Archive for February, 2011

A Satirist’s Lament

Saturday, February 19th, 2011

A Satirist’s Lament
By Madeleine Begun Kane

Tell me, what should I do when the news
Is so tragic, it gives me the blues?
Though my job is to mock it,
I just want to block it
And shield my poor overwrought muse.

Limerick Ode To John “So Be It” Boehner

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

No doubt you’ve heard about John Boehner’s “so be it” nonchalant reaction to the loss of federal jobs. It seems Boehner’s finished feigning compassion.

This calls for a limerick, don’t you think?

Limerick Ode To John “So Be It” Boehner
By Madeleine Begun Kane

Boehner’s known for his grief-stricken sobs,
For emoting through loose tear duct knobs.
Yet his eyes remain dry,
He refuses to cry
For Americans losing their jobs.

Limerick Ode To Clarence Thomas

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is under scrutiny these days for conflicts of interest related to the Koch Brothers, the Federalist Society, and the Citizens United case.

But today’s limerick and haiku will focus, instead, on the fact that Thomas hasn’t asked a single appellate hearing question in five years.

For the record, I did quite a bit of litigation work during my lawyering years. And believe me, his failure to speak throughout five years of hearings is peculiar and reflects very poorly on his judicial skills.

That brings me to my Clarence Thomas limerick:

Limerick Ode To Clarence Thomas
By Madeleine Begun Kane

I’m mindful that Thomas can talk,
But at queries for hearings he’ll balk.
He’s been silent for years–
Five in all. I’m all ears.
If he asks one sharp question, I’ll gawk.

And here’s my Clarence Thomas haiku:

The Sup Court’s Thomas–
Too ill-informed for queries?
Or just too lazy?

UPDATE: It’s been nearly two years since I wrote this limerick and haiku. So in fairness, I must announce that Justice Thomas has finally broken his silence.

Now mind you, he didn’t ask a sharp question … or, indeed, any question: He merely made a mildly amusing four-word (or so) remark about lawyers who went to Yale.

Still … it’s a start.

Political Haiku Quintet (Updated to Add Egypt Haiku)

Saturday, February 12th, 2011

Today I’m posting four political haiku which, I fear, are all more cynical than witty. (I’ve added a 5th about Egypt’s revolution which is uplifting, rather than cynical.)

Technically each of these is a senryu, though most people would label them haiku. What the heck’s a senryu, and how does it differ from haiku? I explain it all here and, believe it or not, use a three-verse limerick to illustrate the distinctions.

Politicians strive
to make a good impression
without doing good.


The economy’s
either looking up or down.
Depends on your stance.


Commenters bicker,
thrusting political barbs,
changing no one’s mind.


How did we get here?
“Pragmatic” subjugation
of our Dem ideals.


A revolution
In Egypt transforms, uplifts,
Giving hope to all.


Presidential Clerihews (Light Verse about Bush and Carter)

Friday, February 11th, 2011

I’m experimenting with a new (to me) type of light verse: the clerihew. Wikipedia provides several examples and describes the form as follows:

* It is biographical and usually whimsical, showing the subject from an unusual point of view; it pokes fun at mostly famous people

* It has four lines of irregular length (for comic effect); the third and fourth lines are usually longer than the first two

* The rhyme structure is AABB; the subject matter and wording are often humorously contrived in order to achieve a rhyme

*The first line consists solely (or almost solely) of the subject’s name.

I’ve written a pair of clerihews about two former U.S. Presidents, Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush:

Jimmy Carter,
Energy martyr.
Warned we’d be debtors,
Looked lousy in sweaters.

George W. Bush,
A pain in the tush.
Less nasty and brainy
Than running mate Cheney.

Limerick Ode To Rep. Christopher Lee (Updated — He’s Resigned)

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

It seems Gawker’s got the goods on Rep. Christopher Lee, a conservative, married Republican congressman who serves the 26th District of New York. Apparently, “when he trolls Craigslist’s ‘Women Seeking Men’ forum, he’s Christopher Lee, ‘divorced’ ‘lobbyist’ and ‘fit fun classy guy’ — the sort of guy who’ll even email a shirtless photo to show just how ‘fit’ he is.

Congressman Lee is claiming to be innocent, blaming everything on his being hacked. Unfortunately, the hack post-dates the Craigslist missives. And that brings me to my latest limerick:

Limerick Ode To Rep. Christopher Lee
By Madeleine Begun Kane

The married conservative Lee
Is now weeping a sad “Woe is me!”
Claims his Craigslist transgressions
Were not indiscretions
But hacks jobs, with “proof” we can’t see.

UPDATE: Christopher Lee has resigned.

The Problem With Journalism Explained

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

I posted this limerick on my other blog, but it seems to be a better fit here:

The Problem With The Media Explained
By Madeleine Begun Kane

The journos compete in a race
To file columns and fill blogging space.
So nonsense abounds
In ill-informed mounds
Of opinions and factoids off base.

