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

Nov 19, 2010

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 11:30 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.

Good morning, ladies, gentlemen and NPR nazis.  What's on your mind?

Haven't you been following the LOCAL scene? Someday, I hope to marry a woman with $80,000 in her bra.

Huge… tracts of land, as Monty Python might put it.

I refer you to this season's soon-to-be most popular dance move, the Leslie Johnson "Put the Money In Your Bra." But this one is beyond absurd.

Still, the person for whom I feel worst in the story is the plumber the FBI reportedly called to sift through the Johnsons' toilet for the flushed check.


When will you do some honest, fair journalims? The last six reports you have wriiten are just pure garbage and false.

Pure garbage?  This is ComPost after all.

I assume you're referring to my column.   The last six have been:

That Republicans shouldn't block the START treaty.

That Nancy Pelosi doesn't enjoy the unanimous support of her caucus.

That Chuck Schumer is making Senate Democrats more political.

That Charlie Rangel handled his ethic trial badly.

That the Simpson-Bowled deficit recommendations should be taken seriously.

That Bush deserves credit for defending the TARP and other things now perceived as "socialist."

Perhaps I could turn the question around and ask which one of those is false?

Millbank, how much money do you think you could stuff in your Bro (or Mansierre)?

Depends on whether I use pennies or quarters.

Is shooting your laptop with a shotgun an appropriate response if you're upset with the responses on these chats? If that guy can blow away his TV after watching Bristol Palin on DWTS...why not?

May laptop is already shot, but I think that has something to do with the Post's new editing software.

Hey Dana, whats your take on Marty Peretz and his verbal diarrhea?

I still have great affection for Marty Peretz, who once paid me a $100 Christmas tip when I worked at TNR in the late 90s.   But I share the view of some at the magazine who believe his blog shouldn't be named The Spine but The Spleen.

Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association (!) who complained that we've "sissified" the Medal of Honor by giving it to people who saved their comrades instead of killing the enemy. This is an interesting way to "support the troops."

Remove all references to illegal activities from my calendar ASAP. In future, refrain from entering them in the first place.

Going forward, I think this would be an excellent practice, Mr. DeLay.  For example, after learning of your misfortune during your trial, I have removed the entry in my calendar for this afternoon that said "deposit check from Airport Scanner Industry Association."  I will wait until a decent interval has passed between my column praising the airport scanning and my depositing of the payment.

Where do you come down on the Olbermann controversy? And do you think 24-hour news is as inherently bad for America as Jon Stewart claims?

If America watched this news all 24 hours, then yes, it would be inherently bad, mainly because no one would sleep and we would all be running around with pitchforks and torches.

Dana, you are a great writer but nothing you could compose could top Jon Stewart's take down of Glenn Beck last night. Glenn Beck is actually a 5th column inserted by George Soros to discredit Rupert Murdoch. Did i just blow your mind?

I am but a poor man's Jon Stewart.  On the positive side, that makes you, my reader, eligible for a higher level of tax relief under the Obama plan.

This is totally false. Rangel handled that affair with aplomb. You know it's a good day when your speech begins "I don't know how much longer I have to live ..." Now that's a lead Milbank!

Okay, you've got me there.  But the other five were true!  I think.

Dana: At the end of last week's Q&A, Alex posted this "question`" after you left: "Say Aye -- I vote that we give Alexandra her own chat ( The Petri Dish ? ) and that we post her picture on this one in place of that other guy -- all in favor ?" AYE vey! Aren't you afraid that you'll end up as hummus on Petri's dish?

As Charlie Rangel might say, "I don't know how much longer I have to live. . . "

I'm really disappointed that you chose to take the low road and attack a minor like Willow Palin. I never once saw the Post ever attack the minor child of a Democrat, but apparently, your Democratic partisanship got the better of you on this one. Really low of you both. Shame on you.

I view Willow Palin as more of a "major child."

