A site called BustBob.com takes aim at syndicated columnist Robert Novak, who revealed the name of a covert CIA operative in a July 14 hack job.
Novak cited "two senior administration officials" in outing the spy spouse of former U.S. Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson after Wilson had criticized the Bush adminstration for manipulating his findings in his investigation into Iraq's putative nuclear weapons program.
The site speculates [KARL ROVE] on the potential source of the leak [KARL ROVE] and provides the motivation for why someone [KARL ROVE] would do such a thing.
Will Attorney General Ashcroft find the person responsible [KARL ROVE]? It's not likely unless that someone [KARL ROVE] put it in an unclassified White House memo that the Bush administration handed over to investigators.
CONGRESSMAN CHICKEN LITTLE
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg blasted a congressman for saying he'd avoid Times Square like the plague on New Year's Eve.
Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn., who heads the House Select Committee on Homeland Security and chairs a terrorism subcommittee, told a TV station: "I wouldn't go into places when you're packed and where if there was panic, a lot of injuries would take place."
Bloomberg said, "You're going to see a million people here who have the courage to come."
Fearmongering, more than actual terrorism, continues to make victims out of our elected representatives.
LORD OF THE RIGHT WING
This Flash animation from RecallBush.org amuses by depicting Dubya as the twisted Gollum from "The Lord of the Rings."
But almost as compelling are some of the quotes from Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., the convicted car-thief-turned-businessman-turned-Congressman who led the recall effort that put Arnold Schwarzenegger in the governor's mansion.
The quotes provide reasons for a presidential recall, as well.
"For the first time, we have a governor who created a monumental disaster by overspending, lied about it, covered it up, and now has no plan to fix it," Issa said in a July 24 Associated Press story.
Sounds like Bush and Iraq.
AN IRAQI FAMILY'S TOLL
John F. Burns of The New York Times writes a profile of an Iraqi doctor whose family were targeted by Saddam Hussein's henchmen. The piece is accompanied by photographs from a 1985 videotape in which the man's nephew and others were executed by having grenades taped to their chests.
After a harrowing account of the doctor's experiences, one has to wonder what's the difference between U.S. logisitcal, military and covert support of Hussein's regime then and now.
The doctor goes on to say:
"It is freedom the Americans have given us, but it is not good freedom. Yes, we wanted freedom against dictatorship, truth against lies, education and progress instead of pushing the intelligentsia down. But what have we got? There is no law, we live in the dark without electricity, there are no police to stop the thieves, nobody to control the traffic, no gasoline.
"In those respects, we say, 'Things were better under Saddam.'"
THE HEART IS A LONELY CETECEAN
In an op-ed piece for The New York Times, psychology professor Clive D.L. Wynne writes the sad tale of Keiko, the killer whale made famous by the feel-good movie "Free Willy."
The effort to return Keiko to the wild took seven years and cost $20 million. But the whale, having been socialized to perform tricks for food, kept returning to areas populated by people, apparently lonely and seeking human contact once again.
Keiko died Dec. 12 of pneumonia.
MEAT, MEAT, GO AWAY
I'm not a vegetarian, though perhaps after these safety guidelines in The New York Times I should be:
"The highest-risk food products are those that contain ground beef and beef harvested from machinery that squeezes out the small bits of meat that cling to an animal's spinal column and other bones.
"The machines are often used in products like pizza toppings, taco fillings, packaged meatballs, sausages, hot dogs and bologna. The meat is not required to be labeled and often contains bits of spinal column. "
I don't remember reading about this in The Meatrix.
A PACIFIST MARINE?
Retired Gen. Anthony Zinni, a 35-year veteran of the Marine Corps and former Dubya supporter, said in a Washington Post interview he believed American soldiers were going to pay in Iraq for mistakes made by neoconservatives in the Bush administration.
"The more I saw, the more I thought that this was the product of the neocons who didn't understand the region and were going to create havoc there," he said. "These were dilettantes from Washington think tanks who never had an idea that worked on the ground."
