to post traumatic stress disorder, years of sexual and mental abuse, years of drug addition, and years of living on the chilly streets of our fair city. Thus, Matrix makes it illegal to be homeless. Where do they go if they can't pay up? One of our governor's many fine over crowded jails. Where do they go after jail when they are let out because they are non-violent criminals who are crowding up our jails? Guess. Go on. Guess.

Matrix also has another arm that sweeps the homeless out of Golden Gate Park. Mayor after Mayor has promised to clean up homeless encampments in our parks, and Mayor after Mayor has sent midnight raids into these dens and cleared them out. What happens the next morning? The folk in homes complain about the folk without homes living on their stoops and in front of their Starbuck's. Funny how all those people living in the park didn't just go to their nice lofts in the SOMA. All kidding aside, where do all these mayors the homeless will go? To the wonderful inviting shelters that all these mayors have set up? Oh wait...there aren't any. Not nice ones anyway. Given the choice, would you rather live under a tree surrounded by bushes and your personal property or would you rather share a small closet with someone who you didn't choose to live with, share a bathroom with who knows how many other people, and be under consent threat of violence. Not to mention the noise. Oh and the rules imposed on you like curfews and such. Some people may not see much of a difference. "Beggars can't be choosers, " you'll say. Care Not Cash and Matrix says the same thing.

Why do I mention all of this? Because it's not going to change. Our Mayor is running unopposed...practically. Newsom is so sure of his win, he's already donated his "war chest". And as much as I feel making sure local kids can get into SFSU, it makes me uneasy that he is so sure of himself.

Would you like to see the list of who is running? Here is the list. It is full of political unknowns and oddities. It is not a list of the usual San Francisco weirdos. I can't be sure, but I think there are no strippers on the list this year or people running on an anti-war campaign (which is a trait I can understand in campaigns for congress and presidents...but not in boards of supervisors an mayors.) One name you might recognize is Josh Wolf. Josh is a freelance web journalist who did time because he refused to turn over video of a demonstration that turned violent. He served 226 days, the longest any journalist has served in an effort to protect source material. And he wasn't let out because he did release the video, but because the judge deemed it illegal to hold him any longer.

Who in that list might actually have a chance of making a dent in the Mayor's clean sweep? It's the same man that I'm voting for...Chicken John. He doesn't want to win, he just wants to come in a close second. An entry in Wiki says "Chicken" John Rinaldi is an alleged con artist, leader and organizer of anarchists. This is posted under "showman". I put it here because the entry may not be there for much longer, as is the ever evolving way of the Wiki, but I think it shows something very important. Chicken John has no people who spend hours cleaning up his image. He is the opposite of Mr. Newsom in that he is a working class artist, he has never denied being a showman, and he may in fact be an anarchist. He knows he can't win, but he wants to put independent San Francisco artists a voice. These artists make San Francisco the funky unique place it it and who like to shout at the top of their lungs about change but early run for office. His theory being that if he does win a close second, the Mayor will have no choice but to realize that there is a strong artistic voice in this community and it needs to be heard.

I've heard people say they'll vote for Hillary because she'll win. I'm voting for Chicken John, because he can't.

To hear more about those people running, I suggest the Guardian article where in the Guardian gives it's endorsements on the election and the Propositions.

There are eleven propositions on the local ballot this year, A-K. I have a love hate relationship with propositions. A lot of them are dumb. Like the one last year about no handguns in San Francisco city limits. Genius. First of all, there is no way to enforce something like this. There are not enough police officers on the streets. There is no way to search every car that comes across the bridges or up the 101. San Francisco is seven miles by seven miles and holds almost a million people...do you want to be the one who goes door to door looking for guns? But that wasn't the purpose of who ever put that law out there for the stupid yet hopeful peace lovers in San Francisco to vote on. No their purpose is clear...a court battle. The NRA immediately took the law to court and brought the constitution with it. Where it died the death most people knew it would.

But what is most fun about the propositions? Seeing the news paper's endorsements and how widely they differ.

