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January 2007 Blarchive

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Mr_Blog is...

...a Seattle-based journal of Left-wing musings on local, national and world affairs, as well as baseball, pop culture and technology.

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This Month:

1 Happy New Year
3 "Speak loudly and carry a sturdy rope"
4 Saddam death investigated
5 Ruh-roh
8 E-vil genius attacks Congress
10 Amazing new constitution unveiled
11 Bush announces Iraq Block Watch program
12 Enron's Fastow appeals sentence
14 George Allen to observe MLK holiday
18 Brangelina pick New Orleans
19 Dear Leader by Kim Jong-Il
20 Nickels crafts tunnel compromise
22 SOU-Bush to announce plan to psych-out the big issues
24 Greatest American Heroes
25 Short takes
26 Bush launches reelection campaign
29 Wife of waterfront tunnel doubter revealed to be CIA agent
30 Private security contractors pull off Iraq panty raid
January 30, 2007
Private security contractors pull off Iraq panty raid

White House praises "scoring for freedom"

Inspired by Sunday's successful joint Iraqi-U.S. Army raid of an insurgent camp in Najaf province, on Monday a force of private American security contractors executed a stunning panty raid in Baghdad.

The operation was led by an undisclosed number of ten-man tactical teams from CACI International.

The bold, late-night operation focused on dormitories in the fortified Green Zone, according to Col. R. Winthrop Frandle, security affairs spokesman for CACI. "The dormitories in question were known to be used by French, British and Swedish female employees of U.S. and European companies, NGOs and the diplomatic corps," said Col. Frandle.

"We successfully inserted our forces onto the grounds, but encountered many women at the building entrances who refused to open the front doors," said Frandle. He said the teams then summoned reinforcements from Blackwater USA, who arrived with Coronas, nachos and a boom-box.

"We finally penetrated the facilities and executed a textbook mingling operation, encountering only thin, gossamer-like resistance," Frandle said.

The White House released a statement by President Bush welcoming news of the panty raid. "Not since my undergraduate days at Yale have I seen a group of men scoring for freedom so decisively," he said.

Mr. Bush said the success, following close on the heels of the Najaf operation, shows that U.S. strategy in Iraq is back on track. "The defeatists are going to get their knickers in a twist over this one," Bush said.

Hubble telescope camera partially blinded

Two-thirds of the observation ability of the Hubble Telescope's powerful main camera has been permanently lost after it looked at Britney Spears's vagina, NASA announced Monday. The camera's time had been leased for a project being undertaken by The Star tabloid.

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Posted January 29, 2007
Wife of waterfront tunnel doubter revealed to be CIA agent

Leaker will "no longer work in my administration"

The wife of the top state transportation manager who raised doubts Thursday about cost savings of Mayor Greg Nickels's hybrid tunnel proposal has come under attack.

David Dye, Administrator for the Washington Department of Transportation's Urban Corridors Office, had challenged whether a narrower tunnel to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct really can save $1.2 billion, as claimed by Seattle officials.

Today, nationally syndicated columnist Robert Novak wrote that Dye's wife, Valerie Frandle Dye, is an employee of the CIA who investigates weapons of massive real estate speculation.

Critics of the various waterfront tunnel proposals say the revelation is payback from Nickels, who they say wants a tunnel due to the lucrative waterfront redevelopment that would follow. The opponents are focusing on the now-infamous '12 words' in Nickels's January 18 statement. The mayor had said that the hybrid tunnel "will save over $1 billion compared to WSDOT's inflated six-lane alternative."

"When Dye challenged that, he was questioning the Administration's entire rationale for committing this city to tunneling," said a rebuild supporter.

Nickels told reporters on Friday that if anyone on his staff committed a crime in revealing Ms. Dye's identity, that person will "no longer work in my administration." He declined further comment, in light of an ongoing investigation.

Nickels spokesperson Marianne Bichsel said that Novak did not get his information from the Mayor's Office. "And especially not from Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis," Bichsel said.

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Posted January 26, 2007
Bush launches reelection campaign

Surprised aides look away, check wristwatches

President George W. Bush surprised the White House press corps today with a declaration that he would run for a third term. By making the announcement Mr. Bush joined a growing crowd of declared Publican Party candidates, including Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas, former Massachusetts glovernor Mitt Romney and Rep. Duncan Hunter of California.

"I feel like I'm just now getting the hang of the job," Mr. Bush told incredulous reporters.

The president said that he made his decision while writing his State of the Union address. "In reviewing my accomplishments of the past year, I realized there's so much left to do. Lots on the list from 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006 I haven't got to yet," said Bush.

"When I was writing the part about the health care proposal, Laura said to me, she says, 'George, that plan sounds so smart, it's like you can do this in your sleep.' And I thought, yeah, she's right, I do."
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"That woman" Merkels Bush

"Then the reception I got on Capitol Hill on Tuesday was so warm and friendly--and that woman even gave me a Merkel. Well, a half-Merkel. It showed how much they love me. That sealed the deal," Bush said.

