Monday, March 08, 2004

TODAY'S TOP FIVE: Scanning the Want Ads.

Not Funny as in "Ha Ha," Funny as in "Shut the Hell Up, You Evil Bastard" One of my least favorite Washington traditions is the annual Gridiron Dinner, because it imperils the suspension of disbelief that is so essential to my ability to not go insane with terror at the state of our country. Basically, it's this: Once a year, the Washington press corps and whatever administration is in power stop pretending to be antagonistic and instead show that, because they all went to the same schools, make the same money, and know the same people, they are essentially a partnership. It's also an occasion for much good-natured mirth, and this year's speaker, Dick Cheney, gave a kind of "Lighter Side of...Tyranny" speech. Highlight: "'How would you accurately describe your role in this administration? Be honest.' I would say that I am a dark, insidious force pushing Bush toward war and confrontation. . . ." Ha! It's funny because it's true.

The Leona Helmsley of the Aughts Was Martha Stewart targeted because she's a woman? A Democrat? A celebrity? I don't know, and I don't care. I have more important things to do than waste time pondering the fate of a billionaire. Still, with the WorldCom and Enron indictments coming within a week of Martha's conviction, it does look like the Justice Department is actually going after some of the most egregious corporate crooks of the Nineties. Kudos.

When Two Wars Just Aren't Enough Ever since Baghdad fell, we here at the MLWL have been wondering where our majestic and mighty emperor may strike next: Syria, Iran, Libya, Lebanon, and North Korea have all been popular choices. However, this news story suggest that a dark horse has entered the field: Algeria. The US is currently collaborating with the Algerian government to fight the Salafist Brigade for Combat and Call, a guerrilla group with links to Al Qaeda. Algeria, which was France's version of Vietnam (after, of course, Vietnam), has never really recovered from the hideously bloody civil war in the 1990s between the socialist government and the Islamist rebels. This sounds like just the kind of thing we should be involved in.

Plamegate: Remember That? We're going to hop in the Way, Way Back Machine and travel all the way to last fall, when a grand jury was convened to investigate the leak that led to furry slug columnist Bob Novak revealing the secret identify of a CIA operative in an effort to discredit her husband. According to a leak from the grand jury, the White House had been trying for days to discredit Joseph Wilson (you remember: the guy who showed Iraq wasn't trying to buy uranium from Niger) by leaking his wife's identity to respectable journalists. When no actual journalists would bite, they went to Novak. Let's hope this still somehow results in Bob doing time.

Burke and Hare, With a Radical 21st Century Twist In New England back in the day, families used to bury their dead on their own property, because they were afraid that medical students from nearby colleges would dig up the cadavers to use in experiments. In our continuing "America in Decline" series, we present a modern update: the UCLA school of medicine was illegally selling donated bodies to "corporations and research groups." I don't really care about the two "resurrection men" (as body snatchers were called in Regency England) from UCLA who made the money. What I want to know is: What are these "corporations and research groups," and what did they want with dead bodies? If Monsanto has anything to do with this, I'm going organic for good.

-Consider Arms