20 June 2009
5 June 2009
former Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon.
The Member for Hunter resigned from his ministerial post yesterday, perhaps as a butterfly effect from the swathe being cut through British cabinet at the moment (Communities Secretary Hazel Blears is the most recent to vanish in a flurry of dodgy expense claims, which included one UK parliamentarian claiming taxpayer money for moat cleaning. Yes, moat cleaning). More likely, it's been due to the recent scandals attached to his office... in one case literally, as his ministry digs were apparently the venue for discussions between Defence officials, US health company Humana, and the head of health fund NIB, who happens to be Joel's brother Mark. Ah, the joy of nepotism. An undeclared gift here, a pay glitch for soldiers there, and Fitzgibbon's position became untenable. However, according to Joel, the resignation was triggered by having "two or three Judas' in my midst".
Here's where it becomes about my more personal itches. Firstly, if anyone who betrays Joel is a "Judas", that makes Joel Jesus, and even with my non-religious nature, that gets irritating. It reminded me of a story a few months ago, where a primary school was taking a bit of a full-contact approach to child obesity by searching through kids' lunches, and removing items such as chocolate. A bit harsh, and possibly heading into privacy invasion, but when one parent described it as being "like Nazi Germany", that's more than a tad ridiculous. The Nazis didn't become history's greatest villains through their annexation of lunchboxes. The other aspect is that Joel seems annoyed that he was dobbed on. The problem is not that he accepted certain travel gifts without telling anyone, or housed a bit of career networking by his brother in his parliamentary office, it's that people found out. If "how dare you tell people what I've been doing" is his idea of a defence, the Defence Ministry is not his place.
As has been mentioned in the media, the title "Minister for Defence" has been something of an expensive albatross around the neck of political careers for the last decade, so there may have been a touch of pressure release combined with annoyance in Mr Fitzgibbon's minor tanty. However, for hype, whining, and making me have a point of agreement with the Liberal Party, it's time to table a familiar motion. All in favour?
Link - Fitzgibbon defenceless against 'Judas' staff
29 May 2009
The producers of A Current Affair
For those of you who have successfully avoided the story of Clare Werbeloff, here's the quickest of summaries - after a shooting in Kings Cross, Clare sprints to get her head in front of a TV camera and proceeds to invent an eyewitness account. The video becomes a talking point online, Clare hires an agent, and proceeds to hawk herself around media outlets after admitting she didn't actually see the shooting, saying that she didn't think it was wrong because she only lied to the media, not police. She appeared twice on A Current Affair this week, talking about how the public backlash had affected her. How the hell did someone who has interjected herself into a story about someone being shot purely to grab some attention turn into the victim of the piece? If you jump in front of a truck so you can bathe in the glow of the headlights, you have no room to whine about being run over.
But for mine, she is not the most deserving Slapcatcher here. If someone acts a fool in order to get airplay, that's their decision - it is an entirely separate decision for the media to give her that attention, and Tuesday night's edition of ACA showed an amazing commitment to bottom-of-the-barrel scraping. I'm going to give fill-in presenter Leila McKinnon the benefit of the doubt here - after "reporter" Ben Fordham's interview, McKinnon responded with a reference to this whole saga going a bit far. I choose to interpret that as a token protest to the producers about the odour this non-story was creating. Where things got embarrassing was that after McKinnon made her remark, another Ben Fordham piece was aired, namely an interview with Will Ferrell. Fordham then proceeded to ask Ferrell's thoughts on... Clare Werbeloff. He showed Ferrell the footage of the original lie, and - offering no context, no explanation, and not referring to the falsehood - asked for his reaction.
Imagine going to a job interview, and just after you list your qualifications, the interviewer asks for your thoughts on a picture that someone else's kid drew. The inventors of quizzes on Facebook can only look on in envy at just how massive a waste of time this is. And in the most recent chapter, apparently "Clare the Bogan", as she has been dubbed, is being sized up to possibly present "pop culture issue stories" for ACA. Apparently the biggest talent the producers are looking for is a mindless lust for fame (and if you've seen the original clip, you know I mean MINDLESS. If you haven't, DON'T).
While Clare puts the mole in molehill, ACA's attempts to help turn her into a mountain should be met with nothing but derision. If they are so determined to give her her full fifteen minutes, make her the public face of a new create-a-celebrity show... Dancing with the Stupid, perhaps? Or maybe Australia's Got Brain Damage. Either way, the coffin of A Current Affair's image as having anything to do with news just received another nail, and those in charge received a massively deserved SLAP.