Zinni, as former chief of Central Command and a CIA consultant, was "immersed in U.S. intelligence about Iraq." He also discredits the vice president's assertion that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.
"In my time at Centcom, I watched the intelligence, and never -- not once -- did it say, 'He has WMD.'"
Don't think Zinni is some sort of peacenik, either. The former Marine commander tells the Post:
"I'm not saying there aren't parts of the world that don't need their ass kicked."
SADDAM HUSSEIN, FRIEND & FOE
A story by MediaChannel.org looking at the cozy relationship the U.S. nurtured with deposed Iraqi President Saddam Hussein actually includes some of the more shocking details in this saga, the mention of which you'd be hard-pressed to find in daily news stories.
The site includes a fact credited to a PBS "Frontline" report: "... our friends the Saudis gave Saddam more than $5 billion to help build his nuclear capability -- an arrangement that, according to still-classified documents, both the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency, headed by then-Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney, were well aware of."
The Carter, Reagan and Bush admistrations all turned a blind eye to Iraq's actions, including a coded messsage shortly before its invasion of Kuwait by U.S. Ambassador April Glaspie, who said, "We have no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts, like your border disagreement with Kuwait."
"We have been 'fed a steady diet of distortions, simplifications, and outright lies,' as one truth-telling reporter, Robert Parry, puts it. Parry, who as an Associated Press and Newsweek correspondent in the 1980's broke many of the Iran-Contra affair stories, has written extensively about Saddam's hidden history. His reporting can be found on his web site Consortiumnews.com, and in the biweekly paper In These Times."
OUR BODIES, OUR TOXIC DUMPS
An Associated Press story about pollutants in the human body begins with an anecdote about a California man who buys organic food and attempts to maintain a healthy lifestyle, only to learn that environmental pollutants are collecting in his body, such as pesticides, flame retardants and other chemicals.
One of the most shocking paragraphs: " In March, California researchers reported that San Francisco-area women have three to 10 times as much chemical flame retardant in their breast tissue as European or Japanese women. "
A glass-is-half-full perspective would appreciate the fireproofing.
COINCIDENCE OR PSYCHIC PHENOMENON?
A friend passed these along:
1. Go to Google.
2. Type: miserable failure.
3. Click I'm Feeling Lucky.
And for the other new favorite:
1. Go to Google.
2. Type: french military victories.
3. Click I'm Feeling Lucky.
1. Go to Google.
2. Type: weapons of mass destruction.
3. Click I'm Feeling Lucky."
Dana Milbank of The Washington Post takes a look at pieces of history the Bush administration has been editing for various reasons, including wiggle room.
Of course we've all heard how on May 1 Bush declared an "end to major combat operations" in Iraq. Thing is, the phrase itself was doctored after the fact.
Milbank writes: "After the insurrection in Iraq proved more stubborn than expected, the White House edited the original headline on its Web site of President Bush's May 1 speech, 'President Bush Announces Combat Operations in Iraq Have Ended,' to insert the word 'Major' before combat. "
The bigger whopper is an official's estimate that the rebuilding of Iraq would cost a now-seemingly paltry $1.7 billion, also erased and obfuscated from official web sites.
Paul Krassner, writing in the New York Press, does a great job of excerpting examples of propaganda the current administration has used with amazing success.
He writes: "Covering Up Reality. Referring to the president’s surprise visit on Thanksgiving day to U.S. troops in Iraq, Mike Littwin reports in the Rocky Mountain News: 'Before the press was herded into the giant hangar in advance of George W. Bush’s pep rally/photo op with the Fort Carson troops, we were given the rules. No talking to the troops before the rally. No talking to the troops during the rally. No talking to the troops after the rally… But even here, or maybe especially here, a soldier or two might have, in conversation, questioned the need for the war in Iraq. This is not exactly a welcome notion in the White House. The Bush campaign has put up an ad in Iowa saying that certain of his opponents are ‘attacking the president for attacking the terrorists,’ as if opposing the war in Iraq is the same as opposing the war on terror.'"
