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Category Archives: politics

Presidential TV Shows for 2016

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Here at the close of Presidents’ Day, we take a moment to envision a TV landscape filled with programs about our illustrious Commanders-in-Chief, past and present.

DOWNTON ABIE (Lincoln)

HOUSE OF CARBS (Taft)

THE BIG BANK THEORY (Jackson)

HYANNISPORTLANDIA (JFK)

SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE AROUND THE SENATE WATERGATE HEARINGS? (Nixon)

ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK TUESDAY (Hoover)

GAME OF DRONES (Obama)

MEDICAREDEVIL (LBJ)

ARE YOU SMARTER THAN A 1ST GRADER? (George W. Bush)

FEAR THE WALKING TED (Theodore Roosevelt)

TERM LIMITLESS (FDR)

UNDER THE TEAPOT DOME (Harding)

BETTER CALL PAUL REVERE (Washington)

LONGMIRED IN WHITEWATER (Clinton)

THE AMAZING 1876 RACE (Hayes)

IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN KENNEBUNKPORT (George H.W. Bush)

RIZZOLI & IKE (Eisenhower)

What will next year bring? Hillary Street Blues? F Trump?

Horror Movies – If They Were Set in Washington, D.C.

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In honor of Halloween, The Jimbo List has compiled a monster mash-up of two terrifying things: horror movies and government. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

INVASION OF THE BUDGET SNATCHERS

PLAN 9 FROM OBAMACARE

EVIL DEADLOCK

CREATURE FROM THE PAC LAGOON

HOUSE OF WHACKS

TEA PARTY OF TERROR

BRIDE OF FRANKEN

THE ENMITYVILLE HORROR

COULTERGEIST

SMARMY OF DARKNESS

LET THE RIGHT ONE IN (TO READ YOUR EMAIL & LISTEN TO YOUR PHONE CALLS)

SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE DAMNED

CRUZILLA

FRIDAY THE 13TH FILIBUSTER

PHANTOM OF THE OP-ED

This is why C-SPAN is so frightening. Happy Halloween.

If The Government Shutdown Continues Much Longer …

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You won’t believe all the crazy stuff that will happen if the government shutdown goes on for an extended period of time. For instance…

DR. OZ BECOMES THE NEXT U.S. SURGEON GENERAL

THE LINCOLN MEMORIAL GOES SHIRTLESS

AIR FORCE ONE WILL CHARGE EXTRA FOR CARRY-ONS

SCHOOL KIDS WILL HAVE TO TAKE THEIR CLASS TRIP TO WASHINGTON TERRACE, UTAH

IT’LL BE SALVATION ARMY VS. OLD NAVY PLAYING FOOTBALL ON NATIONAL TV

THE SMOOT-HAWLEY ACT WILL HAVE TO LET HAWLEY GO

THE ONLY “OLD FAITHFUL” PEOPLE WILL BE ABLE TO WATCH SPEWING REGULARLY WILL BE PAT ROBERTSON

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CALLS WILL GO DIRECTLY TO BILL NYE THE SCIENCE GUY

THE NEW NATIONAL CURRENCY? GROUPONS

NORTH AND SOUTH DAKOTA WILL BE PUT IN ESCROW

EXTRAS ON “THE WALKING DEAD” WILL BE WEARING U.S. POSTAL SERVICE OUTFITS

NASA WILL BE REPLACED BY A KID IN FLORIDA WITH A BOX OF BOTTLE ROCKETS

Who knew?

The Real Reasons Kim Jong Un of North Korea Is Threatening War

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One of the biggest mysteries in the world these days is understanding the psyche of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Does he really want war with the U.S.? Is he merely angling for money and a better international bargaining position? Well, wonder no more. The real reasons are less complicated than you’d think.

THOUGHT DeNIRO DESERVED THE OSCAR FOR “SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK”

RODMAN WON’T STOP CALLING

UPSET BY THOSE HORRIFYING COTTONELLE FRESH CARE COMMERICIALS

IF HE LAUNCHES NINE MISSILES, THE TENTH IS FREE

CHICKS DIG LUNATICS

DOESN’T WANT TO LOSE HIS BET WITH AHMADINEJAD

BAD CRUISE SHIP EXPERIENCE

HILLARY UNFRIENDED HIM ON FACEBOOK

JUST HEARD ABOUT NPR CANCELING “TALK OF THE NATION”

CRIBBAGE GAME WITH BIDEN GOT OUT OF HAND

HIS SMARTPHONE TOLD HIM TO DO IT

A long weekend at Disney World might solve the whole thing.

Concession Speeches 101

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It’s that time of year again, when exhausted politicians show up at a banquet hall and try to put a good face on a losing campaign. Here are a few do’s and don’ts.

Let’s start with some things you definitely need to include:

1. “With your help, we changed the tone of this race.”

2. “Together, we proved that civic engagement does make a difference.”

3. “I had the great privilege to meet so many wonderful people and hear their concerns.”

4. “Our voices were heard, loud and clear.”

