Click here to go to Opinions You Should Have at tomburka.com. TITLE: We've Moved! AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 4/16/2004 11:32:00 PM ----- BODY: Go to TOMBURKA.COM. Click here -------- TITLE: Opinions You Should Have Has Moved! AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 6/24/2003 03:07:00 PM ----- BODY: Opinions You Should Have has a new look elsewhere. You can get the same opinion-y goodness by clicking here. Archives of articles will remain here for a while, and will also be available over at the new spot. -------- TITLE: FBI Arrests Karl Rove On Anonymous Tip From John Ashcroft; Use Of Tips Subsequently Narrowed AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 6/23/2003 12:39:00 PM ----- BODY: In the wake of news that false terrorism tips have been uprooting the lives of innocent suspects, a recent encounter between Karl Rove and the FBI has come to light. An anonymous tipster (John Ashcroft) provided the FBI with information leading to the subsequent arrest of Karl Rove as a suspected terrorist about two weeks ago. Special Agent Hans "Christian" Anderson and partner Martin Asphalt had received a wanted notice for a "chubby balding man with glasses and expensive, ugly ties" who "was up to no good" and "possibly linked to terrorist activities." Several hours after receiving the APB, Anderson and Asphalt saw a man fitting this description lingering over the magazine section at Walmarts, where he was purportedly "fondling a copy of Maxim." (Rove late claimed that the magazine was The Weekly Standard, and that he had not been "caressing" it, as agents had described.) The agents immediately picked Rove up and transported him to a secret detention center in Arlington, where, during interrogation, Rove repeatedly turned bright red screaming, "I'm the President, you morons." Agent Asphalt often responded by picking up a copy of The Washington Post and showing him the cover. "This is the President," he would say. Rove blustered in response, "That man's a complete simpleton. I run everything." Correcting himself later, Rove told the agents that "He was one of the most prominent members of President Bush's staff, and that he worked at the White House," but the agents noted that they had never seen him anywhere. Agent Asphalt later recalled bleakly that he and his partner had laughed "really loud and hard" whenever Rove had pointed out the m that they "were in a world of trouble now." Agent Asphalt is presently awaiting trial on charges stemming from the discovery of over 20 pounds of cocaine found in an FBI evidence bag in his bedroom closet, moments after Rove's release. Things might have been straightened out quickly if the agents had permitted Rove access to a phone or provided him with a lawyer, but FBI policies prohibited allowing suspects of terrorism to have any contact with anyone in the outside world. As a result of the debacle, President Bush immediately issued guidelines narrowing the use of anonymous tips by the FBI. One of the changes prohibits FBI agents from arresting anyone who is caught reading Maxim magazine. -------- TITLE: New Litmus Test For Supreme Court Nominees Involves Membership In All-White Golf Club AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 6/21/2003 07:16:00 PM ----- BODY: Justice Thomas A Member For Past Seven Years In the wake of a Supreme Court ruling upholding affirmative action, angry conservatives are calling for a new "litmus test" to be applied to prospective nominees to any newly vacated Court seat. The test will measure the potential Justice's position on affirmative action. Conservatives are divided over whether the test should involve actually dipping candidates in a solution to see how white they are, or something else. "The test should be whether they can successfully join the Riverdale Country Club," said John Milk, a senior analyst at the Brookings Institute. The Riverdale Country Club is an exclusive single-race club, where non-whites are permitted to enter -- as waiters and servants. -------- TITLE: Rumsfeld Points Out D.C. Crime Worse Than Baghdad's; D.C. Residents Pack Immediately AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 6/20/2003 03:24:00 PM ----- BODY: In the wake of a remark by Donald Rumsfeld in which he noted that the Baghdad crime rate was lower than the District of Columbia's, thousands of D.C. residents packed their bags and readied themselves to leave the Nation's capital for greener pastures. "We just want to raise our children in a safe place," said Miles Seecars, a former Pentagon pool reporter. "Secretary Rumsfeld echoed what many have of us have said for a long time: D.C.'s crime rate is so awful, I'm just grateful that we have someplace better to go. East L.A. might be better, too, but I prefer Baghdad." Billy Mickelson, whose bags were packed and was ready to go, had a slightly different take on it. "Why should only U.S. soldiers get to occupy Iraq?" -------- TITLE: Rumsfeld Unveils Invisible Can of "Whoop Ass" To Take Care of "Crime Problem" In Iraq AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 6/19/2003 04:27:00 PM ----- BODY: At a press briefing today, Donald Rumsfeld pooh-poohed suggestions that anti-American violence by Iraqis was out of control and noted that the Baghdad crime rate was lower than the District of Columbia's. Rumsfled added that he and Paul Bremer had decided to open invisible cans of "whoop-ass" which would quickly take care of the problem. "I say to the U.S. soldiers in Iraq: your wives and children need not worry," said Rumsfeld, holding up a proto-type invisible can for the press. "Whoop-ass is here." When asked by reporter Miles Seecars why the mysterious cans of "whoop-ass" had not been used in the District of Columbia, Rumsfeld appeared to pull on a invisible tab on the top of the invisible can he was holding, tilted it toward Seecars. Seecars suddenly crumpled to the ground. When questioned later about it, all Seecars would say was that he thought that his ass had been whooped. -------- TITLE: Following Ancient Diplomatic Tradition, Sharon Will "Hound" Hamas Into Sanctioning Peace Treaty AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 6/18/2003 08:16:00 AM ----- BODY: Most Notable Diplomatic Posture Since Churchill Nagged Stalin At Yalta In 1945 Ariel Sharon joined the ranks of history's finest negotiators yesterday after promising to hound Hamas into supporting a Mideast peace agreement. In doing so, Sharon joined the ranks of the elite few who have successfully nudged the opposition party into signing a treaty -- or even into what some might call "extreme compromises." The tactic has only been used by some of history's greatest leaders. A few famous examples: 1066 - The Badgering of Hastings: William the Conqueror harangues the Saxons until Harold II agrees to yield the English crown. 1190 B.C. - Odysseus hectors Aeneas into withdrawing from Troy and possibly Helen. 215 B.C. - Hannibal needles Philip of Macedonia, taunting him with elephants until he allies with Carthage. 1865 - Grant bullyrags Lee at Appomattox. 1876 - Custer pesters Sitting Bull at Little Big Horn. (considered to have been a mistake) 1914 - Extreme razzing of Archduke Ferdinand by Slav Gavrilo Princip (could I make this name up?) leads to World War I. 1941 - Roosevelt mercilessly heckles Hirohito until he resigns from World War II. (Some consider dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki a factor.) -------- TITLE: Democrats Divided Over How To Sink Party AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 6/16/2003 08:41:00 AM ----- BODY: Debate Is Whether To Offer Lukewarm Disagreement Or Simply Mimick Republican Position Democrats, members of the "opposition" party, are engaged today in a disagreement about how to ensure their parties failure in upcoming national elections. The crux of today's debate centers upon how to characterize blatant untruths told by George W. Bush about Iraqi weapons possession during the national "debate" on whether to invade Iraq. Should they be called "lies"? Or should Democrats say, as Senator Hillary Clinton urged, that "serious questions have been raised that need to be answered." Another position backed by Senators Edwards, Kerry and Lieberman was that lying for political gain is perfectly acceptable, as long as it's for a good cause, or on a weekday. A highly placed anonymous source in the Democratic Party (Terry McAuliffe, head of the DNC) said, in a panicky voice, "What if we say he was lying about WMD and then he finds some? What are we gonna do then? What are we gonna do?" Only a few, like Sen. Bob Graham, who keeps diaries noting where he scratches himself each day, assert that Americans might be interested in knowing that President Bush induced them to back a war on the basis of completely fabricated notions he reported in State of the Union speeches as cold, hard facts. While Democrats were wrestling over the issue of whether to point out that Bush told Americans that Saddam Hussein had purchased uranium to make nuclear bombs when it was well known that this never occurred, Bush raised another $50 million in campaign funds. Or at least, that's what he says. -------- TITLE: White House Chides Israel For Attempted Murder Of Hamas Leader AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 6/12/2003 09:15:00 AM ----- BODY: Could Ruin Future Photo Opportunities, Say Bush, Rove The White House, concerned that Israeli attempts to snuff out the life of the leader of Hamas, sent "strong signals" to Prime Minister Sharon today not to try anything like this until after the 2004 election. "This kind of violence," said Rove, "is absolutely dangerous to the practice of showing photographs of Bush shaking hands of Mideast leaders and claiming to have engineered peace. Any attempted assassination puts us in the position of having to organize another photo opportun-- excuse me, "peace summit." It even endangers our ability to pass around the old pictures and say that they're new ones." Sharon was unapologetic, and suggested airbrushing any Hamas leaders out of the pictures already taken. Ari Fleischer, who was in the middle of packing his bags to go on a world wide cruise around America, said, "This kind of violence is a threat of the worst kind to any image that President Bush is actually promoting peace in the Middle East. I am shocked that anyone would consider impeding President Bush's attempts to get elected." -------- TITLE: Claimed Iraqi Bioweapons Trailers Revealed To be Winnebagos AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 6/11/2003 08:53:00 AM ----- BODY: Leather Bucket Seats Were Key Clue Independent analysts who were permitted to inspect several recovered trailers which the CIA had concluded were mobile biological weapons factories reported that the trailers were clearly Winnebagos. "I'm not sure which tipped me off first," said Dr. Alvin Irkman of the North Atlantic Biological Confederate. "It was either the spacious living room with custom-designed, sculptured carpet and imported Italian ceramic tile floorcovering or the exclusive Ulti-Bay chassis with multiple slideout floorplan and Storemore ® undercarriage slideout storage space. Maybe it was the deluxe bedroom with spacious cedar-lined closet, beautiful wood cabinetry, decorative wainscoting, real wooden headboard, 19" TV and standard rear stereo that I've come to expect from Winnebago." CIA officials disputed the suggestion that the trailers were anything but mobile bioweapons labs, pointing out that the labs had fermenters for growing germs connected to pipes for siphoning off the "bioweapon slurry" for further processing elsewhere. "That's a chemical toilet with waste disposal hookup for connection to trailer park facilities," said Irkman. "It's next to the exterior wash station with pump switch, paper towel holder, and soap dispenser."

CIA drawing of trailer interior.


CIA photograph of trailer exterior.