A CRAPPY GIFT
In the holiday spirit, a Colorado newspaper asked readers to write in with stories about gift-giving goofs.
The responses culled the story of a man who gave his wife a toilet seat and towel rack for their second Christmas together.
"I could not believe it," she told the Daily Times-Call of Longmont, Colo. "What man gives you a toilet seat for Christmas?"
Answer: An ass.
RUSH BLAMES OTHERS
The attorney for Rush Limbaugh continues his contention that the fascist commentator is a victim.
Limbaugh was apparently threatened by his demonic maid, who supposedly demanded $4 million to keep secret his voracious taste for (prescription) drugs.
"This would never happen except this guy's name is Rush Limbaugh," the lawyer told The Associated Press. "There's a double standard."
A vast left-wing conspiracy? Gosh, I wish.
LAW & ORDER, GOP-STYLE
A tough-guy member of the New Hampshire National Guard was pardoned by a panel of Republicans for a wife-beating conviction so he could go serve in Iraq.
Curiously, he gained the support of his wife and son.
Maybe he can go smack around some Iraqi women and children. That'll increase goodwill toward the U.S., no doubt.
BEAT THE PONY
We've come a long way from the early days of video games as blips and beeps, such as the classic Pong. Really, that's all this is, but with a pony!
I will beat the pony tonight.
GRAND THEFT AMERICA
Based on an investigative look by the BBC at the stolen Florida 2000 elections, the revelations in this piece of infotainment is shocking to supporters of democracy.
The piece contains links to the original video segment.
Among the findings are the purging of tens of thousands of eligible, black voters -- likely Democrats -- by a company with strong Republican ties and at the behest of Katherine Harris, then-Florida secretary of state AND head of Bush's campaign in Florida.
Harris is now a congresswoman.
Nice work if you can get it, and you can get it if you help Bush steal elections.
A day after Director of Homeland Security Tom Ridge, in near hysterics, warned of "possible" attacks against the U.S. that would "rival those of Sept. 11," he tells Americans to "just go about your business."
Bush's poll numbers are up, following the capture of Saddam Hussein, and now it's time to step up the fearmongering to keep those numbers afloat. Ridge does this by picking an M&M out of a hat to select a new terror alert level.
Today's color is orange.
"I think it's very, very important to send a message to the terrorists of goodwill and resolve," said Ridge.
Of course I know what he means, but it sounds like Ridge has an ax to grind with "terrorists of goodwill and resolve."
Are those like militant xmas elves?
NO FAMILY LEFT BEHIND
The American Fascist -- er, I mean, the American Family Association is hosting an online survey dubbed "America's Poll on Homosexual Marriage."
Never mind that civil unions and same-sex marriages actually build on and reinforce the idea of family.
Cast your vote today!
The Professional Paranoid's Page on Disinformation/Disinformationalists, featuring the 25 Rules of Disinformation and 8 Traits of a Disinformationalist sounds like a Bush adminstration playbook.
The Newseum takes a look at newspaper front pages from around the world reporting on the capture of deposed Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.
Most headlines use a variation on a U.S. official's announcement, "We got him," (which in all likelihood was scripted beforehand, judging by how the administration prepared media campaigns in advance in the event Hussein was captured dead or alive, according to The Washington Post).
Among the examples of front pages that stand out are the New York Daily News proclamation: "WE BAG THE BUM."
Tributaria Nada Mudou of Brazil curiously depicts Saddam Hussein with a stars-and-stripes-themed Santa Claus hat and the headline: "SADDAM-NOEL."
No word about coal in his stocking, though.
'WHO THE HELL SAID THAT?'
AlterNet.org provides a fun quiz that allows you to test your knowledge of absurd quotes in the news.
The following quote is destined to become a classic:
"I think gay marriage is something that should be between a man and a woman."
NEIL & GRACE
Bruce Einhorn of Businessweek Asia writes about the unfolding saga of presidential kin Neil Bush's divorce proceedings.
