The Colbert Report

Season 3 Episode 93

Simon Schama

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Aired Weekdays 11:30 PM Jul 23, 2007 on Comedy Central
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Simon Schama
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Tonight Stephen welcomes history and art history professor at Columbia University, Simon Schama.

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      • Stephen: When I'm interviewing, my rage is so intense that I see only in infra-red.

      • Stephen: And I accidentally saw a headline that brings us to tonight's Word: Premium Package. Here's what I saw: "Full Constitutional Protection for Some, but No Privacy for the Poor." Evidentially Federal Courts have ruled that San Diego County can make welfare applicants submit to unannounced searched of their homes. What are San Diego authorities looking for? (Carmen Sandiego?) Well, according to the plaintiff's attorney: "…boxer shorts in a drawer." Gentlemen, one more reason to freeball it. (Let your eagles soar) You see, applicants sometimes claim to be poor single parent families when they're really poor two parent families, these are the kind of criminals we are dealing with. (Ones in committed relationships) Now the majority of the Court found this program Constitutional because the recipients could opt out of the searches, all they had to do was give up their welfare. It's called freedom of choice. (Down or out) But the desenting, bleeding heart judges called San Diego's program: "…shameful." "…an attack on the poor." One of them added: "The government does not search through the closets and medicine cabinets of farmers receiving subsidies…They do not dig through the laundry baskets and garbage pails of real estate developers, or radio broadcasters." Of course not, because those people aren't on welfare. They receive corporate subsidies, totally different. (Six of one, half million of the other)

        Look, all Americans have basic Constitutional rights (While Cheney's on vacation) and they must not be denied those rights on the basis of their color, creed or religion. It should be on the basis of their tax returns. (Major right-off) Just call it an incentive program. Every April the government should decide how many rights you get based on your income. The poor will still have rights, they just won't have the premium package. (No home, box, or office) It's something like buying a car. The rich can afford leather interiors and seat warmers, folks on a budget can get a cupholder. (Great place to hold change) Our Constitutionally guaranteed freedoms can work the same way. (Pimp my rights) The poor get the basic option package, the right to bear arms. (Frequently, against each other) Now someone who makes 12,000 dollars a year simply does not need air conditioning, a moon roof or freedom of speech. After all they'll probably just use it to complain. ("Hey, there are no brakes!") The middle class gets a full loaded Bill of Rights, right to a fair trail, right against self incrimination, even habeas corpus. (Limited time offer) And the wealthiest among us get the premium package, options that aren't even in the Constitution. (Looking at you, Scooter Libby) Folks, I believe it makes sense. If we start giving people on the dole the same rights as everybody else, what incentive will there be for them to work harder? And an added bonus, it'll be a great incentive for rich people to declare all their income like I always do. [wink] {That wink means he doesn't} Remember, our Constitution rights are like precious diamonds. And like diamonds, if we want to keep them precious, we have to keep them scarce.

        And that's the Word.

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