-------- TITLE: Revisionist Historians Angry At Rice; Vow To Omit Her From Future AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 6/10/2003 12:27:00 AM ----- BODY: Revisionist historians, angry at Condoleezza Rice for casting revisionism in a negative light, threatened to remove her from future history books if she did not retract the reference. This past Sunday, Rice called accusations against the White House's manipulation of intelligence data "revisionist history," and derided those who were "rewriting history to suggest that the White House went to war because of Hussein's WMD." Professor Demetri Gazpacho, the President of the Revisionist History Association of America (RHAA), pointed out, "Revisionists have simply revised views of history which misrepresent what actually occurred. We recently corrected, for example, an American History textbook which devoted a chapter to the U.S. victory in Vietnam." Ironically, that textbook was in use at one of Rice's old universities, the University of Notre Dame. "By associating the word "revisionism" with falsehood, Rice is essentially recasting the meaning of revisionism," Gazpacho said. Gazpacho and his associates were considering how best to deal with Rice's offensive statements. Gazpacho said that the association was debating rewriting Rice out of future history books or perhaps just saying she was part of the Clinton administration. Other options included depicting Rice as an FBI agent at Ruby Ridge or as an American working with the Taliban. "This was not a smart move,' Gazpacho coldly intoned. "If you're part of history, we're the last people you want to mess with." -------- TITLE: Rice, Powell: Nothing Wrong With Intelligence; It Was Decision-Making That Sucked AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 6/09/2003 12:54:00 PM ----- BODY: WASHINGTON, D.C., Sunday - Condoleeza Rice and Colin Powell made the rounds on Sunday Morning television yesterday, stating firmly that there was nothing wrong with intelligence estimates of Saddam Hussein's possession of WMD. Rice commented on recent charges that the intelligence reports were "cooked" to back up political motivations. "This is absolutely untrue," said Rice, appearing on ABC's "This Week." "The intelligent reports were not tailored or doctored in any way," she said. "It was the speeches and statements of the Administration that were politically motivated. It is revisionist history to say otherwise." Powell defended the Administration's handling of the intelligence. "It would be silly to put political pressure on the CIA analysts. We don't have to. We're the only ones who get to see their reports. We can say those reports said whatever we want." Powell was speaking to Tim Russert on "The Sunday Beginning-of-the-Week Propaganda Cycle" (also known as "Meet The Press"). "Everyone knows truth is the first casualty of war. Any misstatement by the Administration regarding the true nature of the threat posed by Hussein was just collateral damage." -------- TITLE: Unemployment Rate Skyrockets To 6.1%; Bush Team Calls It "Great Opportunity for Economic Growth" AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 6/08/2003 04:55:00 PM ----- BODY: Prefers To Call Unemployed "Democrats" Faced with the longest sustained period without job growth since the period before World War II (that is, since the Great Depression), the White House noted that the enormous number of lost jobs shows that the economy is recovering. White House economists explained projections had been for even more massive job losses: "Frankly," said Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao, "We are encouraged by the pace of the lack of growth." White House economists pointed to record purchases of flat screen TVs and Playstation 2's with maxed-out credit cards as a sign that the economy is doing well. (One umployed person explained: "There are no jobs out there. Might as well sit around and play Medal of Honor.") While the White House was toying with a variety of phrases for the unemployed, such as "previously owned workers," and "pre-employed laborers," Karl Rove simply called them "Democrats." "Typical democrats," said Rove,"losing their jobs and blaming it on the Republicans. Next thing you know they'll be whining that they can't afford adequate health care." Vice-President Dick Cheney added, "I know there are some real people out there who might be in-between jobs, but this is just a phase. " "After all," he continued, "Everyone I know is working." -------- TITLE: Bush Performs Faith Healings For Troops; Says "You Are Hee-yalled! Yay-ah!" AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 6/06/2003 11:10:00 PM ----- BODY: -------- TITLE: Bush Promises To "Ride Herd" Over Peace Meetings; Mideast Interpreters Mistakenly Fired AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 6/06/2003 12:57:00 PM ----- BODY: Some Arab Leaders Privately Tantalized By Suggestion

Israeli and Palestinian leaders could not understand one whit of President Bush's cowboy rhetoric at a recent photo opportunity cum meeting, so they fired most of their translators today, thinking that President Bush's garbled speech and strange Texan turns of phrase could only have been the result of poor translation. President Bush's most confusing statement was his recent declaration that he was going to "ride herd" over them until they came to an agreement. Virtually all of the translators involved in the meetings were fired, replaced, or suspended, or, in the case of some, summarily executed. Part of the problem lay in the fact that the Arabic translation of "ride herd" was, according to one source, "Morrocan and profane." "He's going to what over us?" said Prime Minister Abbas. "Is that legal in his country?" Sharon was no less startled by the remarks. "We in Israel ride many things," said Sharon, "but never that." Some lower level Arab officials were secretly curious about the statement, saying they "were willing to try it," and that it sounded like they might "really, really like it." -------- TITLE: Constant U.S. Rain, Winds Result of Putin Weather Control Machine AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 6/05/2003 10:56:00 AM ----- BODY: Russian leader Putin has acquired a weather control device that he has apparently used to destroy Spring in America. The thaw in U.S./Russia relations has led to a corresponding wave of bad weather in America which had U.S. officials puzzled until Putin unveiled his device to ensure sunny weather during a parade in Moscow. Then all became clear. "Ha, ha," exclaimed a gleeful Putin, speaking on the "red phone" to President Bush, "Now you will go directly from a cruel, snowfilled winter to an excruciatingly hot, humid summer without one perfect picnic day!"



Putin recently bragged to a delighted Gerhardt Schroeder at the G8 summit about making spring "werry unpleasant for Americans." He also took credit for the beautiful and sunny days enjoyed by world leaders at the summit. "With this weather device," laughed Putin, "I can control . . . the world!" -------- TITLE: Martha Stewart's Real Crimes AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 6/04/2003 10:51:00 AM ----- BODY: -------- TITLE:

"Opinions You Should Have" Bought By Rupert Murdoch; Will Now Be Called "Opinions You Will Have"

AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 6/03/2003 12:02:00 AM ----- BODY: Barely a minute had passed after the FCC voted to ease media ownership restrictions when Opinions You Should Have was purchased in a hostile takeover by Rupert Murdoch . Mr. Murdoch, who owns 20th century Fox, Fox TV, The New York Post, The Sydney Mirror, Asia's Star television, and is the only media mogul to have created and controlled a truly global media empire, waited not one moment before snatching up the highly prized weblog Opinions You Should Have. The staff of Opinions You Should Have Opinions You Will Have regrets any impression given by previous articles. While there may be a place for specious juvenilia and left-wing satire,the new management looks upon previous articles as "youthful indiscretions" of a maturing weblog and is willing -- even enthusiastic -- to put such adolescent and bitter parodies behind them. We at the weblog look forward to achieving a sensible maturity with more serious reporting and views more appropriate to the tenor of the media jewel "Opinions" has become. While members of the Graphics and Research departments will stay on, Mr. Thomas Burka is seeking to ingratiate himself with the new ownership while occupying the temporary position of Coffee Boy, which is a little like a cabana boy but far more limiting. -------- TITLE: Tony Blair, President Bush, Find WMD, Forget Where They Put Them AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 6/02/2003 07:30:00 AM ----- BODY: Today, President Bush announced that he had found WMD in his left pants pocket during a dinner with Tony Blair but that they had misplaced them during dessert and a really fine cup of coffee. The WMD, which Bush swears was discovered somewhere in Iraq and relayed to him by somebody, were almost certainly there when dinner started, although Bush said, "They could be in my other suit." Blair was unconcerned. "We're going to find more WMD, we're going find them soon, and we're going to keep on finding them." Blair went on to say that he had seen plenty of evidence of WMD and that "sooner or later, at some point, maybe not today, but hopefully by tomorrow -- or as late as mid-summer -- the people will hear about it, and they'll know what we knew and know now but won't tell them because we don't want to tell them now and we have our own truly fine, impeccable, unimpeachable reasons for hiding from them the evidence that we now known -- and have known all along.' -------- TITLE: "Waldorf Transcripts" Show Straw, Powell, Had Excellent Appetites, Knew How To Pick Wine AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 6/01/2003 04:47:00 PM ----- BODY: The Waldorf Transcripts , transcripts of taped conversations between British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and Gen. Colin Powell in New York's lush Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in February just hours before Powell's "big pitch" to the U.N., have surfaced, and some say they don't look too good in daylight. The transcripts have been anonymously leaked to the press by a member of the U.N. Security Counsel who was lied to about WMD in order to gain support -- in other words, Cameroon. "We not very happy about this in Cameroon," said an unidentified Cameroonian named Jack deBont Ngongo, who drives a white porsche with the license plate JL45-E and lives on East 51st Street in New York. "Just read this," he said, handing over a portion of the transcripts:
[sound of loud crunching] Straw: More salad? Powell: No, no – but you can’t beat those apples and walnuts. Whoever thought of this was a genius. Straw: Quite, quite. And this sherry is absolutely superb. Powell: Damn fine. Straw: Not like those intelligence reports. Powell: [gunshot laugh] No. [to waiter] Can we get more of these , uh, little crackers? Unidentified Waiter With Boom Microphone: Of course. Powell: Nope, those reports don't have the crispness or the fine finish of this 1897 Chateau neuf de pape. They’re [expletive deleted]. Straw: Quite right, old chap. [talking with mouth full] I wish we had something REAL to present to the U.N. (to waiter) I need a clean fork. Powell: I’m very troubled by it. Damn, this paté is outstanding. Straw: Croissant? Powell: Thanks.
