ComPost Live: Your weekly digest with Dana Milbank and Alexandra Petri

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Dana Milbank,Alexandra Petri
Friday, January 14, 2011; 11:30 AM

The Compost, written by Dana Milbank and Alexandra Petri, offers a lighter take on the news and political in(s)anity of the day. If you believe life is far too important a thing ever to talk seriously about it, this is the chat for you. Join us every Friday at 11 to laugh, cry, and dish about the moments that amused you, shocked you, or caused you to yell things that frightened the other people on the subway.

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Dana Milbank: We feel the need to laugh, and we need your help. Thank you.Questions, please.

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Giffords tribute: I thought your column on Wednesday about the Giffords tribute on the House floor was one of your best. But I couldn't find it in the paper. Was it only online?

Dana Milbank: Alas, yes.

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Unreliable Wikipedia : Does it matter that much? In Virginia we can't even get textbooks that contain correct information. Maybe we're just getting used to not having the correct facts and have decided we don't care as long as the information is cheap. It's not like I'm going on Jeopardy.

Alexandra Petri: I mean, in the great scheme of things, the sun will ultimately explode and engulf the Earth and having an accurate grip on whether or not Skeena, BC, can be described as "voluble" won't count for much. In the slightly smaller scheme of things, though, accurate facts are nice to have around, if only because they are useful in proving loud people wrong.And speaking of Jeopardy, did you see that the computer "Watson" beat the people? http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/2011-01-14-ibm-jeopardy_N.htmAny thoughts on what this proves, other than that the armchair approach to trivia ("Just phone-a-friend to someone with Google") might actually be the correct one?

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Couples: How about paring Dennis Kucinich and Louie Gohmert or Michelle Bachmann and Marcy Kaptur.

Dana Milbank: But I am eager to hear a case for Kaptur and Kucinich, or others they might sit or rappel mountains with.

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Rep. Pelosi and Rep. Boehner: She's a tough hard-cracking lawwoman. He's the sensitive man who disagrees with her at every turn. Can three days on the river brings them together and maybe even more? ...ew

Dana Milbank: I'll sign them up for rafting and a sleeping bag for two.

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Palin (sigh...): Ok, so poll after poll has shown that Palin doesn't have a chance of winning the presidency or really even a nomination. So why is that kept thrown out as a possibility? She's gone out of her way to alienate everyone except her devoted fan base. Could she really rehabilitate her image so completely in 2 years? Or is this a mass media conspiracy to bring Palin money by keeping her interesting? If so, does the WaPo pay you so little Ms. Petri?

Alexandra Petri: If there were some sort of Palin Product Placement deal, my columns would run as follows: "Palin Palin Palin Palin Palin Palin Palin Palin Bristol? Palin Palin Refudiate Palin Palin Lady Gaga Pelicans Palin," and I would be sitting on a beach somewhere crying about the demise of civilization and discourse. Of course some would argue that this is already what my columns sound like.

Dana Milbank: Palin Palin Palin Palin Palin Palin Palin Palin Palin Palin Palin Palin Palin Palin Palin Palin Palin Palin Palin Palin Palin Palin Palin Palin Palin Palin Palin Palin Palin Palin Palin Palin Palin Palin Palin Palin Palin Palin Palin Palin Palin Palin Palin. (We are going to be superstars in the Google algorithm today, Alexandra.)

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Democrats and Republicans will sit together for this year's State of the Union: Are they going to hold hands and sing Kumbaya?

Dana Milbank: Joe Wilson will lead them. But their hands will be sweaty and icky, because they will be very nervous.

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"an attempt to make conservatives look bad": A Gallup poll (widely ignored by the mainstream media) states that 53% of Americans think that the attempt to tie conservatives to Tucson are "an attempt to make conservatives look bad". Why do yo think Americans think that your motivations to attempt to tie conservatives to Tucson are rooted in naked, cynical partisanship?

Dana Milbank: But I also think it's a good thing that we're talking about the nasty words, because they are harmful.

