May 31, 2004
Cable Networks Planning To Add All-Chalabi Channel

All Chalabi, All the Time Is Only Thing That Will Satisfy American Public, Say Networks

Cable networks across the country announced today adding the "Chalabi Channel," in order to sate what they called "the insatiable appetite" of American consumers for news, discussion, and entertainment revolving around former-good-guy-turned-bad-guy Ahmed Chalabi.

"I, for one, just can't get enough," said Vinnie Schlockboom, a coal miner from Grundigsville, Pennsylvania. As Mr. Schlockboom dug into a huge movie-theater-sized container of hot-buttered popcorn, he lay back in his E-Z-chair and quickly surfed television channels for any tidbit about the "newly exiled exile."

"It's a classic American tale," said Princeton English Professor Hilda Hammerman, "Good man woos country, good man gets thrown out of country, good man gets country, good man turns out to be lying thief, trickster and traitor, has house continually raided, loses country."

Kevin Drum of the blog Political Animal and Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo have been signed on to sort out the facts and talk endlessly about the never-ending stream of developments and revelations about Chalabi. Richard Perle and Newt Gingrich will mud-wrestle Condoleezza Rice on "White House Rumble!" to get her to reverse the White House decision to stop associating with the same man to whom they paid millions so that he would tell them exactly what they wanted to hear.

A sitcom called "Chalabi and Friends" is reportedly in development. It will feature Ahmed Chalabi and a host of "unlikely political characters" who live in two apartments across the hall from each other bed-hopping and switching partners until the show goes into syndication.

Posted by Tom Burka at 9:34 PM in News

May 29, 2004
hand_lg.gifOpinions You Should Have Needs Your Help

We've got serious problems here. Moveable Type, the "personal publishing" software that keeps the site going, is going. Half the time it doesn't work -- new posts don't go up, or only go up after rebuilding (and timing out) three to four times in a row. Comments, as you all know who comment here, take about 30 seconds to post, which frequently (understandably) results in double posting. If you notice there's been some slowdown in posting (and I hope you didn't), it's because the Bush Administration isn't funny anymore. Plus, it's Clinton's fault. And maybe, just a little, it's because of these "technical problems" (read: women's troubles).

It turns out that this slowdown will happen with MT -- when it hits a certain number of posts and comments (in my case, 500 + posts and 1000+ comments), it becomes unbearably slow (and somewhat unusable). To speed it up, I have to remove part of the software (the part that removes the glut of comment spam) or just move to Expression Engine or something.

Anyone have any ideas? I know I have some readers out there that use this software and have a lot of traffic and posts, and I wonder whether they've run into this problem and come up with a fix for it.

Posted by Tom Burka at 10:45 AM in Notices

May 26, 2004
Certain Higher Terror Threat To U.S., Says Washington; Threat Level Raised From Yellow To "Yellower"

Today the Department of Homeland Security warned of a much higher risk of a terrorist attack over the coming months, which prompted them to raise the threat level from Yellow ("Elevated") to Yellow ("Still Elevated"). "The threat level remains fundamentally the same," said Tom Ridge, "Except that it is definitely, certainly much threatier."

In response, the FBI pledged to step up its random arrest program, used most recently to such great effect with Portland lawyer Brandon Mayfield last week, who, although not a terrorist, "was unable to mount a terrorist attack during his two weeks in captivity, had he really been one."

Although unable to supply a date, time, place, method, situation, guess, hope, or random thought for the expected attack on the U.S. by al Qaeda, Ridge said there was "credible intelligence" corroborated by lots of "chatter" that, while not "actionable," provided a firm basis for scaring the bejesus out of an otherwise complacent U.S. populace.

"We don't want people to panic," said Ridge. "But it could be any place, at any time, and it could be either a nuclear explosion that flattens the coast or a biological attack that could make "The Day After Tomorrow" look like a high school picnic."

"Or not," he added.

Ridge cut his remarks short to make a trip to Capitol Hill to get the Department of Homeland Security renamed the "Department of Scaring The Pants Off People While Not Offering The Slightest Help Whatsoever."