Ngongo said, "Listen to that. We met with him just an hour before and we were famished. What did we get? Baloney." -------- TITLE: War Mistakenly Declared Over AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 5/30/2003 08:40:00 AM ----- BODY: Iraqi Opposition Apparently Uninformed of End of Hostilities U.S. Commander Lt. Gen. David McKiernan today said he had realized that the Iraqi war was still going on. Vital clues included the continuing deaths of U.S. soldiers due to opposition sorties and a smack on the head from Staff Sergeant Minnie Dubloon. It also dawned on those few U.S. generals and colonels that they would have to call back many of the troops the U.S. had just spent millions of dollars sending back home, placing them back in harm's way. "We'll probably need some of them tanks and missiles and stuff, too," said Sgt. Omar "Tecumseh" Bradley of Maine. "It would be totally hard to fight this war without them thangs." Some were quick to point fingers and other quick to point rifles, depending on how exposed their positions were. "I sure am glad that we have such great armed forces," said Private Irving Ukulele, who wished to remain unidentified for this article. "Because our leadership sure sucks." -------- TITLE: Karl Rove Has Orgasm At Tax-Cut Signing Ceremony AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 5/30/2003 08:39:00 AM ----- BODY: Smokes Cigarette Outside Of Oval Office Afterwards
During President's Bush's signing of an enormous $350 billion tax cut bill, Rove suddenly emitted a low moan, gave a gasp of pleasure, and shouted, "YES, YES, YES!" just as the President put his pen to the paper. After the ceremony, Rove took the bill into his private office for "some quality time." Rove later claimed that he had had a "religious experience" and refused to talk further about it. -------- TITLE: Showtime To Air Original Horror Flick; Filmed in Karl Rove-a-Vision® AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 5/29/2003 10:36:00 AM ----- BODY: Two-Hour Campaign Commercial Most Frightening Film Ever The Big Dance, a cross between Frankenstein and War of the Worlds, is about a powermad dictator who hijacks the U.S. government, hypnotizes the people and installs a dumb non-elected idiot in the White House who will do his bidding. Timothy Bottoms will play the willing puppet of a crazed Machiavellian schemer who capitalizes on the worst tragedy in American history to maintain power, and plunges the world into war for personal gain while forsaking all at home except for the few privileged rich he needs to keep him and his schemes alive. "I've never seen anything so scary," boasted Tod Schmeckman, of Showtime Films. "This film will literally make your blood congeal." He went on to say the film was "kind of like Pinky and the Brain but much grimmer: Pinky is much more presentable, wears suits with expensive ties, and works out a lot, so he stays in shape and plays well to cameras. The Brain is far more frightening than his cartoon counterpart -- he doesn't have the fantastic voice of Orson Wells, and he's diabolically smarter. Even spookier, he stays completely behind the scenes, a terrifying unseen presence, like the ghosts in The Haunting, but much, much more -- did I say terrifying?" The film also utilizes Karl Rove-a-vision® , an immersive interactive technique where viewers are placed under electronically controlled Scottish sweaters and chains, so that at critical points in the story, their chains are yanked and the wool is pulled over their eyes. Screenwriter Lionel Chetwynd, writer of the award-winning drama movie The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, said, "I always wanted to do horror. It wasn't until the Bush Administration that the right material came along to do it with." Thanks to Eric Tam of Antidotal for his tip about the film. -------- TITLE: Bush Fund Raising Letter Asks For Cash, Offers Prizes AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 5/28/2003 10:11:00 AM ----- BODY: President Bush has kicked off his campaign for reelection with an appeal for cash in his first fundraising letter to a million prospective cash wranglers. In the letter, President Bush said that the election "could be close," so he needs piles and piles of money; excess cash, if any, will be raked into excess piles that donors can jump into, a popular mid-November GOP sport. The letter set out to "incentivise" fundraisers by, among other things, awarding them fancy titles: Anyone who raises $50,000 will be called a "Pathfinder;" anyone who raises $100,000 will be called a "Man of Yale;" anyone who raises $200,000 will be called an "Industry Lobbyist;" anyone who raises $500,000 will be called a "Monopolist;" and anyone who raises more than $500,000 will be called "Kenneth Lay." Additionally, select photo sets and valuable items will be given to the most successful fundraisers, among these being: -------- TITLE: "Leadership Luncheon" With Karl Rove To Include Braised Flank of
Laidoff Auto Worker And More
AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 5/23/2003 02:12:00 PM ----- BODY: Millionaires Call Dishes "Absolutely Divine"
Karl Rove is kicking President Bush's fundraising activities into high gear, featuring a raft of spectacular events that monied corporate interests and wealthy financiers just can't miss. Coming up soon is a $5000 a plate meal featuring the finest cuisine Republicans have to offer.
First Course
Carpaccio of Disenfranchised Minority
served with a variety of corporate capers, picked fresh from the exploits of Enron, Global Crossing, Halliburton, and drizzled with Harken Energy oil

Second Course
Glazed-over Gaze of Average American
served under a reduction of diversified and unbiased media

Third Course
Filet of Middle Class Taxpayer
lightly seared, gently cajoled, cradled in a bed of insincere promises and propelled by a subtle distillation of fear

Dessert
Poor Man's Souffle
soaked by the essence of Privileges of the Very Rich
-------- TITLE: Homeland Security Department Replaces Vigiliance With Inquisition; Ridge Unveils "Clever New Tool For Rooting Out Terrorism" AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 5/22/2003 11:08:00 PM ----- BODY: Feels Safer Than Ever
"With breathtaking clarity of vision and great ingenuity," Tom Ridge noted at a congratulatory press conference, "Judge William Crosbie has uncovered a sly and ingenious device for the detection of terrorrists living among us. It is with this in mind that I have created the Bureau of Civilian Inquisition. Tom Ridge was praising a new tool in the fight against terrorism invented by Judge Crosbie, who capably deployed it in his courtroom in Tarrytown, New York. Judge Crosbie was presiding in Tarrytown's village court when Anisa Khoder, a 46-year-old American citizen of Lebanese descent came before him to challenge the validity of two parking tickets. That's when Judge Crosbie leapt into action. "Are you a terrorist?" Judge Crosbie asked. He now recalls he may have pointed an accusing finger at her and announced, in a loud clear voice, "J'accuse!" Khoder fainted dead away, undoubtedly from the shock of having her terrible secret revealed. She was immediately spirited to an undisclosed location for interrogation; whatever her fate, authorities have been careful to point out that she will still have to take care of those two parking tickets. Ridge, who demonstrated the technique for reporters, will be stocking the newly created Bureau with Will Parker, Beth Parker and Sam Parker, a family known for its great curiosity. The Parkers -- known for their large probosci -- will roam the countryside, asking those they encounter, "Are YOU a terrorist?" Anyone who answers yes or faints dead away will be placed in federal custody. -------- TITLE: Public Service Retirees Discovered to Have Been Spending "More Time" With Wrong Familes AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 5/21/2003 02:55:00 PM ----- BODY: In the wake of Christy Todd Whitman's recent announcement that she was resigning from the Bush Administration so she could "spend more time with her own family," it was discovered that Karen Hughes, who had retired from the White House staff to spend more time with her own family, was mistakenly living with Norman and Brenda Kildare and their three children in Eastern Kentucky. "We didn't know who she was," said Mrs. Kildare. "But she was just so well organized and everything that we were afraid to ask her to leave." Rumsfeld and Cheney denied rumors that they were thinking of leaving their jobs. "The last thing I'd want to do," said Cheney, "is spend more time with my own family." "And I think they feel the same way," he added. -------- TITLE: Terrorists Raise Threat Level To Orange Because Of Increase In Cable News Network Chatter AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 5/21/2003 09:33:00 AM ----- BODY: Anonymous sources from terrorist groups indicated that they had increased the likelihood of committing a terrorist act because of what they called "an incredible rise in the level of punditry and unfounded speculation" detected on MSNBC, CNN, Fox, and the Cartoon Network. An unidentified source named Hamid Baq-ti-qar Amith, a member of al Qaeda, said, "We cannot take it anymore. This Chris Matthews with his Hard Ball is making us crazy. These Fox news people with their reporting and deciding have us climbing the walls. Someone must silence this Geraldo man. The violence must be stopped!" Cable news networks declined to comment or speculate about the nexis between 24/7 news "coverage" and any increase in terorrorist activity. However, they did ask Ann Coulter to appear on MSNBC at 7:00 p.m. tonight to discuss the question with Greta Van Susterin, Bill O'Reilly, James Carville, Jeffrey Toobin, a host of former government officials and armed forces retirees, John Gleeson (author of "Cable News Networks, the Five Second News Cycle, and You"), and Jerry Mathers. -------- TITLE: War Constant Obstacle to Peace in Mideast AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 5/21/2003 08:07:00 AM ----- BODY: Numerous suicide bombings in Israel are significantly deterring efforts to stop suicide bombings in Israel. "If this war would just stop, we could get down to the business of negotiating the end of it," said Ariel Sharon today, after he cancelled a planned trip to meet with President Bush to discuss plans to make trips to discuss negotiations for peace with the Palestinians. -------- TITLE: Bush Committed to "Road Map" For Mideast Peace, Despite Problems "Backing Out of The Driveway" AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 5/20/2003 11:33:00 AM ----- BODY: Rejects "Process," "Plan" "Schedule of Interim Goals," "Itinerary," "Agenda" As Metaphors For "Diplomatic Initiative" President Bush today declared that he was dedicated to the "road map" as the phrase he will use to connote his otherwise undescribed plan for acheiving peace in the Middle East. "We talked about a plan," said Bush, "and some other words. But 'Road Map' is much better, because it sounds like we know where we have to go and how to get to it." Bush added that the stream of rhetorical metaphors which come from the phrase "road map" make it all the more enticing as an emblematic phrase: "We can say 'it's a bumpy road,' we've come upon an 'obtacle' on the road to peace, we're making an 'unscheduled U-turn' on the way to peace, 'there's a signpost up ahead,' that kind of thing. It always sounds like we're making progress -- 'coming a few clicks closer to peace' -- no matter what happens. It doesn't even matter whether we get these guys to meet, or talk, or agree upon anything. We've got a road map. They can follow the route we've charted or they can drive right off the road, but at least we can claim we've shown them the way." -------- TITLE: Ari Fleischer to Resign This Summer; Has "Really Big Steak" To Grill AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 5/19/2003 06:20:00 PM ----- BODY: Ari Fleischer, the erstwhile press secretary famous for his deadpan delivery of Bush Administration bon mots, drollery and outright evasion -- which he comically called "information" -- today announced his pending resignation this coming summer. Fleischer stated that, after mastering the task of saying as many as twenty-eight completely contradictory things in one day, sometimes in as little as one hour, and often going for days answering hundreds of questions without providing even one meager sliver of information, he was either going to take a well-deserved rest, or he wasn't. Asked about whether he was going to work in the private sector and whether he had yet received any job offers, Fleischer said, "That's certainly a question that we'll all want to know the answer to, and about which anyone would naturally be curious, and I'm sure the information will be made available as soon as we can get that out to you." Fleischer did say that if it was a really hot summer he might try to see how many eggs he could fry on the top of his head "for a lark." Although he was seen wearing a "Baghdad Ari?' t-shirt at a recent White House barbeque, Fleischer refused to answer questions relating to the upcoming opening for a Minister of Information in a soon-to-be-formed Iraqi democracy. "I'll have to get back to you on that," Fleischer told reporters. -------- TITLE: U.S. Forces Stop Shooting Iraqis; Offer Them $40 Instead AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 5/19/2003 11:35:00 AM ----- BODY: Iraqis Complain "Nothing To Spend It On" U.S. forces desperate to stop the tide of Iraqi looting and unrest despairingly offered each Iraqi 40 dollars if they would just "shut up and accept democracy already." Iraqis complained about the payoff, saying they should hold out for at least a nice DVD player or "quality watch." Baghdad resident Sahab Sharifi complained that the settlement was not acceptable to him because "the stores have nothing left to buy," and that, in any event, there was no electricity available to run "even the cheapest of toaster ovens." He also mentioned his belief that, in America, you could get more valuable items for opening a bank account. Sharifi said, "This would be true here, as well, if any of the banks were still operating." -------- TITLE: Dog to President Bush: Walk This AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 5/16/2003 10:12:00 PM ----- BODY: According to U.S. News and World Report, Barney, President Bush's black scotty, refuses to listen to President Bush's commands, and "rarely plays with Bush." Barney explained, "I am so sick of him bringing that damn ball back to me, him wagging his tail, expecting me to throw it again." Barney continued, "He always has this big goofy grin and slobbers over everything. He disgusts me. It has nothing to do with my being black." Barney dismissed the idea of spending more time with Bush. "Look, I have better things to do than lead that dope around by the nose all the time. Who do I look like, Karl Rove?'" Barney sniffed. "I'm very busy. I'm trying to solve this dog longevity thing. There must be a way for intelligent animals like myself to outlive morons." Barney's ears dropped and his tail was listless. "Life isn't fair," he said. "There are good people with bad hearts who can't afford to get cardiac caths every two years like Dick Cheney. Good dogs get worms. When you scratch my belly, no matter how damn smart I am, my leg goes up and down like I have freaking palsy." -------- TITLE: In Parallel Universe, Professor Richard Cheney Horrified To Discover Other-Dimensional Self To Be Friendly With Rumsfeld AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 5/15/2003 10:32:00 AM ----- BODY: Nobel Laureate and renowned genius Professor Richard Cheney, famed for ending the world's dependence on fossil fuels by inventing the button-sized fusion cell and revered for ushering in an era of world peace and prosperity, today fired up his newest invention -- a device capable of retrieving visual information from what he believes to be alternate and parallel universes -- and was thoroughly stunned to discover newspaper accounts of his longtime friendship with Donald Rumsfeld. Professor Cheney's blood congealed as he read about his vice-presidential alter-ego:
It is part of Washington lore that Donald Rumsfeld gave young Dick Cheney his start in government, hiring him as an assistant in the Nixon administration. But Mr. Cheney revealed today that 35 years ago, when Mr. Rumsfeld was still a congressman, he flunked his first interview with the man who would eventually become his mentor, boss and hawkish ally. "It was clear that we hadn't hit it off," the vice president said of his ill-fated 15-minute meeting in Mr. Rumsfeld's Capitol Hill office in 1968. "He thought I was some kind of airhead academic, and I thought he was rather an arrogant young member of Congress."