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Any thoughts on what this proves,: The machines are programmed by very smart people?

Alexandra Petri: I was hoping for something more sensationalist, like, "Next we'll program them to talk about their feelings and make passive-aggressive remarks about our attire, and then we'll be out of a job!"

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Silver Diner: Apropos of absolutely nothing, but the Silver Diner here in the DC area, popular with families, kids, and freezing reporters who need a place for standups during snow storms, just posted on Facebook that "Our sweet apples for our Ginger Roasted Apple & Caramel shake come from Cholera Farms in Maryland." It's just down the street from the Anthrax Ranch, apparently. (Actually, it's Colora. Oops.)

Dana Milbank: I Haiti when that happens.

Alexandra Petri: Tuber Culosis and Lime Disease have always struck me as great/terrible names for produce stands.

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She's a tough hard-cracking lawwoman. He's the sensitive man who disagrees with her at every turn: In the movie version she'll be about 20 years younger than him, though.

Dana Milbank: Should we put Boehner on a raft with Debbie Wasserman Schultz?

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rappel mountains : How about Barney Frank and Peter King doing their best cliffhanger impression.

Dana Milbank: Now that's what I'm talking about.

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Stuffed animals: And blankies to hold (and share) during the SOFU address?

Dana Milbank: Certain tall people, such as John Thune, would be exempt.

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Couples : Keith Ellison and Jane Harman. If you can get these two together there may be hope for Palestine/Israel. Jane Harman can leak top secret info to Mossad and Keith Ellison can leak top secret info to Hamas.

Dana Milbank: Technically, they are in the same party, but I think we should send them on the 7-day sailing trip and see if they can navigate their way to agreement over some canned meat.

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Slightly Confused: Alexandra: Is it okay that I get you confused with Monica Hesse? It's really effecting my WaPo online chatting -- I almost just submitted a question about the new FaceBook profile lay-out to you and/or Dana.... Most importantly, can you offer any advice, a mnemonic perhaps, that will help me keep the two of you straight in the future? Thanks, and GSTQ(SANHB)!

Alexandra Petri: Look at the comments below! If they say that "You are the reason the Post is dying!" it's probably something I wrote.That being said, I'll happily take questions about the new Facebook layout, which just forced me to switch to it. Now my ill-advised joke choice of major is visible to all.I'll keep thinking of mnemonica devices... "AP = Awful Puns"?

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Gratitude journal: Maybe each congressperson can pen a gratitude journal, ala Oprah, where they cite the things they are grateful for about their esteemed colleagues? Or they have to text a compliment to someone of the opposite party once a day?

Alexandra Petri: "Your intellect is only exceeded by your humanity!" "If you told me I had a beautiful body, I would hold it against you." "Thank you for the bill you sent me! I will waste no time in reading it!" "Did it hurt when you fell from Heaven? In this hypothetical scenario, you are Lucifer."

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Debbie Wasserman Schultz: She makes Ed Schultz seems affable.

Dana Milbank:

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Looking for a laugh?: When I need one I just search my brain for Simpsons quotes (pre 2000 epispodes).A few of my favorites..."Shoplifting is a victimless crime - like punching someone in the dark" - Nelson MuntzAnd"Ah, the Luftwaffe: the Washington Generals of the History Channel" - Homer Simpsonand"Weaseling out of things is important to learn. It's what separates us from the animals ... except the weasel." Homer Simpsons

Alexandra Petri: s even remotely true!

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Naked Writing: Dana,Thank you for clarifying about you writing naked only at your home. I had a very disturbing mental image of the Washington Post newsroom otherwise. That being said, I'm reading Tears of a Clown at the moment, and have a sudden urge to take a shower....

Dana Milbank: The danger is I wind up cloaked in earnestness and credulity.

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4:30 AM Robocalls: Dana, the Post provided some comic relief with the snow day robocall story. Copycatism is always a concern after heinous acts. Can we expect a movement centered around Retaliatory Robocalls?

