Jan. 14, 2009

HOLLYWOOD – God bless America, and how’s everybody?

• Goodwill Industries said Monday it’s doing a huge business selling formal wear for the Inaugural balls. There’s a reason everyone’s going to thrift shops to buy their formal wear. You need a credit score of at least 700 to rent a tuxedo.

• President Bush gives a farewell address to the country Thursday. He’s had 900 exit interviews, a final press conference and now a swan song. The only reason Americans watch is to make sure he’s not declaring an emergency and refusing to leave.

• Gran Torino won the box office Sunday, making Clint Eastwood the oldest star in history to headline a number-one movie. He did a lot better at the box office than Arnold Schwarzenegger’s latest movie. California Budget lost $100 billion.

• The Transportation Department reported Monday that no was killed in an airline crash for the second straight year. That’s deceptive. If you count the number of people killed in airline stocks, it was the bloodiest two years since the Battle of Britain.

• The National Safety Council called for a ban on cell phone use while driving. During driving they want no drinking, no smoking, no talking, and no texting. You didn’t think we would be allowed to enjoy German engineering without the bathwater, did you?

• Wall Street swindler Bernie Madoff was permitted by a judge Monday to stay under house arrest in his Park Avenue condo. Prosecutors wanted him in jail. The judge won’t send Bernard Madoff to jail, he’s afraid it will corrupt the petty thieves.

• The Detroit Auto Show Monday featured cars powered by plug-in batteries and hybrids on the showroom floor. The attendance has been huge. Everybody heard if you knock twice and give them the password you can go into the back room and see the latest SUV.

• Somali pirates collected $3 million cash for a Saudi oil supertanker Friday but one escape boat capsized, drowning five pirates and their share of the ransom. It was something to see. No one’s drowned under the weight of their money in at least a year.

• Barack Obama said he wants the second half of the $700 billion bailout. He demanded tough new restrictions on every company that takes the money. Every so often Barack Obama tries to talk like a Republican just to break up the room.

• The Latino Inaugural Ball will be held in Washington D.C. on Sunday. A separate Inaugural ball will be held for D.C. residents. Any L.A. school principal will tell you that if the dress code doesn’t cut down on violence, it’s best to separate everyone by race.

• President Bush held the final press conference of his presidency Monday in the press room of the White House. He admitted that he’s made a few mistakes in eight years. It’s the equivalent of Bill Clinton saying sure he looks, but he never touches.

• President Bush defended his decision to wiretap Americans without a warrant at his Monday news conference. It’s logical. His thinking is, al-Qaeda wants to steal our freedoms and if he steals them first, the joke’s on them when they come looking for them.

• The London Guardian reported Monday that Barack Obama has decided to close the prison at Guantanamo in Cuba. It’s just a question of what to do with the captured terrorists who are incarcerated there. Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich offered to appoint them all to the Senate but there just weren’t enough openings for all of them.

Argus Hamilton is the host comedian at The Comedy Store in Hollywood. He can be reached for speaking engagements by e-mail at argus@argushamilton.com.