Bush aides who were present appeared to be taken by surprise by the announcement. Several slowly edged off the dais, and press secretary Tony Slow moved out of camera range and frequently checked his wristwatch.

Veteran White House beat reporter Helen Thomas had the only question, concerning the limits of the 22nd Amendment.

"They were my favorite music group in the Seventies, I don't think they were limited," the president replied, and asked, "Who here has heard Up-Up And Away: The Definitive Collection? Fabulous."

"To suggest they were limited, that's just wrong," he said. "And by the way, Helen, they were called the Fifth Amendment," Bush added, correcting Thomas.

Afterward Ms. Thomas became ill and had to be taken to George Washington University Hospital. A hospital spokesperson said Thomas had hyperventilated, and was resting comfortably. "She's in extremely, and I do mean extremely, high spirits," the spokesperson said.

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Posted January 25, 2007
Short takes

Seattle Viaduct: today's counterproposals

The lowballing competition continues between sides advocating a waterfront tunnel and a rebuild to replace Seattle's Alaskan Way Viaduct. Sources inside the rebuild camp say they are set to unveil an ultra-slim single-level viaduct, with only one, reversible, lane with turn-outs for oncoming traffic. Estimated cost: $500 million. Meanwhile over at Team Tunnel, an SDOT official who requested anonymity says their side is putting the finishing touches on a two-lane, $420 million "roofless tunnel," basically a street in a trench.

Jenna Bush now an author - Seeks publisher

In an effort to move past her image as a wild collegiate party girl, co-First-Daughter Jenna Bush is seeking a publisher for her just-finished manuscript with the working title, "My 101 Favorite Cocktail Recipes." The book is also a memoir in that each recipe is accompanied by a pubcrawl story, e.g. "Singapore Sling - and the bitchin' tattoo I had for about 3 days before mom made me get it lasered off."
      "She's the first Bush to parlay binge drinking into a professional career," said First Lady Laura Bush, "we couldn't be prouder."

The -ic factor

Speaking of serving alcohol, some Democratic Party officials--steamed over George W. Bush's use of the insult 'Democrat Party' in Tuesday's State of the Union address--have devised a rejoinder: Publican. The added double entrendre refers to the recent spate of disgraced GOP officials who have blamed their problems on drinking. Publican: use it in good health.

Non-Lethal Weapon

The Air Force is testing an experimental heat ray that could be used to support infantry in combat, as well as in civil crowd control. Developers at Acme Corporation say the new weapon shoots a high-energy beam that creates heat of about 130 degrees, enough to make targeted individuals believe for about 30 seconds that their clothing is catching on fire. The system is based on an advanced technology program of Major League Baseball, "Project Hotfoot."

Viaduct update

Team Tunnel and Team Rebuild have issued new counterproposals in the time since you started reading this post. Tunnel advocates now say they can save an additional $28 million on the "roofless tunnel" plan by making the trench 22-feet deep instead of 45-feet. On the opposing side, proponents of rebuilding the viaduct are lowering the height of their one-reversible-lane roadway, cutting cost estimates a further $32 million.

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Posted January 24, 2007
Greatest American Heroes

Bush lauds "ordinarier people"

When President George W. Bush introduced three invited guests in the House gallery during Tuesday's State of the Union address, he was continuing a custom started by Ronald Reagan in 1982. Such guests are showcased in order to call attention to success stories of the past year, or provide inspiration designed to win support for new policy initiatives.

In his 2007 State of the Union address, the president again showed he is a master at using these 'gallery moments' to maximum political benefit, by calling attention to the accomplishments of three Americans. "These are ordinarier people," said Mr. Bush, "who represent the best that my great nation has to offer."

First introduced was Phillip K. Frandle, who Mr. Bush said had the dual distinction of being the National Security Agency's Employee of the Month for November 2006, as well as having the agency's best attendance record.

"Phil Frandle showed up every day, which is all I ever ask of anyone," Bush said. "But Phil went beyond that. On July 19, 2006, during one eight hour shift, he successfully hacked into 326 American email accounts, taking only two bathroom breaks. A true hero in the secret war of terrorist surveillance."

Frandle, wearing a brown paper bag over his head due to the classified nature of his work, rose briefly to acknowledge the applause from those assembled in the House chamber.
State of the Union Spotlight: Terrorism

Mr. Bush said he was adding the world's oceans to the Axis of Evil. "We have new intelligence that says the reason the oceans no longer protect us from terror is because they're in on it," he said.

In the Democratic response Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA), who was Navy Secretary under Reagan, defended the oceans.

"Speaking of privacy, the next ordinarier person in the gallery has a personal connection to a truly fabulous American," continued Mr. Bush. "And that is Mrs. Lynn Feinberg of Dearborn, Michigan. She is the great-granddaughter of the man who invented the paper shredder."

"Confidentialness of secrecy is important to everyone, even presidents and vice presidents," said Bush. "Especially in the age of the internets, when it seems none of our private information is safe. I thank Lynn for her great-grandfather's fabulous invention," he said.