Professor Cheney stated: "I remember that meeting. Rumsfeld was an arrogant young man and now he's an arrogant and unrepentant convict." Reading of a purported 35-year long relationship with Rumsfeld, Professor Cheney added, "I don't know what bothers me more, my friendship with Rumsfeld or that that crook Nixon was President. I want to puke." Professor Cheney, known for his glowing, positive demeanor and a joie de vivre that is the envy of all, not to mention his phenomenal health, has never been so publicly demoralized. "In this other world," Professor Cheney said, "I'm a penny-pinching miser bent on destroying the environment just so I can make a few lousy bucks. I am arrogant, my friends are arrogant, and we are bent on world domination. No wonder this other Cheney has heart trouble." -------- TITLE: Iraq Reloaded AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 5/14/2003 09:54:00 PM ----- BODY: Today, U.S.Administrator Paul Bremer adopted a new policy to combat crime in Iraq permitting U.S. forces to try and sentence alleged criminals as soon as, or even before, they have been taken into custody. To speed up the process, which can normally take as long as ten minutes, U.S. forces will execute sentence first, shooting and killing alleged criminals, and hold the trials afterward. Families of suspects who are acquitted will receive stunning floral bouquets. Bremer called this a "more muscular" approach to crime fighting. He said that he had rejected an "intestinal" approach, a "monosylabic" approach, a "gesticular" approach, an "aerodynamic" approach, and a "septicemic" approach before settling on "muscularity" as the buzzword for his plan. Iraqis took comfort in the thought that the tide of violence and anarchy awash in the streets of Baghdad since Saddam's ouster would soon be stemmed by roving groups of U.S. soldiers firing at them willy-nilly. -------- TITLE: Jay Garner Demoted to Shoulder Rest For Reporters At Iraq Press Conferences AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 5/13/2003 09:03:00 AM ----- BODY: Retired U.S. General Jay Garner was visibly unsettled when he was demoted from the position of U.S. Administrator of Iraq to shoulder rest at the press conferences of the new administrator, civilian Paul Bremer III. "It's humiliating," said Garner. At Bremer's first press conference, Garner was asked to prop up the arm of television news reporter Hans Needleman of WZID, so Needleman could position his tape recorder microphone in front of Bremer before playing his tape over the phone to his boss back in Cornhaven, Idaho. Reporters later asked Garner who he was, and why he was looked like Harvey Keitel playing a disgruntled assassin in Reservoir Dogs, but without the nice suit. -------- TITLE: Dr. Germ and Mrs. Anthrax Captured; Colonel Mustard Still At Large AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 5/12/2003 12:23:00 PM ----- BODY: Today, U.S. officials announced to feeble-minded Americans and President Bush that "Dr. Germ’" had surrendered in Baghdad. "Dr. Germ" is Dr. Rihab Taha, the scientist alleged to have been the leader of Iraq's biological weapons program. Today, Condoleeza Rice, whom President Bush calls "Professor," informed the President that "Dr. Germ" was in custody but that the whereabouts of "Mr. Dictator" were still unknown. President Bush learned of the incident while he was using "Mr. Fork" and "Mr. Knife" to eat his lunch. The infamous Colonel Mustard, chief of Iraq's chemical weapons program and a suspect in a number of killings in ballrooms, libraries, studies, and conservatories all over the world, remains unapprehended, although it is rumored that a lead pipe and a candlestick were found suspiciously near a knife, pistol and rope in a secret passageway connecting two rooms in one of Baghdad's Presidential Palaces. Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld, whom the President knows as "Mary Ann," had no comment. -------- TITLE: Mideast Road Map Hard To Read, Impossible to Fold AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 5/10/2003 07:45:00 PM ----- BODY: Yesterday, a bitter dispute broke out between Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas over whether to take an immediate left turn, or stop at the next service plaza and ask directions on the way to peace. At last report, the pair had pulled over to the side of the road to once again examine the road map. Sharon insists on taking the Interstate at least as far as the West bank, but Abbas want to take backroads to avoid traffic. "The Interstate gets completely backed up this time of year," said Abbas. shaking his head in frustration. "It's crazy," he told Sharon. "We'll just be sitting there, inching ahead, barely moving -- we'll get stuck there a million miles from an offramp, I know it." "Many of these roads are not even on the map, as far as I can see," Sharon replied. "We're just going to get lost." Among other disagreements the parties have encountered are who gets to drive, who gets to ride shotgun, and whether to listen to Kelly Clarkson's "Thankful" CD (Sharon) or Duran Duran (Abbas) during the trip. Finally, Secretary of State Colin Powell's backseat driving has become, according to the Prime Ministers, "intolerable." "I don't think he has a clue about how to get where we're going, but he won't shut up," said Abbas. Sharon was more direct: "Don't make me reach back there." -------- TITLE: Enterprising GOP Senators Raise Taxes So They Can Cut Them; Will Also Restore Frederick Douglass House Then Tear It Down AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 5/09/2003 11:41:00 AM ----- BODY: Enterprising GOP Congressmen were on a roll, stopping at nothing, working around the clock to get some real work done in Washington. First they're going to raise taxes so they can cut them, then they're going to restore the home of Frederick Douglass, then bulldoze it. "Since we renamed the French Fry, we've just been on a productive roll unlike anything Americans have seen before," said Dennis Hastert. Future GOP projects include: -------- TITLE: Are We Not Men? We Are Devo: Scientists Discover New Subspecies of Man AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 5/07/2003 02:37:00 PM ----- BODY: Scientists have discovered a subspecies of hominids which demonstrates "devolution," or the process of a complicated species regressing down the evolutionary chain. The sub-species, called Homo sapiens democraticus, is notable in that, while it retains the characteristics of mammals (mammalia), it has lost the spinal chord or backbone typically found in vertebrates and also lacks the gift of true speech. Said Anthropologist Dr. Norman Brewster, "They gibber somewhat but are largely silent." He added, "There are other ways in which this represents a dramatic differentiation of the species: while they appear to reproduce sexually, as is characteristic of mammals, huge numbers of the subspecies seem totally impotent." Biologists were also investigating another subspecies, which also has traditionally been classified as human but is quite thick-skulled and lacks the diastema (the space between the teeth that allows the mouth to close) found in all hominids since Australopithecus. This is especially perplexing, said scientists, because this species walks around fully erect. "These animals have permanent hard-ons," said Dr. Brewster. "Moreover, while they reproduce sexually and, in fact, have sex all over the place they are culturally ashamed of the act. Perhaps this is because almost all of them are absolutely terrible in bed." The proposed name for the subsecies is Homo sapiens republicanus. Brewster stated, "Anyone having difficulty pronouncing it should remember this simple rule: The emphasis is placed on the "anus." -------- TITLE: Sitting Democrat Discovered To Have Orbs of Alloyed Copper and Zinc; Rest of Party Flees in Fear AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 5/07/2003 12:04:00 AM ----- BODY: Yet again, Senator Robert Byrd shocked his colleagues when he criticized President Bush for using "an aircraft carrier . . . as an advertising backdrop for a presidential political slogan," and made other remarks suggesting that Bush's address on the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln, as well as his arrival by jet wearing a U.S. Air Force flight suit, was improper. Byrd said that Bush was a "desk-bound president" improperly assuming the "garb of a warrior" to make a campaign commercial. Upon hearing Byrd's remarks, Congressional democrats wet themselves and fled in a panic from the Capitol, trampling several pages in the process. Unconfirmed reports indicate that Sen. Joseph Lieberman, who is running for President, coughed up a matzoh ball onto the lap of Teddy Kennedy, who found it there several hours later and put it with his golf clubs. Richard Gephardt was said to have become quite pale, but the allegation was impossible to confirm. Byrd had already frightened his colleagues last year when he voted against the war in Iraq, saying that giving the President the authority to go to war in order to help the President resolve the conflict peacefully "was absurd.' Senate Democrats called him "insane," "dangerous," and "wacky." The only Democratic member of Congress to stay in the Capitol with Byrd was Congressman Henry Waxman, who caused many of his colleagues to throw themselves off of the top of the Congressional Record (Vol. 5, 2003; height of nearly one foot) by asking the GAO to investigate and provide Congress with the cost of President Bush's trip to an aircraft carrier that was so close to the San Diego shoreline, he could have rowed himself out to it. -------- TITLE: Another False Alarm: "Mrs. Anthrax" Actually Mrs. Antifungal Powder AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 5/05/2003 10:56:00 PM ----- BODY: Full story at Smoky Mountain Journal. -------- TITLE: Excerpts from William Bennett's "Children's Book of Virtues" AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 5/05/2003 02:36:00 PM ----- BODY: -------- TITLE: Cheney Suggests Bush Make Absurdly Dangerous Landing On Aircraft Carrier AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 5/02/2003 11:16:00 AM ----- BODY: In three Presidential firsts, George W. Bush was visibly excited after arriving on board the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln on a S-3 Viking jet wearing a flight suit over the largest codpiece worn by any President in U.S. history. A jet landing on an aircraft carrier is considered to be the most dangerous maneuver a pilot can perform. The pilot flying the jet was told that if he failed to make a successful landing, he would be punished severely, but because an unsuccessful landing constitutes crashing and blowing up, the pilot was simply told that his remains would not be scraped off the back of the carrier if he screwed up. President Bush decided to arrive by jet at the suggestion of Dick Cheney, who said, "You'll be o.k. as long as you keep your privates covered." Cheney has also suggested that, for future press conferences, national addresses and pubic appearances, the President should:
Upon the President's return to the White House that evening, Cheney greeted him at the door to the Oval office with a cool drink and a snack. "Pretzel?" he offered. -------- TITLE: Poll Conclusively Shows That Bush's Drive to Deprive Americans of Health Care, Education, and Clean Air Paying Off AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 5/01/2003 09:16:00 PM ----- BODY: Sick, poor, Americans, poorly informed and barely educated, told pollsters even as they choked on rancid air and drank water with god-knows-what in it, told pollsters they thought the President was doing great. A new poll by the Washington Post and ABC News found that Americans think very well of the job President Bush is doing, even though they don't think he's doing a very good job at all. Americans consistently and overwhelmingly decided that Bush was a "strong leader," and they all agreed that he was leading them to lose jobs, money, and government services. 57% of Americans gave Bush low marks for presiding over the only job-losing Presidency other than Hoover's , and that he was doing a horrible job dealing with rising costs of prescription drugs, health care, and insurance. Thus, most of these Americans said, they thought Bush was doing "a pretty good job," and would almost certainly "vote for him again." Pollsters found the data easy to interpret. Glenn Sandersonsky of Rigby Biweekly Polls said, "These numbers look good, but they could still mean trouble for Bush. Terrorism at the expense of domestic welfare could be the big issue that drives the G.O.P. into the hole here or, it could be the issue that saves them from the disastrous economy, as in the previous midterms. Democrats may be able to use the economy and Bush's foreign policies to sink him; then again, the way they handle it may give Bush little floaties that help him to swim. I have to go now. I'm betting on some horses." -------- TITLE: Iraqis Protest Shooting of Iraqis by U.S. Soldiers; U.S. Soldiers Shoot Them AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 4/30/2003 12:58:00 PM ----- BODY: FALLUJAH, Iraq -- In a 2nd Incident, U.S. troops fired on Iraqi protesters protesting the shooting and killing of Iraqi protesters by U.S. troops the day before. Two protesters were killed. Meanwhile, Donald Rumsfeld addressed Iraqis from one of the Presidential palaces in Baghdad. "Iraq belongs to you," he said. "It's only the bullets that belong to us." Tomorrow, President Bush will stand on the deck of a really big aircraft carrier and announce that the war is over. "We've licked this whole thing," he said today. He was later heard to mutter, "If only we could get those Iraqis to stop shooting at us." -------- TITLE: Iraqis Celebrate; U.S. Soldiers Shoot Them AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 4/30/2003 12:44:00 PM ----- BODY: A small horde, group, or mass of Iraqis were either protesting the occupation of a school by U.S. forces or unwisely celebrating the birthday of Saddam Hussein when U.S soldiers in the school opened fire and either killed 13 or 15 of them or killed some of them while others were killed by what was called "celebratory gunfire." Soldiers in an elevated, enclosed schoolroom, unaware of either the lack of firecrackers in Baghdad or the practice of firing guns into the air to celebrate an event, apparently mistook the "celebratory gunfire"-- bullets fired up into the air that, obeying the laws of gravity, return to earth and accidentally revisit the shooter -- for "noncelebratory gunfire" -- in other words, people trying to kill them -- and killed members of the birthday party. News accounts differ. Some said the Iraqis were unarmed; others said that they were shooting off the guns into the air to protest the presence of U.S. soldiers in the schoolhouse; other said they were firing into the air to celebrate Hussein's birthday; others said that the Iraqis were dancing around a maypole and occasionally playing London bridge; one account said that Iraqis were threatening American forces with nuclear weapons and water pistols. The Washington post squared all of these accounts by simply reporting: "Details remained murky." -------- TITLE: Bush Signs Pact With Terrorist Group; White House Analysts Conclude That U.S. Must Invade Self AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 4/29/2003 11:02:00 AM ----- BODY: In light of President's Bush's repeated statements that nations that are against terrorism are "for us," and that nations that deal with terrorists are "against us," Senior White House officials have reluctantly concluded that a contract between the United States and a terrorist group on the State Department's list of terrorist organizations means that the United States will have to declare war on itself unless the United States ignores its own demands that the agreement be terminated "or else." "President Bush has repeatedly stated that countries that harbor, promote or support terrorism are against us and will be considered a hostile regime," said Theodore Shmeckman, a senior White House advisor. "The People's Mujahedeen is a large terrorist organization that has killed Americans in the past and supported the takeover of the American Embassy in Iran years ago. By contracting with them to allow their continued existence, we have just become a hostile regime. We have weapons of mass destruction, and we're a super-superpower. We're very dangerous, we pose a great threat to ourselves, and we must be stopped at all costs." -------- TITLE: Bush Insists Tax Cuts Will Cure SARS AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 4/28/2003 12:38:00 PM ----- BODY: At a speech today before the ASA ("Association of Stupid Americans"), Bush said, "Tax cuts will cure SARS. That much we know. If we don't pass this tax cut, God knows how many people will needlessly die because we failed to act -- to act now -- to give people the tax cuts that will stop this disease and heal the world's sick." Bush did not merely suggest that tax cuts would cure SARS: he also said tax cuts would cure the common cold, stimulate the economy, revive tired, aching muscles, bring peace to the Middle East, and give pigs wings. -------- TITLE: WHO Convenes Emergency Meeting of Hollywood Screenwriters to Combat SARS AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 4/26/2003 10:34:00 PM ----- BODY: In a move some called desperate and others hailed as an attempt at a creative solution to a difficult problem, the World Health Organization formed a "think tank" of Hollywood screenwriters and directors to craft strategies that would stem the spread of the pulmonary disease SARS. George Lucas proposed naming the initiative "SARS Wars," and said that, with some luck, they could "drag the thing out" for a good twenty to twenty-five years, turning it into "a surefire franchise." "The merchandising possibilities alone are staggering," he added. Other had more useful suggestions. Director Michael Bay (Armageddon) suggested rounding up all the people suspected of having the disease, blasting them off into space, marooning them on a giant asteroid, and then sending a team of blue-collar oil rig workers to blow them up. Writer-director James Cameron (Terminator, Terminator 2) suggested sending a killer robot with an Austrian accent back in time to track down and annihilate the doctor who originally treated the disease and exposed countless people by jetting around the globe before returning to Hong Kong and dying from the illness. "It might not eradicate the disease altogether," Cameron said, "but it might go a long way towards discouraging rank stupidity." Robert Towne (Chinatown) said he said some good ideas but hadn't yet come up with a good story structure. "I've got one or two plot points, but that's it." He then asked some questions about the Chinese water supply and whether any orange groves existed near Hong Kong. "They're probably the key to the whole thing," he said. Roman Polansky (Chinatown") was unable to attend the conference because it was held in Los Angeles. Michael Crichton (The Andromeda Strain, Jurassic Park) suggested making a female virus that's like a black widow -- "it mates with the male virus and eats the male during the sex act" -- that has infertile viral progeny, killing off the species. When told the virus was asexual, Crichton pooh-poohed the whole thing. "Nobody's really asexual," he said. "it's all about sex. Survival. Reproduction. Nature finds a way. Haven't you read just one of my books?" Buzz Meritt (Producer: Dragnet 2: Joe Friday Takes A Vacation, Remake of Flintstones 3 (the movie), working on a sequel to The In-Laws called The In-laws-In-Law, Gilligan's Island: The Becoming) said, "We could do that whole Fantastic Voyage thing. Shrink a team of scientists and a microscopic sub -- a handsome guy, a babe, some bald-headed genius, maybe someone else for comedic relief -- inject them into the body of someone with SARS. They grapple with the virus while, unbeknownst to them , a member of their own team -- who's say, a secret fundamentalist religious nut who believes SARS was God's plan to bring about the end of the world -- is working to sabotage them -- and then there's the whole potential for romance between the lead guy and the girl. And it's complicated because even though he's falling for her, and she for him, the guy they've been injected to is her fiance. Man, that's just brilliant. Anyway, it works out, they get a sample of the virus and witness how it works so they know how to defeat it -- they get out and we create nanorobots or something to inject into everyone else that stops them from getting it. Something like that." He got up to make a quick cell phone call to "his people," adding "whether or not you use it -- it's mine." -------- TITLE: North Korean Leader Kim Jong Il Discovered Just to Be Doing Bad Dr. Evil Impression AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 4/25/2003 11:41:00 AM ----- BODY: "I big fan," Kim Jong Il said, "I just have some fun." He explained that people had simply misinterpeted him when he threatened to blow things up, and that was simply portraying Dr. Evil, the famed madman from the Austin Powers movies. He put a stubby pinky finger to hs lips and said, "I blow up Califohnia unless you give me . . .. a bazill-yun dollah. Bwa-ha-ha-ha." Jong Il said that the U.S. had misunderstood him. "Bad joke, maybe. Maybe in bad taste. I sorry. We no have nuclear weapon," he said. "We just bunch guys try have fun on slow day, like anyone else. We have some small missile, yes, that we like take out when things dull, blow something up, pass time, you know? Not that different than American." -------- TITLE: Indiana Husband Claims Wife Has WMD, Wants Regime Change and $100 Billion For Rebuilding AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 4/24/2003 06:16:00 PM ----- BODY: Gerald Fishenbote declared today that his wife possessed serious "weapons of mass destruction," declared that she was dangerous, and asked the White House for urgent intervention to prevent her from using them. He also asserted that his wife was a ruthless dictator who unrelentingly tortured him with a social calendar that included dinners with unbearable couples and saddled him with inhumane tasks that turned him into a virtual slave during those few hours when he wasn't working to bring home money, which she controlled completely and spent on whatever she deemed appropriate. He told congressional leaders in his district and the White House switchboard that he was "pretty sure" she had a nuclear arms program, and possessed a stockpile of dangerous chemical and biological weapons that she kept "behind the bathroom mirror." He asked for a rapid deployment of U.S. troops, and $100 billion dollars for rebuilding his home after the invasion. "Either that," he