tv The Colbert Report Comedy Central January 30, 2013 10:30am-11:00am PST
>> jon: that's our show. here it is your moment zen. >> we're looking for the best and brightest minds in entertainment and technology to tell stories, important stories. one we're going to tell this summer is the man in the moon, captioning sponsored by comedy central captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org [eagle caw] >> stephen: tonight, do states have to follow federal law? only if it starts with "simon says." bailiff lf.
[ laughter ] then, what's the latest news in the war on terror? the answer is redacted. [ laughter ] and my guest george saunders wrote what the new york times called "the best book you'll read this year." joke's on them, i'm not reading any books this year. [ laughter ] eating lunch earlier can help you lose weight. that's why i always eat tomorrow's lunch tonight. [ laughter ] captioning sponsored by comedy central this is "the colbert report." ["the colbert report" theme music playing] [cheers and applause] welcome to the broadcast, everybody. thank you so much. [cheers and applause] [crowd chanting stephen b.c. [
thank you, ladies and gentlemen. [cheers and applause] thank so much. please, nation, heros sit down. welcome to the broadcast, coming to you, as always, in bone-jostling sensurround! [ laughter ] a lot of technology. [ laughter ] nation, for years i've been warning you about iran. they're almost as big a threat as our other enemy ee-rahn. frightening. also, freetening. [ laughter ] but now there's an even bigger reason to be afraid. >> iran has just launched a monkey into space, lauding it is an advance in missile and space program that alarmed the west and israel. >> how did they launch a monkey into space?
[ laughter ] >> stephen: excellent question, gretchen. how did they launch a monkey into space? [ laughter ] the possibilities are endless. [ laughter ] did they use a giant slingshot? or a monkey sized t-shirt cannon? [ laughter ] or did they do the obvious: put yellow-tinted glasses on a monkey and wait until a crescent moon so it thinks it's a banana and climbs up there himself? [ laughter ] how did they do it?! >> they've got rockets over there. [ laughter ] >> stephen: huh. they've got rockets over there. i did not see that coming. [ laughter ] folks, all this time we've been worrying about enriched uranium-- iran has been acquiring weapons of macaque destruction. [ laughter ] it won't be long until icbm's-- intercontinental ballistic monkeys-- are hurling their feces down on us from their sub-orbital tire swings! what happened to america?
when i was a kid, we led the world in airborne chimp technology, and every child dreamt of growing up to launch a bewildered, frightened animal into the icy void of space. [ laughter ] but sadly we canceled that program. and folks, this news could not come at a worse time, because the national institutes of health "announced a moratorium on new chimp research funding." and they're "retiring 110 government-owned chimps," despite the fact that due to lack of funding, our chimp sanctuary system has no more space. so now all those apes that we could have humanely fired into the sun are going to be released onto the streets! but i'm sure they'll be able to forgive and forget all that scientific testing we put them through and live together in peace. right?
oh, my god! oh, my god! please. we've got to get the ayatollahs to shoot our retired chimps into space. oh, they'll never do it-- unless we tell them the chimps are gay israelis. [ laughter ] they'll do anything to get them off the planet. [ laughter ] but folks, the other threat to america is president obama's recent 23-point executive order gun-control grab-orama. [ laughter ] this is a full-on assault on our right to full-on assault. that's why it's more important than ever to remember the gun rights advocate battle cry. >> from my cold dead hands! [cheers and applause] >> stephen: fun fact: that was his audition for "when harry met sally."
