Category Archives: Satire

After Six Decades, No End To The Quagmire

PARIS (Routers) August 25, 2004

Sixty years after Paris was seized by the “Allies,” and the beginning of the American occupation, France remains a failed nation, mired in political corruption and beset by vast pockets of Muslim extremism and anti-semitism, into which the gendarmerie fear to tread. The economy continues to struggle under economic policies driven by failed ideologies, and many of its best and brightest continue to flow out of the country, with only ex-dictators and their families, and hysterical movie stars willing to move there.

Sadly, history has born out the predictions of those who, in the spring of 1944, warned against invading. Many had pointed out what a poor prospect the region was for any kind of democracy, with its long history of belligerence and arrogance, and failed republics.

Noted WW II historian Robert Winthrop pointed out that the occupation got off on the wrong foot from the beginning, when the Americans freely allowed atrocities in the fall of Paris. “In the wake of all the violence and sex that the brutal ‘Allies’ condoned, it’s not surprising that the resentment lives on six decades later.”

The corruption of the French government is legendary, with its current president likely avoiding jail only because he’s president. The economy continues to limp along, with high unemployment rates, exacerbated by primitive socialistic policies.

The growing Islamic insurgency in the suburbs of the capital and other cities is particularly troubling, and even after six decades of training, it’s not clear that the native security forces are up to the job, with many of them refusing to even enter disputed areas.

Many say that, as the US has done with France’s similarly failed neighbor Germany, in which many desire a return to communism, it’s time to give up and wash our hands of the region.

“Nation building is clearly a failed policy, and we’ll have a much more effective foreign policy when we recognize that,” said one U.S. State Department official. “At some point one has to realize that there are some places that are simply hopeless, and all we can do is manage them as best we can.”

Regardless of the future, in the wake of all their current problems, it is little surprise that the French street views the sixtieth anniversary of the fall of their beautiful capital to western forces as a day of sadness, and hardly one to celebrate.

[Anniversary day update]

Not all have forgotten:

The day was charged with symbolism as France remembered its liberators, from American soldiers who backed a French division, clinching victory, to communist Resistance members in the vanguard of the underground fight.

And there’s this:

President Jacques Chirac, in an address at Paris City Hall, urged “vigilance” by younger generations in dealing with present-day manifestations of “this hate of the other, still at work, the most somber face of the human soul.”

The president was referring to racist-inspired acts plaguing today’s France, including anti-Semitic attacks.

Good for him.

New Bush Scandal

Iowahawk has the scoop:

Daschle also called for immediate Senate hearings into the deepening Timingate affair, chaired by Massachusetts Senator John Kerry. The proposal brought a tepid response from Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN), prompting many to suspect that congressional Republicans were coordinating a ‘stonewall’ campaign to contain further scandal damage to Bush.

It is unclear how long such stonewalling efforts will succeed, as press interest in the scandal has picked up momentum over the past 48 hours. On Thursday, the CBS Evening News reported over 20 separate allegations of suspicious GOP behavior, while the New York Times is set to release a 20,000 word piece on Sunday detailing recent cases of suspicious GOP timing, with timelines showing a suspicious pattern of suspected charges of suspiciously timed alleged charging.

While space constraints limited coverage of the actual charges, Times editor Bill Keller promised the report will be “Pulitzer bait.”

“The article is important because it illustrates how the Republican smear machine uses dubiously timed charges to manipute a gullible press in order to further its political agenda,” said Keller. “It also importantly illustrates how the Kerry campaign is reached at 1-866-455-3779, and also gives vivid details how [a] contribution to it will be highly appreciated, and provides readers with insight about how their donation can be charged to Master Card, Visa or American Express.”

Saddam Gets New Attorney, Seeks Change Of Venue

July 7, 2004

BAGHDAD (APUPI) Accused mass murderer and tyrant Saddam Hussein has hired Mark “Attorney-to-the-Extremely-Guilty” Geragos to defend him in his upcoming trial. As his first act, Mr. Geragos immediately filed with the court for a change of venue, on the grounds that it would be impossible for Mr. Hussein to get a fair trial in Iraq, a place in which he is widely known, and has been for decades.