"The show debuted quietly last year, when Grace hired Bush as a director. But after a slow start, the unfolding story has garnered heavy media attention. News reports in the U.S. following Bush's messy divorce proceedings revealed his connection to the chipmaker. And like most TV sitcoms, the twists and turns have a dollop of sexual intrigue, with Bush admitting in a deposition that he had sex with women he said just happened to appear at his hotel rooms in Hong Kong and Bangkok."
Maybe that's all that happened with Kobe Bryant.
JEB BUSH DENIES 'HURTFUL' RUMORS
One-time Bush boy wonder, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, denies a "hurtful rumor" of an extramarital affair with a former Playboy bunny and Katherine Harris, the former Florida secretary of state who handed his brother, Dubya, the state's electoral votes in 2000.
"A political adviser to the president said: 'This has been kicking around since Jeb lost to [former governor] Lawton Chilles in 1994. It's a total fabrication. It's just another piece of the whole Clinton disinformation machine.'"
Now, of course, it's political. Nothing like the impeachment of President Clinton for lying about a dalliance.
IS SADDAM HUSSEIN IRAQ?
John F. Burns, in his New York Times story, manages this sobering reflection:
"One middle-class Iraqi, a 44-year-old engineer, showed a glimpse of that when he saw the first images of Mr. Hussein being looked over by the American doctor. Turning to a friend, he said: 'I hate this man to the core of my bones. Just seeing him sitting there makes the hairs on my arms stand up. And yet, I can't tell you why, I feel sorry for him, to be so humiliated. It is as if he and Iraq have become the same thing.'"
THE PLASTIC TURKEY
Remember that heart-warming photo of "Resident" Bush serving a turkey to U.S. troops at his surprise appearance at an Army base in Iraq over Thanksgiving?
It turns out the turkey was an inedible plastic prop!
But that's about par for the course for a fake president who claimed a fake victory in a fake election and lauched a fake search for fake weapons as part of a fake war on terrorism built on fake evidence.
WHAT, ME WORRY?
Today's Papers at Slate.com relates what "Resident" Bush said when told that Germany's chancellor said banning non-U.S. companies from bidding on Iraq reconstruction contracts might violate international law.
"International law? I better call my lawyer. I don't know what you're talking about, about international law."
Similarly, Bush might want to look into something called the Bill of Rights, democracy and the environment.
THE GRINCH WAS HERE
South African authorities have banned an advertisement that gave children an address for Santa Claus.
In its statement, the Advertising Standards Authority upheld a complaint that said it encouraged "a falsehood that could break the fragile spirits of the already disillusioned youth of South Africa."
Would that be like telling Republican children that Bush was NOT elected president?
My friend Monica in Santa Fe, N.M., once told me of a drinking phrase when you're out drinking with your vatos: "Chale, worm."
Now, apparently, scientists have found a drunkenness gene in worms.
"After six years of work on the project, McIntire can now spot a soused worm about as well as a highway patrol trooper can spot a drunken driver," states the Associated Press story.
Worms are hermaphrodites, of course, yet no one thought to ask if drunken worms end up making out with themselves.
HELLO, FRIEND! NOW GO AWAY
The top two paragraphs of a New York Times story effectively characterizes the blinding moronicism with which the Bush administration has blundered foreign policy and the situation in Iraq, at the cost of more than 400 American lives and counting.
"President Bush found himself in the awkward position on Wednesday of calling the leaders of France, Germany and Russia to ask them to forgive Iraq's debts, just a day after the Pentagon excluded those countries and others from $18 billion in American-financed Iraqi reconstruction projects.
"White House officials were fuming about the timing and the tone of the Pentagon's directive, even while conceding that they had approved the Pentagon policy of limiting contracts to 63 countries that have given the United States political or military aid in Iraq."
That's like telling a friend to bugger off, then reminding them it's your birthday. Right. Good show.
A New York Times story reveals that the U.S. government is paying Halliburton, under its no-bid contract to help rebuilding Iraq, $2.64 a gallon for gasoline.
