Friday, July 23, 2004

Fred Kaplan Does My Homework

From Swopa over at Needlenose, I first saw a reference to this article in Slate by Fred Kaplan. Kaplan went through the 9/11 Commission's Report (which I DID download, but haven't gotten around to looking at yet).

The biggest puzzle about the 9/11 commission's report is why Thomas Kean, the panel's chairman, said at the start of his press conference this morning that the U.S. government's failure to stop the attack on the World Trade Center was, "above all, a failure of imagination."

It was a strange comment because the actual report—a superb, if somewhat dry, piece of work—says nothing of the sort. The failure was not one of imagination but rather of incentives. It turns out that many individuals, panels, and agencies had predicted an attack uncannily similar to what happened on Sept. 11, 2001. The problem was that nobody in a position of power felt compelled to do anything about it.

Kaplan cuts the heart out of the Bush position that 9/11 was a bolt out of the blue. In fact, warning signs abounded in the days prior to the event; however, Bush's obsessions were with tax cuts and Iraq (with a side dish of pandering to the religious right regarding stem cell research). Now, it's just a guess on my part, but something tells me the blank look on the Dauphin's face that particular Tueday morning was at least in part due to his too-late realization that the memos, meetings, and whatnot before his month long Texas vacation actually meant something. I've seen that face before--and yeah, I've had it myself at times. You wake up, run off to class, and realize you completely blew off the assignment due that particular morning. Yeah, the prof told you a month in advance, but that was so long ago, and a month seemed so far away. Now, you're sitting there like the goal in a slam dunk contest, hoping that no one notices you haven't even done the reading, much less written the paper. That's the Dubya stare. No, the dog didn't eat HIS homework, because he didn't even know there WAS homework to be done.


John Kerry figured out how to respond to charges regarding his vote on the $87 billion dollars that's either being totally mismanaged or mostly mismanaged as the downpayment for Operation Go Fuck Ourselves. Remember when the war was going to cost "only" a billion dollars or so? I'd be amusing, what, all these so-called conservatives bragging about how much money they've spent, if it wasn't so goddamned tragic (the 900th US soldier was recently killed in Iraq, while the civilian deaths are nearing the 15,000 mark). Here's his response to the Army Times, which interviewed him last month:

"I didn't vote against body armor for troops. I voted to pay for the $87 billion, and when they weren't willing to pay for it, I voted against it because that was a protest against their unwillingness to be responsible."

Democratic Excesses of the American People

Check out this post from Your Right Hand Thief, particularly the quote from John Pappageorge (Michigan chairman of "Veterans for Bush):"

Update: Oyster corrects me in comments--Pappageorge (and, yes, that apparently IS his real name) is officially the Bush-Cheney ’04 Michigan Veterans Leadership Team Co-Chair.

"If we do not suppress the Detroit vote, we're going to have a tough time in this election."

I'll defer to Oyster's comments, but I find it interesting that an official from a veteran's organization would say that, given the standard statements from such organizations to the effect that soldiers fight and die for our freedoms.

Note to Pappageorge: You don't have to wear a sheet or burn crosses to be racist.


If you feel like it, take the time to listen to yesterday's Fresh Air, which featured an interview with Ronald Reagan, Jr. To me, this interview highlights a phenomenon that the mainstream press seems to be trying its best to avoid talking about--erstwhile conservatives abandoning the listing and leaking Bush ship (which might have something to do with the iceberg known as Iraq that Cap'n Bush steamed headlong into).

Reagan, Jr. will be speaking at the Democratic Convention (on Tuesday, I think). His chosen topic is stem cell research, and the interview covers both the topic and the inevitable questions as to whether or not he is being "used" by the party (Reagan's response was "yes," but, at the same time, he's using them because he has a national audience to advocate a cause he feels strongly about).

However, Terry Gross gives Reagan plenty of time to deliver his opinion of George W. Bush--and Ron Jr. offers some king sized dissing--for example, four years ago he considered Bush to be "unqualified" for the office, when asked if he still believed that, his answer was unequivocatingly in the affirmative. While suggesting that we look at his entire statement in context, he nonetheless stood by something else that he wrote four years ago, namely, that Bush's greatest "accomplishment" prior to his election was getting on the wagon--not really something you really tout as a "record." Reagan also offers a solid criticism of the Iraqi misadventure.