The president's final guest was Lisa Devlin, a single parent from Columbia, SC. "Lisa Devlin works two minimum wage jobs that don't offer health insurance. That's bad," Bush said. "But she is glad to have the option of putting money into a Medical Savings Account. That's good."

"Some would help Lisa Devlin by increasing the minimum wage. But that would just raise her income, and therefore raise her income taxes. An increased minimum wage would help her afford health insurance. But I'm going to be taxing health plans, the good ones anyway."

"Make no mistake about it," said the president. "Raising the minimum wage means raising Lisa Devlin's taxes. It means new taxes on Lisa Devlin. I'm not going to stand for that. Read my lips: no new taxes on Lisa Devlin."

Pro-viaduct side makes counter-proposal

Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels says his one-level, four-lane "hybrid" tunnel will save money over the original two-level, six-lane proposal. But House Speaker Frank Chopp, a viaduct rebuild proponent, says his side can cut costs too, and offers a slimmed-down viaduct design that is also four lanes. "I can do this duelling banjos-thing all day," Chopp said.

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Posted January 22, 2007
SOU - Bush to announce plan to psych-out the big issues

An advance draft of President Bush's State of the Union address was distributed to reporters today, its contents confirms earlier word that the president intends to focus the remainder of his final term on domestic issues.

"The president believes the key to winning any battle is to psych-out the enemy," press secretary Tony Slow told reporters late Monday. "Consequently, after chatting with god he proceeded to look into the hearts of the major domestic issues, and he thinks he can beat them," said Slow.

An examination of the advance text reveals it has much in common with the advance-advance preview given to USA Today. Mr. Bush told the publication that he will help all Americans afford health insurance, which will include taxing some health plans. A similar approach is now apparent with other issues:

Education: Bush will propose using U.S. Department of Education purchasing power to negotiate bulk discounts on Intelligent Design textbooks; a new tax on the 5% smartest children, with tax revenues transferred to private schools and educational testing companies; create a George W. Bush Academic Mediocrity Scholarship Fund for C students entering Yale.

Social Security, Medicare: reduce benefits for the anti-social and the insecure; tax the Medicare prescription coverage "donut hole" and the donut as well in order to improve senior citizen nutrition; tax the 5% of oldest seniors, tax revenues to be transferred to the maker of the Rascal electric scooter.

Employment: create 21,000 new, entry-level defense jobs in Iraq; tax these new employees, tax revenues to be transferred to private firms providing security in the Mid East region.

Environment: the president will acknowledge the existence of the carbon problem, and will propose a tax on major carbon dioxide producers, especially exhalers; he will urge the private sector to cease production of carbon paper.

The administration's low approval ratings combined with the worsening situation in Iraq makes Tuesday night's State of the Union perhaps the most crucial of Mr. Bush's presidency. He will prepare on Monday evening by watching NBC's "Heroes," sources said.

Seattle sculpture park a big hit

An estimated 3.7 million people took advantage of good weather this past weekend to attend the official debut of the new Olympic Sculpture Park on Seattle's Elliott Bay waterfront.

Black turtlenecks and berets of all colors and fabrics were in evidence, and the pathways were clogged with eager art lovers trying to get free giveaway items from employees of the opening weekend's sponsor, Target.

Some visitors even created their own interactive opportunities, such as those who scrawled messages and designs, or wrote their names on the oxidized steel surfaces of Richard Serra's 300 ton piece, Wake. When contacted, the artist was thrilled at how his work was received. "I'm going to change the name from 'Wake' to 'Seattle Can't Have Nice Things,' Serra said.

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January 20-21, 2007
Mr_Blog Weekend
Nickels crafts tunnel compromise

2-phase proposal copies light rail strategy

Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels announced on Friday a compromise plan to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct. His latest proposal further modifies his "hybrid tunnel" proposal, and he hopes it is enough to opposition from Governor Chris Gregoire, city council, Port of Seattle and key legislators.

Nickels's compromise calls for the tunnel to be built in two phases. Phase One will construct the north third and south third of the tunnel. Phase Two, contingent on voter approval, would consist of the tunnel's middle third.

The plan draws upon Nickels's experience as a member of the Sound Transit board. "The mayor played a huge role in rescuing the Central Link financial plan, and rebuilding public enthusiasm for the light rail project," explained Nickels spokesperson Marianne Bichsel.

"He realized the solution on the waterfront tunnel can be found in how Link was saved," said Bichsel. "Put simply, if we can phase-in tunnel construction we're not putting all our eggs in one basket, both in terms of financial resources and public accountability," Bichsel said.

"This is doable. It's a financially responsible plan, and it gives voters a say," Nickels told reporters. "We'll build Phase One of the tunnel with the funds we have, it's within our means. The public will be able to see how well Phase One works, and be satisified we're on the right path," said Nickels. "Only then will we ask taxpayers to vote on whether to proceed with Phase Two."

Seattle Department of Transportation staffers who worked on the compromise plan's detail told reporters that the work was managed by Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis.