Posted by Tom Burka at 10:07 AM in 2004 Year In ReviewNews

May 24, 2004
New Iraqi Government To Be Chosen In Special Season of "Survivor," Says Prez

"The Government" To Join Reality TV Lineup Until June 30

In one of his most important speeches to date, the President unveiled a detailed and methodical plan for the transfer of sovereignty to a new Iraqi government.

"We have entered into an arrangement with Survivor's Mark Burnett to choose the 30 members of the Iraqi interim government. 100 Iraqis will compete against each other to choose the 30 finalists and a new form of government in what, I think you'll agree, will make a very exciting month of television," the President announced before the U.S. Army War College tonight.

U.N. representative Lakhdar Brahimi will host, due to the unavailability of Survivor regular Jeff Probst, said Bush. Shi'ite Ayatollah Ali Sistani and representatives of the Sunnis and Kurds will be forced to run mazes, sell lemonade, and stand for hours on tree stumps while keeping their arms raised to prove their worth in running Iraq.

"Choosing the correct 30 people to run the interim government of Iraq is absolutely crucial to the success or failure of this grand experiment," said Bush. "There may be other ways to choose the 30 people, but we couldn't think of any."

White House officials dealt with criticism of the plan as half-baked, uncooked, and imbecilic by replying that having a plan -- any plan -- would be better than simply hoping that a truly workable interim government would simply coalesce while they "made a lot of speeches about it."

Posted by Tom Burka at 10:27 PM in News

Soldier On Leave Takes Picture Of Bush Falling Off Bike

Proves Digital Cameras "Terrible Threat" To Nation, Says Rumsfeld

On Saturday, a soldier on leave, using his cellphone camera, took a picture of President Bush riding his bicycle into a huge ditch. The photograph showed that the President had been riding with his eyes closed, while Donald Rumsfeld, Condeleezza Rice, Paul Wolfowitz, and Dick Cheney directed Bush to ride off the edge of a precipice and into the dangerous ravine.

The President denied that he needed to ride with his eyes open in the future. "Ya see, that's just what these ravines want, they want us to get away from these sheer drop-offs. But we will not be strayed from our mission," he said.

Donald Rumsfeld, who has banned digital cameras, camcorders, cellphones with cameras, and the gift of sight from all military compounds in Iraq, immediately extended the ban to all U.S. military personnel everywhere.

Pvt. Northrup O'Hallohan, who took the picture, was immediately placed under house arrest. His cellphone camera has been shipped to Guantanamo Bay for questioning.

"I don't know what I did wrong," said O'Hallohan. "I thought I still had 200 free minutes."

Posted by Tom Burka at 8:58 AM in News

May 21, 2004
Chalabi Said To Have Posed Imminent Threat To U.S. Wallets, Pocketbooks

Search Of Chalabi Home Turns Up Only A $33 Million Watch

The U.S., pretending to an arm of the Iraqi Provisional Authority, invaded Ahmed Chalabi's house today, because Chalabi was deemed to be an "imminent threat" to the nation's pocketbooks, Donald Rumsfeld said today.

Rumsfeld initially claimed not to have any knowledge of the invasion, saying that the action had been mounted by members of the Iraqi government. However, he admitted that he had actually given the order to invade Chalabi's home when confronted with the fact that no Iraqi government yet exists. "Oh yeah," he said.

J. Paul Bremer, the U.S.-installed Occupational Czar of Iraq, was disappointed by how little was discovered in the raid of Chalabi's home, since he had been "fairly sure" that that the missing WMD would actually turn up inside.

"That would have been perfect," said Bremer, sitting next to a stack of Agatha Christie novels. "I mean, only a month ago we were still paying the little creep."

Chalabi is unfazed by the sudden downturn in his relationship with the United States. He was last seen in negotiations with cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

"I can tell you a lot about the Americans," he is said to have boasted.