Alexandra Petri: Don't retreat! Redial!

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In the slightly smaller scheme of things, though, accurate facts are nice to have around, if only because they are useful in proving loud people wrong.: But the loud people won't believe you because they'll be able to find a website "proving" that what THEY know to be true is correct.

Alexandra Petri: That's the trouble with the Internet...

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Lime Disease: Hmmm, this could be the next flavored martini sensation.

Alexandra Petri: I like this! Any others? Sidecardiomyopathy?

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Glenn Beck : Hey Dana, my favorite Glenn Beck trope is when he says that if he wasn't telling the truth he would be taken off the air. It makes me laugh every time. Given that you have written a book on his untruths i think you should compile a concise list of the biggest Glenn Becks whoppers of all time. I think it would be handy.

Dana Milbank: But hurry -- before the book is in remainders!

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RE: Debbie Wasserman Schultz makes Ed Schultz seems affable: Last Friday Debbie was online at WaPo answering reader questions. I asked her if, in view of appearances by Tucker Carlson, Tom DeLay and Bristol Palin on "Dancing with the Star," she could recommend a Democrat to appear on the show to help balance it out politically. She replied that she doubted there was anyone good enough, because Democrats tend to have (wait for it) two left feet. Who knew that less than 24 hours later we wouldn't feel like laughing?

Dana Milbank:

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In addition to Outward Bound: they should all have to write down their favorite movie and one "interesting" fact about themself that nobody else knows. Everyone has to guess who belongs to which movie/unknown fact! That's what we do at our "getting to know our co-workers better" meetings in my office.

Alexandra Petri: Yes! Probably better to do that after the trust falls, though.Or Two Truths and a Lie, although I can see how this might be problematic.

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State of the Union: I think we are forgetting the most important part, the gallery. I'm thinking need they to bring in the A-list: Julian Assange, Sean Penn(Ambassador to Venezuela), Fidel Castro, Avigdor Lieberman, Alexander Lukashenko for starters.

Dana Milbank: Well, that would give the Joint Chiefs something to do rather than decide whether to stand and applaud the various lines.

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Couples : Frank Lautenberg and John McCain. It could be a founding fathers motif.

Dana Milbank: I've also heard a suggestion that John Dingell sit down with the youngest member of Congress, 29-year-old Aaron Schock.

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Although I think in the viewer voting he would die quickly. : Please scrub that sentence of death rhetoric.

Alexandra Petri: It is important that all death-related rhetoric be completely annihilated and wiped from the face of the earth!

Dana Milbank: I think it should be buried (if we can still use the word "buried").

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Michelle Obama: Who will be the first to accuse Michelle Obama of anything sinister(brainwashing , gov't control of parenting, liberal elitism in holding discussion)?

Alexandra Petri: Don't forget the Dessert War! There's nothing more sinister than threatening our inalienable right to eat our weight in Wendy's.

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NAKED CYNICISM THINLY VEILED: Why not pull the smoking jacket out of mothballs? It would serve as a stylish drape across your office window.

Dana Milbank: Well, there's the reference to Mouthpiece Theater, which means it's time for me to go.

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Dingell/Schock: (Wow, that sounds like some kind of condition.)Anyway, that doesn't really make sense, because I'm pretty sure Dingell isn't the oldest. (In fact, isn't one of the newbie Tea Partiers an 80-something guy? Or am I misremembering?)

Alexandra Petri: Your Dingell/Schock combo makes me think it would be fun to pair them based on last name pun value! Long/Johnson?

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Bipartisan drinking games: I think the members of Congress should engage in drinking games. How about a game of I Never. I bet that would be very very interesting.

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Long/Johnson: Petri with a dick joke! I had you pegged wrongly. I thought only Dana liked them.

Alexandra Petri: Well, before this slips any farther below the beltway, I'm going to have to skedaddle!Like Dana, I wish you a happier weekend than the last. Please keep reading the Compost and follow us on Twitter!


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