‘TAINT FUNNY, COLBERT

The Bushes were not amused by Stephen Colbert’s hilarious, barbed monologue at the White House correspondents’ dinner. Neither was the audience. The Washington Post‘s Dana Milbank sniffed that Colbert was “not terribly funny,” the standard statement when you politically disapprove of a joke. As Greg Mitchell points out in Editor & Publisher, at the 2004 radio and TV correspondents’ bash, Bush showed photos of himself searching the Oval Office, commenting: “Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be somewhere.” Some of us thought the joke tasteless, but the DC press laughed it up.

TRY HUMAN INTELLIGENCE

People in the CIA’s clandestine services spy and lie for their country, but there are some ethical people in the agency. Mary McCarthy, for one. She was fired, allegedly, for leaking information about the agency’s practice of “extraordinary rendition”–sending prisoners to secret torture sites. And then there’s Ray McGovern, the retired twenty-seven-year agency veteran who raked Defense Secretary Rumsfeld with questions like, When was he lying about Iraq’s Al Qaeda ties and WMDs, and when did he know it? Since Bush’s choice for CIA director, Gen. Michael Hayden, is tainted (see page 3), we nominate McGovern for the post. As his press officer, how about Mary McCarthy?

LAWRENCE LADER

Lawrence Lader, a pioneering crusader for abortion rights, died May 7, aged 86. Lader wrote a hugely influential 1966 book, starkly titled Abortion, which was so well researched and argued the Supreme Court cited it in Roe v. Wade. In 1976, three years after that decision, he wrote prophetically in this magazine: “The growing denial of abortion rights…has not come from highly publicized Constitutional amendments but from a new and almost unnoticed danger: the refusal of abortion services.”