News junkies have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. Not because news has been terribly — it hasn’t, what with the deployment of chemical weapons in Syria, the American government shutting down, the Supreme Court gutting the Voting Rights Act, and Rick Perry still having a political career. It has, however, also been an immensely entertaining year in news. You gotta find the good in the bad, and there have been some mighty funny gems in the news cycle lately. Here are five moments we were thankful for.
Ted Cruz’s “Green Eggs and Ham” Reading
When the Republican Party was charging headlong into the political fire that was the government shutdown, Ted Cruz was at the front of the pack, frothily leading the hoard's march to self-destruction. When Cruz initially decided to try and defund Obamacare by threatening to defund the government, he spoke for 21 hours straight on the Senate floor, falsely implying to his supporters that he was somehow affecting the legislative process in doing so. During his speech, Cruz read the Dr. Seuss book Green Eggs & Ham aloud, ostensibly so his kids watching at home would see.
It seems his kids weren’t the only ones hearing the story for the first time. Either that, or the humble wisdom of Dr. Seuss is simply unworthy of Ted Cruz’s attention, because the book he was reading directly undercut the point he was trying to make about Obamacare. The message of Green Eggs & Ham is to not knock something until you try it — and Cruz was arguing maniacally to defund Obamacare’s signature provision before it was enacted. Dr. Seuss, whose books have a decidedly liberal tilt, thus haunted Ted Cruz from the grave, and we’re forever thankful for it.
Even for people who follow politics primarily for the entertainment value, the antics of Toronto’s hapless mayor have been a special kind of treat. Yes, Rob Ford is a gift that just keeps giving, and giving, and giving.
It’s not just the crack-smoking allegations, although those are certainly outlandish enough: any number of aspects of Ford’s character would kill an American politician’s career before it started, yet Ford just keeps on trucking. He’s incredibly clumsy, as is evidenced by the many videos of him falling over and/or bumping into things. He has no hesitation about getting drunk on camera with his constituents and frequently wears ridiculous. When police announced that they had video evidence of Ford smoking crack, his poll numbers actually went up.
He also gave the best non-denial-denial ever when word of the crack video got out (“I do not use crack cocaine, nor am I an addict of crack cocaine”), and then later admitted that he’d smoked it “in one of my drunken stupors.” After court documents were released accusing him of drunk driving, cavorting with prostitutes, and expressing a desire to perform oral sex on an aid, he denied all of the charges, saying he has "more than enough to eat at home."
The fact that a guy like Ford, who looks and sounds and moves suspiciously like Chris Farley, exists as a significant political actor in Canada is bewildering and amazing and endearing all at the same time. Though he was stripped of most of his powers last week by Toronto's City Council, somehow, we know this ain't over.
This Sarah Palin Soundboard
Sarah Palin, who recently emerged from slumber to promote her new book about the War on Christmas, has given us many gifts over the last couple of weeks. There was her convoluted assessment of President Obama’s foreign policy on ABC, followed shortly by her nebulous description of the GOP’s mythical alternative to Obamacare (which, to be fair, wasn’t actually any lighter on policy than most Republican plans to reform health care). Both make for an amusing couple of minutes, but if you truly want to bask in Palin’s brilliance, this soundboard is definitely your best bet.
It’s compiled of clips from Palin’s book, Good Tidings, Great Joy, and because Palin recorded the audio herself, you can hear the former half-term governor pontificate on any number of topics tangentially related to Christmas, including Walmart, Obamaphones, Roger Ailes’s lawn, and Chic-fil-A.
“So, are you ready for some good, old fashioned words?,” Palin asks in one clip. “Here are some: Work. Honesty. Courage. Justice. Thrift. Perseverance.” She also discusses Darwin’s failure to consider the Christmas spirit in his account of evolution and reveals her nomination for the most dangerous person in America (it’s an angry atheist with a lawyer, in case you were wondering). Christmas done come early for us, indeed.
The Daily Show
To be clear, we are not thankful for the fact that Don “One Of My Best Friends Is Black” Yelton ended up as a GOP precinct captain in North Carolina. We are very thankful, however, that The Daily Show somehow convinced him to submit to an interview. Yelton went on the show to talk voter ID laws in his state, and in doing so, ended up confirming from within the GOP that Republicans are pushing voter ID laws not to limit fraud, but rather to limit the amount of Democrats allowed to vote. (Also, to disenfranchise minorities, but that's a secondary concern.)
Yelton’s blunt racism was enough to get him fired, at which point he gave another interview that was somehow more racist than the one with The Daily Show (he called black re-appropriation of the N-word "the utmost racism in the world"). There were plenty of sad yuks to be had, as when Yelton paused contemplatively for several seconds after being asked point-blank if he’s racist.
But beyond the jokes, Yelton’s slip-up put the true intent behind voter ID laws into the forefront (if only for a couple of weeks) and made it that much harder for the Republicans pushing the laws to claim that they’re acting out of concern for, rather than animosity toward, the Democratic process.
The Anti-Gay Politicians Who Accidentally Voted For Gay Marriage
France’s legalization of marriage equality was reason enough to celebrate, but it came with a cherry on top. Four cherries, actually, as that’s the number of conservative French politicians who accidentally voted to legalize gay marriage despite being publicly opposed to it. Two of them had arranged for proxies to cast votes on their behalf, but the other two were physically there, and inexplicably just pushed the wrong button in front of them.
The bill passed. One of the legislators who mistakenly voted for the bill was Henri Guiano, a member of the UMP Party who literally wrote a book to President Francois Hollande to convince him to hold a referendum on gay marriage. Guiano was promptly designated “Gayoui” (French for “Gay yes”) by one of his Socialist colleagues.
Happy Thanksgiving, one and all.