Keith’s Current News

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

I was pleased to hear that Keith Olbermann has a new gig at Current TV.

In his new role, Olbermann will debut a new nightly show sometime in “late Spring.” The five-nights-a-week show will air in primetime (the exact timeslot, along with the precise start date are still undetermined), and Olbermann described it as “an improved and amplified” version of Countdown. The show will be produced at studios in New York City.

In addition to hosting the new show, Olbermann will consult and executive produce additional programming for Current, which could include bringing new hosts to the network as part of a primetime lineup of news and politics.

I thought I’d celebrate with a limerick:

Keith’s Current News
By Madeleine Begun Kane

Keith’s been hired by Current TV.
Will he rescue Gore’s baby? We’ll see.
He’ll be back to reports
That are newsy — not sports.
It bodes well for progressive esprit.

(My Limerick Ode To Keith Olbermann on his MSNBC departure is here.)

It’s Kristol Clear That Beck Is Nuts

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

I, for one, am enjoying the Bill Kristol / Glenn Beck feud:

Last week, Fox News’ Glenn Beck launched a week-long effort to explain developments in Egypt as only he can. The deranged media personality cooked up truly bizarre conspiracy theories — even by his standards…

Over the weekend, The Weekly Standard’s William Kristol, a Fox News contributor, had seen enough. “[H]ysteria is not a sign of health,” Kristol wrote in a new column. “When Glenn Beck rants about the caliphate taking over the Middle East from Morocco to the Philippines, and lists (invents?) the connections between caliphate-promoters and the American left, he brings to mind no one so much as Robert Welch and the John Birch Society. He’s marginalizing himself, just as his predecessors did back in the early 1960s.”

Now let’s face it — Glenn Beck’s behavior has to be pretty crazy for a neoconservative like Kristol to write that sort of critique. And that brings me to my latest limerick:

It’s Kristol Clear That Beck Is Nuts
By Madeleine Begun Kane

Bill Kristol said Beck’s gone too far,
Which means Glenn’s scaled a very high bar.
Cuz when Bill says enough
To a wingnut, that’s rough.
Yes, Glenn’s sanity’s way under par.

My Limerick Take On The AOL Huffington Post Acquisition

Monday, February 7th, 2011

I’m betting that most of you are alarmed by AOL’s acquisition of the Huffington Post. As you can see from this Limerick Ode To AOL’s Huffington Post Acquisition, so am I.

Celebrate Ronald Reagan’s Centennial With St. Reagan’s Song Parody

Sunday, February 6th, 2011

Ronald Reagan-worship is even crazier than usual this week. Why? Because it’s the one-hundredth anniversary of Reagan’s birthday. Of course, “Reagan was not the man conservatives claim he was.” Not even close.

Anyway, I was in the middle of reading about all the centennial hoopla, when I suddenly remembered St. Reagan’s Song — a song parody I wrote back in 2003 when CBS caved in to right-wing bullying over a Reagan miniseries. This seems like a good time to re-post my parody lyrics, which you can sing to Just You Wait” from My Fair Lady, by Lerner & Lowe:

St. Reagan’s Song
By Madeleine Begun Kane

He’s a saint, Ronald Reagan, he’s a saint!
You’ll be sorry if you dare to say, he ain’t.
A fine bloke who’s kind and cunning,
Beat the Russians, great with money.
He’s a saint, Ronald Reagan, he’s a saint!

Reagan’s great, scream the wingnuts. Stop that flick!
Don’t you dare disparage Reagan. They’ll be ticked!
They’ll go off and say we’re haters,
Threaten boycotts, claim we’re traitors.
He’s a saint, Ronald Reagan, he’s a saint!

Praise Ronald Reagan!
How the right-wing loves to rewrite history.
Praise Ronald Reagan!
For it’s truth be damned. Old Ron ruled perfectly.

Don’t dare tell he sometimes frowned.
They’ll get stressed and go to town.
How they crow, Ronald Reagan.
Hate his foes, Ronald Reagan.

They claim that he’s blameless.
What a whopper. What crock.
Go to such lengths to hype him.
Might well call him Saint Ron.

They swear that Ron Reagan’s great.
They’ll brook not a doubt.
And want all our nation his praises to shout.

They freak if a liberal dares say,
He’s not saintly or princely. No way!

They want networks to celebrate the glory of Ron.
If they don’t say he’s fabulous, then ads will be gone.
Thanks CBS for your cowardly cave.
Cause all I want is networks to be brave.

Find me a network that’s bold.
Now they run scared and they fold.

Wingnuts tell you Ronald Reagan’s ten feet tall.
And that Reagan is the greatest Prez of all.
We must lift his image higher.


Don’t say nope, Ronald Reagan.
Ask the Pope, Ronald Reagan.