said, "or maybe just redo the kitchen." -------- TITLE: Angry Rumsfeld Crushes Reporter's Left Testicle AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 4/22/2003 10:44:00 AM ----- BODY: In a stunning display of his supremacy over the media, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld crushed the left testicle of a reporter as his sole response to what he later said was "an annoying, time-wasting, meaningless question." The reporter, Daniel Kingsly of The Sacramento Sludge, later said, in tones several octaves higher than usual, that "these are the risks you take as a pool reporter when you ask a question that maybe you shouldn't have. Secretary Rumsfeld was fully justified in ripping my testicle off and I am just hoping that he will give me the opportunity to come back and thank him for my very just, very deserved punishment." That morning's press conference started normally. The Secretary took some simple questions regarding the number of troops stationed in Iraq and whether Rumsfeld was pleased that the POWs had returned home vefore he called upon Kingsly. Kingsly asked, "My question is twofold: First, are we really rebuilding Iraq or are we just saying that, and, second: if we dictate to the Iraqis the nature of their democratic government, that's not truly democratic, is it?" There was a pause before Secretary Rumsfeld suddenly reached into the press pool, ripped Kingsly's testicle from his body, crushed it, and held it up for the rest of the press pool to see. "Ok?" said Rumsfeld. "Any more smart-alecky questions?" He later told the press pool, "Don't think I can't get to an ovary if I have to." After Kingsly had been medically evactuated, the press conference resumed. The first question was "How does it feel to have managed such a perfect execution of Hussein's demise?" -------- TITLE: First Free Election in Baghdad Results in Election of George W. Bush; Angry Iraqis Claim They "Intended to Vote For Pat Buchanan" AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 4/18/2003 11:14:00 PM ----- BODY: Baghdad, April 18 - The installation of democracy appeared stalled here after election returns from the first free election in Baghdad appeared to indicate that 100% of Iraqis had voted for President George W. Bush. The White House seemed perplexed and denied that the administration of the elections by what it called "the independent interim government" was tainted or improper. Donald Rumsfeld appeared irritated at any suggestion of impropriety. "The voting process was very simple. You punched a hole in a card next to the name of the person whom you wanted to lead Iraq. The cards were collected, and the holes were counted. And apparently, there were a lot of holes in those little cards, all for the same guy. End of story." Angry Iraqis protested outside of Baghdad's Liberty Square, saying that the ballots had been confusing, and should have been in Arabic, at the very least. Some Iraqis claimed that the ballots that they had been given had only one hole that could be punched. Others said that it was unclear to them, after years of living under Saddam Hussein, whether the hole should have been punched, kicked, or maimed. Some Iraqis called for a recount, but it was unclear whether the Iraqi constitution and the laws set forth by the interim Iraqi government allowed for a recount, or specified the manner in which a recount could be done. Donald Rumsfeld again commented, "What's the problem? The votes were counted, they counted the holes in the cards. To recount them, you would count the holes in the cards again. In my view, that would constiute recounting. It doesn't need a description. The word itself tells you what you have to do. Re-count. It's that simple. Next question." President Bush immediately organized a bipartisan committee composed of Republicans to investigate the election and also to render an opinion as to whether a "sitting president can preside over more than one country at a time." Congresswoman Kathryn Harris was appointed to chair the committee; assisting her will be former Secretary of State James Baker, Jeb Bush, Ted Olsen, and at least one Iraqi who had not been to Iraq in the past forty years. -------- TITLE: Too Soon To Judge the War? AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 4/18/2003 10:57:00 PM ----- BODY: There's an excellent post by "Jkstraw" (Jack Straw?) which led to a spirited debate over at The Daily Rant. Many conservatives jumped on the "lefties were wrong in their doom and gloom outlook" bandwagon, referring to liberal perspectives on the course of the war, the aftermath of the war, and the failure (so far) to find WMD, which they now say was not the justification or goal for the war to begin with, and not proffered as such by Bush. I liked my response there so much I reprint it here:
It's fair to say that the administration trumped up and overestimated both the strength of Saddam Hussein's weapons, his possession of WMD, and his imminent or eventual threat to the U.S. or tot he security of the area to make the case for an urgent war where no such urgency existed. The left, which the conservatives here like to say have been proveed wrong at every turn, said all along that Saddam had been significantly, perhaps irrevocably weakened by the 1991 war and that he posed very little if any threat to our national security. So far, we (I'll put myself in with those lefties, since I said the above many times) have been proved completely correct. Saddam is the worst oppressor of his people in the world? (as one poster above said) No way. North Korea is a perfect example of a more despicable regime. China is considered not big on human rights. The debate -- when it is justifiable to use military intervention to cure human rights violations -- is an entirely different debate than the one Bush and his pals led the country in when they made the case for war (it was all about WMD -- e.g., Powell's pitch to the U.N.? WMD). When liberating the people from Hussein was thrown into an administration argument for the war, it was in the context of "WMD (and he's a brutal dictator, too)." If you say it's too soon to judge the need for the war based on the lack of WMD, then you have to admit also that it's too soon to judge whether the war was wise or justifiable. What will the next government be like? Will the region become more or less unstable? 5 or 10 or 20 years down the line, will the Iraqi people (who we claim to be helping) be better off, or worse? Will American security (and let's face it, we were never acting on behalf of anyone's interests but our own) be better? Will our foreign relations be better for us? Will the war damage us domestically? My position is that the Bush administration's actions are short-sighted, reckless, and dangerous. My opposition to the war was (and still is) based on the fact that the war was an unnecessary gamble that risks too much and stands to gain too little; that it has produced problems which you can see immediately and could foresee yesterday (with the international community and the domestic economy to start) -- and that the administration has not been the slightest bit honest about its aims or goals,so I can't even trust them on their judgment. Those who blindly support the administration in its claims, moves, pronouncements, wars and other actions are the ones who are being hasty.
-------- TITLE: The Truth Behind The Daily Rant AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 4/17/2003 11:20:00 AM ----- BODY: I thank Jane Finch and Jay Caruso (they're just one guy, actually) for letting me tell the real story behind the blog. -------- TITLE: Thanks to Antidotal AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 4/17/2003 07:05:00 AM ----- BODY: The fine folks at Antidotal (I think it's one guy, actually) were kind enough to reprint my coverage of the search for WMD in Iraq. I forgot, by the way, to mention Col. Richard McPhee, Commander of the 75th Exploitation Task Force, who must have spoken recently with General Walsh when he said, "It's only a matter of time." -------- TITLE: Lance Bass Offers To Strap Himself Into Warhead of U.S. Missile AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 4/16/2003 11:35:00 AM ----- BODY: Lance Bass, the frustrated N'Sync member whose dreams of rocketing into outer space in a Russian spaceship were crushed when he was apparently outbid by a Texas billionaire, has offered to pay one million dollars to be placed in the nose of a cruise missile and shot "wherever the U.S. needs to send it." "This would be such a rush," said Bass, whose spiked hair and amiable grin have endeared him to millions. "Hugging the contours of hostile terrain at like 500 miles per hour would be awesome." It was not explained how Bass intended to survive such an adventure, or whether he intended to be used as a "payload in the service of his country." U.S. officials declined to comment, but sources who wished to remain anonymous said the Pentagon was trying to evaluate the destructive force of a Lance Bass strike. Some speculated that the successful use of Mr. Bass could breathe "new life" into boy bands, "kind of." Murray-Bunim-Muenster, producers of the reality shows "The Real World: Somalia" and "When Good Dictators Go Bad" were reportedly interested in developing Bass's exploits as a sitcom. -------- TITLE: Scientific Testing Proves Careers of Jackson Browne and Darryl Hannah Destroyed By Breakup AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 4/16/2003 11:19:00 AM ----- BODY: Splitup of intellectually challenged couple who were "perfect for each other" doomed them to professional failure; Worst feared for Brittany Spears and Justin Timberlake. -------- TITLE: Task of Rebuilding Begins: Florida Election Booths to be Installed in Baghdad Tomorrow AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 4/16/2003 11:17:00 AM ----- BODY: Also coming: Walmart, Staples, Subway, Pizza Hut, CompUSA, TGIF, and Sizzlers. Statue of Hussein to be replaced with large wax model of Colonel Sanders. -------- TITLE: Bush Declares War Goal Met; Hussein's Weapons of Mass Destruction Gone AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 4/16/2003 11:14:00 AM ----- BODY: President Bush, in a press conference held at 4:10 a.m. today, said:
The Hussein regime harbored terrorists and possessed enough fissionable plutonium to extinguish the planet. It had a nuclear weapons program that was designed to build a nuclear bomb much larger than Eqypt, had tons of biological weapons -- Powell, show them the fake anthrax vial -- that could have killed us all, and chemical weapons that, as I understand it, were weapons containing chemicals. Now all of those weapons of mass destruction, as you can all see, are gone. I thank God that we were able to act so swiftly to eradicate a menace which so urgently threatened us all. The gun which Saddam Hussein was holding up against our heads has been taken from him, the bullets removed, and the revolver holstered. Americans can sleep more soundly, as they are no doubt sleeping now. Our coalition forces -- meaning U.S. forces and a British guy -- are now scouring Iraq to see if any traces of these terrible weapons still exist. But I am pleased to say that our mission worked -- our military served us -- and it appears that, in Iraq at least, they have effectively vanished due to our intervention. God bless us, God help the American People, and God -- An American God -- bless the Iraqi people.