In this corner we have the liberal progressive free newspaper The San Francisco Bay Guardian! And in this corner we have the conservative sensationalist The Examiner, founded by our favorite war profiteer William Randolf Hearst!

Round 1

(DING!)

A - Transit Reform

SFBG: Yes. It gives MUNI (our transit system) more money, fixes labor disagreements, includes Taxi's as part of transportation, and works to decrease air pollution levels. It also nullifies prop H. which would increase parking in the city.
Ex: No. A change is needed, but this isn't the right approach. (They don't mention why.)

The winner: SFBG. Now, the Examiner doesn't explain it's recommendations and the SFGB does, which makes this whole thing a little unfair. But in this case, I think that it makes a big difference. What change to they want exactly if not these changes? What approach do they want? Most importantly, why doesn't this one work? In later arguments they say "this isn't the best way...but we'll go for it." Why not on this one? The world may never know. And personally, any time a MUNI improvement measure comes around I go for it. This one has pros and cons, but it's better then what's been happening...nothing.

Round 2

B - Commission Hold-overs
SFBG: Yes.
Ex: Yes.

Winner? Tie. Everyone I've read seems to agree on this. It is a complicated one about commissioners who are allowed to continue serving after there term is over. Meaning the Mayor doesn't have to work to find a replacement, the dude just continues to be held over (supposedly until a replacement is found) indefinably. Everyone agrees this is dumb. There should be a hold over limit.

Round 3

C - Public Hearings on Proposed Measures
SFBG: No. It sounds good, the supervisors and the Mayor have to hold a public hearing about new measures at least 45 days before they can put that measure on the ballot. But SFBG says that this prop is supported by Big Business and downtown developers. Meaning it takes time and money to get a measure on the ballot and C would ensure that, but the way it works now the little guy could get a measure through in a hurry and get it passed. (Hello controlling downtown development...good...hello gun control laws that have no way of working...bad).
Ex: Yes. Basically because it sounds good.

Winner: SFBG. San Francisco set up this voting system where we all get together and read over these propositions to ensure that the voting public, for better or worse, is informed about what the government/business are doing and vote on it. If this is our way, then we can't put more red tape in front of measures. They need a clean road to the ballot, more or less. The good the bad and ugly. Why? Because, for better or worse, that is democracy.

Round 4 (Ok, screw it...there are 11 rounds and this is already annoying.)

D - Library Provision Fund
SFBG: Yes.
Ex: Yes.

The Winner: Libraries. Come on, this city loves it's books. Everyone loves this measure.

E - Mayoral Attendance at board of supervisors meeting.
SFBG: Yes. Yes. Yes. Actually a policy measure (not a law) already passed last year stated that the Mayor should go to Supervisors meetings once a month. Would it be a forum for grand standing? Yes. Is that bad? No. The public should know exactly how our pretty pretty princess of a Mayor feels about an issue and he should have to argue it out with those people who represent the public.
Ex: NO WAY! The mayor is busy enough without added City Hall gimmicks.

The Winner: SFBG. Come on. The mayor is busy enough without once a month meetings that we asked him politely to attend last year? Yes, we know all that hair gel takes time, but don't give me the added City Hall gimmicks crap. Our Mayor invents new gimmicks everyday. He can make time for another one. Besides, if he really was a good politician he'd find a way to turn this in his favor.

F - Police Pensions
SFBG: Yes
Ex: Yes

The Winner: Retired Police. Come on. Only evil people don't want to make sure police don't get pensions.

G - Golden Gate Park Stables
SFBG: Yes. Why not? The GG Park Stables are historical and falling apart. It's a small amount of money to keep it going, and the stables would stay in public hands, which means the public can participate in a fun activity.
Ex: No. Not the best fiscal approach to recreation needs.

The Winner: SFBG. I don't know what they mean to not the best fiscal approach to recreation needs. Oh, wait. I do. The Examiner is all for turning it over to a privet firm to handle. And we know what will come of that. Expensive...if any...opportunities for people who just want to take riding lessons. That's dumb, I want to ride horsies!

