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Let's finish this comedy of errors

By Pat LaMarche, Bangor Daily News

I like to think that humor can be found anywhere. And for the most part I’m right. Oh sure, folks don’t always agree, but it’s not because the material isn’t funny. Some people just don’t get certain jokes; other folks take things too personally, while sadly, some people have no sense of humor at all.

But really, you can laugh at anything. Take math and science. Now that stuff’s tough, but really funny. And while some people claim not to get it, I think the real reason technology jokes have limited appeal is because of certain painful memories folks associate with the subjects. Some tenth-grade trigonometry teacher broke your funny bone and the joy’s gone from those subjects forever.

But wait; let me share one of my favorites.

Two atoms are walking down the street. One stumbles and falls and bashes into the other one. That atom, nearly knocked down, grumbles, "Hey, look where you’re going. You really hurt me. Yikes, I’ve lost an electron!" The offending atom replies, "Gosh, are you sure?" And the wounded atom exclaims, "Yeah, I’m positive!"

See what I mean? Hysterical!

OK, so this weekend I watched the unfolding disgrace going on in the nation’s capital. And an outraged Wisconsin senator, Russ Feingold, called for censuring the president and vice president for "a continuous assault against the rule of law." But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said, "The president already has the mark of the American people — he's the worst president we ever had. I don't think we need a censure resolution in the Senate to prove that."

The worst president we’ve ever had, but Congress won’t censure or impeach?

Honestly, hard as I try, I’m seeing no humor in any of it.

Me, a woman who finds jokes about chemists and their cars with punch lines like "I’m driving a Mercedes Benzene" absolutely hilarious.

So then I read a blog that says House Judiciary Chair John Conyers will proceed with Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s bill to impeach Vice President Cheney if three more representatives will co-sponsor it. And considering four have signed on this month already, including Bob Filner, chair of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, that might not be so difficult after all.

No, it didn’t make me laugh, but I was beginning to smile a bit.

Then I read an interview with Bruce Fein. Conservative Republican attorney, part of President Reagan’s Justice Department, author of an article of impeachment against Bill Clinton — that Bruce Fein. He told Bill Moyers that Bush needed to be impeached because Bush’s crimes (and yes he used the word crimes) "were more worrisome than Clinton’s — because he is seeking more institutionally to cripple checks and balances and the authority of Congress and the judiciary to superintend his assertions of power. He has claimed the authority to tell Congress they don't have any right to know what he's doing with relation to spying on American citizens. … He's claimed authority to say he can kidnap people, throw them into dungeons abroad, dump them out into Siberia without any political or legal accountability. These are standards that are totally anathema to a democratic society devoted to the rule of law."

Fein: No jokester, just a conservative smart guy.

What do you think it’s going to take to get three more representatives to act on these serious offenses?

It’s going to take you. Tell Congress it’s time.

When President Nixon faced the same fate, conservative stalwart Barry Goldwater went to the president, explaining that the Republican leadership was standing down. He wasn’t disloyal. He was patriotic. See, Barry Goldwater believed his own rhetoric, "Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. Moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."

Now you know that there’s got to be something really funny here. And it sure isn’t executive malfeasance. No, this week when you call Reps. Michaud and Allen you’re going to ask them to support — ready for this? — HRes 333. (You think math/science humor is tough? Try Book of Revelation humor. Yeah; the bill to impeach Dick Cheney is half of 666. And when they’re done, we’ll go get the other half!

Pat LaMarche of Yarmouth is the author of "Left Out In America: the state of homelessness in the United States." She can be contacted at

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