“Go out in the street, and try to find someone who hasn’t heard of Saddam Hussein, or who is unfamiliar with this case,” he demanded. “Every family in Baghdad claims to be able to recount some horror story of a friend or relative who was supposedly imprisoned and tortured or murdered, ostensibly at the orders of my client. How are we supposed to find an impartial jury here?”

When asked if he had any suggestions for a new location, he replied, “It’s pretty tough, given all the bad press Mr. Hussein has received all over the world, for years. I guess my preference would be to move the trial to Redwood City to reduce my commute time. It would also provide a useful contrast with my other clients, Scott Peterson and Michael Jackson. I mean, compared to Saddam, a child molestor and uxoricidal sociopath don’t look all that bad.”

“But if we can’t move it to California, then perhaps we could get a better hearing in France.”

President Announces Controversial New Educational Initiative

LOS ANGELES (APUPI) June 20, 2004

Standing in front of the Los Angeles Times building on Spring Street and surrounded by aides, President Bush put forth a new and long-overdue proposal today, to the cheers of thousands of long-suffering readers of that paper, to start to repair the tragic situation with the American journalism system. He called it “No Reporter Left Behind.”

“For too many years have we seen the sad evidence accumulating that our nation’s media outlets and journalism schools simply aren’t achieving what they must for our nation to maintain its first-place ranking in freedom of speech and a properly informed public,” he declared. “Compared to journalists of a few decades ago, today’s reporters show an increasing inability to comprehend simple English or basic statistics, to exercise logic, or to even recognize that they’re Americans.”

“Now, many accuse the media of bias against my administration, but I don’t believe that. I’m here to change the tone in Washington and the nation, and I refuse to engage in such accusations. I’m sure that journalists are well meaning. As a compassionate conservative, it’s clear to me that they simply haven’t been given the education and training that they so desperately need, and we need to help them and their hardworking editors.”

The president went on to illustrate the growing problem.

“Certainly, we’re all familiar with the examples of journalistic incompetence that seem to be increasing almost daily.”

“Even after a great number of speeches and explanations, many reporters still don’t seem to understand why we are at war, or are able to even comprehend the fact that we are at war. There’s a concept in logical argument, called a ‘straw man,’ in which the debater sets up a weak argument that was never made, but pretends that his opponent did, and then knocks it down, pretending to have somehow won the argument.”

“The press, many of whom seem to suffer from attention-deficit disorder, seem to have trouble focusing on my stated reasons for this war, instead being easily distracted by these kinds of strawman arguments.”

“For instance, many of the slower journalists continue to mistakenly claim that, because we haven’t yet found stockpiles of WMD in Iraq, the threat from Saddam wasn’t imminent, and that the war therefore wasn’t justified. This despite the fact that I never used imminence as a justification for the war, and in fact clearly said that the threat wasn’t imminent, but that we couldn’t wait until it was.”

“They then claim that I somehow implied that the threat was imminent, even though I explicitly denied it. They clearly lack the ability to comprehend not just written English, but spoken English as well.”

“Had these slow journalists been held back until they understood logic and basic reading and listening comprehension, instead of simply being promoted up to some other assignment, some of the mistakes of the past few days might have been avoided. For example, just last week, this newspaper and many others reported that the 911 Commission had shown that there were no ties between Saddam and Al Qaeda, and that, again, this had somehow taken away a justification for liberating the Iraqi people from Saddam’s tyranny.”

“The facts, of course, are that the 911 commission only stated that there was no involvement of Saddam with 911, and the commission members themselves have said that there’s little distance between our position and theirs. This is, of course, irrelevant to justification for removing Saddam, since we have never claimed that Saddam was involved with 911, and in fact we’ve taken pains to make clear that we had no evidence to that effect, and we’ve never used that as a justification for removal.”

“These are just a couple examples of a much larger and broader problem.”

“We’ve all seen the damage that policies of social promotion do to promising young people like Jayson Blair, who was simply passed along from assignment to assignment without having to demonstrate the ability to meet the most basic standards of ethics.”