After the conference, Bush had an early morning jog and a lengthy discussion with his wife about Katie Couric's hair. -------- TITLE: Bush Plan To Invade Iraq, Syria, Iran, and North Korea "Totally Different" Than Neocon Plan to Invade Iraq, Syria, Iran, and North Korea AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 4/16/2003 10:52:00 AM ----- BODY: The Bush Administration today denied that its plans to pressure and reshape the governments of Syria, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and North Korea bore no resemblance whatsoever to Neoconservatives' plans to dominate the world in precisely the same way. The Neoconservatives plans, drawn up in 1991 and documented in 1998 in a letter to President Clinton, outlined in the Weekly Standard, and commented upon in The Washington Monthly "have nothing to do with us," said Dick Cheney, who, said that his authorship of some of the neoconservative schemes was just part of the "incredible coincidence" linking neocoservative aims to the moves of the Bush Administration. "We've been perfectly honest about our constantly shifting rationales for the Iraq invasion. Right now, it's -- what is it?" Cheney asked, looking at some notes on his desk. "Oh, yes, we're liberating the Iraqi people." Asked about whether the Administration's threats to Syria demonstrated that the real motivation for invading Iraq was to execute teh neocon plan -- a grand scheme to forcibly reshape the Middle East and the rest of the world to insure the supremacy of America -- Cheney replied. "That's preposterous. It's a sheer coincidence. It's as unbelievable as those Dickens novels where Little nell discovers that Ms. Havesham and Pip are actually siamese twins who were seperated at birth, which makes her the heir to the entire Halliburton fortune. You know what I mean." President Bush described it differently. "It's completely absurd. It's like in The Fugitive, where the fugitive is always like one step behind the Man with One Arm, but he doesn't ever catch up with him, or like -- this is better -- in Spiderman, where Gwen Stacy dies, and then she comes back a bunch of years later as a clone, and then Peter Parker discovers that he's not even the original Peter Parker, he's a clone. That just confused the hell out of me." Donald Rumsfeld put it this way: "Just because one guy says, hey, let's do A and B, and then we'll do C, D, and E, and another guy does A and B, it doesn't make sense that that means the second guy will do C, D, and E, or that he even knows the first guy. Like, they could be complete strangers. Did I mention that freedom is untidy?" -------- TITLE: Whe are we fighting? We're invading -- I forget. CalPundit fills us in. AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 4/15/2003 11:59:00 PM ----- BODY: Click here. -------- TITLE: Suspected Chemical Weapons Actually Mammoth Collection of Pocket Lint AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 4/14/2003 11:02:00 PM ----- BODY: Suspect containers found in Karbala today housing many boxes containing a "suspect white, fluffy material," according to U.S. forces on the scene, turned out to contain pocket lint. Upon the initial discovery of the material, Sgt. Hurly Groton of the Fifth Brigade of the Third Column in the Second Row on the Righthand side of the Fourth Division, "Medical Doodads Unit," said something about the discovered material which sounded like "Immible tebs for chestible weemonds messle bled possibut," as far as could be heard through his 27-layer isolation suit. Later testing proved the huge stores of material to be, according to chemical analysis and documents buried with the materials, the largest collection of pocket lint ever found above or below ground. Officials from the Guinness Book of World Records were en route to the scene, but reportedly deeply excited. A spokesman for the Guiness Organization called it "the most significant collection on record since the discovery of the toenail clippings trove in Madras, 1976." General Robert Walsh of the Chemical Detection Engineers expressed disappointment, but was optimistic about the eventual discovery of weapons of mass destruction. So far U.S. forces have made many promising disscoveries: 1) Many tons of a white powdery substance in a chemical plant which turned out to be many tons of a (benign) white powdery substance. (General Walsh declined to elaborate.); 2) Some stuff U.S. forces thought was fissionable plutonium in a gum factory that turned out to be (benign) gum; and 3) Some really large anthrax-like spores in a bicycle factory that turned out to be bicycle spokes. (Benign.) Walsh was undeterred. "They're out there," he said, wading into a tank filled with a white, oozing paste-like substance in what the Iraqis claimed was a toothpaste factory. -------- TITLE: Deck of Cards Mixup Leads to Accidental Killing of King of Hearts AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 4/12/2003 02:49:00 PM ----- BODY: Yesterday, in an attempt to assist U.S. solidiers in the efforts to identify members of Saddam Hussein's regime, the Military issued a deck of cards featuring Iraqi officials. That deck contained 55 cards, and featured pictures of Qusay Hussein (as the Ace of Clubs) and Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz (the Eight of Clubs). Today, however, soldiers who were confused about decks of cards they had in their posession mistakenly shot the King of Hearts, who they claimed "failed to respond to repeated requests to take off his crown." In other of areas of Iraq, the Queen of Hearts was discovered making some tarts, and immediately placed in custody. The Jack of Diamonds evaded capture after a lengthy chase by coalition forces. When contacted, the Bicycle Corporation had no explanation why so many members of their decks were present in Iraq, but bemoaned the accidents and threatened legal action. "This is a terrible tragedy for card players all over the world," said Fred Bazillionaire, chief spokesman for the Bicycle Corporation. Officers of the Bicycle and Bee Corporations were considering filing wrongful death suits, but could not, at press time, decide who would lead and which suit would be trump. The incidents have affected games everywhere. Terry Hinkle, President of the Hearts Gaming Club of America, complained, "The Jack of Diamonds is now impossible to get. He just doesn't show up in any hand. That's -10 points that I personally could pick up in pretty much every round I ever played. If only they had taken out the Queen of Spades." In an unrelated story, Pfc. Norman Ishkowitz, who had been on something of a "lucky roll," was shaken upside down until his pockets were emptied after a poker game with members of his platoon in which he was discovered to have two Saddams and an extra Uday hidden in his cargo pants. Tariq Aziz, in Secret Communication, Complains He "Should Have Been a Face Card" Details to follow suit. -------- TITLE: Headlines In Briefs AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 4/09/2003 10:10:00 PM ----- BODY: Jubilant Iraqis Topple Statue, Accidentally Crush Small Dog Kurds Victorious in North, Will Be Joined By Whey Both small kurds and large kurds rejoice, claim complete control of tuffet. Marines Wage Fierce Battle For Baghad University, Immediately Demand Curriculum Change Want credit for beer pong. Arrogant Toppled Statue of Saddam Hussein Asks for Tips -------- TITLE: Marines Encounter More Than Just Pockets of Resistance in Baghdad, Try to Fend Off Complete Pants AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 4/08/2003 11:28:00 PM ----- BODY: April 8, Baghdad -- Marines encountered pockets of resistance in southeast Baghdad, zippers of incomprehensibility in the west, inseams of irregularity in the north, and trouser cuffs of indefatigability in the center of town. The Pentagon confirmed that U.S. forces were trying to secure the seat of Baghdad, and hoped to control the belt buckle as early as Tuesday. "It depends how deep those pockets, how irregular the inseams, how incomprehensible the zippers prove, and -- whatever we said the cuffs were, how whatever we said they were turn out to be, " said General Hugh Fitzimmons today. "We're also going to try to have the waist taken in by Saturday," he added. -------- TITLE: U.S. Marines Discover Hidden Trove of Extra Hussein Sons AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 4/07/2003 11:40:00 AM ----- BODY: Baghdad, April 6 - U.S. Marines securing an atomic energy facility discovered a hidden room containing seven "backup" sons of Saddam Hussein who were prepared to take over the throne if Hussein's known sons, Uday and Qusay, were killled or otherwise unable to exercise power. Documents revealed that in addition to Qusay and Uday, Saddam's seven other sons are named Buday, Ruday, Huday, Cruday, Mamuday, Yahuday, and Sunday. When the Marines found them, the "secret sons" were playing a spirited game of poker, with the exception of Sunday, who was resting. Rumors that three additional sons, Juday, Daduday, and Puday, exist in another location, are unconfirmed. -------- TITLE: Kerry Remark About Need for U.S. Regime Change Inflames and Baffles GOP AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 4/06/2003 12:41:00 AM ----- BODY:
Republicans were up in arms and confused about Sen. John Kerry's recent suggestion that it was time for regime change here in the United States. "The comparison of George W. Bush to Saddam Hussein is outrageous and unfair," sputtered Deputy RNC Chair Jack Oliver. He ticked off several facts on his large, stubby fingers. "First of all, President Bush doesn't have any lookalikes, at least not that I know of. He doesn't have a big bushy mustache and he stays in decent shape. I've never seen him wear a beret. I guess Senator Kerry -- and I use the term Kerry loosely -- is blind or stupid or both." Rush Limbaugh pooh-poohed the notion altogether. "Regime change in America?" he considered on a recent talk radio show, "That's preposterous. For one thing, we can't invade ourselves. Those are just the kind of absurd ideas these liberals toss about when they have no idea of what it's like to serve in the military, or how it works, or when to use it." RNC Chairman Marc Racicot responded swiftly as well, calling Kerry "a racist, a pornographer, and a guy who looks like he's had some kind of rod shoved up his ass." He continued: "Senator Kerry is nuts to suggest the replacement of America's commander-in- chief at a time when America is at war. If we replaced the commander-in-chief, how would the generals know how to reach this new guy? They wouldn't know what this new commander-in-chief would look like and probably wouldn't believe him when he told them that he was the Commander. And nobody else could tell them there was a new Commander because the only person they'd accept that from would have to be like, a Commander of the Commander in Chief. And there can't be a Commander of the Commander in Chief because, if there were, then the Commander-in-Chief wouldn't be "in-chief"--he'd be the Commander-second-most-chief or something. I don't think Senator Kerry -- and I use the term Kerry loosely -- has thought this through."
-------- TITLE: Where are those chemicals weapons? An Example of Media Bias in CNN Reporting AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 4/06/2003 12:12:00 AM ----- BODY: William Schneider, Senior Political Analyst of CNN, just proffered several reasons why many of the doom and gloom scenarios in Iraq have not come true. These involved the possible use of chemical and biological agents on U.S. troops, blowing up bridges, etc. One of the prime scenarios involved the use of chemical weapons. Schneider opined that the reason these agents have not been used may be because the command and control structure of the Iraqi resistance has been severely damaged (and there are certainly indications of that), or (and he placed special emphasis on this) that those in charge had been scared pantsless by George W's threat to try those who use them after the war as war criminals. Schneider thus seemed to highlight Bush's tough talk as a possible major factor in the Iraqi failure to use non-conventional weapons while completely ignoring the more plausible explanation that these weapons simply do not exist in the quantities or manner which Bush and his pals would like us to believe. That these weapons may not exist now is certainly more credible than that idea that Iraqi forces -- who seem bent on genuinely resisting the invasion -- would refrain from using weapons available to them because of the threat of trial. In a war wheer people are willing to blow themselves up to eliminate the invaders, it is difficult to accept the premise that these same people would be afraid of a little American jail time. I'm not saying that Hussein does not have these weapons. I'm saying that the complete omission of a news commentator -- who holds himself out as special "analyst" (meaning a guy who speculates about stuff based on a couple of rumors and sometimes facts, just like you and me) and reporter -- is unforgiveable. Not mentioning the option -- that Hussein has less of these weapons than we had believed -- can only be demonstrable of conservative bias; especially since no chemical weapons have yet been found anywhere so far. (The many boxes of "suspicious" white powder found in a chemical factory -- reported with great gusto by every American news media outlet -- have been tested; intial tests indicate that they are "not chemicals," according to a CNN banner. I have to ask, if they are not chemicals, what are they? Talc? Chalk? Concrete dust?) It is exceptionally surprising that no chemical weapons have been found, in light of the American intelligence which reported in the 48 hours preceding the war that there were strong indications that Republican Guard units southeast of Baghdad -- controlled by the famed Iraqi Commander nicknamed "Chemical Ali" -- had been supplied with them, and in light of our allegations that Hussein had them. Certainly, one would think that the goal of the Iraqi military would be defend Baghdad with whatever weapons they could find. Schneider also opined that perhaps Hussein would be afraid to use chemical weapons in this war because of the "proganda" tool using them would hand the U.S.. Look, if Hussein has these weapons, when would he use them if not now? After his exile or death? Does Schneider really think Hussein is more worried about how it would look than about staying in power? Hussein has been comfortable with getting caught in a lie or two before. And then there is the interesting (and convenient) rumor circulating (Schneider said nothing about this) that Hussein moved his WMD to Syria so we would not find them when we invaded. This certainly is plausible as a convenient excuse to invade Syria later ("Look! Another dictatorship that harbors terroists that has WMD! And it's right over there! We must invade today!) but not believable in the context of common sense. I find it hard to accept the notion that someone who goes to the trouble to get WMD to stay in power and to increase his power would give away the very weapons that might help him retain his power on the eve of an invasion of his country. -------- TITLE: Bush Faced Terrific Quandry in White House NCAA Pool AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 4/04/2003 03:07:00 PM ----- BODY: Karl Rove put extraordinary pressure for Bush to favor Florida over Texas in his submission to the popular White House NCAA pool. There was great debate among top aides to the President about whether to favor "red-state" teams or "blue-state" teams, meaning teams from states that voted for or against Bush. However, it was finally decided that the imperative of securing Florida in the 2004 election mandated fprcing Bush to pick the number 2 seeded Florida to beat number 1 seeded Texas in the Elite 8, because "we'll carry Texas anyway," said Rove. "Why can't we just make them move to the East Division?" asked Bush, who was supported by Cheney in his suggestion to pressure the NCAA organizers to move Florida to another division so that Bush could avoid making the difficult choice. Powell was sent to negotiate with the NCAA on Bush's behalf where, typically, he failed. When Florida was wiped out in the Sweet 16 against Maryland, Bush became despondent, moping around the White House and seeming "steely eyed but burdened":
[Bush] rarely jokes with staffers these days and occasionally startles them with sarcastic putdowns. . . .Interviews with a dozen friends, advisers and top aides describe a man who feels he is being tested.