Years ago, the SCLM waxed eloquently about the Reagan Democrats (who morphed into the Blue Dog Democrats), etc. But for some reason, it seems like they're afraid to even consider the notion that some conservatives see decidedly non-conservative patterns in the Bush administration, be it either shockingly large deficits, preemptive military interventions, a willingness to stomp on civil liberties, and so on. Combined with a deep contempt for the democratic process, these people have come to the conclusion that the United States should not become a banana republic as a response to fears of terrorism.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Next Time Urine a Combat Zone

I found this over in comments at the Angry Arab News Service, posted by anonymous. To be honest, it was completely irrelevent to the thread but it sure did catch my attention.

New Scientist reports on your tax dollars at work:

Food scientists working for the US military have developed a dried food ration that troops can hydrate by adding the filthiest of muddy swamp water or even peeing on it.

The ration comes in a pouch containing a filter that removes 99.9 per cent of bacteria and most toxic chemicals from the water used to rehydrate it, according to the Combat Feeding Directorate, part of the US Army Soldier Systems Center in Natick, Massachusetts...

The pouch - containing chicken and rice initially - relies on osmosis to filter the water or urine. When two solutions of different concentrations are separated by a semipermeable membrane, with gaps that allow only water molecules to pass through, the water is drawn to the more concentrated side.

The membranes are made of thin sheets of a cellulose-based plastic, with gaps between the fibres that are just 0.5 nanometres across, too small for bacteria to pass through.

A hungry soldier pours dirty water into one end of a foil sachet containing two inner pouches separated by the membrane. The water seeps through the membrane into the dehydrated food on the other side. As it dissolves large molecules in the food, it creates a very high concentration solution. The osmotic pressure created then draws more water through the membrane.

Hydration Technology of Albany, Oregon, which makes the membrane, says soldiers should only use urine in an absolute emergency because the membrane is too coarse to filter out urea.

The body will not find this toxic over the short term, says Ed Beaudry, an engineer with HTI, but rehydrating food this way in the long term would cause kidney damage.

What the hell else can I say?

It'd be nice if The New York Times would make Barbara Ehrenreich a regular columnist...

Check out her latest Op-ed, linked to above, regarding reproductive rights. She notes that even as "abortion for convenience" (which is truly a misnomer) continues to be stigmatized, abortion for reasons relating to the pre or post natal health of the fetus is now considered a normal part of the process. Indeed, it is.

Someone whom I don't know very well, but do know, chose to terminate a pregnancy when it became clear that the fetus had serious health problems that would have almost certainly resulted in stillbirth or death within hours--if not minutes--of delivery. If you ask me, it was the right decision. Hell, even in the absence of severe fetal health issues, abortion is a matter of a woman choosing whether or not she is ready physically and mentally to have a child--and then raise a child. The only input on behalf of the state should be to ensure that options exist either way--either pre-natal care, or abortion services--in a safe environment.

I've said this before, but, I'll repeat: I believe that the rights of an adult human being will ALWAYS outweigh the rights of a fetus. And choice literally means CHOICE.
9/11 and More

The New York Times reports on the release of the 9/11 Commission's report. Due to a lengthy reading list, this might be one case where I'll be more like Dubya than I'd like to admit, i.e., I'll probably skip the entire report--for now. Unlike the dauphin, I'll download a copy (looks like he got a hardcopy of the book--maybe they even signed it), and try to get to it in the next six months or so.

The article in the Times surprised me just a bit: I'd heard a few minutes of discussion on NPR, and I'd figured they glossed over the damning reports which indicated that field agents were well aware of suspicious folks taking flight lessons and reported this to higher ups, who ignored the evidence--to their credit, some of this appears to be in the report. Of course, I'm not surprised that another bone was thrown to the "blame Clinton" crowd, as the news items indicate a willingness to tar the ex-Prez as much as circumstances will allow. Gee--maybe when they finally convene an independent commission on Iraq (sometime in the 22nd century, I'd guess), they'll find another way to blame the man from Hope/Hot Springs.