Link: Chk-Chk Boom girl Clare Werbeloff may get ACA TV job
22 May 2009
The AFL held its annual Hall Of Fame ceremony this week, and Brayshaw - co-host of the Footy Show, and chairman of the North Melbourne Football Club - has had strong words about the fact that Wayne Carey, for the second year since becoming eligible, was overlooked. One slight look at broader context, however, would probably deliver a much-needed clue.
Wayne Carey was a brilliant and talented footballer, whose attitude and behaviour towards women has been as appropriate as a rifle range in a primary school. From random boob-grabs all the way to more recent glass swinging, memories of Carey's undeniable skill on field have been permanently handcuffed to stupidity and lack of impulse control off it. Apart from the fact that behaviour has always been a factor in deciding who gets the Hall of Fame nod, hasn't Brayshaw read a newspaper lately?
The highest-profile sports story for the last fortnight has been sexual scandal attached to rugby league, and has been just the most recent in a sequence as long and ugly as a parade of hairless cats. The NRL is trying to change its culture, or at least the perception of its culture, to have women feel a little more secure than a carcass at a vulture convention, and it's requiring some work at the fundamentals - rugby players have it ingrained that they are indestructible, and that "can't" isn't part of their equation; getting them familiar with the idea of "shouldn't" is an idea that has only recently arrived, and is proving tricky to enact. The AFL have had their own fun with players sliding the brain in neutral and the ego into overdrive, while not as constant or as dramatic as in League, and so as we try to change the attitudes of the young men who get buckets of money to play these sports, and the younger people who look up to them, Brayshaw should see beyond the Kangaroos' collective navel, and figure out without so much noise that now is not the time for Wayne's ascension.
Wayne Carey will be a member of the AFL Hall of Fame. If he has gone through the personal transformation that he has claimed in recent times, he could well be the poster boy for reforming the attitudes and images that are plaguing our most public winter sportsmen. But as one of the game's most influential figures, by his television job and club presidency, James Brayshaw should have looked around a bit before getting all foot-stampy. So, for not leaving the mouth-before-mind approach to Sam Newman (it's what he's there for, after all)...
Link: North incensed as Carey misses out again
20 March 2009
Neil's decision to publish photos that were allegedly of a naked Pauline Hanson taken in the 80's has had a cascading effect throughout the news. Apparently he now admits that he "went too quickly on the story", after paying the alleged human who provided the photos $15 000. After splashing the headline around proclaiming Pauline's nudity, the rise in sales will most likely have covered this particular cost, so he doesn't take a hit. What takes the hit is the credibility of news in Australia. Most people still take what they read in the papers at face value, and so before running such a salacious story, the editor has a duty to check sources, confirm origins... and to open his damn eyes. The photos do not look like Pauline. There is a passing similarity in eye makeup and hair, but both are clearly on a non-Pauline Hanson head. But, as he can pass himself off as a victim in this process, being duped by brilliant, dazzling con artistry, he can simply take the circulation bump and move on.
For the same reason that a former judge gets an extra kicking for breaking the rules, so should a newspaper editor. Not only is such a person expected to know better, they need to behave better. The knock-on effect of this cerebral power shortage is that, just before an election that she is running in, Pauline Hanson gets to portray herself as a victim of the big bad media, and garner more votes that she doesn't deserve because of it (for an elaboration on this, scroll down to Vote 1: Slap).
This one goes in the file of "disappointed, but not surprised". Far too many "news stories" are the direct result of press releases, those press releases should have to, at the very least, make their flaws and bullshit less obvious than this particularly pale attempt at lookalikes.
And in other news, the editor of a Sydney-based bin liner took five fingers and a palm to the side of the head. Nearby witnesses heard a noise which they described as a SLAP.
Links: Jail term completes Einfeld's disgrace
Mugabe calls for end to "cruel" sanctions
Pope Benedict XVI says condoms can aggravate AIDS in Africa
Hanson photo row: editor admits not checking facts
13 March 2009
This week, Madoff pleaded guilty to eleven counts relating to the world's biggest game of Three Card Monty. The figures are staggering - according to prosecutors, $177 billion dollars went through Madoff's hands. I have to plan and organise and manoevre the paying of a phone bill... trying to imagine $177 buh-ILLION dollars is like a grain of sand trying to picture the beach. And yet, the apparently "deeply sorry" Bernard Madoff managed to make this evaporate. A lot of people's lives went sideways in the process.