H - Regulating Parking Spaces
SFBG: No. No. No. The measure says everyone has a right to at least two parking spaces. Which means less bus stops, less bike lanes, and encourages more cars on the road, more traffic which would lead to toll streets in the middle of downtown.
Ex: Yes. Shifts balance back to creating more parking.

The Winner: SFBG. Do I wish it was easier/cheaper to park a car in this city. Yes. Do I think the balance should be shifted to more parking? No. The balance should be MUNI over parking. Why? The roads aren't going to get any wider people. Most of downtown will ALWAYS be two-lane one way roads. More parking, and thus encouraging more driving, isn't going to make that more fun to bare.

I - Small Buisness Center
SFBG: Yes.
Ex: Yes.

The Winner: Me! (I just wanted to win one.) This is not a big box chain store loving town. This is small business wonderland, and there is no organization set up to help.

J - Free Wireless Internet
SFBG: No. Sure, we all want free ice cream. But in this case it means if we want the free ice cream we only get a little of it given to us a drop at a time and if we want more we have to pay three times as much as we do now.
Ex: Yes. It's time for a citywide Wi-Fi network.

The Winner: SFBG. Reluctantly. I want free internet. I really really really want free internet. And wireless or whatever. I just want it free. But, SFBG is right. The Wi-Fi plan they have is slow and would drive up the costs of fast cable service. Which is no good. Imagine almost a million people in a seven by seven area all logging on at the same time. How fast do you think your music down loads will be after that.

K - Street Advertising
SFBG: Yes. It bars any further expansion of street-furniture advertising in the city.
Ex: No. Say no to anti-business, anti-revenue plan.

Winner: I don't know. The advertising is ugly and annoying...and owned by Evil Empire Clear Channel...but it also brings in revenue and ensures the upkeep of bus stops. I'm torn. Down with big bad business...but no one else is stepping up to the plate. But, I think that prop A sort of negates some of this prop...so...I don't know.

(DING!)

And The Examiner lays on the mat and is out for the count. Sure, Ex and SFBG agreed on some points. But over all The Examiner's week and whinny arguments didn't hold up. Sure, some of those arguments were only a sentence long and it really wasn't a fair fight. But I came into this blog knowing what I wanted already, I just wanted a funny way of presenting the side I didn't agree with.

But, if you want to set up your own ringside battle royal, you can check the other endorsements:

SPUR
SFGate

Oh, that's it for now. But there will be more.

For now. I leave you with this: Norman Rockwell's Thanks Giving. Personally, I find this picture creepy as all get out.

Why?

1) The incredible use of clean white. It is over used. This isn't a criticism, it's the truth. He uses it a lot because he puts his fatherly figure at the center in almost all black. He blocks out the window...but no the light. A light which gives the all American family a rather holy appearance. I think we are looking at a joyful tradition that Rockwell knows is passing. The feast is presented by the aged who look not long for this world. Will there be a turkey after they are gone?

2) There is no wine at this table. Only water.

3) The guy looking back at us in the corner. Is this Norman? Who is he? His look says either come on in! Enjoy! Or something else I can't put my finger on. Who are we in this picture? We are at the other end of the table, but somewhere above it. Standing. What does this man in the corner, who's mouth we can't see. Who's eyes maybe smiling, may be sad?

4) That big peice of fruit in the bowl looks like a baby head. Creepy.

I think that it's a powerful picture. There is so much joy in it, in a way. The family happily gathering around the table. Laughing, smiling. The food. The plenty. The hopefulness of it. We are not looking at a reality, but a dream. This is the perfect thanks giving. This is the unattainable hope. This is the turkey we wish we could bake. This is the woman who's ability and love has baked it, and strength as brought it to us. This is the family, the happy laughing family, who will par take in what the old generously and soberly serve.

And it comes with pickles, celery, and a side of baby head.

Creepy.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Number #1: I believe in America, I believe it exists


STEPHEN COLBERT: Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. Before I begin, I've been asked to make an announcement. Whoever parked 14 black bulletproof S.U.V.'s out front, could you please move them? They are blocking in 14 other black bulletproof S.U.V.'s and they need to get out.