If Malia Obama ever appears on a reality TV series and then posts hateful (albeit common) slurs on someone's Facebook wall when he criticizes it, and word of this reaches me, I will absolutely comment. I think, however, that it's an unfair double standard for the Palins to ask everyone to talk about them -- and their kids -- all the time and then get irritated whenever this conversation becomes anything but unmitigated praise.

But that would take away from our news watching time!

True. But we would be addled from all the news-watching and would have failed to think carefully about the logistics...

So if I'm to understand this correctly, the Tea Party has the power and influence to control Dancing With the Stars, but are completely inept at preventing any of their candidates from making outrageously moronic statements? Oh, and the reason for this is supposedly because of the overwhelming popularity of one Sarah Snidely Whiplash Palin? How can one of the most despised people in the country be accused of being popular?

I believe Maureen Dowd wrote about this a few weeks ago, suggesting that there was a similarity between the specious "popularity" of high school Mean Girls and Sarah Palin. Some might say this is how the notion of "popularity" has always worked -- the most "popular" people are the least liked.

So this means that all the nasty comments people send us as questions are really an indication that we are well liked.

Who can forget that great video from last year where Sarah Palin was speaking in front of a turkey slaughter venue, while the operator calmly continued inserting squawking birds into the turkey guillotine? A good thing the bird named Lisa M escaped and lived to fight another day.

Speaking of turkeys, I have to link to this picture (bottom of the page)-- after watching George W. Bush on Jay Leno last night, I feel oddly nostalgic for a president who laughed by moving his shoulders up and down, and I'd forgotten all about the Pre-Pardon Turkey Incident.

What would happen if George Bush and Joe Wilson were placed in the same room?

It would be the 2002 State of the Union address! (I'll be here all week, folks!)

I suppose one could make a case for this, in that "aplomb" comes from the Latin word for lead, which is heavy, and Charlie did throw his weight around...

I've noted this before, but it's always humbling when I discover that I am in the virtual presence of erudite readers -- Latin scholars among them.   I bet you didn't know that Rangel comes from the Greek word for "tax evasion."

I really like ComPost, and have bookmarked it for checking several times a day. Now I just challenge myself to see who wrote a particular post before I read at the end whether it was Alexandra or Dana...

If it's false and pure garbage, it's mine.

If it's only one of those two things, it's usually mine.

Hi guys, I enjoy your posts-very witty and full of information. Are you both expecting to start covering the 2012 election shortly after the new year? It seems there is no break for political reporters anymore w/regard to covering elections. And do you see someone brekaing out on the Republican side that no one is considering seriously? BTW-I cannot for the life of me understand the appeal of Sara Palin. She seems like a lovely person but its terrifying to think of her in the Oval Office.

I hear Donald Trump is thinking of running.

There is a potential clue in Tom DeLay's calendar.  For noon today it says "Accept suitcase full of unmarked bills to fund presidential run." 

Thanks for the timely article and welcome back to Live Q&A's. This long-time poster/first-time listener has missed you! Anywho... You're to be forgiven for failing to note future House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) siding with the Israeli government over his President, seeing the examples of Republican intransigence are too numerous to list. Besides, I'm sure that Beck and Hannity would be understanding if the shoe were on the other political foot as it were. That said, a couple questions– First, what incentive is there for Republicans to act responsibly when their childish, dangerous political strategy has been given a pass by the media and amply rewarded in the recent low-turnout mid-term election? And second, do you see the media holding Republican feet to the fire anytime soon, or does fawning "unbiased" coverage of their childish, dangerous political strategy sell too much advertising to make responsible reporting profitable?

In fact, there was an item in ComPost on Monday morning about Secretary of State Eric Cantor charting a new course in our Mideast policy.

But to your larger point: Yes, responsible reporting is unprofitable. That is why we have launched ComPost.

Dana, will your video of watching 18 hours of Fox news while consuming tons of Coke be a one off or a return to the good old days?

This is up to the ComPost multimedia division, whose name is Anup.  If he brings his camcorder, I will perform. And that's a threat.

Ohhhhh, I just got that! I was wondering why you were drinking so much soda. I thought it might be some sort of condition.