And, while the media spends it's time focusing on whether or not this country needs to introduce punitive measures to limit access to driver's licenses and passports, this will likely slide below the radar:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. military has found 94 cases of confirmed or alleged abuse of prisoners by U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan since the fall of 2001, the Army's inspector general said Thursday in a long-awaited report made public at a hastily called Senate hearing.

The number is significantly higher than all other previous estimates given by the Pentagon, which had refused until now to give a total number of abuse allegations.

In fact, I'm guessing that 94 is pretty much an arbitrary figure, given what we're beginning to see in terms of the systematic abuses at Abu Ghraib (not to mention the infamous death trucks in Afghanistan). It looks as if the idea here is to fess up to "more than a few bad apples" for purposes of covering the army's collective ass, while at the same time trying to keep the larger picture under wraps.

Speaking of under wraps, this story also fortuitously shows up while the press is focused elsewhere:

US military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan are running $US12.3 billion ($17 billion) over budget this year. Pentagon officials are trying to make up for the shortfall by transferring money from other accounts and delaying refurbishment of worn-out equipment in Iraq, the Government Accountability Office said.

The office, a nonpartisan congressional agency, estimated that the army was about $US9.4 billion over budget. But delaying spending until next year would result in it increasing even more, the agency said.

"Spare $17 billion for illegal war, please?"

And, just to prove that he really is an evil, lying son of a bitch, Donald Rumsfeld insists that he won't require National Guard personnel to serve in combat longer than the statutory 2 year limit--even as he parses "24 months" by rhetorically asking if that meant "cumulative" or "consecutive." What a creep. Yet, even as he says he won't be changing the policy (it's also a federal law, dipshit), he notes that one should 'never say never,' and Reuters is reporting that the Pentagon is asking for "voluntary" extensions beyond the limit. That must mean the war is going "extra well."

Back in a bit...

SAP Servers

They needed to get done--why? Because, um, well, um, well--they needed to get done because, next month when they actually go online, we don't want to be scrambling around trying to get them done.

So, that's how I spent my morning.

SAP is a very accurate acronym. Jeez, this is becoming a monster. Originally set up to run on four servers, we're now using ten, with six more on the way. So much for consolidating servers.

Back after lunch.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Flip Flopping Like a Striped Bass on a Hook--AND He Lies

Your Right Hand Thief has an excellent post up regarding waste, fraud, and the Pentagon. Several weeks back I was trying to make a similar point, but I'll defer to Oyster's clarity of point.

While soaking up the info, I clicked on his final link, a line from our commander in chief that sums up his core "values," namely, that it doesn't matter if you went to the fanciest prep school, then an Ivy League University, then walked out of a cush stateside military committment, then went to ANOTHER Ivy League University, and followed that up with a drinking career in a sort of redneck version of an F. Scott Fitzgerald character, because in spite of all that, Bush considers himself a "not-rich."

He answered his own question: "Yes, the not-rich. That's all of us."

I dunno--maybe he means poor in spirit or something like that. Because, as the article notes, Bush is capable of flip-flopping on a moment's notice:

"Oh, I know you think I'm going to spend most of the time attacking my opponent," Mr. Bush told the crowd, the sweat dripping from his face and soaking through the back of his blue shirt as he moved around the podium. "I've got too much good to talk about."

That promise did not stop him, however, from claiming a few minutes later that Mr. Kerry's plan to roll back the tax cuts for families earning more than $200,000 a year would harm small businesses and discourage investment. "Now is not the time to raise taxes on small-business owners," Mr. Bush said.

Kerry is talking about raising INDIVIDUAL income taxes, not small business taxes. And the "raise" can really be considered more as a return to sound fiscal policies that generated a budget surplus in the 1990's. As it stands, the top marginal rate for income taxation in the United States is around 35 percent. Kerry's proposal would raise this to approximately 37 percent. And, in case anyone has a case of terminal brain lock, let me explain something else: about the only people who actually pay the top rate are politicians (because it looks good when they release their financial statements). Almost anybody in this bracket will have a professional money manager working to shelter income--which is perfectly fine with me, as shelters tend to be areas where governments offer tax breaks in the hope that investments taking advantage of said breaks benefit the economy at large. So, whining about top tax rates is little more than demogaguery. That is to say, lies.

