Stephen Colbert


On Monday, a mainstream US news outlet (NBC) finally calls the war in Iraq a civil war. Of course this has led to a “civil” war of words within the media. Jon Stewart lampooned this debate (John Oliver played devils advocate) on The Daily Show. Meanwhile, The Colbert Report shows that the warmongers tend to be very selective of when analogies between the various wars are deemed appropriate.

PS. YouTube still has the Comedy Central purge in force, but MSNBC doesn’t seem to mind at the moment. Let’s see how long that Olbermann clip lasts. One can still find some persistent Daily Show and Colbert Report clips on the Net if one knows where to look.

This past week, the two sides of the peak oil debate have been solidified in the form of what you might describe as position statements. Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA) released a report titled, “Why the Peak Oil Theory Falls Down: Myths, Legends, and the Future of Oil Resources“, to debunk the theory that predicts the global production of easily available cheap crude oil will go into irreversible decline with the next decade. Unfortunately the actual report costs US$1000, and only an executive summary was made available as a press release. The pro-peak camp released several statements in response, the most technically comprehensive of which was prepared by The Oil Drum. To their credit, much of the pro-peak argument is based on research from openly available sources. Nevertheless, it takes a substantial investment in time to fact check this, whereas CERA asks us to either pony up the cash or trust their results on faith. Some of the economic basis on which CERA bases its position is ridiculed in video:

although the use of Stephen Colbert’s The Word format could have been better executed.

Unfortunately for the peak oil-ers, the argument has been muddied over the last few years by 9/11 conspiracies. Recent evidence of this appears in the November newsletter of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas (ASPO) which includes a link to Oil, Smoke & Mirrors, a movie that piggybacks widely debunked 9/11 conspiracies on peak oil theory. The straw man risk is clearly evident here and only serves to undermine any resolution of this ongoing debate.

When linking 9/11 to the global oil economy, I prefer the approach of Brian McNamara and Knife Party:

Stephen Colbert analyses US politics via by way of analogy suggested by Pennsylvania Senator, Rick Santorum, with hilarious results:

Fantasy analogies seem to be in vogue this US political season — perhaps as a way to introduce children to political concepts. E.g. the “Alice in Wonderland” analysis of propaganda. For more advanced readers of fiction, there is the obligatory 1984 comparison. Those who are less well read but follow American sports will better understand the football analogy:

“This is the fourth quarter, there’s two minutes left in the game, and we’re down two touchdowns. There may not be enough time left.” — Larry Diamond, one of a panel of experts advising the Iraq Study Group.

But count on Bush for the ultimate fantasy analogy. After years of flatly rejecting the comparison, he finally admitted the parallels between the Iraq and Vietnam wars. How is this a fantasy? The Bush administration believes the US could have won the Vietnam war had they not withdrawn.

Stephen Colbert’s Green Screen Challenge ended last Monday.

I feel sorry for runner up, George L, although it looked like he had a lot more resources at his disposal than the other entrants. He might have clinched it had he not let Jar Jar survive , but you can’t win ’em all.

It’s business as usual at YouTube despite the Google buy out. Left leaning blogs have been circulating an old press conference clip in which Bush expresses doubts whether North Korea has increased their nuclear arsenal. At least Jon Stewart on The Daily Show has seen the bright side of the North Korean nuclear test – they now have one less nuclear weapon.

(We also see the return of Aasif Mandvi, whose debut Daily Show segment was extremely popular.) Stephen Colbert begins learning Korean while probing for Kim Jong Il’s weaknesses. But avoiding humour altogether, Keith Olbermann shifts blame to Donald Rumsfeld.