“We’ve seen too, the damage caused to journalists by award inflation, in which they get gold stars, or Oscars, or Runyons and Pulitzers for sub-par work. It gives them a false sense of achievement, and inhibits their ability to truly progress. We do them no favors by falsely boosting their self esteem, to the point that they are given honors of which they can’t even comprehend the significance.”

“We can no longer afford to sweep such tragic incompetencies under the carpet. This ongoing deterioration of reportage is having seriously debilitating effects on our nation’s health, on its economy, and its national security. In many important, and frightening, ways, our reporters are our future. If a foreign power had somehow foisted upon us such a system of news reporting, in the same way that we’ve somehow done it to ourselves voluntarily, we would justly consider it an act of war.”

Turning around and pointing at the building behind him, he intoned, “On this day, I stand here in front of one of the foremost symbols of that failure, a poster child for shoddy journalism, to announce a major new federal program to start to address this looming crisis. For details, I’d like to introduce Rod Paige, my Secretary of Education.”

Secretary Paige stepped up to the microphone, and after thanking the president, laid out a new proposal of federal assistance to journalism outlets and schools of journalism.

“The president’s new program is two-pronged. We all recognize that early education is key so, modeling Head Start, we’re developing a curriculum for the schools of journalism to emphasize the basics–math, science, logic. In order to encourage the use of our curriculum, we will be issuing federal grants to these institutions, up to ten percent of their annual budget, as long as the student’s test scores show improvement.”

“In addition, we are going to set up a mentoring program with local bloggers, so that these aspiring reporters can learn how to do research and fact check.”

“The second prong of our proposal is to provide grants to media organizations as well. Like the grants for the journalism schools, this will be a ten percent solution, through which, in exchange for providing them with a trifling amount of money, we will dictate reporting standards from Washington. Some of this funding will be earmarked to provide adequate dosages of Ritalin in the water systems, to help the journalists stay focused on the actual justifications for the war, and minimize distractions by red herrings.”

“We’ve had a pilot program for years with PBS and NPR, but it clearly needs to be restructured before we expand it to other press organizations. There have been no strings attached to the taxpayers’ funds, or accountability. This appalling situation has to end.”

In response to a question from the audience as to why a media organization or journalism school would be willing to sacrifice its autonomy for a small amount of its operating budget, he replied, “It’s a mystery, but it seems to work quite well for the public school system, and many of these people are products of that system, so we expect to quickly get most of them on board.”

Reaction to the proposal from the media itself was mixed.

Many members of the press in attendance seemed elated at the thought that their plight had been recognized, and that the government was finally going to help them. All had seen, and many had participated in the many documentaries about the growing problem. They, like much of the public, had viewed the sad images of rooms full of reporters scratching their heads over global warming theories, and the Bill of Rights, struggling to accomplish such seemingly simple tasks as distinguishing an automatic from a semi-automatic weapon.

Others, though, were skeptical. “It’s not a problem that can be solved by just throwing money at it,” said one editor. Another woman in attendance, a professor at the USC School of Journalism, expressed concern that budding reporters would be “taught to the test,” and unable to properly focus on critical areas such as Lacanian metacontexts of transgressive gender oppression.

No reporters from the LA Times seemed to be present, having all been assigned to dig up fresh dirt on Governor Schwarzenegger. In response to a question from the LA Daily News as to whether he thought that this seeming attack on California’s largest newspaper might cause them to further increase their support for Senator Kerry and damage his electoral prospects in the fall, the president replied, “I don’t know. You might want to ask Governor Davis about that.”

(Copyright 2004 by Rand Simberg)

A Breath Of Fresh Air

March 31, 2004

MILWAUKEE (APUPI) Fresh from their victories over smoking in California, New York City, and Ireland, activists in the war for clean public air have opened up the next front, demanding that flatulence be outlawed in restaurants and bars.

“The research results are still coming in, but it’s common sense that second-hand methane is a clear public health hazard,” said Chastity Titeass, a spokeswoman for the most prominent anti-flatulence group.