5. “I wouldn’t trade these last few months for anything.”

6. “It was a hard fought campaign, but we can hold our heads high.”

7. “Just a few moments ago, I congratulated my opponent and offered my complete and sincere support.”

8. “I plan to remain involved in public affairs. You haven’t seen the last of me.”

9. “I couldn’t have done any of this without a great staff and the love and support of my family.”

Now, here’s what each of those statements actually means.

1. “My only shot here was to go negative, and I jumped into that cesspool with both feet.”

2. “Honestly, nothing we said or did seemed to make any difference with the electorate.”

3. “You would not believe how many seriously messed-up people are willing to show up at an elementary school parking lot and grouse about their property taxes!”

4. “Is it just me or did my rallies sound incredibly shrill to you?”

5. “I’ve literally wasted a full year of my life, with nothing to show for it. I don’t even know who won ‘American Idol’ last season.”

6. “In hindsight, the Hitler commercial was a bit much. My bad.”

7. “I spent a very awkward two minutes on the phone with Smuggy McSmugster. You can imagine how THAT went.”

8. “Stay tuned for the details about my new radio show.”

9. “Don’t blame me; blame these dolts standing next to me. I’m just hoping my family will start speaking to me again before Thanksgiving.”

And so, another Election Day arrives. Be sure to vote today!

SNL’s Masters of Mimicry

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I’ve always felt that SNL is at its best when it has one or two top-notch mimics. That’s especially true during presidential election years, when millions of people tune in to get a weekly dose of political satire. Even beyond political sketches,  the show’s best casts tend to include at least one great impressionist. These are my favorites, through the years.

DAN AYKROYD

Aykroyd was the gold standard for SNL mimics during the show’s early years. He had a way of channeling the inner intensity of subjects, from Richard Nixon to Jimmy Carter. What made it even more impressive was that he did those impersonations while keeping his mustache! For my money, the best Aykroyd impression was TV host Tom Snyder.

EDDIE MURPHY

Murphy was a much different sort of mimic. He didn’t try to sound like a recording of his subjects. He picked out a couple of mannerisms and a hairstyle, then added his own bit of attitude. It made his Stevie Wonder, James Brown and Buckwheat incredibly memorable.

JOE PISCOPO

Here was a guy who lost himself inside his characters. I think fans forget how great Piscopo was, as Frank Sinatra and David Letterman. He combined voice skills with makeup and acting – all to wonderful effect. He should have stayed on the show a few more years before going solo.

PHIL HARTMAN

To me, Hartman was a genius. All of his characters, including Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and Ed McMahon, were infused with a comic insanity. Yet he kept them firmly in place, because his acting chops were so solid. And his crazy version of Ross Perot running mate James Stockdale in 1992 still makes me laugh.

DANA CARVEY

A good case can be made that Carvey was the best mimic SNL has ever had. George H.W. Bush, Jimmy Stewart, Ross Perot, Regis Philbin, Johnny Carson. Carvey absolutely nailed those impressions, and you could tell he loved every minute of them. He was like a heat-seeking missile of mimicry. If the audience reacted to a particular gesture or word, Carvey would refine it and build on it. Perfection.

WILL FERRELL

Ferrell reminded me of Eddie Murphy, in the sense that his impressions were great without necessarily sounding like the person. His George W. Bush, Harry Caray and James Lifton capitalized on very insightful study by Ferrell. He got at the inconsistencies and oddities of each subject, then took it to the extreme.

DARRELL HAMMOND

For quite a while, Hammond was the show’s go-to impressionist. He could do Al Gore, Dick Cheney, Donald Trump – and of course Bill Clinton. The line, “I. Am. Bulletproof,” is as good a description of Clinton’s last two years in office as any I’ve heard. Same with Al Gore and “Lockbox.”

AMY POEHLER

Amy Poehler was so talented that her mimicry skills were sort of secondary. But remember how funny she was as Nancy Grace? Or Hillary Clinton? To me, one of her best moments was when she did a pitch-perfect Christopher Walken, in front of Christopher Walken.

BILL HADER

I consider Hader a stealth-mimic. For some reason, he goes in for obscure characters who take you by surprise. He does a fantastic Alan Alda, Al Pacino and James Carville. Hader is a craftsman with those impressions, copying the voices with care and giving them demonic grins. His Keith Morrison from “Dateline NBC” is a masterpiece.

KRISTEN WIIG

Wiig was smart to downplay her mimicry on SNL, since her stock characters were so strong. Still, she was amazing when she did Kathie Lee Gifford, Suze Ormond, Megan Mullally and Tanning Mom.

JAY PHAROAH

Jay Pharoah has a ton of talent, but I’m waiting for him to fulfill that potential. He does a devastating Denzel Washington and Will Smith, and his Barack Obama is coming along. If he can bolster his acting ability, he’ll be an SNL mainstay.

I guess a few more great mimics on the show is too much to ask. Wouldn’t be prudent.