[ laughter ] yet they gave the part to meg ryan. tough being a conservative in hollywood. [ laughter ] but this tyranny will not stand, man. true defenders of the constitution are fighting back. bills have been proposed in all these states that would "make it illegal to enforce any of the new federal gun control measures." that's right. that means if an agent of the federal government tries to take your high capacity magazine, just call 9-1-1 and say "police! come quick! someone's trying to enforce the law." [ laughter ] then they'll send in a swat team to shoot themselves. [ laughter ] because these states know that -- these states that aren't up here right now. you know which ones they are. [ laughter ] they know that there's a higher authority than some stupid law made by washington clowns on capitol
hill, and that's some stupid law made by local clowns in your state capitol. [ laughter ] and nobody out-stupid's mississippi, where a new bill to protect state sovereignty has been proposed by state representative and man whose toys come to life at night, jeff [ laughter ] [cheers and applause] [ laughter ] [cheers and applause] jeff smith. [ laughter ] this mississippi law would create a committee to help neutralize federal laws and regulations outside the scope of the powers in the constitution. yes, all federal laws they
disagree with would be neutralized. it's like legal febreeze. [ laughter ] and i think he might want some febreeze after those two tempura shrimp are done mating on his upper lip. [ laughter ] folks, each state picking and choosing which laws to obey finally realizes the vision of our forefathers. as lincoln said, "a house divided against itself-- sounds fun! what's the worst that could happen?" [ laughter ] here to tell me the worst that could happen is former associate white house counsel and co-author of "the great decision: jefferson, adams, marshall, and the battle for the supreme court," cliff sloan. friend of the show. cliff, thanks so much for coming back. [cheers and applause] you got the book here. "the great decision" you know what you are talking about. there's this word i hear tossed
around and states saying we're not going to obey the federal government. they call it nullification. what is that? is it a legal technology i don't know about? >> nullification is when state and local governments say a federal law is null and void because it's unconstitutional and so they are not going to follow it. >> stephen: this is a settled practice. it happens all the time. >> it's happens and it has auld failed. >> stephen: what do you mean? when? >> the civil war was one example. >> stephen: anything else? one little example, how is the civil war tied to these kind of laws? >> well, because the states -- the southern states said eric with don't have to follow what the federal government, what lincoln is going to say in terms abolishing slavery. it's null and void and they took it a step further and is a seeded. after brown versus board of education, the southern states
passed nullification and they had to send troops to arkansas to ensure the federal law. >> stephen: where do the states get off? when does the state in the constitution that the feds can tell the state what's to do? >> article 6 in the -- >> stephen: okay, okay quick draw mcgraw over there. the tenth amendment said ifing something is not specifically covered the right goods to the states. maybe nullification is say special right. >> if you think there's a constitutional violation you file suit in court. as the supreme court said in stephon marbury versus madison the supreme court said. >> stephen: the supreme court said the supreme court says what is constitutional. >> that's exactly right. >> stephen: how conscreenent it's called activity judges
right there. >> it's called article 3 of the constitution because article 3 says that the judicial power of the united states rests in the supreme court and the other federal courts. >> stephen: there's nothing in the constitution that says the constitution is constitutional. check and mate! [ laughter ] >> wrong again. >> stephen: okay. >> wrong again because the supremacy clause says that the constitution and the laws of the united states are the supreme law of the land. it's right there in the constitution. >> stephen: the states should pass a ratified new amendment that says be it known you are not -- >> if they did that it would be up to the federal courts courtso interpret it. >> stephen: will there be troops in tennessee telling local sheriffs to enforce this law? >> that's not going to happen? this is rhetoric. they have the executive orders. one of the executive orders calls for a dialog on mental
health. >> stephen: the federal government cannot come in with jack booted dialoggers and talk about things we don't wish to consider. >> if you want to object to the dialog file a suit. can i recommend lawyers to you. >> stephen: i bet you can. >> and bring a case yourself. >> stephen: cliff thanks so much for joining me. i'll be calling the lawyer. bs
[cheers and applause] welcome back, everybody. thank you so much. [cheers and applause] nation, i'm not proud of it, but some nights, i go too easy on our radical marxist homo-fascist secret kenyan travesty of a joke of a so-called president. [ laughter ] what can i say? maybe i'm mellowing with age. and sadly, tonight is one of those nights, because barack obama has finally done something right in the war on terror. after years of empty promises, he is closing guantanamo's office of closing guantanamo. [ laughter ] we did it! finally, america can move beyond the sad chapter of trying to close down our gulag by the sea. [ laughter ] and they're closing the office of closing gitmo not a moment too soon. i heard the conditions in that office were horrific. people held for years in cramped, poorly-lit quarters and repeatedly water-coolered. [ laughter ]
and more gratifying to conservatives like me, keeping gitmo open will secure this key part of george bush's legacy. along with brush-free paths in crawford and the invention of the safety pretzel. [ laughter ] but the obama administration didn't abandon due process all by themselves. no, none of this giving up would have been possible without the heroic roadblocks thrown up by congress, which passed laws barring the transfer of detainees into the united states, that prohibited transferring detainees to countries with troubled security conditions. and restricted detainees from being returned home even if they had been promised it as part of a plea deal. thereby upholding the constitutionally guaranteed right of "habeus psych!" [ laughter ] [cheers and applause]
[ laughter ] now, the special envoy in charge of closing the prison daniel fried, seen here judging mankind and finding us wanting, has been [ laughter ] reassigned to work on issues like iran and syria. that's just more obama cronyism. the guy fails at one job, so they give him a cushy post solving the middle east. [ laughter ] folks, i applaud the obama administration's mature decision. clearly these detainees are going to be there until they die. so it's time we embrace gitmo as a part of this country. and not as a place for permanently imprisoning people without charges in a kafka-esque labyrinth of human despair but more as a terrorist retirement community jihadi meadows. [ laughter ] after all, like our seniors, they wear brightly-colored
[cheers and applause] >> stephen: welcome back, everybody. my guest is the author of the short story collection "tenth of december." it's about time somebody novelized the calendar. please welcome george saunders. [cheers and applause] george, good to have you back. >> good to be here steencht it's been five years since you were here. >> too long. >> too long. >> stephen: for the people who don't know, the few people who don't know you are a macarthur grant fellow author of several collections of short stories. you've got a new scheks called "the tenth of december." this is the thing. this is short stories. in the norkts magazine called it "the best book you'll read this year." okay. [ laughter ] why do you write short stories?