“Odorless my ass,” chimed in one of the other members of the group, holding her nose, under her breath.

“Despite the unscientific recommendations of the bean and broccoli lobby, it clearly wasn’t sufficient to simply set up farting and no-farting sections in the restaurants. The oppressed waitpersons were almost unable to breath when they had to attend to the customers in the designated flatulence zones.”

In response to this public pressure, the city council passed a new law last week, totally banning flatulence in all Milwaukee public eating and drinking establishments, including the restrooms.

The issue wasn’t confined merely to air quality.

Other concerns were raised to the forefront a couple months ago, in the disastrous explosion at the Guaymas Mexican seafood restaurant on the west side of town, which injured dozens of people. A birthday party had been in progress for hours, with ample helpings of frijoles and Monterey Jack, in the hermetically sealed flatulence area.

When the waitress brought in an octogenarian birthday cake, with the requisite number of candles, it resulted in a sudden explosion. It blew out the walls, and expelled many of the diners out into the alley. Repairs are estimated to be in the tens of thousands of dollars.

As a result, the city council decided that a complete ban of enclosed-area emissions was the only solution that would ultimately satisfy public safety concerns.

In a town renowned for its beer and cheese, the new restrictions have hit the bars particularly hard.

“I don’t care what those environmentalist wackos say,” said Joe Peeusky, a local tavern owner for three decades. His business is down by two thirds since the new law has been passed.

“My customers come here to relax. They want to have a brewski, eat some pretzels, let it hang out, relax. Know what I mean? They’re not going to want to go outside when…things happen.”

A patron agrees.

“I know it’s a disgusting habit, but what are you gonna do? I just can’t go that long without it.”

“I’ve been passing gas as long as I can remember. We all did it, ever since we were young. There was a lot of peer pressure when I was a kid–we used to have contests, for decibels and stench, and sometimes, flame length and duration. You get together after school, and the word is, you know, ‘light ’em up.’ Now I’m really hooked.”

He continued, “I tried quitting once. I got really agitated. I was really hard to live with.”

“I also gained a lot of weight. Yeah, I know, you can’t see it on the scales, but I swelled up like the Goodyear blimp on steroids. I just couldn’t kick the habit.”

He’s not alone.

It’s a tragically pitiful and, at the same time, repugnant sight to see groups of customers huddled outside the doors of the city’s bars and restaurants, indulging in their repellent and seemingly unnatural urges. The sounds of their gaseous expellations resonate across the ancient brick fronts of the buildings, and the pungent, almost suffocating aroma slowly drifts down the windless street, a testament to a vile and uncontrollable addiction.

“They don’t have to go through this,” says Ron Blowhardt, the local head of Flatulaholics Anonymous. “A combination of Beano and our twelve-step program can allow them to eat a full meal in a restaurant, without the need to duck outside. The important thing is to acknowledge that you have no power, to submit yourself to a higher authority, which is to say, eensy weensy bacteria in your guts, so small you can barely see them with a microscope.”

In the meantime, Ms. Titeass is excited about the next battles in this new front in the war for public air quality.

“We’re going after the airlines,” she said. “People have to sit in a small confined volume for hours with this. They found out that no smoking sections didn’t work there, and no farting sections won’t either. In fact, I’ll bet that once they see the reduction in maintenance costs on their air filters, they’ll adopt it even without legislation. Sure, people might have to step outside occasionally at thirty-five thousand feet, but that’s their choice. No one’s holding a gun to their head to make them…do this.”

Her ultimate goal?

“I think that it’s outrageous that NASA thinks that astronauts on their way to Mars for many months should have to put up with such disgusting habits. We’ll make sure that they won’t go until they’ve solved the problem. Anyway, from what I hear, there’s already enough methane up there.”

(Copyright 2004, by Rand Simberg)

Local Democrats Stunned By Buchanan Upset

Since I’m down here in Pompano Beach, and Glenn says we should do some local reporting, I thought I’d pass on the following.

