Archive for May, 2009

Ode To Mark Krikorian

Friday, May 29th, 2009

The National Review’s Mark Krikorian is having problems with Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s name. Apparently, its pronunciation doesn’t sufficiently conform to Krikorian’s Anglo standards. So what’s his solution? He pronounces it any old way he feels like it. And he thinks the rest of us should do the same.

Krikorian argued that the proper pronunciation, preferred by the judge and her family, is “unnatural in English,” and “something we shouldn’t be giving in to.” It wasn’t clear which group of people constituted “we.”

Krikorian added that “newcomers” should “adapt” to how “countrymen say your name.” To do otherwise would be a failure of “multiculturalism.” He knows how to pronounce the Supreme Court nominee’s name, but he doesn’t like it, and would like others to join him in pronouncing it incorrectly.

After catching some well-deserved flack about these comments, Krikorian further embarrassed himself with this:

While in the past there may well have been too much social pressure for what sociologists call Anglo-conformity, now there isn’t enough. I think that’s a concern that most Americans share at some level, which is the root of the angst over excessive immigration, bilingual education, official English, etc.

If anyone deserves a limerick, it’s Mark Krikorian:

Ode To Mark Krikorian
By Madeleine Begun Kane

Pronouncing some names can be tough.
When they’re foreign they’re weird and they’re rough.
Yes, Krikorian’s right.
Krik, they’re really a blight.
So one syllable’s surely enough.

Hark! The Disgraced Former Speaker Speaks.

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

It’s simple enough to avoid Judge Sonia Sotomayor smear-tweets like these:

White man racist nominee would be forced to withdraw. Latina woman racist should also withdraw.

Imagine a judicial nominee said “my experience as a white man makes me better than a latina woman” new racism is no better than old racism.

Just be sure not to follow Newt Gingrich’s Twitter feed.

If only it were as easy to dodge Newt on TV, in print, and on the Net.

And that brings me to my latest song parody, which you can sing to Hark! The Herald Angels Sing:

Hark! The Disgraced Former Speaker Speaks.
By Madeleine Begun Kane

Hark! The former Speaker speaks.
Headlines, Speaker Gingrich seeks.
News cos eagerly come through.
They don’t care his claims ain’t true.

Gleefully he airs his lies,
Spreading venom, media buys.
Watch the ousted Newt proclaim,
Sonia is just a racist dame.

Darkly, Gingrich spews his views.
Can’t avoid him on the news.

Ben Nelson, DINO … Or Dinosaur?

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

If you didn’t know Sen. Ben Nelson’s a Democrat, you’d swear he’s a conservative Republican. And that’s why the fantasy of a Frankenized, filibuster-proof Senate is ludicrous.

Ben Nelson, DINO … Or Dinosaur?
By Madeleine Begun Kane

From Nebraska comes Senator Ben,
A Dem with an anti-Dem yen —
Makes Connecticut Joe
Seem a liberal bro,
And Arlen, a prince among men.

Ode To The Deceitful Cheneys

Monday, May 25th, 2009

The omni-presence of Dick and Liz Cheney on (as Rachel Maddow loves to call it) “the TV machine” is nearly enough to get me to toss out my televisions. Of course, to have even a shot at avoiding their tortured lies, I’d have to cancel my Net connection, throw out my radios, and avert my eyes in the unlikely event that I encounter a newspaper.

Ode To The Deceitful Cheneys (Limerick)
By Madeleine Begun Kane

There once was a daughter named Liz
Who joined in the family biz.
The business was lying,
With all members vying
For liar-in-chief — each a wiz.

Ode To Tropical Breeze Colonoscopies (Updated)

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

It wasn’t bad enough that Sen. Jeff Sessions cited “tropical breezes” in extolling the glories of Gitmo. Now we have Sen. Jim Inhofe bragging about Gitmo’s health care — colonoscopies for inmates over fifty-five. Whoopee!