Wow. Wow, what an honor. The White House correspondents' dinner. To actually sit here, at the same table with my hero, George W. Bush, to be this close to the man. I feel like I'm dreaming. Somebody pinch me. You know what? I'm a pretty sound sleeper -- that may not be enough. Somebody shoot me in the face. Is he really not here tonight? Dammit. The one guy who could have helped.

By the way, before I get started, if anybody needs anything else at their tables, just speak slowly and clearly into your table numbers. Somebody from the NSA will be right over with a cocktail. Mark Smith, ladies and gentlemen of the press corps, Madame First Lady, Mr. President, my name is Stephen Colbert and tonight it's my privilege to celebrate this president. We're not so different, he and I. We get it. We're not brainiacs on the nerd patrol. We're not members of the factinista. We go straight from the gut, right sir? That's where the truth lies, right down here in the gut. Do you know you have more nerve endings in your gut than you have in your head? You can look it up. I know some of you are going to say "I did look it up, and that's not true." That's 'cause you looked it up in a book.

Next time, look it up in your gut. I did. My gut tells me that's how our nervous system works. Every night on my show, the Colbert Report, I speak straight from the gut, OK? I give people the truth, unfiltered by rational argument. I call it the "No Fact Zone." Fox News, I hold a copyright on that term.

I'm a simple man with a simple mind. I hold a simple set of beliefs that I live by. Number one, I believe in America. I believe it exists. My gut tells me I live there. I feel that it extends from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and I strongly believe it has 50 states. And I cannot wait to see how the Washington Post spins that one tomorrow. I believe in democracy. I believe democracy is our greatest export. At least until China figures out a way to stamp it out of plastic for three cents a unit.

In fact, Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong, welcome. Your great country makes our Happy Meals possible. I said it's a celebration. I believe the government that governs best is the government that governs least. And by these standards, we have set up a fabulous government in Iraq.

I believe in pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps. I believe it is possible -- I saw this guy do it once in Cirque du Soleil. It was magical. And though I am a committed Christian, I believe that everyone has the right to their own religion, be you Hindu, Jewish or Muslim. I believe there are infinite paths to accepting Jesus Christ as your personal savior.

Ladies and gentlemen, I believe it's yogurt. But I refuse to believe it's not butter. Most of all, I believe in this president.

Now, I know there are some polls out there saying this man has a 32% approval rating. But guys like us, we don't pay attention to the polls. We know that polls are just a collection of statistics that reflect what people are thinking in "reality." And reality has a well-known liberal bias.

So, Mr. President, please, pay no attention to the people that say the glass is half full. 32% means the glass -- it's important to set up your jokes properly, sir. Sir, pay no attention to the people who say the glass is half empty, because 32% means it's 2/3 empty. There's still some liquid in that glass is my point, but I wouldn't drink it. The last third is usually backwash. Okay, look, folks, my point is that I don't believe this is a low point in this presidency. I believe it is just a lull before a comeback.

I mean, it's like the movie "Rocky." All right. The president in this case is Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed is -- everything else in the world. It's the tenth round. He's bloodied. His corner man, Mick, who in this case I guess would be the vice president, he's yelling, "Cut me, Dick, cut me!," and every time he falls everyone says, "Stay down! Stay down!" Does he stay down? No. Like Rocky, he gets back up, and in the end he -- actually, he loses in the first movie.

OK. Doesn't matter. The point is it is the heart-warming story of a man who was repeatedly punched in the face. So don't pay attention to the approval ratings that say 68% of Americans disapprove of the job this man is doing. I ask you this, does that not also logically mean that 68% approve of the job he's not doing? Think about it. I haven't.

I stand by this man. I stand by this man because he stands for things. Not only for things, he stands on things. Things like aircraft carriers and rubble and recently flooded city squares. And that sends a strong message: that no matter what happens to America, she will always rebound -- with the most powerfully staged photo ops in the world.

Now, there may be an energy crisis. This president has a very forward-thinking energy policy. Why do you think he's down on the ranch cutting that brush all the time? He's trying to create an alternative energy source. By 2008 we will have a mesquite-powered car!