Also Slapped this week are every person who assisted Madoff, either wittingly, or by giving his books a clean bill of health. The Ponzi scheme is an old, well-established rip off procedure, and for it to have worked that large for that long it astounding; it means that so many people were asleep at so many switches that being part of a US financial regulatory body apparently causes narcolepsy. Nice to know that Enron taught some people absolutely nothing. And more of this snooze-based vigilance will become apparent over the course of this year - much white-collar crime stays hidden while things are ticking along nicely, but when the wheels come off... it's only when there's a fire that you notice the fire extinguisher has been sold.
Madoff himself, having carried this on for decades, has been very noisy in his regrets now that he's been caught. Considering the amazingly large figures involved, the only other possible outcomes are that a) he died before he got caught, or b) he successfully put about $6 billion on 27 at Vegas. When you screw up once, you say sorry. Make the same bad move twice, and you might get away with "really sorry". Rinse and repeat over twenty years, and you can season your "sorry" with your crocodile tears, and take rectally. Which briefly makes me ponder the fact that it's a shame he won't be serving his time in maximum security.
Bernie, you deserve more punishment than you'll get. All I can do is add ever so slightly to your sentence.
Link - Bernard Madoff pleads guilty in $100bn fraud
27 February 2009
Time for another Weekly Slap that doubles as a long service smacking. Without any further ado, strike up the banjo for this week's recipient...
International readers will probably, blessedly, be unaware of Ms Hanson's place in the Australian political landscape - down the back, under the septic tank. First coming to national attention in 1996, after a procedural glitch saw her elected to Federal parliament, Hanson was spun as a champion of the ordinary person. The fact that she didn't talk like a career politician, and spoke her mind, attracted a degree of following, and the existence of the One Nation party. Over time, it became apparent that speaking her mind was a quick process, for the same reason that it doesn't take two hours to recite a limerick. Simplicity was revealed to be ignorance, and while people started to get an idea of what she and hers stood against, such as immigration, standing for something didn't seem to be part of the equation. The same way a renter will put furniture over a stain in the carpet, Hanson and her handlers would cover lack of ideas and knowledge with an Australian flag.
Before Pauline settled into her rightful position as punchline, she provided camouflage for then-Prime Minister John Howard. As the Liberals seemed determined to divide the country on racial lines, they could always point at the Ugly Stepsister and say "well at least we're not that!". The house of straw eventually blew away, but not before cementing Hanson in the public consciousness. She has made several tilts at regaining a place in Federal, NSW and Queensland parliaments, all without success. Or, at least, without actually gaining a seat...
In the past week, Pauline announced that on Monday, she'll announce her return to the political arena, running in the Queensland state election for the seat of Beaudesert. She can't win, but such are the Australian electoral laws that any candidate who achieves over four percent of the vote gets paid. In her last run for the Federal senate, she pocketed up to $170 000 (the gap between her expenditure and the funding from the Electoral Commission for getting above the magic 4%). She's not running to bring exposure to a particular issue; she has nothing to say. It's not about representing the electorate, as she keeps trying to find different people in different areas to represent, showing a Shane Warne-esque degree of commitment. She's simply hoping enough MENSA candidates vote for her because they remember seeing her off of the talking picture box for another payday.
And so, Mr Speaker, I move that for being a drain on the public purse and the national IQ, that the candidate for Beaudesert hereby be Slapped.
Link - Pauline Hanson to stand in Beaudesert against Big Brother gatecrasher Aidan McLindon
20 February 2009
Ah, one of my favourite topics... and a Slap that was bound to occur at some point.
People who know me, and many who've seen me perform, know that I'm not a fan of censorship. If I may wrest the term "adult entertainment" from the sex flick industry for a second, my top three favourite TV shows of all time - The Sopranos, Deadwood and Dexter - are all clearly made for an adult audience, and would never have seen the light of day if some of the more delicate of media commentators had their way. So, it is with a certain degree of inevitability that I welcome today's Face to be Flattened...
Australian Family Association spokesman Joe Lopez.
Confession time - I have not seen an episode of "Underbelly: A Tale Of Two Cities" (it was the highest of times, it was the come-downest of times...). So, to give Joe the benefit of the doubt for a second, perhaps it is indeed "pornography". The M rating attached to the show would say otherwise, however, unless it is particularly tame porn, in the same way that the skateboard I owned at age ten was a particularly tame monster truck. So, once again, a show that contains sex and violence and is broadcast in the later stages of prime time induces the cry of "dear GOD will SOMEone THINK of the CHILDREN!!". At least, that's part of what was being said... can someone translate this for me?