If I were British, I’d probably write this song parody:

Gitmo Prison, here I come.
Need a doc to check my bum.

But instead, I’ll have to settle for a limerick:

Ode To Tropical Breeze Colonoscopies
By Madeleine Begun Kane

I’m moving to Gitmo real soon
Cuz I’m told inmate health care’s a boon.
Colonoscopies free
After fifty-five. Whee!
So please lock me up, Sen. Buffoon!

Ode to Mike “The Poet” Huckabee

Monday, May 18th, 2009

I have some new competition in the political poetry arena. Apparently, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee fancies himself a poet and has written an anti-Pelosi screed in the form of a really bad poem called Fancy Nancy. Here’s a taste of Huckabee’s versification:

Here’s a story about a lady named Nancy
A ruthless politician, but dressed very fancy
Very ambitious, she got herself elected Speaker
But as for keeping secrets, she proved quite a “leaker.”


If forced to believe whether the CIA and her colleagues in Congress are lying;
Or it’s Speaker Pelosi whose credibility and career is dying.
I believe in the integrity of the men and women who sacrifice to keep us safe;
Not the woman who has been caught flat-footed, lying to our face.


Mike Huckabee deserves a limerick, don’t you think?

Ode to Mike “The Poet” Huckabee
By Madeleine Begun Kane

Dear Huck, you’ve no rhythm or rhyme,
And your verse about Nancy’s a crime.
Your ditty ain’t witty.
Your talent is bitty.
Your poetry’s awful. Try mime.

The “We Did Nothing Wrong, & Nancy Should Have Stopped Us” Song

Saturday, May 16th, 2009

Republicans are truly gifted at changing the subject, and the media falls for it every time. Take CIA torture, for instance. Is the media focusing on who in the Bush administration broke the law and ordered torture? Of course not! Instead, the topic’s morphed into whether Nancy Pelosi is lying when she says the CIA misled Congress about torture.

Following Republican logic is never an easy task. But from what I can gather, here’s the Republican position: Bush’s CIA did nothing wrong, & Pelosi could have and should have stopped them.

In honor of the Republicans tortured position on torture, I’ve written them a theme song to the tune of Stephen Foster’s Camptown Races:

The “We Did Nothing Wrong, & Nancy Should Have Stopped Us” Song
By Madeleine Begun Kane

The CIA did nothing wrong.
Doo-da, Doo-da.
Pelosi knew and went along.
Oh, de doo-da day.

Torture is always right.
Torture can make our day.
And Nancy’s nothing but a lying nag.
She could have got in the way.

Interrogation must be tough.
Doo-da, Doo-da.
Pelosi knew we got too rough.
Oh, de doo-da day.

Never did break no laws.
Torture? Who, us? No way!
Pelosi’s nothing but a lying hag.
Nancy would lead you astray.

The CIA protects us all.
Doo-da, Doo-da.
It’s time Pelosi took the fall.
Oh, de doo-da day.

Torture was never done.
Torture is lots of fun.
And Nancy’s nothing but a lying nag.
Nancy Pelosi should pay.

My Homage To Feigned Outrage

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

Republicans (and Joe Lieberman) have been staging yet another temper tantrum. What’s their grievance du jour? Speaker Nancy Pelosi said CIA leaders misled Congress about interrogation techniques.

My Homage To Feigned Outrage
By Madeleine Begun Kane

The CIA’s under attack
By the Speaker who gave it a smack.
She accused it of lying.
The GOP’s crying:
She’s mean and must take it all back.

Ode To The Wingnutty Pete Sessions

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

It sounds like Texas Congressman Pete Sessions could use some … uh … sessions on somebody’s couch.

… Representative Pete Sessions of Texas, may indeed face an uphill fight with his argument that Mr. Obama is not trying to create jobs. In an interview, Mr. Sessions cited rising unemployment in asserting that the administration intended to “diminish employment and diminish stock prices” as part of a “divide and conquer” strategy to consolidate power.