"The Pentagon's Defense Energy Support CEnter pays $1.08 to $1.19 per gallon for the gas in imports from Kuwait, Congressional aides said. That includes the price of the gas and its transportation costs," the Times reports.
Halliburton defends the apparent price-gouging of your tax dollars, including a 26 cent-per-gallon surcharge for overhead and its fee, saying that it's a dangerous job.
Your tax dollars at work.
But at least we've gotten Osama bin Laden -- oh, wait ... no we haven't.
CALL ME HANNIBAL
So shocking it strains the imagination for credibility, the New York Post reports on a man on trial for killing a man and eating 66 pounds of flesh from his victim's body.
The jury watched a home video made by the suspect, who is seen on tape hacking off a man's penis, cooking it and eating it along with his victim.
"He got out and said, 'If I survive until the morning, let's have my testicles for breakfast,'" the Post quotes the suspect saying.
By comparison, Lorena Bobbitt's actions seem like afternoon tea.
MY DIGITAL SELF
Have you ever wondered what you'd look like in digital format? This web site by Communiculture lets you customize your pixelated self and meet other folks based on similar responses to fun opinion polls.
Perhaps if our leaders spent more time surfing the web and less time making war, the world would be a better place.
A DWARF IS NOT A MIDGET
Thousands of "fans" rioted at a stadium in Sierra Leone when dwarf comedians were substituted for a no-show celebrity midget duo, The Associated Press reports.
Organizers should've known better than to attempt such a thing. One does NOT get between a midget and his fans.
A Reuters story out of Baghdad, shortly after weapons were found in donkey carts, accomplishes the rare distinction of using the words "donkey" and "Bush" in the same sentence, while managing to get "Americans" and "ass" in the headline.
"Every donkey in Baghdad is suddenly under suspicion as U.S. President George W. Bush wages a global war on terror," the article declares.
In this case, Dubya looks outmatched.
A New York Post story says Howard Dean and Republicans share a common goal: "To see Dean become the Democratic 2004 presidential nominee.
Because, the piece claims, polls show that Dean is the weakest candidate among the general populace.
"If you're a Democrat, Dean might be the ideal nominee. If the liberals are right, Dean's the next president - if not, he'll lose in a McGovern debacle and Democrats will stop thinking like Barbra Streisand," the Post states.
The article seems to conveniently ignore, however, that Dean is on a record-setting pace for campaign contributions, at an average of $77, according to his web site, DeanforAmerica.com. That may not sound like a lot, but when it comes from average voters as opposed to multinational corporations and millionaires, it means something different.
Seems like you'd need a booster shot to be a Democrat these days, judging by the new Bush campaign ad that depicts his potential opponents as foaming-at-the-mouth escapees from the asylum.
It seems the Bush folks want you to adopt their philosophy: Think nice thoughts and all will go well in Iraq.
A fatal drive-by shooting on Monday brings the number of American soldiers killed in Iraq to 445 since the invasion on March 20.
GOT YER NOSE
Test your knowledge of the stages of Michael Jackson's nose with this test.
THE EXPEDIENCY OF CHILD HUNGER
A Washington Post story about the possibility of a future moon mission quotes a senior administration official as saying it is one of many uniting national goals being considered as part of Bush's (re-)election campaign.
Near the end, the story quotes the unnamed official saying the administration has also been "going to considerable effort to see how much it would cost to attack child hunger and quote, unquote end child hunger."
Perhaps $87 billion would do it.
HOMELESS BY THE BAY
As shocking a statistic as it is experientially, San Francisco has four time the homeless population of New York City, which is 10 times the size of the City by the Bay, according to a five-part San Francisco Chronicle series on homelessness.
FUN AND GAMES?
Or a tasteless affront?
This video game, New York Defender, resembles Atari's old Missile Command. It pits you at the controls of a missile launcher as planes head for the World Trade Center.
ASSAULT AND MAYO
Reuters reports a Texas woman received a 10-year prison sentence for running over a McDonald's manager for leaving mayonnaise off her cheeseburger.