"Ceis had us all sit together at a big table," said a city transportation engineer who requested anonoymity. "He walked around the room with a baseball bat, talking about teamwork, and how 'a big hitter is nothing if his team don't field.' I'll sure miss Pete the bike program guy, but we all got the message," the engineer said.

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Posted January 19, 2007
Dear Leader
by Kim Jong Il

Dear Leader,
       The United States invaded my country nearly four years ago based on bad intelligence. They rolled over our military and disbanded it. Then the US government fired the technocrats and set up an occupation designed to reward their cronies with lucrative contracts. Today we still have little law enforcement, water or electricity, and there's a sectarian civil war with bombings every day. Thousands upon thousands are dead, and billions in reconstruction funds are missing. My question is: is it too late for me to send thank-you notes?
Signed, Tardy in Taji

Dear Tardy:
       I know it's harder the longer you wait, but trust me--it's never too late to repay a debt of gratitude with a few thank-you notes. For example, after I send counterrevolutionaries to be reëducated, it may take five or six years before I get a thank-you. But when I finally receive one--whether a Hallmark card, a pajama-gram or even a simple note scrawled in blood on a scrap of toilet tissue--it warms my heart. I always send them a little extra rice for their gruel.
       Also, think of the feelings of the Americans' dear leader. In your country he has spent billions of dollars borrowed from the Chinese, and lost over 3,000 lives, and he has nothing to show for it. Just think how a thank-you note from Taji would brighten his day, assuming it clears security screening.
       In return--while you probably won't get rice--he'll likely send you a signed photo with a personal message, like "You're welcome." And wouldn't that make it all worthwhile?

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Posted January 18, 2007
Brangelina pick New Orleans

Seattle bid falls short

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie yesterday announced that New Orleans would be their new home.

The megastar couple say the reason for their move is to help draw attention to the Gulf Coast's continued struggle to recover from the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina.

Their effort will be headquartered in a $3.5 million, six-bedroom home in the French Quarter, for which Pitt and Jolie reportedly paid cash. The residence is said to have a spiral staircase, an elevator, a gourmet kitchen, a large private courtyard, a separate two-story guest house and parking for only two cars.

"We love it here already," said a beaming Jolie. "Emeril LaGasse has agreed to become our personal indentured chef," Jolie said. "And we're shopping for a good school for our kids, hopefully a newer building in the $2-3 million range," added Pitt.

The Crescent City beat out a weak bid by Seattle to become the global paparazzi capital du jour.

"We did all we could," said a disappointed Greg Nickels, Seattle mayor. "We have unaffordable million dollar downtown condos, a crappy baseball team, leaderless public schools, minority owned businesses impacted by light rail construction, and a pigheaded insistence on a waterfront tunnel we can't afford," Nickels said. "Unfortunately, we found out yesterday that those aren't the kind of disasters Mr. Pitt and Ms. Jolie are interested in."

Disappointed Seattle boosters were quick to place blame with the Seattle Brangelina Organizing Committee.

"They were focused solely on lifestyle and financial disasters," Seattle Weekly editor Mark D. Fefer said from his New York office. "But what about architectural tragedies? Seattle seems to think you can slap clapboard siding and shingles on the side of a box and call it Craftsman," said Fefer.

Marianne Bichsel, a spokesperson for Mayor Nickels, said great effort was spent to find compelling cases to include in Seattle's Brangelina bid. "But Microsoft's new Vista operating system is being better received than originally predicted," said Bichsel. "And anyway, that's more of a Redmond thing."

"We had hopes that the sewage discharges into Puget Sound that occurred during the recent storms would put us over the top," Bichsel added. "But try as hard as we might, we couldn't pump enough shit into Puget Sound to ensure a winning bid."

Recently: RNC Files Ch. 11 Intellectual Bankruptcy

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Posted January 14, 2007
George Allen to observe MLK holiday

Ousted senator had day off anyway

Former Sen. George Allen (R-VA) told a small public gathering on Friday that he would observe the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday for the very the first time.

Allen said he had no firm plans and would likely spend the day watching television.

In 1984, Allen had opposed creation of a state holiday in Virginia honoring the late civil rights leader.

Allen's public remarks occurred at checkstand #4 of the Safeway on the Richmond Highway in Mount Vernon. In anticipation of the holiday Allen purchased a TV Guide, as well as a six pack of Belgian ale, a 10-piece carton of Banquet frozen fried chicken, a bag of Tater Tots® and a box of microwave popcorn.

Reached at his home late Friday, Allen, who picked up on the first ring, told this reporter he did not consider his decision a reversal.

"I also told voters I'm pro-life at the same time I owned stock in the company that makes the Plan B morning-after pill," Allen said, "so I don't consider my inconsistencies to be inconsistent. I've consistently said that. But you'll have to excuse me now, it's nearly sunset and time for shabbat."

Allen said he would also honor Dr. King by flying the Confederate flag at half staff.