And I just like the guy. He's a good joe. Obviously loves his wife, calls her his better half. And polls show America agrees. She's a true lady and a wonderful woman. But I just have one beef, ma'am.

I'm sorry, but this reading initiative. I'm sorry, I've never been a fan of books. I don't trust them. They're all fact, no heart. I mean, they're elitist, telling us what is or isn't true, or what did or didn't happen. Who's Britannica to tell me the Panama Canal was built in 1914? If I want to say it was built in 1941, that's my right as an American! I'm with the president, let history decide what did or did not happen.

The greatest thing about this man is he's steady. You know where he stands. He believes the same thing Wednesday that he believed on Monday, no matter what happened Tuesday. Events can change; this man's beliefs never will. As excited as I am to be here with the president, I am appalled to be surrounded by the liberal media that is destroying America, with the exception of Fox News. Fox News gives you both sides of every story: the president's side, and the vice president's side.

But the rest of you, what are you thinking, reporting on NSA wiretapping or secret prisons in eastern Europe? Those things are secret for a very important reason: they're super-depressing. And if that's your goal, well, misery accomplished. Over the last five years you people were so good -- over tax cuts, WMD intelligence, the effect of global warming. We Americans didn't want to know, and you had the courtesy not to try to find out. Those were good times, as far as we knew.

But, listen, let's review the rules. Here's how it works: the president makes decisions. He's the decider. The press secretary announces those decisions, and you people of the press type those decisions down. Make, announce, type. Just put 'em through a spell check and go home. Get to know your family again. Make love to your wife. Write that novel you got kicking around in your head. You know, the one about the intrepid Washington reporter with the courage to stand up to the administration. You know - fiction!

Because really, what incentive do these people have to answer your questions, after all? I mean, nothing satisfies you. Everybody asks for personnel changes. So the White House has personnel changes. Then you write, "Oh, they're just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic." First of all, that is a terrible metaphor. This administration is not sinking. This administration is soaring. If anything, they are rearranging the deck chairs on the Hindenburg!

Now, it's not all bad guys out there. Some are heroes: Christopher Buckley, Jeff Sacks, Ken Burns, Bob Schieffer. They've all been on my show. By the way, Mr. President, thank you for agreeing to be on my show. I was just as shocked as everyone here is, I promise you. How's Tuesday for you? I've got Frank Rich, but we can bump him. And I mean bump him. I know a guy. Say the word.

See who we've got here tonight. General Moseley, Air Force Chief of Staff. General Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. They still support Rumsfeld. Right, you guys aren't retired yet, right? Right, they still support Rumsfeld.

Look, by the way, I've got a theory about how to handle these retired generals causing all this trouble: don't let them retire! Come on, we've got a stop-loss program; let's use it on these guys. I've seen Zinni and that crowd on Wolf Blitzer. If you're strong enough to go on one of those pundit shows, you can stand on a bank of computers and order men into battle. Come on.

Jesse Jackson is here, the Reverend. Haven't heard from the Reverend in a little while. I had him on the show. Very interesting and challenging interview. You can ask him anything, but he's going to say what he wants, at the pace that he wants. It's like boxing a glacier. Enjoy that metaphor, by the way, because your grandchildren will have no idea what a glacier is.

Justice Scalia is here. Welcome, sir. May I be the first to say, you look fantastic. How are you? [After each sentence, Colbert makes a hand gesture, an allusion to Scalia's recent use of an obscene Sicilian hand gesture in speaking to a reporter about Scalia's critics. Scalia is seen laughing hysterically.] Just talking some Sicilian with my paisan.

John McCain is here. John McCain, John McCain, what a maverick! Somebody find out what fork he used on his salad, because I guarantee you it wasn't a salad fork. This guy could have used a spoon! There's no predicting him. By the way, Senator McCain, it's so wonderful to see you coming back into the Republican fold. I have a summer house in South Carolina; look me up when you go to speak at Bob Jones University. So glad you've seen the light, sir.