March 10, 2004

BOCA RATON, FL (APUPI) Democrat officials in south Florida are still trying to understand the unexpected defeat of Democrat front-runner John Kerry by the former Republican and Reform Party candidate Patrick J. Buchanan in yesterday’s Florida primary. Validating what some had seen as an early trend in the 2000 presidential election, Mr. Buchanan came in first in Palm Beach, Broward and Dade counties.

One Palm Beach County party official’s perplexity was typical.

“At least the last time, the voters had the excuse that Pat was on that confusing butterfly ballot. But we got rid of that ballot design for this election, and he wasn’t even on it for the primary. He’s been a presidential candidate of lots of political parties, but I don’t think he’s ever been a Democrat. We’re really scratching our heads till they’re bloody and infected here.”

Some, however, point out that, while the dislike of local Democrats for the president (the governor’s brother) is even more visceral than in the rest of the country due to the controversy of the 2000 election, there is no fervor among Florida Democrats for John Kerry. “Anyone who looked more attractive than Kerry, but could still beat Bush had a good shot, even as a write-in,” explained one analyst. “It doesn’t surprise me at all.”

“In fact,” he continued, “if Buchanan can’t beat Kerry, I think we ought to run a dead guy, like we did in Missouri for Senator. He’d be more exciting than Kerry, and his positions would be more consistent. Dead people of all parties have been voting Democrat for years–I say that it’s about time that we made one president.”

A more typical voter who apparently prefers his candidates above room temperature, Herb Flannery of Deerfield Beach enthused, “Buchanan was opposed to globalization before it was cool, he opposed the war in Iraq, he’s always criticizing Bush. He stands up for the little guy, he’s got charisma, and you know where he stands. He gives great speeches, too.”

“He’s kind of like Jesse Jackson, except not as black. Or as corrupt.”

“Let’s face it, once people start to really get to know John Effing Kerry, he’s really charred toast. But Pat Buchanan is a dream nominee for Democrats this year.”

According to Ellen Schmuel Levi at the B’Nai B’rith in Boynton Beach, there had been many support rallies outside synagogues up and down the coast. Many of the local residents had reportedly decided to show their support for “Pitchfork Pat” by driving their Cadillacs and Towncars up and down the A1A highway very slowly, with a single turn signal perpetually on, all through election day. It wasn’t clear how effective the demonstration had been, however, because long-time residents were hard pressed to distinguish it from normal traffic.

The support from the local Jewish community seemed at first particularly shocking to many, given Buchanan’s history of veiled anti-semitic comments, but the enthusiasm seemed just as high at Nate’s, a busy deli in Lauderdale By The Sea.

“Israel, schmizrael,” one patron exclaimed. “So he doesn’t support Israel. Our party hasn’t supported Israel in years–we’re used to it. The important thing is, we’re Democrats.”

Questioned about Mr. Buchanan’s hints about the Jewish cabal that secretly pulls the strings in the government, Hollywood and the media, local beach metal-detector prospector Saul Weinstein was nonchalant, between sips of his egg cream.

“At least he gives us our due. And since when has being anti-semitic been a problem for Democrats? I should laugh till I pee my pants.”

“Remember Jesse ‘Hymietown’ Jackson? And how about that guy that Hillary screamed at and called ‘a schtupping Jew bastard.’ Well, she didn’t say ‘schtupping.’ She used a shiksa word for it.”

“Anyway, who’s perfect? You want I should vote on such narrow issues when we have Hitler in the White House? Hey, pro-semitic, anti-semitic, it’s all good.”

In an interview by telephone, Mr. Buchanan was pleasantly surprised to hear the unexpected news.

“I am always prepared to serve when my nation calls,” he said. “If we can sustain the excitement I sense in ‘hanging chad country,’ we can carry this insurgent campaign on to Texas and other states, and try to catch up with Mr. Kerry before it’s too late.”

“I have experience in being the nominee of a troubled, fractious and confused political party. Sadly, that party is no more, so I welcome the opportunity to do so again, in hopes of better results.”

“I call on my newfound fellow Democrats to take up the pitchforks and torches, and lock and load for America.”