"I gave her everything she asked for -- mayonnaise, no mustard, onions, everything I could possibly do for this lady. Mayo, mayo, mayo, and it's still not good enough," the manager said outside the courtroom.
You do NOT get between a Texan and her mayo.
Ah, Bush country.
HACK THE VOTE
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman unveils a startling detail about the Republican owner of an electronic-voting systems company.
"I am committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year," writes Walden O'Dell, head of Diebold Inc., a company who supplies Georgia with its paperless, electronic voting systems.
Georgia, as Krugman points out, "scored spectacular upset victories in the 2002 midterm elections."
Yet the idea of certifying the security of such sensitive software has been continually stifled. Why?
THE SUN WILL RISE
L. Paul Bremer, often referred to as the top U.S. administrator in Iraq, tells APTN that attacks against troops will likely escalate in the next few months.
Next, he'll predict millions will celebrate xmas.
The American Civil Liberties Union has a quiz on its web site that asks you if you know how and where you can be spied on.
For instance, a car rental company once tried to fine a customer because onboard GPS equipment had detected speeding, and TiVo transmits all of your TV-viewing habits, including volume levels, back to the company every night.
Is this country becoming Attorney General John Ashcroft's wet dream, or what?
HELPFUL HOLIDAY ELVES
DailyCandy NYC informs us of wrappers who will come to your home and wrap your presents for you, helping you avoid long department-store lines and cheesy wrapping paper.
I'd call if they actually dressed like elves.
RUSH BLAMES OTHERS
In a move typical of the hypocritical right wing, Rush Limbaugh's attorney blames politics for an investigation into the illegal sale of painkillers.
"Suddenly an elected public official could not ignore the name Rush Limbaugh," said Limbaugh's attorney Roy Black on NBC's "Today" show. Black is also a paid NBC commentator. "They are looking to publicly embarrass him and effect his radio program. ... Why is Rush Limbaugh only person treated like this in America?"
They control the presidency, both houses of Congress, most TV news stations and practically monopolize talk radio, and yet THEY are the victims? It's admirable how Limbaugh stopped short of blaming liberals, President Clinton, homosexuals and rap music for his woes.
You gotta love that sense of personal responsibility.
This vato is the original Tejano gangsta. To protest my treatment by da man, I'm coming to work dressed like this tomorrow.
Catenema.com makes me realize there are people out there who have more free time than I do.
While I'm not going to vouch for its veracity, a report released by the Lovenstein Institute of Scranton, Pa., shows that "Resident" George W. Bush has the lowest IQ of his predecessors over the past 50 years.
"No president other than Carter (D) has released his actual IQ, 176. Among comments made concerning the specific testing of President GW Bush, his low ratings were due to his apparent difficulty to command the English language in public statements, his limited use of vocabulary (6,500 words for Bush versus an average of 11,000 words for other presidents), his lack of scholarly achievements other than a basic MBA, and an absence of any body of work which could be studied on an intellectual basis."
Clinton topped the list with an estimated IQ of 182.
A United Nations tribunal convicted three journalists of genocide for "helping to incite a killing spree by machete-wielding gangs who slaughtered about 800,000 Tutsis in neighboring Rwanda in early 1994."
The New York Times article says a radio station known as Radio Machete broadcast the names and hiding places of ethnic Tutsis and includes the following paragraph.
"The Rwanda genocide is considered the worst ethnic killing since the Holocaust. In 100 days, an estimated 10 percent of the Tutsis in Rwanda were wiped out, along with many moderates among the Hutus, who make up the majority of the population. The efficiency of the killers, who chased down the Tutsis at roadblocks and in the streets with sharpened sticks, nail-studded clubs and grenades, surpassed even that of the Nazis, some historians contend."
Where was the U.S. on this matter? Where was the United Nations during this abomination?