Posted by Tom Burka at 1:44 PM in News

May 19, 2004
Unitarian Church Adopts Doctrine That Texans Are Idiots

New Belief System Entitles Them To Tax-Exempt Status

[A]ccording to the office of Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn, a Denison Unitarian church isn't really a religious organization -- at least for tax purposes. Its reasoning: the organization "does not have one system of belief."
The Unitarian Church, which was denied tax-exempt status by the Texas State Comptroller for not having "one system of belief," repudiated all of its prior teachings today in exchange for the sole doctrine that Texas should be sawed off the United States and pushed into the Gulf of Mexico.

"Is that belief system enough for ya?" said Unitarian Minister Obiah P. Dowd, who doubles as the sheriff of Yaul County.

The Unitarian Church is now moving to disqualify the Catholic Church from tax-exempt status because it propounds belief in the existence of the Holy Trinity. "We count that as three," said Minister Dowd.

In a press conference today, Comptroller Strayhorn said that she was entitled to judge the Unitarian religion based upon her acute expertise in all matters theological. "I've seen The Ten Commandmants dozens of times," said Strayhorn. "It used to be on the television every year."

Strayhorn denied being inconsistent for allowing the Church of Scientology to have tax-exempt status in Texas. "Oh, but they they have one belief system", she said. "They only believe in fleecing Tom Cruise."

Posted by Tom Burka at 10:49 PM in News

May 18, 2004
Kerry Forced To Prop Up Face Until Next Botox Shot, Says GOP

The RNC's Marc Racicot gleefully claimed today that Democratic candidate-to-be John Kerry had been forced to prop up his own face pending future botox shots that would keep it in place without the aid of fingers.

Kerry aide Laura Nuptial denied the charge, saying that the Senator had merely unsuccessfully attempted to pick his nose during a prominent campaign appearance, and later removed his finger from his face "without incident."

Posted by Tom Burka at 3:05 PM in News

May 17, 2004
Iraqi Council President's Assassination Not Huge Setback, Says Bush

Wasn't Going To Be President of Council Much Longer Anyway, He Says

President Bush was cautiously upbeat about the recent assassination of Iraqi Governing Council President Ezzidin Salim this morning, saying that though it was a "terrible tragedy," it did make one of the changes envisioned by the June 30 the transition plan, "only much more forcefully."

Bush explained that he had expected that Salim would not have remained President of the Governing Council much after June 30 in any case.

"This is bad news, bad, bad news," said Bush. "The good news is this occurred outside the Green Zone, so things are certainly improving."

White House spokesmen echoed the President's optimism. "We'd like to think that we're not losing a Council President, we're gaining a speedier transition," said White House aide Hector Turlington IV.

Corey Humongous, a retired tire welder from Calefon, Ohio, agreed: "Because after this, we just want to get the hell out of there that much faster."

In related headlines, Bush Administration officials welcomed news that a bomb containing Sarin nerve gas had exploded in Baghdad recently. "We've finally found those weapons of mass destruction," said a greatly relieved low level Bush Administration flunkee -- Secretary Of State Colin Powell.

Posted by Tom Burka at 1:04 PM in News

May 12, 2004
Democrats Outraged By Outrage at Outrage

A vicious cycle of outrage threatens to swallow up Washington following Sen. Inhofe's (R. Okla.) statement earlier this week that he was "more outraged by the outrage than he was by the treatment" of Abu Ghraib prisoners. Democrats immediately became outraged that he was more outraged by the outrage, and now Republicans are livid that Democrats are furious at Sen. Inhofe's acrimony.

Historians can recall few times as outrageous, but recall previous incidents in American politics, such as 1742, when the Tories were irked by ire, 1773, when the Whigs were fuming about wrath, or 1907, when populists were incensed by aggravation.

"All pales compared to the period when Mary Lincoln confessed to Abraham that she was piqued by temper," said Sydney Mayhew, a scholar in the field of acute exasperation.

Sen. Inhofe has previously been menaced by menace and mystified by mysticism, so his statements this week should not have been very surprising, said Mayhew.