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Posted January 12, 2007
Enron's Fastow appeals sentence

Seeks time off for assisting Iraq strategy

Attorneys for former Enron chief financial officer Andrew Fastow have filed an appeal of his six year prison term for wire and securities fraud. Fastow is an inmate at the Federal Detention Center in Oakdale, LA.

The 32-page filing asks to have Fastow's sentence reduced by reason of the use of Enron-style math in the Bush Administration's recently announced "surge" strategy for Iraq.

"The White House plan is clearly inspired by my client's accounting methods," said Fastow attorney Roy Hammurabi. "Mr. Fastow innovated the way we overstate available assets, and he should get credit for that," said Hammurabi. "Andrew Fastow is a hero."

Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA), a leading Enron watchdog in Congress, agreed with Hammurabi's assessment. "Extending tours of duty, redeploying troops that have already done multiple tours, all to make it look like we have more forces to put into Iraq--that has Enron written all over it," Cantwell said.

At the White House, sources close to the president admitted the surge strategy accidentally used Fastow accounting methods. An official explained that a page from a 1999 Enron audit was inadvertantly included in the notes of President Bush's Wednesday night television address.

White House chief of staff Joshua Bolten said it would be inappropriate for the president to intervene in Mr. Fastow's case. However, Fastow is to be awarded a Medal of Freedom in recognition of his service to the nation.

Drivers reminded to steer with hands

The Washington State Patrol has some cold weather advice for drivers who are out in this week's icy conditions: Place your hands on the steering wheel in order to direct a car in the desired direction.

Thousands of drivers already drive with a cell phone in one hand and a latte in the other, using telekinesis to turn the steering wheel. Drivers are reminded that the manual method, while less convenient, is the most reliable given the many distractions.

The Patrol also reminded drivers that roads are slippery when covered with ice.

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Posted January 11, 2007
Bush announces Iraq Block Watch program

Urges ordinary Iraqis to stand up, wear helmets

President Bush says he is aware ordinary Iraqis are concerned about conditions in their country, but that help is on the way.

"Our commanders say the Iraqis will need our help, so America will change our strategy to help the Iraqis carry out their campaign to put down sectarian violence and bring security to the people of Baghdad," Mr. Bush told an international TV audience Wednesday night.

Mr. Bush said, "I feel their worry. We're gonna do things just like we do in America--empower Iraqis to achieve more better safetyness."

The empowerment would take the form of a quintessentially American variety of civic self-help: the neighborhood block watch program.

Mr. Bush said coalition forces "cannot be responsible for every little thing that happens on the streets."

"I've always said the Iraqi people need to stand up. If ordinary Iraqis stand up in their front yards, our troops can stand down," the President said.

"When they stand down, I'm thinking down the street, maybe in the shopping district, because Americans love to shop," he observed. "My advice in hard times is always to go shopping, so that is what I will order our soldiers, sailors and marines to do. This will be good for the Iraq economy. Win-win."

American funding would go to printing pamphlets and purchasing binoculars, clipboards and orange vests emblazoned with "Block Watch" in both English and Spanish. The Pentagon and British Ministry of Defence would donate surplus military helmets. Recruitment and coördination efforts would be conducted by private security firms under U.S. government contracts.

Cost of the program is estimated at $16 billion for Fiscal Year 2007.

"The neighborhood block watch concept is a proven security strategy," White House Press Secretary Tony Slow told reporters yesterday. "Communities with active participation in their block watch see a significant decrease in crime. Surviving neighbors learn how to band together and raise community awareness," Slow said.

Some Iraqis quickly hailed the new initiative. Gladys al-Kravitz, a Ramadi homemaker, said she looked forward to getting involved. "There are a lot of suspicious characters in my neighborhood," said al-Kravitz, 53. "The block watch will help me stop illegal parking, loud music and neighbors painting their houses colors I don't like."

Other Iraqis are skeptical, with some like National Assembly member Nassir al-Frandle (Islamic Dawa-Najaf) saying additional funding should go to hiring more officers. "The ranks of the local police are thinned because so many officers have been called away on active duty with militias and insurgent groups," al-Frandle said.

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Posted January 10, 2007
Amazing new constitution unveiled

Gonzales announces new product line of thin, lightweight laws

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales yesterday thrilled an overflow crowd at the Consumer Legal Exposition in Reno, with announcement of a revamping of the U.S. Government's legal offerings. But the star was Gonzales' newest invention.

Attired in his trademark black turtleneck, the Attorney General teased the spectators with his announcement. Standing in front of a huge animated screen, Gonzales first said he was rolling out three new products: "Deregulation, corporate protection, and unchecked Executive power," he declared. "Deregulation, corporate protection, and unchecked Executive power," he repeated, as an icon rotated on the big screen.

As applause began, Gonzales smiled and asked, "Got it yet? It's ONE product!" A picture of his new invention, an incredibly tiny, futuristic Bill of Rights appeared on the screen to thunderous applause.