Coca-Cola for Fox News viewing.   Coke for my condition.  Which reminds me:  According to my calendar I have a 2 pm meeting with my dealer to accept delivery of a kilo. 

Are you allowed to give money to political campaigns?

No. The Post resolves this potential conflict by not paying us, so we do not feel tempted to make political contributions.

Back at Marty Peretz's TNR, I did a sociological experiment and gave a small contribution to the ACLU, NOW, the NRA and the Christian Coalition.  The one that sold my name and information to more lists than all the others?  The ACLU.

was derived from Wrangle.


There are various etymologies, but it is generally agreed that Charlie comes from ciarlatano, the Italian for charlatan.

You're like the Onion, only not supposed to be funny, right?

More evidence that you love us!

"You like me! You really LIKE me!"

Sarah Palin says she will run for President if its right for her family. How could running for president be anything but a burden for her family?

Sometimes it's the reverse -- the family's a burden on the presidency. Just ask Teddy Roosevelt, whose daughter Alice was famously out of line. "I can run the country, or I can control my daughter, but I can't do both," he reportedly said at one point.

I hear that some GOPers asked to go through the groping repeatedly, just as a form of research, of course.

I think the reason that Larry Craig was hanging out in that airport restroom in 2007 was that he wanted someone to check to make certain he was "extra secure" before he boarded the plane.

I propose a bipartisan commission on pat-downs to be chaired by Eliot Spitzer and Mark Foley.  Vice chairmen will be Mark Sanford and John Edwards.

How much do boob jobs cost? Aren't there already women walking around with a lot of money in their bras?

Yes, but most of it is in the form of silicon. In a way, these are the original silicon valleys. (Am I allowed to answer this question, whoever is moderating this?)

Yes, I think you can, Alexandra.  But I wouldn't mention that 3 pm appointment in your calendar with the plastic surgeon.

I think the larger lesson of this chat is "Never write anything in your calendar, ever."

Well, it's coming up on 12:30.    According to my calendar it's time for me to meet with my accountant to falsify my tax returns.   But I might just blow that off and spend the afternoon going through red lights.    Thanks for chatting.  And if Petri attempts another last-minute putsch, please report it to me next week.

I was expecting him to launch into a Red Foxx fake heart attack routine. He should have ended that speech by clutching his chest and screaming "I'm coming Elizabeth, I'm coming!"

Anything done by Elvis is OK by me!

(You must be a fan of Priscilla Presley.) But yes. The bumper sticker on my hypothetical future car reads "WWED?" In most cases, the answer is "eat another cholesterol-rich sandwich, then die under mysterious circumstances," which seems like a good life plan.

Is the only way to win the war on terror

And with that, I bid you adieu! I have a 3:00 that I hear will make me impossible to employ. Thanks for swinging by, and keep reading! And follow us on Twitter!

In This Chat
Dana Milbank
Dana Milbank writes the Washington Sketch column about political theater in the capital. He joined The Post as a political reporter in 2000, after two years as a senior editor of The New Republic and eight years with the Wall Street Journal. He is also author of two political books, Homo Politicus (Doubleday, 2008) and Smashmouth (Basic Books, 2001). He lives in Washington with his wife and daughter. • Dana Milbank Bio & Archive
Milbank Q&As
Alexandra Petri
Alexandra Petri writes the ComPost, a lighter take on the news and issues of the day, and she contributes to the Post editorial page. Her work has appeared in venues such as The Huffington Post, The Week,,, Collegehumor, and The Harvard Crimson. She has appeared on Jeopardy!, Showbiz Tonight and Canadian radio, and she has performed at Boston's Comedy Studio and Comedy Connection. She would love to be on your TV show, radio show, Daily Show, HBO special, or to be an honored guest (or regular guest) at your Bar Mitzvah. She is the author of two books (unpublished, but contact her!), two screenplays, three plays, one musical, and one memoir (Ernest Hemingway's A Moveable Feast.)
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