Mayor Nagin! Mayor Nagin is here from New Orleans, the chocolate city! Yeah, give it up. Mayor Nagin, I'd like to welcome you to Washington, D.C., the chocolate city with a marshmallow center. And a graham cracker crust of corruption. It's a Mallomar, I guess is what I'm describing, a seasonal cookie.

Joe Wilson is here, Joe Wilson right down here in front, the most famous husband since Desi Arnaz. And of course he brought along his lovely wife Valerie Plame. Oh, my god! Oh, what have I said? I -- Je -- minetti (sp?). [looks horrified] I am sorry, Mr. President, I meant to say he brought along his lovely wife Joe Wilson's wife. Patrick Fitzgerald is not here tonight? OK. Dodged a bullet.

And, of course, we can't forget the man of the hour, new press secretary, Tony Snow. Secret Service name, "Snow Job." Toughest job. What a hero! Took the second toughest job in government, next to, of course, the ambassador to Iraq.

Got some big shoes to fill, Tony. Big shoes to fill. Scott McClellan could say nothing like nobody else. McClellan, of course, eager to retire. Really felt like he needed to spend more time with Andrew Card's children. Mr. President, I wish you hadn't made the decision so quickly, sir.

I was vying for the job myself. I think I would have made a fabulous press secretary. I have nothing but contempt for these people. I know how to handle these clowns. In fact, sir, I brought along an audition tape and with your indulgence, I'd like to at least give it a shot. So, ladies and gentlemen, my press conference.

BEGINNING OF "AUDITION TAPE"

Colbert shows a video of a mock press conference. It opens with an empty podium. Colbert's head rises from behind the podium until Colbert is standing at the podium. He addresses the assembled Washington press corps.

COLBERT: I have a brief statement: the press is destroying America. OK, let's see who we've got here today.

COLBERT (acknowledging various reporters): Stretch! (David Gregory nods)

Sir Nerdlington! (reporter nods)

Sloppy Joe! (reporter nods)

Terry Lemon Moran Pie! (Terry Moran nods)

Oh, Doubting Thomas, always a pleasure. (Helen Thomas smiles)

And Suzanne Mal -- hello!!

(Suzanne Malveaux stares at Colbert, looking unhappy. Colbert mimics putting a phone to his ear and mouths "call me.")

REPORTER: Will the Vice President be available soon to answer all questions himself?

COLBERT: I've already addressed that question. You (pointing to another reporter).

REPORTER: Walter Cronkite, the noted CBS anchor, . . .

COLBERT (interrupting): Ah, no, he's the former CBS anchor. Katie Couric is the new anchor of the CBS Evening News. Well, well, how do you guys feel about that?

You, tousle-haired guy in the back. Are you happy about Katie Couric taking over the CBS Evening News?

DAN RATHER: No, sir, Mr. Colbert. Are you? (Laughter)

COLBERT: Boom! Oh, look, we woke David Gregory up. Question?

DAVID GREGORY: Did Karl Rove commit a crime?

COLBERT: I don't know. I'll ask him.

(Colbert turns to Rove) Karl, pay attention please! (Rove is seen drawing a heart with "Karl + Stephen" written on it.)

GREGORY: Do you stand by your statement from the fall of 2003 when you were asked specifically about Karl, and Elliott Abrams, and Scooter Libby, and you said "I've gone to each of those gentlemen, and they have told me that they are not involved in this." Do you stand by that statement?

COLBERT: Nah, I was just kidding!

GREGORY: No, you're not finishing. You're not saying anything! You stood at that podium and said . . .

COLBERT (interrupting): Ah, that's where you're wrong. New podium! Just had it delivered today. Get your facts straight, David.

GREGORY: This is ridiculous. The notion that you're going to stand before us after having commented with that level of detail and tell the people watching this that somehow you've decided not to talk. You've got to . . .

(Colbert is seen looking at three buttons on the podium, labeled "EJECT," "GANNON" and "VOLUME." He selects the "VOLUME" button and turns it. We see Gregory's lips continue moving, but can't hear any sound coming out.)

COLBERT: If I can't hear you, I can't answer your question. I'm sorry! I have to move on. Terry.