And the effect on the citizenry? "All of this anger we're seeing in Congress right now," said Mayhew, "It probably just pisses them off."

Posted by Tom Burka at 7:23 PM in 2004 Year In ReviewNews

Harvard Business School To Honor Bush With New Degree

In honor of the "CEO President," and in recognition of the fine advances he has brought to modern management techniques, the Harvard Business School will offer a new degree, called the "M.B.A.": Master Of Bush Administration.

Professor Stephen Hambone, Ph.D.Th. (Doctor of Thinkology), explained, "President Bush has taken delegation to an entirely new level. We used to teach that you should delegate to the most competent and intelligent individuals in your organization. But President Bush has taught us that you can delegate to anyone, as long as you don't read their reports."

Professor Hambone also lauded the President for cutting down on executive reading: "You don't have to read critical documents anymore -- or any documents, really -- and in fact, it's preferable. Cuts down on the likelihood of shareholder litigation or impeachment."

Professor Hambone was effusive in his praise of Bush's "no-minute management style," and related other Bush lessons: "Always call the work of top supervisors 'superb,' even when they've endangered a core mission. When you say your supervisors look good, you look good. And blameless."

The school will be taking applications only from those nominally serving in the National Guard, starting this July.

Posted by Tom Burka at 11:27 AM in News

May 10, 2004
Higher Job Numbers Tied To Increase In Torturers Overseas Prison Guards

Not Widespread, But Thankfully Good For Economy, Says Rumsfeld

A contrite U.S. Department of Labor explained that Friday's encouraging job numbers largely were due to increases in the hiring of U.S. military intelligence officers overseas and assorted specialists who "helped" them, as well as a large number of expensive civilian contractors employed in Iraq to perform interrogations.

"We believe the abuse, while certainly horrific, was not widespread," said Donald Rumsfeld last Friday, "but we are encouraged that, at the very least, this international scandal is helping to revive our economy."

Today the President lauded Rumsfeld for doing a "superb" job, and added that he was "impressed" at how Mr. Rumsfeld was able to see the "silver cloud" in even in the "darkest lining."

The Department of Labor was optimistic about the number of jobs the economy would add next month, even taking into account possible job losses of people who might be court-martialled, a spokesman said.

Posted by Tom Burka at 8:59 PM in News

Old, But Gold
Angry Rumsfeld Crushes Reporter's Left Testicle

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."

Some things never change. Original story published April 22, 2003. The whole thing is here.

Posted by Tom Burka at 8:54 PM in Old But Gold

May 8, 2004
Wingnuts Induce Satire Crisis

Michael Bérubé writes:

INSULT-UPON-INJURY, New York (AP)-- Conservative commentators have induced a "satire crisis" for liberal and progressive bloggers in recent days, producing a stream of remarks so bizarre and unhinged that the blogosphere's sharpest wits are at a loss to respond, according to a statement released today by the newly-formed Association of Flabbergasted Liberals. . . .

The strain has been felt most severely at Tom Burka's site. . .

Boy, does he ever nail it. I'm still gasping like a fish out of water after viewing Rumsfeld's testimony. I was thinking of writing something like this, entitled "Abu Ghraib Scandal Part Of Bizarre PlanTo Make Democrats' Heads Blow Off," but Michael beat me to it.

Mr. Bérubé -- whose name cannot be rendered accurately on the web without some stunning HTML code -- provides some prescient and wholly accurate quotes from an interview with me. Check out the whole thing. It's a must-read.

Posted by Tom Burka at 10:32 AM in Links

Last August's PDB's Warned Of Impending Prison Scandal

George W. Bush allegedly received another Presidential Daily Briefing he should have read. The Flaming Moderate has a few more details.

Posted by Tom Burka at 10:00 AM in Links

May 7, 2004
The Story Of Little George

When George was little, his father put him in charge of the garden in the back yard.

"Now, George, the gardeners are going to make this garden nice. All you have to do is make sure that they do a good job."

"Yes, Daddy," said George.

George had some other things to do, so he put his dog in charge of the gardeners.