I'd love to hear what those who make over $200 thousand a year have to say--but it's a safe bet that no one in that income range is reading this...

What Next--Texacans?

Via Ezra Klien at Pandagon, The Stakeholder (the DCCC's blog, apparently) brings us this instance of Republicans doing what they do best:

What do you call a resident of Indiana?


If you answered a., you're wrong and probably work in Washington, DC for the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC).

Washington D.C. - - With no excuse for his own candidate's poor fundraising numbers in the latest FEC filing, Washingtonian and NRCC Communications Director Carl Forti lashed out at Jon Jennings, claiming he has nothing in common with "Indianans." Huh? Looks like Carl Forti is the one who doesn't know much about the Hoosier state.

"I'm not even a sports fan, but I've seen the movie Hoosiers. Maybe John Hostettler should give Carl Forti the movie so he can learn a little more about Indiana before they attack Jon Jennings again," said DCCC Communications Director Kori Bernards. "I've never met a Indianan, but I know a good Hoosier, and it's Jon Jennings.

Now, if someone could provide a good definition of Hoosier...

From the "Imagine That" Department

Forbes of all perodicals, comes out and states the obvious:

America's seniors would have better access to medicines if U.S. drug prices were slashed to the level paid in other industrialized nations, a new analysis suggests.

A 45 percent price cut would let Congress eliminate a gap in coverage that will occur when Medicare's outpatient prescription drug benefit takes effect in 2006, the authors conclude. Lower prices, they add, would make it possible to enhance drug coverage for seniors at no additional cost to the federal government.

Of course, they go on to justify high costs as a means of encouraging "innovation," then they pick out a straw man--in this case, "America's litigious environment," to ensure that the interests of those who actually read Forbes receive the kind of attention they've come to expect.

Still, it's mildly encouraging to see reports like this, as admitting that US drug costs are outrageous compared to the rest of the industrial world SHOULD be a matter of public discussion--along with a thorough, reasoned analysis of the tort system. If torts were truly understood, perhaps the public wouldn't be clamoring for "reform."
Two Steps Forward, Six Steps Backward

The Filipino truck driver held hostage in Iraq was freed, but six more hostages--two Kenyans, three Indians and an Egyptian--were abducted by militants in what the Bush administration would probably call a sign that their policy is working.

Oh--and if you do link to the story, check out the inset, which gives the reader a glimpse at the remaining members of the coalition and their respective committments, including the absurd note that suggests South Korea will actually bump up their contingent by 3,000 soldiers at some point (as if this would make any difference).

Can someone please explain to me how hostage taking on a scale greater than what went on in Lebanon in the 1980's constitutes a success?
When Wingnuts Exault

Jeff Crouere must be feeling warm and tingly all over, now that he's found something he can tie--sort of--to Bill Clinton.

Even though the individual is Sandy Berger, even though his "crime" was taking COPIES of classified documents and handwritten notes from a reading room (not the ORIGNIALS, i.e., he didn't destroy evidence), and even though Team Bush has engaged in activities that show such a deep level of contempt for the laws of the land and the general public that any whining about Berger is the moral equivalent of a burglar suing a homeowner because he injured himself breaking in...

In spite of all this, the rabid Clinton haters will now be able to gratify themselves once again.

Note: Don't know about anyone else, but Blogger once again being more than a little balky...

Tuesday, July 20, 2004


Link via The Angry Arab News Service.

The New York Times reports on a routine flight from Detroit from Los Angeles--with one exception, of sorts.

It seems as if fourteen men, who looked to be of Arab descent, were on the plane, and didn't scrupulously behave themselves, but instead, chatted with each other, occasionally ignored the fasten seatbelt signs, and even (gasp) took trips to the bathroom during the four hour flight.

Read the article, then check out was As'ad has to say. Also, consider the situation reversed 180 degrees--would YOU like it if people viewed you with suspicion just because of your race/ethnic background.