Ode To The Wingnutty Pete Sessions
By Madeleine Begun Kane

The Texas Republican Sessions
Likes to conjure up lib’ral transgressions:
Claims Barack to build power
Made stocks and jobs sour.
Pete needs help from the head-shrink professions.

The Dreaded E-Word

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

President Obama recently used the e-word in connection with his yet-to-be-named U.S. Supreme Court nominee, and the Republicans were (or pretended to be) horrified. Senator Orrin Hatch claimed empathy was a “code word for an activist judge”, while the ever-entertaining Michael Steele said in his inimitable, classy fashion, “I’ll give you empathy. Empathize right on your behind!”

But while many Democrats were outraged by Republican reaction, I’m empathetic enough to appreciate where they’re coming from:

Empathy is such an ugly word:
Injudicious moral flaw.
Empathy is totally absurd
And violates the rule of law.

(With my apologies to Billy Joel)

(My previous (and full length) song parody to this song is here.)

Which Veep Talks Too Much?

Monday, May 11th, 2009

Dick Cheney refuses to crawl back into his undisclosed location … and Democrats rejoice:

Which Veep Talks Too Much?
By Madeleine Begun Kane

Dear Dick, thanks for talking non-stop
And for ruining the GOP’s op
To convince normal folks
That they aren’t all jokes.
Keep ensuring their “rebrand” will flop.

Two Dicks

Monday, May 11th, 2009

Dick Cheney and Rush Limbaugh have been having quite the love fest lately. Of course, they’ve always been in bed together:

Dick and Rush,
And Rush and Dick—
The only real Republicans.
They really click.
The soulless man for Dick is Rush,
And Rush for Dick.
Love lying together.

(My apologies to the The Turtles.)

Ode To Fresh Faces

Friday, May 8th, 2009

Ode To Fresh Faces
By Madeleine Begun Kane

Republican planning is plain.
They want to rebrand, they explain.
So on Sunday’s TV
New faces we’ll see:
Folks like Cheney and Newt and McCain.

Quaking Over Handshakes

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

Newsflash via a Republican video ad: Obama is endangering the U.S. by consorting with foreign leaders like Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez and Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz.

Oooooh! Handshakes! Scary!

Quaking Over Handshakes (Limerick)
By Madeleine Begun Kane

We’re endangered, the GOP says,
By a handshake with Hugo Chavez.
Seems the nation Bush left
Is wholly bereft
And too weak for some pics with the Prez.

Laughing Matters

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

Every so often, one of my essays ends up in a college textbook. It’s a delightful honor, of course. But I’m always just a bit freaked out by the thought of someone writing an essay analyzing one of my essays.

My latest textbook appearance is in Laughing Matters, a “comic rhetoric” textbook by Stanford University’s Marvin Diogenes. It’s a great book, and I’m really proud to have a humor column (actually a satirical music lesson contract between parents and child) included in the “forensic rhetoric” section, along with pieces by Chekhov, Benjamin Franklin, and Ian Frazier.

And happily, it’s NOT a what-not-to-do example.

Karl’s Roving Standards

Sunday, May 3rd, 2009

Nothing brings out Republican hypocrisy like a nice, juicy U.S. Supreme Court vacancy. Take Karl Rove, for instance, on Obama’s potential nominees to replace Justice David Souter:

Karl Rove rails against the possible nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor because “her opinions…have been very liberal.” But when Sandra Day O’Connor retired, Rove said the opposition has a responsibility to approve judges who are qualified, even if they disagree with their views.

And that brings me to my latest double limerick:

Karl’s Roving Standards
By Madeleine Begun Kane

Rove’s memory’s certainly short.
Back when dealing with names for the Court,
He said Dems must not nix
Any Bush judgeship picks
Based on views that they failed to support.

But now that the tables are turned,
He says Dem nominees must be spurned
If Republicans think
That their politics stink.
Consistency? Karl? Unconcerned!