Thumbs up for Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. The best journalists in fake news made it through a string of very funny shows without their writers. With election season in full swing, the discerning commentary of the two shows is second to none. To the relief of Stewart and Colbert, the writers returned on Feb. 13. ‘It’s like Christmas morning,’ quipped Stewart. It certainly felt that way for fans of the show, but time-wasting brawls with Conan O’Brien will be missed.
Thumbs down for FEMA. Recently, it was revealed that the federal government supplied hundreds of thousands of Hurricane Katrina-victims with trailers containing high levels of formaldehyde. Apparently, formaldehyde can cause serious breathing problems in perfectly healthy people. Just when you thought the people of New Orleans had suffered enough, the Bush administration managed to make things even worse.
Thumbs down for House Republicans. In a move meant to pressure the House Democrats to pass a new bill to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, Republicans maturely walked out of the chamber to show they mean business when it comes to getting President Bush exactly what he wants. ‘The terrorist threat to our country is not going away. We must do everything we can to protect the American people, and we should start by passing the bipartisan Senate bill,’ said Minority Leader John Boehner. Of course, he only describes the bill as bipartisan when it accomplishes what the Republicans and the president want. If America is really under an imminent threat, then maybe President Bush should spend less time fear-mongering and more compromising.
Thumbs up for House Democrats. The House voted to hold White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten and former White House counsel Harriet Miers in contempt of Congress for refusing to testify about the firings of U.S. attorneys in the Justice Department. Democrats angered Republicans by limiting the debate time and laying the groundwork for forcing Bolten and Miers to testify. ‘I hope this administration will realize this Congress is serious about its constitutional role of oversight,’ said Speaker Nancy Pelosi. If that’s the case, let’s hope no more time is wasted on investigating steroid use in major league baseball.
Thumbs down for John McCain. The likely Republican presidential nominee voted against a bill to ban waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods. This move is especially disappointing because McCain has long opposed the use of torture by the U.S. government, but he has decided to go against his previously principled stances in order to pander to conservative voters. As a P.O.W., McCain was a crucial authoritative voice within the Republican Party. The senator claims that he doesn’t want to limit the CIA to the tactics in the U.S. Army Field Manual. However, there are 19 tactics approved by this manual, which should provide more than enough ways for the Republicans to prove their Jack Bauer-like manliness.