Speed Reads

The Daily Showdown

The Daily Show lividly audits the 'bureaucracy of dunces' behind recent federal screw-ups


For viewers who "still believe in the government's ability to earn people's trust," despite the best efforts of Congress, this part of Wednesday night's Daily Show is "probably not for you," warned Jon Stewart at the start of the show. For the next eight minutes, Stewart ran through a list of recent bureaucratic mishaps in the federal government. He started with IRS employees owing back taxes, then (after a brief psychedelic interlude) moved on to the Social Security Administration's dalliance with seizing people's tax returns for debts owed by their dead relatives. This was all prelude, though, to a story about a Veterans Affairs hospital in Phoenix that made Stewart scream obscenities into a jar. --Peter Weber