america likes big, go big or go home. we like big, huge, huge novels. >> i'll tell you why, the we're good, we're good. >> stephen: can you imagine this. say you were madly in love with somebody and your mission was to tell the person that you love them. here is two scenarios. one is you can take a week long train trip with the person, take your time. you'll be in situations, beautiful scenery. that's a novel and the second scenario is -- >> stephen: sounds really good. >> the second scenario you is step on the train and you have three minutes. so you have to make all that decoration in three minutes. that would be a short story. >> stephen: can i get on the train with her? >> no. >> stephen: why can't i get on the train? >> because it's a short story you are not allowed.
you have to end it in eight pages and get out. >> stephen: it's a short story i want to read. where is she going? why can't go i with her. does she love me back? i have to know. >> sometimes the short stories ends with that question, does she love me back? that's it. >> stephen: why pay for a book? i want some weight behind the thing. i'm sure it's very good but i like to pay by the pound. [ laughter ] that's why i love ayn rand. it's just two covers and she shovels words in between. [ laughter ] >> the thing with the story is it's kind of genetically related to a joke in that if i say, a duck walked into a bar then it's kind of a throwdown. everybody knows in three minutes i'm either going to be laughing or there's an awkward silence.
here in this story here is eight pages of a story and when you get to the end it's either eh or the person is crying. >> stephen: i understand completely. >> abducted on the train. >> stephen: so shorter is sometimes better. >> yes. >> stephen: okay. and it's like a joke. >> because it's kind of like this in life the clock is ticking. you see a friend, you want to say something. you want to give advice, you want to tell them you care about them but in real life time goes fast. the reader feels she's with you. the clock is ticking. you are trying desperately to say something important it'ses not easy you could blow it. it's almost like a pop song. >> stephen: is it a is joke or pop song? >> it's both. it's a pop song with a joke. >> stephen: knock, knock. >>s who there?
>> stephen: short story. >> short story who? >> stephen: sorry, pop song. [ laughter ] >> fair enough. [ laughter ] >> stephen: here is another thing. do you ever think, don't get me wrong, i like your stuff. i read one of these. [ laughter ] >> really? thank you. >> stephen: i read one. my favorite one. not quite two pages long. why not a haiku? why not enciewd it in dna and inject it into my mind? take a short story and carve it on the head of a bullet? why not that? look for that impact. i love you don't get on the train. bam! >> it could work. it could work. [cheers and applause] it could work. hemingway story. >> stephen: he told his own story. >> did he indeed. he has a six word story. it's depressing. says this for is sale, baby shoes, never worn. i know but you could make it
happier. for sale, baby shoes worn out. >> stephen: because kept them on the baby too long. [ laughter ] >> stephen: i've heard information is kingize queeneddized. you want to know everything. want to know everything. why does she love him so many snl they were everything for each other. what country are the king and queen on? where they really is king and queen or just in each other's eyes. >> you have a novelist thought for sure. >> stephen: are you saying i don't know when to shut snup. >> no, no. >> stephen: thank you for coming back. i look forward to the stories. george saunders "the tenth of