"They are trying to put a dramatic representation of how crime was in relation to the illicit drug trade in that time by glamorising it with sex."
See, they are trying to put a dramatic representation of how crime was in relation to the illicit drug trade in that time by having actors read scripts in front of a camera. This goes by the common name of "making a TV show". And that may have included sex. Oddly enough, a lot of human interaction does. But semantics aside, I am a fully subscribing member of the "if you don't like it, don't watch" school. This edition of Underbelly has pulled off an unusual double - critical acclaim, and high ratings. So, a lot of people are willing to call it "good", many even throwing in the word "very". So, let these people have a quality adult drama, and still get to bed at a reasonable hour.
The decision about what should be shown on a household's TV should be made... ready?... within the household. By throwing words like "pornography" around to describe an apparently well-made TV series that happens to include sex scenes, all Joe and the Australian Family Association do is paint themselves as the chihuahua in the car that yaps at passers-by. Sure, the chihuahua may think it's acting as an effective watchdog, but it remains an irrelevant noise while life goes on around it.
I'd better get this one in quickly, as apparently the next episode of Underbelly features a graphic male shower scene, and Joe's head may explode. So, before it gets messier:
The following action is rated PG for low-level violence.
Link - Underbelly is just 'pornography', says the Australian Family Association
13 February 2009
Pastor Danny Nalliah.
Thanks to the global nature of news, the world knows about the fires that began on Saturday February 7th, and their devastating effect. I will not go into the details here - there's no need. Danny has chosen to say that Victoria is burning because of the recent decriminalisation of abortion. Not arson, not natural disaster - divine retribution.
Now, my initial reaction is a wish to smack this gentleman in the side of the head with some form of furniture for such a gargantuan slice of offensive. With that option unavailable, I have to take solace somewhere, and have found my happy place with this statement. Let me outline how this appalling concept harms its inventor.
For the people who support a woman's right to consider abortion, combining Australia's greatest natural disaster with this anti-abortion stance could only be made more offensive if Danny was also simultaneously kicking a disabled puppy. However, these are people that the Pastor was never going to convince anyway. People who are anti-abortion are now looking embarrassed, and trying to find something else in the vicinity to find fascinating so that the subject can be changed, perhaps also using a faux cough to cover the words "Danny! Dickhead! Don't help!". Those who are wrestling with their moral stance have just seen a cheerleader for one team sound dumber than a concussed brick, and more revolting than a leprosy souffle.
Similarly on the religious side - the atheists will be patting themselves on the back for a job well done. The believers will be pondering the whole "God Is Love" idea, and grappling with how the Celestial Arsehole Danny seems to be backing fits with this concept. The agnostics will be taking in this festering view of the Christian god, and wondering what Krishna's up to these days.
Of course, there will be exceptions - namely, those who agree with Danny (who is a pastor in - and I'm only going to say this once - the Catch The Fire Ministries). This small - in number, stature, spirit and IQ - group is one that, frankly, he is welcome to. Their world is something that actual human people will leave to its own self-righteous devices. Pastor Danny, if googling your own name has brought you here, using the bushfires for any sort of religious, social and/or political point-scoring is despicable, and if this came from a face-to-face interview, whoever took down your statement showed great self control to not beat you around the head with whatever implement was used to record your irresponsible and disgusting words.
I won't claim to speak for anyone who has been effected by the fires, or for the thousands who have heard the call and helped out. This one is for me, and hopefully has enough velocity to dislocate Danny's jaw, and shut him up.
Link - Fire 'divine retribution', says minister
6 February 2009
I have a bit of an allergy to organised religion. Throughout history, a lot of... interesting things have been done in the name of whichever god was relevant at the time. On occasion, the word "faith" gets used as a direct attack on critical thought, and that is possibly the mildest direct attack that has been done for religion. People draw strength from their beliefs, belief can unite communities, but a lot of hypocrisy has been hidden in robes.
So, with that on record, strike up the organ to usher down February's first Slap recipient -
Bishop Richard Williamson.
Bishop Williamson was excommunicated in 1988, as the man who made him a bishop didn't have the papal authority to do so. I love this idea - how many companies (and make no mistake, the Catholic Church is a company) allow promotions without the boss's say so? Next time you're at work, promote someone at random. Make whoever says "good morning" the cheeriest into a department head (or if they already are, give them Chief Financial Officer). Much fun will be had.
