Wednesday, June 16, 2004

TODAY'S TOP FIVE: A Nation Mourns as Britney Cancels Her Tour.

Hey, Those Giant, Shifting Dunes Weren't There Yesterday According to a United Nations secretariat, one-third of the earth's surface is gradually being lost to "desertification": that is, once-arable lands are turning to dust. Since the mid-1990s, an area the size of Rhode Island has turned into deserts worldwide, while experts predict that by 2025 Africa could lose two-thirds of its arable land. Just so long as nothing happens to the driving range/mini-golf course near my apartment.

100 Million Baptists Can't Be Wrong The Southern Baptist Convention, the largest single Protestant denomination in the United States, voted to secede from the 100 million-member Baptist World Alliance, charging that the international body has grown too liberal on issues like gay marriage and the ordination of women. There's a joke here somewhere about emo kids breaking off from the group over differing views on the Ordination of Aaron, but I'm too hung up on how "Baptist World Alliance" sounds like a lame wrestling tag team to make it.

No One Was Happier About the Defeat of the Taliban Than the Dude From Stone Temple Pilots Buried in this story about Hamid Karzai's "everything's going grrreat!" visit to Washington yesterday is an interesting note: opium production in Afghanistan is now more than 20 times what it was under the Taliban and now accounts for more than half of the country's gross domestic product. Karzai suggested that perhaps some free trade agreement that would "create incentives" for "private interests" to invest in the Afghan economy would alleviate the problem. Dude, "private interests" already invest big-time in your economy, and their incentive is that they seek to control the world smack market.

You Can Keep the Parts That Say We Tried Our Best In a move that will shock absolutely no one, the CIA has determined that huge chunks of a Senate Intelligence Committee report that blasts the agency's recent performance is "too sensitive" to be made public, and hence must be classified. The Senate is fuming over the deletion of roughly 40 percent of the report, saying that the version approved for release by the CIA doesn't give anyone a clear picture of why the committee reached its conclusions. Boy, I'll be the Lakers wish they could do that with last night's game against the Pistons: All you'd see is the tip-off, that point in the 3rd quarter where they went up 31-30, and then the final score.

Emergency Bulletin From the 9/11 Commission: Them Pins Is Pointy! The commission investigating the 9/11 disaster released a report today called "An Overview of the Enemy" in which they revealed that (get ready, hold on to your hats) AL QAEDA MIGHT TRY ATTACKING THE UNITED STATES AGAIN! Well, thank goodness these folks are right on top of this, because until today I thought that, you know, Al Qaeda had pretty much did all they wanted to with September 11 and were now looking forward to a quiet retirement in Jalalabad. We're not paying any actual money for this commission, are we?

-Consider Arms