TIME TO MAKE THE DOUGHNUTS
A 1999 study purports to show the link between smells and levels of arousal among men and women. Among the findings:
"Approximately 30 aromas or scents were introduced to both men and women. Men experienced arousal when smelling all of the samples, while women did not. What was the most stimulating scent for men? A combination of lavender and pumpkin pie! This combo increased blood flow by 40 percent! A close second was lavender and cinnamon buns! Licorice and doughnut combination was a top contender at 31.5 percent increase. Pumpkin pie and doughnut combo was also arousing at 20 percent! The least stimulating scent for men was cranberries."
No word on whether there is a post-Thanksgiving baby boom.
WAR ON TERROR? NOT.
Although most polls are marginally significant, due to their limited sampling and skewed demographics (i.e., How many voters under 30 answer their home phone, if they even HAVE one?), a recent one was of some interest.
A poll by the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland found that seven in 10 respondents don't think the war in Iraq has reduced the threat of terrorism.
Of course, addressing the threat of terrorism would probably mean taking on Bush buddies in Saudi Arabia's non-elected government.
Remember: 15 of the 19 hijackers involved in the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, were from Saudi Arabia not Iraq.
MOUTH, MEET FOOT
Those wonderful Brits at the Plain English Commission this year announced the winner of its annual "Foot in Mouth" award to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
One would be hard pressed to write fiction of this type:
"Reports that say that something hasn't happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns, there are things we know we know," Rumsfeld said.
"We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don't know we don't know."
The runner up was California musclehead Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
His winning entry: "I think that gay marriage is something that should be between a man and a woman."
These might be funnier if not reminiscent of Orwellian doublespeak.
CAN DICK BEAT BUSH?
Presidential hopeful Rep. Dick Gephardt, D-Mo., appears to be one of the limpest candidates in this Agence-France Presse photo.
MARCUS HAS TWO MOMMIES
A Louisiana second-grader found himself in hot water when he told a classmate he had two mothers.
"Gay is when a girl likes another girl," the 7-year-old boy reportedly said, according to the complaint.
The American Civil Liberties Union is taking up the boy's cause and seeking an apology to the kid and his mom.
It's almost surprising someone hasn't washed his mouth out with "straight soap" or some such nonsense.
In its profile of grassroots political organizer MoveOn.org, Salon.com relates an anecdote of how Republican Rep. Tom DeLay's staff forwarded calls from citizens it did not agree with to the mobile phone of group founder Eli Pariser.
That, along with a similar stunt by a New York Post columnist the same week, yielded little more than an annoyance.
"MoveOn's mere existence drives Fox News fulminator Bill O'Reilly into such fits of rage that he once devoted a segment of his program to attacking the group while refusing to allow its staff on air to answer his charges. On his Sept. 17 show, he said: "Now, the MoveOn.org people wanted to come on here, but I can't have them on because, you know, they're going to attack Bush. I got to defend Bush." He proceeded to rant against MoveOn's nonprofit status, saying, "I don't know why we're giving tax-exempt status to propaganda outfits ... When you say you're nonpartisan, as MoveOn.org says it is, and then you're not, that's a lie, is it not?" O'Reilly fails to register comparable outrage at the partisan activities of nonprofits such as the Christian Coalition and Concerned Women for America."
Maybe Michael Moore is right when he argues most people in the U.S. are at least moderately progressive.
A story in The New York Times about the widening social policy rift between Canada and the United States contains this beauty:
"Recently, while musing about his retirement plans, Prime Minister Jean Chrétien said he might just kick back and smoke some pot. "I will have my money for my fine and a joint in the other hand," he said with a smile. The glibness of the remark made it nearly impossible to imagine an American president uttering it. But in a nation where the dominant west coast city, Vancouver, has come to be known as Vansterdam, few Canadians blinked."
What's so bad about a country where civility, lower murder rates and funny-looking money are predominant?
WACKO FOR JACKO
The Associated Press reports on Michael Jackson's stay in Las Vegas:
"People cried and literally shook after touching or seeing Jackson's spindly fingers sticking out of the cracked window of an SUV. There were nasty hecklers, but they were outnumbered by supporters.
"'Oh my God,' a crying Ofelia Felarca, 35, screamed at an intersection. 'I got to see his hand. I'm so happy. He's my idol.' "