"We call it iLegal," said a smiling Gonzales. "It's deregulation; it's corporate protection; and it's unchecked Executive power. It's a slim, lightweight Bill of Rights for the age of the Internets," he said.
A Constitution so small, you may not recognize it.

The new iLegal sports a smooth, blank interface and many undocumented features. Gonzales asked rhetorically, "How do we do it? Miniaturization. We made all the rights a lot smaller and more efficient for the Commander in Chief," he explained, adding, "some redundant rights are totally gone."

The iLegal will also include sophisticated new sensors. "I can't tell you what they are or what they do," said Gonzales, "but they're there."

Gonzales said iLegal is the first step in "iLegal-ing" the government's entire product line. He said thin, lightweight versions of Social Security and Iraq policy could be expected soon.

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Posted January 8, 2007
E-vil genius attacks Congress

"Youth Ray" does dastardly damage to Democrats
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Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) reaches for the gavel as Speaker Pelosi tries to make the best of things. Next to Sanchez are members (L-R) Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA, holding Brian Baird, D-WA), Steny Hoyer (D-MD), and Dennis Kucinich (D-OH).

The world was shocked this morning when a futuristic energy beam was fired at Washington, D.C. from an unknown location in space, striking the U.S. House of Representatives as members gathered for its first week of work under the new Democratic majority.

The energy weapon, a "Youth Ray," knocked 30-50 years off the ages of over three dozen Democratic members gathered around the Speaker's chair in the House chamber. Speaker Nancy Pelosi was reduced in age to her mid-thirties, while other members regressed to their early childhood.

SPECTRE, a worldwide criminal syndicate previously thought to be fictional, claimed responsibility in a voice mail left with the Los Angeles bureau of People magazine. The caller gave his name as Ernst Stavro Blofeld.

Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), who happened to be not on the House floor when the Youth Ray struck, raised Constitutional concerns. "Many Democrats are now below the Constitution's minimum age for representatives of twenty-five," he said. "They will have to be removed from office and special elections held," Boehner said, rubbing his hands together.

At the White House President Bush denounced the Youth Ray attack. "This juvenilement of one of our branchings of government is terrorism at its most despicability," Mr. Bush told reporters.

Rumors are swirling in Democratic circles and on the Internet of a political motivation behind the attack, based on perceived Bush family connections to Blofeld, a leading industrialist. The President, his father former President George H.W. Bush, brother Jeb Bush, and other family members are major stockholders in various Blofeld-owned corporations.

Press Secretary Tony Slow laughed off such allegations as "herb-seasoned braised tripe." Slow twirled the ends of his new, enormous moustache and nonchalantly regarded his manicure.

Speaking from a Blofeld Industries research satellite in low Earth orbit, Slow said a bill would be sent to Congress proposing a new daycare program for affected House members. The program is to be operated by the Department of Health and Human Services. The proposal would also place DHHS within the Department of Homeland Security. The new agency would be called DHSHHS.

Maliki diagnosed

Iraq President Nouri al-Maliki has been diagnosed with a rare but non-life threatening neurological illness, according to U.S. embassy sources. The disorder, known as Bush Syndrome, affects the judgment center of the brain and causes the sufferer to make politically idiotic decisions.

It was first noticed last week, when al-Maliki inexplicably ordered the execution of former leader Saddam Hussein, despite that Hussein's scheduled trial on charges of genocide had yet to take place. The diagnosis was confirmed just after the execution, when al-Maliki was found reading "My Pet Goat" instead of attending the hanging.

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Posted January 5, 2007

I recently read about an important civic initiative being pressed by our Seattle city government. What could it be? Lap dancing? Adult entertainment zones? No, it's even more important: cracking down on unlicensed pets. Correspondent Tim Snide, what's the public benefit behind the stepped-up enforcement--better funding for spaying and neutering? More kennels? Public education?

Wolf, I'm standing here at the Seattle Animal Shelter on Elliott Avenue, where the word of the day is "zero-tolerance." The shelter says only a fraction of city pets are licensed, and to deal with it they're increasing the number of animal control officers. Fines have also been increased to $125, up from $54. The Animal Shelter's Don Baxter spoke to us on tape earlier:

"Before we gave pet owners a deadline to get a pet license, but we found that that method wasn't working... it's similar to being pulled over without current tabs. Drivers get a ticket and still have to pay for the tabs."

To pay for the increased enforcement the shelter's budget has been raised $250,000, and they expect to issue more citations, which last year numbered nearly 1,000. Back to you.

Tim, that doesn't really speak to the issue of the intended public benefit of greater enforcement. What is the ultimate goal?

Mr. Baxter says main goal is to get pets licensed.

But that speaks to means, not ends. The car tabs analogy doesn't really apply: tab revenues support the state highways system and other things that are transportation-related. What public infrastructure is used by pets?

That's not clear, but Jordan also said "Pet owners need to recognize they need to do the right thing by buying licenses for their animals to support the life-saving work we do at the Seattle Animal Shelter."

OK, so the shelter needs to fully fund its $3.1 million budget. Why then greater enforcement, when animal control officers and their vehicles cost money? Why not seek more from the general fund, rather than fine people whether they can afford it or not?