For the record: I don't fly a whole lot, but these days I make enough to allow for some long distance travel. I DO behave quite scrupulously on flights, because, one, I'm kind of tall, so I ALWAYS request (and usually get) exit row seats (a true blessing for those of us who can't afford first class, but really can use the extra legroom), and two, I take stuff like that seriously. An airline flight is no time to be in a joking mood, if you ask me (not that I'm afraid of flying--quite the opposite--but that's just my style). And, referencing my parenthetical, that's the point (and As'ad's)--the "suspicious" folks look at flying differently--so leave them the hell alone.

At this point, I seriously doubt Al Qaeda or any like organization will hijack an airplane--the level of alert is just way too high. On the other hand, if you'd like to get your paranoia groove going, my advice would be to consider that shoulder launched, surface to air missiles are almost impossible to defend against, given the current level of airline security here in the US. THAT'S what I'd be worried about.

Or, if you actually consider yourself to be a more or less rational individual--realize that your odds of death or injury are hundreds, if not thousands times higher taking the drive to the airport in the first place. Remember, every month, a 9/11's worth of death--and then some--happens on our roads and highways. Funny, though: nobody seems to look suspicious at normal looking folks driving around in monster sized SUV's.
Earning a Paycheck the Old-Fashioned Way
It's been a little busy here, and I've spent most of the day off site dealing with, among other things, dot matrix printers. If you can believe it, some are still in use, and this weekend we'll be using two to print out invoices during the monthly equivalent of a yard sale. If anyone in or around Baton Rouge wants more information, I'd be happy to provide it. Items offered for sale will be, among other things, equally shitty printers, old computers, office furniture, tools of various kinds, etc. I've actually never been to one of these, which occur monthly--I think. However, if I remember right, I've been told you put in a bid for a pallet of stuff, which for about 90 percent of the pallets is the ONLY bid. So, if you're looking for a 'bargain,' you might find one.
Oh--here's a link with more information, including, if you click through, brochures listing some of the items--which include automobiles. There's also a map noting the location of Brickyard Lane, which basically is right underneath the I-10 bridge once you get across the Mississippi River--if you're traveling east on the highway.
And, off topic, but: yesterday, I was mentioning a degree of patience regarding bricks, televisions, Dick and Lynne Cheney, and throwing said brick at television. This patience is due at least in part to a valuable lesson I learned over the weekend. Saturday, I was helping someone set up an internet connection at their house. This person is close enough to a local hotspot that a wireless NIC was all that was required. So, we got the card, and I proceeded to unplug the machine, as rule number one for hardware installation is shut the computer down (it was already) and unplug it.
Then I pulled the installation instructions out of the box--they insisted, not once, but three times, that you needed to install the software first, then deal with the hardware. And, in spite of the fact that I've installed everything short of a new motherboard, I took their word and plugged the computer back in, then proceeded to install the driver. Then, I shut the machine down (the box was already open), added the NIC, and powered back up. Did anyone notice my critical mistake?
That's right, I forgot to unplug the damn thing. As a result, the video card was fried. Powering up brought a dreaded double beep, and no video signal. And it was my own damn fault.
I gave my word to my friend that the install would be a piece of cake. Since it was my own mistake, I felt obligated to pay for a replacement ($55). Fortunately, this solved the problem.
In retrospect, I'm certain the hardware could have been installed prior to the drivers--Windows allows this. The instructions were likely written by folks eager to avoid calls to the help desk, as driver installs sometime require the user to browse through a CD, which isn't always the most intuitive thing.
But that's the last time I'll forget the critical step of unplugging the damn machine. I hope.

Monday, July 19, 2004


Link via Holden at Atrios.
The New Yorker has the lowdown on the smackdown between Cheney and Leahy when their respective posses took five for a group photo.

Hey, instead of Red States/Blue States, maybe the media can start using "Crips' Territory" and "Bloods' Turf."
Waiting for the Inevitable News Item that's Buried on Page 23

How long will it take, given the dauphin's rant about the "[Cuban] sex tourism trade" before the SCLM discreetly reports on Neil Bush's island hopping?
Arrogance is as Arrogance Does

For those who can stomach it, C-SPAN ran their interview with Big Time Dick Cheney (and Mrs. Dick) over the weekend. I caught most of it last night, and somehow managed to NOT throw a brick through the TV screen.