TERRY MORAN: After the investigation began, after the criminal investigation was underway, you said . . .

(Colbert presses a button on the podium and fast-forwards through most of Moran's question.)

MORAN (continuing): All of a sudden, you have respect for the sanctity of a criminal investigation?

COLBERT (seen playing with rubber ball, which he is bouncing off attached paddle): No, I never had any respect for the sanctity of a criminal investigation. Activist judges! Yes, Helen.

HELEN THOMAS: You're going to be sorry. (Laughter)

COLBERT (looking vastly amused, mockingly): What are you going to do, Helen, ask me for a recipe?

THOMAS: Your decision to invade Iraq has caused the deaths of thousands (Colbert's smile fades) of Americans and Iraqis, wounds of Americans and Iraqis for a lifetime.

COLBERT (interrupting): OK, hold on Helen, look . . .

THOMAS (continuing): Every reason given, publicly at least, has turned out not to be true. My question is, why did you really want to go to war?

COLBERT (again interrupting): Helen, I'm going to stop you right there. (Thomas keeps talking.) That's enough! No! Sorry, Helen, I'm moving on. (Colbert tries to turn her volume off, but the knob falls off his controls.)

(Various reporters start shouting questions at Colbert.)

COLBERT (agitated): Guys, guys, please don't let Helen do this to what was a lovely day.

(Reporters keep shouting at him.)

COLBERT (putting his fingers over his ears and shouting in a high-pitched voice): Bllrrtt! No, no, no, no, no. I'm not listening to you!

Look what you did, Helen! I hate you!

(Helen Thomas glowers at Colbert.)

COLBERT (frantic): I'm out of here!

(Colbert pulls back the curtain behind him, desperately trying to flee. He says, "There is a wall here!" The press corps laughs. Colbert has difficulty finding a door from which to exit the room, echoing Bush's experience in China. He finally finds the door and hurries through it.)

COLBERT: It reeks in there! Ridiculous! I've never been so insulted in my life! Stupid job.

(Colbert continues walking away. We hear sinister-sounding music playing. We see Helen Thomas walking behind Colbert.)

(Colbert looks behind him, sees Thomas, and starts running.)

(Colbert trips over a roller skate. He yells "Condi!" We see a close-up of Helen Thomas' face, looking determined and angry. Colbert, increasingly panicked, gets up and continues running, running into a parking garage. He reaches an emergency call box, and yells into it.)

COLBERT: Oh, thank God. Help me!

ATTENDANT: What seems to be the problem, sir?

COLBERT: She won't stop asking why we invaded Iraq!

ATTENDANT: Hey, why did we invade Iraq?

COLBERT: NO!!! (runs toward his car)

(We see Helen Thomas, still walking toward him.)

(Colbert reaches his car, and fumblingly attempts to open it with his key. He is in such a desperate hurry that he fumbles with the keys and drops them. When he picks them up, he looks back and Helen is even closer. In his frantic rush, Colbert just can't get the key into the lock.)

(Just as his anxiety is getting completely out of control he suddenly remembers that he has a keyless remote -- so he just pushes the button on the keychain and the car unlocks immediately with the usual double squeak noise. Colbert jumps in and locks the door, and continues to fumble trying to start the car. He finally succeeds, and looks up to see Helen standing in front of the car, notepad in hand.)

COLBERT: NO!!! NO!!!

(Colbert puts the car into reverse and drives off, tires squealing. Thomas smiles.)

(Colbert is shown taking the shuttle from Washington, D.C. to New York. A car and driver are waiting for him at Penn Station. The uniformed man standing alongside the car opens the door and lets Colbert in.)

COLBERT: What a terrible trip, Danny. Take me home.

(The driver locks the doors, turns around, and says, "Buckle up, hon." IT'S HELEN THOMAS!!!)

COLBERT (horrified face pressed against car window): NO!!!

END OF "AUDITION TAPE"

STEPHEN COLBERT: Helen Thomas, ladies and gentlemen. Mr. Smith, members of the White House Correspondents Association, Madame First Lady, Mr. President, it's been a true honor. Thank you very much. Good night!