Twenty years later, Bishop Dick and the other three unauthorised promotees were welcomed back into the fold. However, an interview that Williamson gave last year has raised its head, and given him a deserving bite on the buttocks, as he announced his belief that there were no gas chambers used in World War II, and that somewhere between 200 000 and 300 000 Jews died, rather than six million.
Sure, an argument can be made that ignoring chunks of history is pretty much a prerequisite for Catholicism, but this takes it to an offensive degree. Following a couple of internet links digs up a bit more offensiveness, however. Try this quote on for size -
"A woman can do a good imitation of handling ideas, but then she will not be thinking properly as a woman. Did this lawyeress check her hairdo before coming into court? If she did, she is a distracted lawyer. If she did not, she is one distorted woman."
As a certain Vatican-based institution tries to find its place in the 21st century, isn't that a breath of fresh air? Church workings are almost entirely irrelevant to my life, but the fact that this puddle of ignorance is in a position that, as part of the job description, includes offering guidance to others offends me.
So - a solid Flick to all those involved in Dick's involvement in church hierarchy, and to Pope Benedict for including him back in the fold. And, for the man himself, with the slightest hope of knocking a wayward piece of brain back into place, I issue a slap of Biblical proportions.
Link - Profile: Bishop Richard Williamson
30 January 2009
Following the news can be dismaying for a comedian. Here I am, trying to craft new ways to make the audience laugh, and then I find a headline that says " 'Magic' goat arrested for armed robbery". How am I supposed to compete with that?
But I must set aside thoughts of felonious farmlife, because it's time to fling the fingers once again. This week, we head into a little contempt of court - all rise for this week's Slapcatcher...
Judge James Pohl.
Calling Guantanamo Bay "controversial" is like calling the surface of the sun "warm", leading to a pre-election promise by President Obama to shut down the detention centre there. As that process begins, the President put out a call to all prosecutors involved in the trials of detainees, instructing them to ask for a 120-day delay in proceedings. Apparently Judge Pohl found the request "unpersuasive". This may possibly be the hard death of an old habit, as Judge Pohl may have trouble agreeing to a Presidential request that is grammatically correct and riddled with English. Whatever the reason for executing as difficult a manoevre as ignoring the head of state, Judge Pohl's reaction of "you're not the boss of me", while not totally inaccurate, is missing a broader perspective.
Guantanamo Bay, or "Gitmo" as it has been called by those who like to give nicknames to locations used to violate human rights, has become a symbol of American hypocracy. The contortions that various members of the previous government went through in order to avoid the word "torture", when describing the interrogation tactics used there, were of Olympic gymnast standard. I won't list the techniques here, as a quick Googling will bring you up to speed, but covering inhuman treatment with whacky wordplay was one of the reasons why Dubya was as popular as plucking nose hair. Judge Pohl's unpersuasion may slow the process of curing this great political coldsore.
So, sneakily asking for permission to approach the bench so that I can get in arm's reach - SLAP!
Links: Guantanamo trial suspension request "unpersuasive"
and, of course... 'Magic' goat arrested for armed robbery
23 January 2009
The sleeve is rolled up, the fingers are flexed - time to Slap.
In a momentous week, where millions of people watched the inauguration of a new President of the US - including the blooper reel - and got one last vice-presidential glimpse of Dick Cheney (Dick, when bucking for a worker's compensation claim, you should start before the last day on the job), today's Slap occurs in more dangerous surroundings. Flak jacket donned, we head into the Middle East for the riskiest slap yet...
As the political head of Hamas, Meshaal is a pivotal figure in history's biggest ongoing mess. Any analysis of the intricacies involved is beyond my ken, but as residents of Gaza begin the massive task of rebuilding after Israel's latest attacks (according to ABC News, "whole neighbourhoods have been literally flattened"), I know enough to spot a problem when Meshaal declares victory.
From his exile in Syria (when looking for the best position from which to proclaim victory, "in exile" isn't ideal), Khaled Meshaal announced that Israel hadn't achieved their aims... not because other nations brought pressure to bear, but because of Hamas. This is truly the old "I attacked his fist with my face" gag on an international scale. When I was in primary school, I managed an impressive unvictorious streak in playground fights, but not once did I raise my hands in triumph after a teacher dragged the other participant off me.
Whatever your opinion of the Palestinian conflict, whoever you assign the moral high ground to (if it can be assigned to anyone), it doesn't take an indepth knowledge of history or international diplomacy to realise that if the global community hadn't made noise, Israel would still be increasing the size of the Great Gaza Car Park. So, for Khaled Meshaal's "hooray for us!", with a vengeful hand and a battle-cry of "You're Not Helping!"... SLAP!