When the gardeners came, they burned down the toolshed, destroyed the garden, trampled the yard, and demolished the neighbor's house.

When George's father came back, he was stunned.

"How did this happen?" he asked George.

"Dad, I cannot tell a lie," George said. "I am disgusted by what I see here today. I am as surprised as you to see this devastation. Rest assured that investigations into this disaster will begin immediately."

"Don't you have something to say to me?" said George's father.

"I told the neighbors I was deeply sorry that their house burned down," said George.

"Don't you think you better get rid of that dog?" said George's father.

"No, father, he's a good dog, and I'm going to keep him."

George put the dog in charge of the investigation.

Posted by Tom Burka at 7:45 AM in News

May 5, 2004
Little Mermaid To Join Moore In Disney Protest

The Little Mermaid joined Michael Moore today to protest what she called "film distribution fascism," in response to Disney's refusal to distribute either Ariel's or Mr. Moore's films.

Ms. Ariel's film "The Little Mermaid" has not been available in stores anwhere since it was placed on "moratorium" in February, 2000.

"It can't be a coincidence that my film was pulled from the shelves just when George W. Bush was made President," said Ariel, speaking outside of Disney-MGM Studios' "Voyage of the Little Mermaid" earlier today, where she appears daily.

"I believe Disney pulled my film in response to my stance against unregulated bulk fishing, which this Administration champions," said Ariel.

Ariel decried any suggestion that the "moratorium" was related to her 1999 breakup with Disney chief Michael Eisner. On the other hand, Michael Moore was fairly certain that Disney's refusal to distribute his film was "somewhat related" to Moore's refusal to date Mr. Eisner in 2003.

Ariel and Mr. Moore were joined by Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Aladdin, The Lion King, Bambi, Shere Khan, Cinderella, Lady and the Tramp, and 101 Dalmatians.

Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse declined to comment.

Posted by Tom Burka at 2:32 PM in News

May 4, 2004
Clinton Responsible For Prisoner Abuse, Says Bush

Responsibility For U.S. Soldiers' Misconduct Must Go "Right To The Top," Affirms Current Prez

Today President Bush said that the blame for the mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners must lie with "the very highest offices responsible for overseeing the military," and that, accordingly, President Clinton was at fault.

"Far from being just the misdeeds to a handful of misbehaving soldiers, we have to see these that only one person and one person alone ultimately bears responsibility for the government over which he presides," said Bush. "That person is, of course, President Clinton."

"President Clinton's failure to act directly caused the horrors we have discovered today," Bush continued. "If President Clinton had invaded Iraq when he should have, this would never have happened."

President Bush called for the formation of a special commission to investigate the many ways in which Clinton caused the ailments of today's America: "President Clinton should fess up to these aburdly high gas prices," he said. "Not to mention all these lost jobs. He sure has a lot to answer for."

Posted by Tom Burka at 1:48 PM in 2004 Year In ReviewNews

May 3, 2004
Republican Guard To Be Placed In Charge Of Iraq Prisons, Fallujah

More Secure And Humane, Says U.S.

In response to what appears to be widespread, sanctioned abuse and torture of captive Iraqis at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison, the Bush Administration has reconstituted the Republic Guard and directed its generals to oversee U.S. prison facilities in Iraq "from now on."

"We want to make sure that Iraqi prisoners are treated better than American soldiers treat them," said U.S. General Chaim Matlock.

The Republican Guard will also take over the U.S. seige of Fallujah. "We don't want to inflame Iraqis, so instead of U.S. soldiers shelling the hell out of them, we thought they'd take more kindly to the Republican Guard doing it."

Former Saddam Hussein lookalike and Republican Guard leader Jasim Muhammad Saleh was to be placed in charge of the U.S. mission. However, after he told U.S. officials that there were "no Iraqis in Fallujah" and that he "doubted that there were any in Iraq," American officials said they might "reconsider" a decision which they said "might be yet another unimaginably colossal blunder."

Posted by Tom Burka at 9:12 AM in News