The White House found an upside, though. "We'll make this about the war," said Ari Fleischer. And so they did. Cheney did not participate in the pool, preferring to run it in exchange for a percentage of the winnings. "Last year that pool bought me a pool," he joked, smiling or grimacing -- it was impossible to say which. -------- TITLE: Saddam Talks About the NCAA's AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 4/04/2003 12:46:00 PM ----- BODY: So, Saddam Makes Speech on TV Designed to Prove He Is Alive, with some references to attacks and things that have occurred since the invasion. Why doesn't he just hold up today's frigging newspaper? If Saddam wanted to prove he was still alive and in charge, he should say:
My fellow Iraqis, I lost the goddamn NCAA pool! Who would have believed that Syracuse and Marquette would come so far? We will be victorious against the stupid Americans even if is true, as I suspect, that they have rigged the college basketball tournaments of their petty country to get rid of the fine Ivy league team and, of course, the valiant Gonzaga.
-------- TITLE: I Promise I'll be Funny Tomorrow AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 4/04/2003 08:53:00 AM ----- BODY: -------- TITLE: That Silver is For Us; Brilliant Congressmen Pass Bill To Bar France and Germany From Helping Rebuild Iraq AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 4/04/2003 08:49:00 AM ----- BODY: According to NPR, when Congress approved Bush's request for $75 billion today for the war, someone sipped in a rider barring France and Germany from being allowed to contract to rebuild Iraq. Some irate confressman said, "We're not sending our boys in harm's way so that the French and German can stand back and hold their hands out for ten pieces of silver!" Um, that's a pretty effective stance. Except that Bush's plan to rebuild Iraq gives the lion's share of the rebuilding contracts to -- have you guessed it -- U.S. businesses! Our boys died to help put a couple of pieces of silver into some major CEOs' pockets. The Wall Street Journal reported:
The Bush administration's audacious plan to rebuild Iraq envisions a sweeping overhaul of Iraqi society within a year of a war's end, but leaves much of the work to private U.S. companies. . . . [M]ore than $1.5 billion in Iraq work being offered to private U.S. companies under the plan, just $50 million is so far earmarked for a small number of groups such as CARE and Save the Children.
Also, isn't it a tad inconsistent to claim that the U.N. should have broad participation in rebuilding Iraq when you pass laws denying security council members the ability to allow their businesses to have a hand in the reconstruction? Might that not impede efforts to involve the U.N.? -------- TITLE: Buildings, Schmildings AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 4/04/2003 08:33:00 AM ----- BODY: We're liberating the Iraqi oilfields -- and protecting them well, even at the cost of sending men into harm's way without adequate backup -- because they're the "property of the people of Iraq." Rumsfeld is fond of saying this -- "it's the wealth of the Iraqi people, we're protecting it." OK. Isn't the infrastructure of Iraq also a treasured possession of the Iraqi people? The buildings, electric plants, sewer systems, schools and the, like, cities -- how come we're just bombing the hell out of them? By the way, the link just up there is from an Iraqi who has been reporting on the web his experience of the war in Baghdad -- but he hasn't been able to update since March 24. That could be for many reasons -- maybe internet access was cut off by central authorities in Baghdad, maybe the infrastructure was damaged (Rumsfled might call it a "shock and awe" attack on the internet backbone), maybe Raed, the author, had to take off and get the hell away from his desktop. Still, look at it for an excellent view of the war from inside. Much better than any reporting you'll see on cable. -------- TITLE: SARS Is From Mars AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 4/04/2003 08:20:00 AM ----- BODY: It seems clear to me that the outbreak of SARS is directly related to those people who claim to have been picked up by UFO's and later, after lengthy journeys, adventures, and encounters of all numeric kinds, get dropped back on Earth because the aliens on board clearly could not stand them. This claim that viruses like SARS just "spring up" -- isn't that like the claim that Spinoza made -- that life just "bloomed spontaneously" from inanimate matter? Doesn't it make more sense that those aliens are depositing people back on Earth after they've infected them with some biological agent? I mean, why would an alien go to the trouble of dropping an abductee back on Earth instead of just putting them in the space waste chute? By the way, I was so pleased to see a local news station -- or it may even have been MSNBC -- say that, CDC researchers were that much closer to discovering a treatment plan for SARS because they had determined that it was a type of virus -- specifically, a coronavirus. My, that's reassuring. Coronaviruses are the same kind that cause the common cold. We've been really successful at figuring out a cure for that. so this SARS thing will be licked in no time. The really hopeful thing is that we kind of have to find a cure for SARS. Until we do, we're going to be quarantining the heck out of populatations and, as reported universally, SARS will have a chilling effect on world business. Actually on world business travel, which one would think we have almost no need for in today's electronic age. Maybe SARS will promote the growth of videoconferencing technologies far beyond where they are today -- so that videoconferencing gets to the point where you can artificially shake your Hong Kong business partners hands without really touching them. (We have a technology for that, actually -- they're called "gloves.") No, we find an effective treatment plan for SARS, pump money and good old fashioned research into cracking that illness -- and if we do, maybe we will be that much closer to discovering a cure for the common cold. -------- TITLE: An Apology : It's not always humor you'll find here . . . AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 3/29/2003 08:55:00 PM ----- BODY: When I have the time to work up a humorous take on events, I do. When I don't, I just say what I wanted to say straight-on, without the satire. If you want more humor here (and I certainly do), try to think of the funny pieces as humor, and the straight-on pieces as "grim humor." -------- TITLE: Bush Did Not Want To Hear Of Possible Iraqi Resistance Before War AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 3/29/2003 08:51:00 PM ----- BODY:
It was not all that many months ago that Ari Fleischer was... boasting, I guess... that Ari Fleischer actually said that "[General Tommy] Franks wasn't invited to the next strategy meeting because 'the president doesn't have time to listen to what the president doesn't want to hear,'" and one of the things the President did not want to hear was that Saddam's forces might fight bravely.
This (and Rumsfeld trying to cover his behind) courtesy of Brad Delong's weblog. -------- TITLE: Boy, Those War Games Sure Are Worth Every Penny AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 3/29/2003 08:38:00 PM ----- BODY: The Guardian reports:
If the US and Iraq do go to war, there can only be one winner, can't there? Maybe not. This summer, in a huge rehearsal of just such a conflict - and with retired Lieutenant General Paul Van Riper playing Saddam - the US lost. Julian Borger asks the former marine how he did it.
Whole article here. What's really scary is that what the U.S. wargamers did is exactly what I do when I'm having a hard time in a first-person shooter. (Gamers are the same everywhere.) -------- TITLE: White House Knew Fantastic "Edge" of American Military Was An Absurd Fiction Months Before Starting War AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 3/29/2003 07:27:00 PM ----- BODY: In Supplying the Enemy, the New York Times rails aginst the Russians for supplying Iraqis with night vision goggles, antitank missiles, and GPS jamming devices (which can essentially make "smart" weapons very dumb). The amazing part of the editorial is this: "U.S. officials say they have been pressuring Russia for many months now to end sales of these types of equipment." They knew months in advance about this? In other words, for months before committing a too-small force to this war, White House officials had reason to suspect -- and had good reason to believe -- that Iraq had equipment which could neutralize the much-flaunted and repeatedly touted technological advantages which would supposedly enable our American forces to prevail in a fortnight, at most. (Oh, and about pressuring Russia, good job. Another diplomatic and foreign relations triumph.) The article also notes that Rumsfeld is aware that Syria has been providing this equipment to the Iraqis for a certainty. We're back to the Reagan question here: when did he know this -- and if he didn't know it months before the war, why not? First: it has recently been made clear that we started this war with too small a force, regardless of our "technological advantage." Second: Oops. In street-to-street fighting in a moonlit night -- or in the desert, whatever -- the fantastic edge our guys had over the Iraqis has just disappeared. And the incredible "precision bombing" and other GPS guided weapons can now be misdirected -- to Iraqi civilians in Baghdad and, in a skirmish or major battle where our ground forces need air support, to our guys. There's enough "fratricide" and "friendly fire" wiping out our forces as it is -- without GPS jamming devices in the hands of the enemy. Third: White House officials -- Bush, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Rumsfled -- knew or should have known that this war was going to much worse than they told the American people. And the worst part of it is, I beleive that this was sheer ineptitude on the part of the big deceision makers, who were so intent on fighting this war that they neglected to get accurate intelligence or see what the intel already showed: it was a bad choice to enter this war of choice. And that's if you support the war. (Never mind the million other reasons not to fight it -- the world hates us -- destroying alliances that have taken 60 years to build -- screwing up the force of international law -- weakening the Geneva convention -- scads more -- but here's another one, now: destroying the deterrent effect of our threat to use military force, and diminishing the reputation of our fighting forces as an effective tool for peace and diplomacy.) Am I saying that we're going to lose this war? No. I'm saying that it will be much longer and more drawn out than we had been led to believe or that the White House expected -- and a lot of people -- many of them our own 19 and 20 year olds -- will die needlessly as result of White House mistakes. The Bush Administration: Inept at diplomacy. Inept at peace. Inept at war. That's foreign relations and policy. Thank goodness they're so good at domestic stuff. (For anyone who wants to quote that last bit, you must include: "uttered with the utmost bitterness and sarcasm." Or, "And then Burka, slouching over the counter of a dark, depressing bar, downed six shots of whisky in quick succession.") --------