I'm glad you asked that, Wolf. I talked to shelter director Don Jordan, and he said, quote, "We try to educate, but sometimes owners talk themselves into added citations."

That doesn't really make sense. You mean, whether an animal control officer thinks the owner has an 'attitude problem' or something?

What officials say is that there are too many unlicensed pets, and this creates a safety hazard.

Wait, how does pet licensing reduce things like dog bites?

It's not bites the Shelter is concerned about, but rather the increasing number of pets who endanger other motorists, by driving without a license.

Wow, that's unexpectedly surreal.

The shelter also may send out undercover patrols to look for scofflaws. But if you're caught with an unlicensed pet, it doesn't mean an animal control officer will automatically write a ticket.


No, you'll be given the opportunity to buy a license on the spot.

A license for Spot, on the spot?

Ha! Good one.

"Rofficer, rhat ro I rave to do to rake rhis ricket risappear?" "Barksky & Pups"?

Stop! You're killing me here!

Tim, what can we take away from this story?

As far as take-away messages go, there are three: 1) To work at the Seattle Animal Shelter, you have to be named Don, 2) Freeloading pets need to start paying their fair share, 3) If you license pets, soon only criminals will have licenses.

On Elliott Avenue, I'm Tim Snide reporting.

City cracks down on unlicensed pets
Plainclothes patrol may target pets without tags

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Posted January 4, 2007
Saddam death investigated

Missed revenue opportunity alleged

The aftermath of the execution of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein has brought new charges of post-invasion mismanagement.

Release of camera phone video showing a large crowd of Shiites taunting Hussein until his final moment amounts to a missed revenue opportunity. So says a spokesman for KBR, a subsidiary of the Halliburton company.

"That so many Shiites were able to come out in the middle of the night, for a last-minute surprise event promoted mainly by word of mouth, shows that the execution would have had huge public appeal," said Norman Frandle, a KBR media spokesman. "Clearly there was a huge potential audience for the execution, both in terms of actual attendance and broadcast rights," said Frandle.

"Tickets could have been issued. Sponsorships and commercials could have been sold. The executions could even have been scheduled as a miniseries," he said in reference to reports that Hussein's half brother Barzan Ibrahim, former intelligence chief, and Awad Hamed al-Bandar, former chief justice of the Revolutionary Court, were executed with Hussein. "But those were one-time-only opportunities," Frandle lamented.

Frandle also observed that Iraqi Shiites were not the only potential audience. He noted that Kurds from the north and the marsh people from south central Iraq are other examples of groups oppressed by the former regime.

"All these groups had cause to celebrate. The failure to bring them together in a unifying reality-TV spectacle with a high probability of realizing a profit is a tragedy," said Frandle. "The only thing we are left with is merchandising."

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Posted January 3, 2007
"Speak loudly and carry a sturdy rope" is new Bush foreign policy

World leaders cower in fear

Bush Administration foreign policy staff are exultant this week following the Dec. 30 execution of Saddam Hussein.

State Department insiders say the White House is reinvigorated since the execution, which showed the world how wrong it is to kill, by killing the former Iraqi strongman.

Already, sources close to the Oval Office say that four heads of state, a foreign ambassador and a defense minister have been told that the U.S. would invade, arrest, try and execute them if they didn't accede to U.S. demands in areas of trade and the war on terror.

White House officials are calling the new stance "Speak loudly and carry a sturdy rope," reminiscent of the pithy names given to U.S. foreign policies of the past, such as the "Monroe Doctrine," the "Open Door Policy" of McKinley, and Reagan's "Is That Where We Vacationed With the Annenbergs?"

That the new diplomatic approach has given the Bush Administration new confidence appeared to be an understatement. When Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, and other Administration officials made the rounds of TV interview programs last weekend to discuss foreign relations, they smirked and nonchalantly regarded their manicures.

White House Press Secretary Tony Slow said that he plans to grow an enormously long moustache so that, when answering questions by foreign journalists, he can twirl it while smirking and nonchalantly regarding his manicure.

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Posted January 1, 2007
Happy New Year

Bush praises Snowflake Baby New Year, calls for protections for unborn years

President George W. Bush celebrated the arrival of 2007 by holding a joint press conference with Snowflake Baby New Year.

The new chronological period, named Snowflake Baby because it was the result of an in vitro fertilization procedure undergone by the National Institute of Standards & Technology, is the first time a U.S. president has closely aligned himself with a new year since Richard Nixon in his first inaugural speech, who declared, " '69 is mighty fine."

Bush called 2007 "a blessing," and added that it is all the more reason to pass a Constitutional amendment to ban abortion. "Department of Social and Health Services statistics say annual abortions in the U.S. are on the increase," said Bush. "That many annuals not having a chance to be born is something we should be trying to stop."

"This is utmostly urgent," add the president, "since only one is born every twelve months."

Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined the president in welcoming the arrival of 2007. But she disagreed with the president on annual abortions. "I think he is mistaking annual for a noun instead of an adjective," said Pelosi. "It is modifying the subject, it is not the subject itself."

Incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid agreed with Pelosi. "These sorts of grammatical misunderstandings are an argument in favor of fully funding basic education in this country," said Reid.

First Lady Laura Bush said the only thing that could kill a year would be if Oscar de la Renta postponed his fall couture line.

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1-15 of 18 Comments
January 29, 2007 - 01:31
Subject: Bush launches reelection campaign

That was funny, only because I could see it happening.

I wish he would take his balloon and travel somewhere else, but I don't think even Oz would take him.

Reply to Debra
January 30, 2007 - 03:44
Subject: Re: Bush launches reelection campaign

Hold on, W can't be the tin man, woodsman, lion AND the wizard?! --Editor

Reply to Debra
January 31, 2007 - 03:50
Subject: Re: Bush launches reelection campaign

No heart, no brain, no courage...yep, and a big fat curtain of secrecy to hide behind.

January 26, 2007 - 08:12
Subject: Short takes

She's the first Bush to parlay binge drinking into a professional career," said First Lady Laura Bush, "we couldn't be prouder."

Well... I guess everyone needs something to hold on to. ;-)

January 23, 2007 - 21:14
Subject: Seattle sculpture park a big hit

OMG they wrote on a Serra? That's the sort of thing I'd expect from my people out here. Except then they'd also come back at night and sell chunks of it to the scrap yard for drug money. (So hello, this is your cousin, trying to keep up with the fam more than she has for a while.)

Reply to shutupproust
January 23, 2007 - 21:52
Subject: Re: Seattle sculpture park a big hit

They wrote on Serra. And it wasn't even good arty tagging either, but on the order of For A Good Time Call. Not paint, but some kind of stylus to abrade the rust. Made me sick. A guard was showing a cop, and the cop's expression was like "what am I supposed to do, this place doesn't have any gates."

I was serious about the Target mobs--those were the only real bottlenecks--people clustered around Targeteers giving away hot cocoa and little stuffed toy dogs.

But the park itself is great, Seattle Cloud Cover is my favorite, we'll go see it the next time you come home. People on the ramp-like pathways reminded me of pilgrims climbing a hill to see an image of the Virgin Mary. --Editor

Reply to shutupproust
January 24, 2007 - 01:22
Subject: Re: Seattle sculpture park a big hit

Cool, I'd like to see it. I think I'm coming in early April. Details TK.

January 24, 2007 - 06:19
Subject: SOU - Bush to announce plan to psych-out the big issues

Bulk discounts on Intelligent Design textbooks! :-) :-) :-)

Particle Man
January 21, 2007 - 23:09
Subject: Nickels crafts tunnel compromise

I can find no other ref to this phasing in terms of a stratagy for getting funding lined up in later years. No press release, no stories in any papers, nothing. Is there anything you can link to?

Reply to Particle Man
January 22, 2007 - 20:19
Subject: Re: Nickels crafts tunnel compromise

Particle Man:

Last fall I began transitioning this blog's nonfiction-parody mix from 75%-25%, to a high octane Funny blend of 10% nonfiction, 90% satire/parody. It's also high in irony for good health.

While I thought that a two-phase tunnel proposal and the concluding paragraph's reference to the Brian DePalma film "The Untouchables" clearly marked this post as satirical, I am heartened to know that the reputations of our mayor and deputy mayor are such that the parody is believable.

I hope this explanation is helpful in your enjoyment of this online column.

BTW, are you the Washblog Particle Man? Your post "Governor Gregoire solves global warming" was sardonically irreverent.


Reply to Particle Man
Particle Man
January 23, 2007 - 00:41
Subject: Re: Nickels crafts tunnel compromise

Thats funny as hell. And yes I can see Tim walking around the meeting room slapping a bat into the palm of his hand. As for the phasing thing, this was also not outside the range of what one might expect from Greg as he tries to lock in the tunnel even prior to getting the funding.

As for global warming, for a week it was solved. It was cold at the time.

As for my laps in seeing the joke...well, I can only say that I had not visited your site and you sealed the deal with the great graphic. LOL

Reply to Particle Man
January 23, 2007 - 01:07
Subject: Re: Nickels crafts tunnel compromise

Tell all your friends! --Editor

January 21, 2007 - 02:03
Subject: Nickels crafts tunnel compromise

He walked around the room with a baseball bat, talking about teamwork, and how 'a big hitter is nothing if his team don't field.

So I see that Mr. Ceis is a real 'motivation' kind of guy.

January 17, 2007 - 04:58
Subject: George Allen to observe MLK holiday

Former Senator Allan is certainly a man of the people. Microwave popcorn and tater tots, the cornerstones of nutritionally balanced day! ;-)

Reply to kvatch
January 17, 2007 - 07:09
Subject: Re: George Allen to observe MLK holiday

If I had it to write over again, I would have used Fried Pork Rinds instead of popcorn. FPRs are funnier.

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