Link: Hamas declares victory in Gaza.
Quick post-note: if you've been following some Australian news, you may have noticed an obvious Slap candidate - a very minor religious figure who has had some offensive ideas of his posted online. As slapworthy as he is, I also have a huge problem with the amount of attention he has received, and so I won't add to it.
16 January 2009
It's Friday, so it's time to leave some fingerprint evidence at high velocity.
A person may Slap another for a variety of reasons; to hurt, to embarrass, to shock... this week, if aimed well enough, a blow to the head of each recipient may jar a wayward piece of brain back into place. With that in mind, I introduce January 16th's official Slapcatchers...
Heath and Deborah Campbell.
The Campbells are New Jersey residents, and parents of three children recently taken into care by the Division of Youth and Family Services. No official reason has been given, but anyone reading the story might suspect that the kids - three year-old Adolph Hitler, and his younger sisters JoyceLynn Aryan Nation and Honszlynn Hinler Jeannie - might be better off under different living arrangements.
The Campbells came to media attention last month after a shop refused to inscribe a birthday cake with little Adolph's name... and at this point a brief pause, as the WalMart that did agree to the decoration is awarded a quick Flick... causing Heath to make a couple of interesting remarks;
Quotes taken directly from ninemsn.com.au
"They say, 'He (Hitler) killed all those people' ... I say, 'You're living in the wrong decade. That Hitler's gone'," Mr Campbell said.
"Yeah, they [Nazis] were bad people back then but my kids are little — they're not going to grow up like that.
I'm personally quite fond of "that Hitler's gone", as if he's reclaiming the name Adolph Hitler for general use, and not paying any sort of homage. Enron shares would be an easier sell at this point, particularly considering JoyceLynn Aryan Nation. Although, I can't say I'm completely against using a child's name to back a cause that one feels passionately about - if I'm ever permitted to name a child, a boy would be Daniel Rob Schneider Doesn't Get To be In Any More Movies, while a girl would be Christine Stick To One Lane While Driving. If the ludicrous nature of the children's names is the only reason for their removal from the Campbell home, then New Jersey authorities must be careful with the precedent set, or suffer a boycott from most of the world's celebrities. No making a Coldplay concert a family affair, for example, in case Apple and Moses are lined up for a rescue.
And so, Heath and Deborah, may you be greeted with an unfortunately familiar stiff-armed salute, putting the hand in the perfect position to come down on your echo-chamber foreheads with a resounding SLAP.
Until next week.
Link - Adolph Hitler toddler removed from parents
9 January 2009
Welcome to the first Weekly Slap for 2009, where I let fly the five fingers of fate to a deserving face.
An Honourable Mention, or Flick, goes to Princess Beatrice for claiming that her car had been “stolen”, when, by leaving it unlocked and with the engine running while she went into a shop, she was clearly donating it to the community. Also earning a Flick, for obvious reasons, is her police bodyguard.
However, partly for his actions this week, partly as a long service award, and partly because it will probably be my last chance to do it, please welcome the recipient of this week's Slap...
George Walker Bush.
Clearly one of the most slappable figures in history, comedy's favourite whipping boy for the past eight years earns one last flagellation for awarding former Prime Minister John Howard the Presidential Medal of Freedom, apparently granted for Services to Nodding Enthusiastically. Howard, who at one time was the world leader most likely to live under the stairs, will be staying at Blair House, the official presidential guest house - probably not a bad plan, as when you consider the emphasis with which Howard was ushered out of office (losing the Prime Ministership was the "get out...", losing his parliamentary seat was the "...and stay out!"), the Australian Embassy may not be an appropriate place for him to bed down. Oddly, Blair House apparently has no room for President Elect Barack Obama, who has been told that the mansion is fully booked. More likely, all presidential staff are behind in their training in how to deal with a president who can string a sentence together.
With former British PM Tony Blair, another member of Dubya's Coalition of the Gullible, also slated to receive the award, it seems that George is making one last raid on the White House silverware before he has to hand over the keys. And can't you just picture that scene... Bush putting the governmental keychain in Obama's hand, but still unable to let it go, leading to that tug-of-war schtick. Ah, the mirth...
So, for watering down the Presidential Medal of Freedom by handing it to Australia's least favourite power-walker, and for Services to Comedy above and beyond the call, George Walker Bush receives this week's award.
George, don't let the door SLAP you on the arse on your way out.
Links - Howard to get US Medal of Freedom
No room for Obama while Howard's in town
Princess Beatrice has BMW stolen...