Questions You Won’t Hear at the Presidential Debate

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No offense to the fine journalists who prepare questions for the upcoming presidential debates, but many of us have pressing items that never seem to get addressed. Such as:

WHO IS THE BIGGER NATIONAL SECURITY THREAT, LINDSAY LOHAN OR HONEY BOO BOO’S MOM?

HOW LONG DID YOU HAVE TO PRACTICE SAYING MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD?

WHEN DO YOU THINK WE’LL HAVE ANOTHER PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION BETWEEN GUYS NAMED “MITT” AND “BARACK”?

FAVORITE JAMES BOND?

WHICH ONE OF YOUR CAMPAIGN PROMISES IS THE MOST ABSURD?

ARE YOU PREPARED TO GUARANTEE THAT YOU WON’T ONE-HOP THE BALL WHEN YOU THROW OUT THE FIRST PITCH DURING BASEBALL SEASON NEXT YEAR?

WAS THE FINAL EPISODE OF “LOST” COMPELLING OR JUST LAME?

IF YOU COULD CHANGE “HAIL TO THE CHIEF” TO ANOTHER TUNE, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

WHAT IS YOUR PLAN TO STRAIGHTEN OUT THE NEW YORK JETS?

WHICH ONE OF THE THREE STOOGES IS MOST LIKE YOUR RUNNING MATE?

I guess we’ll just have to settle for policy and platitudes.

Other Things Mayor Bloomberg Should Ban

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After considerable debate and more than a little national attention, New York City is going ahead with a ban on large, sugary drinks at certain types of businesses. It’s a big victory for Mayor Michael Bloomberg, but why should he stop there? Here are a few suggestions for other things to ban:

THE TIMES SQUARE BEDBUG FESTIVAL

CHARLIE SHEEN

STEAKHOUSES THAT CHARGE $15 FOR A BAKED POTATO

LARGE, SUGARY POLITICIANS

SPITTING WHILE WALKING

“NO PARKING” SIGNS THAT REQUIRE A LAW DEGREE TO UNDERSTAND

BABY TALK WITHOUT A BABY PRESENT

HAILING A CAB WITH A BOA CONSTRICTOR

CALLING YOUR EX AFTER THREE DRINKS

HITTING “REPLY ALL” WHEN YOU DON’T NEED TO

You don’t have to thank me, Mr. Mayor.

Great Moments at Political Conventions – Or Not

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Now that the Republican National Convention is over and the Democratic National Convention is starting up, it’s the perfect time to revisit some of the strangest moments that never happened at a political convention.

In 1996, Bill Clinton wanted to combine the Democratic convention with the MTV Summer Beach House

Two people were injured at the 1984 Republican convention when Ronald Reagan insisted on replacing the balloon drop with a jelly bean drop

Dan Quayle thought party platforms were actual pieces of lumber and showed up at the 1992 Republican convention with a carpenter’s belt and hammer.

John Edwards was late for his appearance at the 2004 Democratic convention because he was busy purging the last vestiges of his humanity.

The longest convention lip lock was not Al and Tipper Gore in 2000. It was William Howard Taft and a well-seasoned turkey leg in 1912.

Delegates to the 1968 Democratic convention received a gas mask and brass knuckles in their welcome bag.

At the request of Ulysses S. Grant, Jack Daniels was named an honorary delegate to the 1872 Republican convention.

Behind the scenes at the 1976 Democratic convention, Billy Carter lobbied for his brother to name him Secretary of Fermentation.

At the Whig Party convention of 1840, William Henry Harrison wanted to choose Theodore Freylinghuysen as his running mate, until he realized his campaign slogan would be “Tippecanoe and Freylinghuysen too.”

The Chicago Tribune mistakenly reported that Thomas Dewey won the nomination at the 1948 Democratic convention.

Actor Clint Eastwood performed a rambling improvisation to an empty chair at the 2012 Republican convention – oh wait, that one really happened.

Let’s see if the Democrats will add to The List!

Band Names For Politicians

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Slogans are great, but nothing connects a politician to the electorate like music. We’ve already seen Barack Obama and Mitt Romney sing for the camera this year, and Bill Clinton got tons of mileage for playing his saxophone on TV years ago. I think political figures should drop the pretense and just start forming their own bands. Here are a few to get us start

IT TAKES A VILLAGE PEOPLE – Hillary Clinton

BWAH-HA MEN – Dick Cheney

ZZ GAFFE – Joe Biden

EARTH, WIND AND CRIER – John Boehner

NON-BLINK 47 – Nancy Pelosi

AVERAGE WHITE BLAND – Tim Pawlenty

OBAMARAMA – Barack Obama

MITT THE HOOPLE – Mitt Romney

CREEDENCE WHITEWATER REVIVAL – Bill Clinton

DEATH PANELS FOR CUTIE – Sarah Palin

OLDPLAY – Harry Reid

24 HOUR TEA PARTY PEOPLE – Michele Bachmann

You have to admit, it would make the Democratic and Republican National Conventions a lot more interesting.