I'll explain more about my patience re: bricks, TV screens, and throwing in a subsequent post. However, if you want to see genuine venality in strong concentration, either tune into C-Span or hit the website for the video stream. Personally, I actually got small kick out of watching Big Time once again justify F-Bombing Senator Pat Leahy--and Lynne added her own pathetic attempt to sound folksy--something like "we're from the West, where folks use direct language."

Oh really, Lynne. First, you look like you belong on the range about as much as I look like I belong in a sumo wrestler's costume. Second, if that kind of language IS something that's ingrained into your soul, well--let's just say I'd be happy to engage in a frank exchange of views with you and/or your husband ANYTIME. Finally, like it or not, the two of you both look like a couple of tired, old, overfed and overstuffed prairie-WASPs.

If Dick's language is just fine, it makes me wonder what kind of problem y'all had with the Move On ad contest.
Mashed Mosquitoes

Are something to avoid, according to this CNN story. Of course, down here there once was a different way of dealing with said critters, but West Nile Virus probably put an end to that.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Jeopardy--2004 Election Edition
[intro--opening credits, theme music, announcer voice over: "welcome to this special edition of Jeopardy, election 2004. Here's your host, Alex Trebek." Applause]
Thank you, and thank you, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to this very special edition of Jeopardy, what we like to call our election year gala. Let's meet today's contestants.
Alex, our returning champion is a [pause] a [papers shuffling, muffled tones. He continues, somewhat flustered]--a twice elected governor from the State of Texas. Please welcome George W. Bush.
[George Bush enters with Dick Cheney, each takes a seat]
I'm a wartime champion, Alex. [smirks]
I see--uh, Mr. Cheney, is there a reason why you've decided to appear with Mr. Bush this afternoon?
Well Alex, we consider this nothing more than an informal gathering, for which we've willingly gone out of our way to attend--indeed, I left my secure, undisclosed location to be here today. We want to clear up any misunderstandings that may be present regarding...[Bush whispers into Cheney's ear--Cheney dismisses him with a wave of his hand] George, let me handle this.
Well, um, this is certainly--well--a little unusual. Normally our champion player appears on his own.
Cheney [scowls]:   
Why don't you go f**k yourself, Alex.
Alex [shocked]:
Hey, wait a sec--[cocks his head, presses earpiece in closer, quietly says "I see," then looks back into the camera]. Um, our panel of judges has indicated to me that, while unprecedented, Mr. Bush DOES have the right to bring Mr. Cheney with him today. By the way, some of you might be wondering why Mr. Bush IS the returning champion, having finished well below Mr. Gore in our last round. Well, in spite of losing Final Jeopardy, when he insisted that Social Security was NOT a federal program, our judges--Messrs. Rhenquist, Scalia, Thomas, Kennedy, and Ms. O'Connor, made the decision that he would be irreparably harmed by an accurate count of total winnings.
That's old news anyway. The world's a different place since 9/11--ain't that right, Dick? 
F**k**g-A that's right,  George.
Um, please Mr. Cheney, this is a family program.
I'm just offering a frank exchange of views, Alex. In fact, I feel a lot better now.
Well, I'm certainly glad to hear that. Now let's meet our challenger.
Our challenger is a decorated Vietnam Veteran, a former prosecutor and now four term senator from Massachusetts--please welcome John Kerry.
Thanks for having me on the show, Alex.
[Cheney and Bush snicker]
Bush [looking at audience, to Cheney]:   
Hey, look, there's Adam Clymer, major league asshole from the New York Times.
Big time.
Mr. Bush, you're speaking into a live microphone.
I know that...huh?
PLEASE watch your language.
I'm a family man--my biggest political influence is Jesus Christ. [aside: "goddamn right." smirks]
Well, let's get started, shall we? Mr. Bush, as our returning, uh, champion, you have control of the board.
I'll take Iraq for an $87 Billion supplemental--for now. We'll be making requests for additional 
supplementals as necessary [stares bullets into the camera] until THE MISSION is complete.
Alex [slightly exasperated]:
I'm sorry, Mr. Bush, but our board has a maximum of $500 for this round. Would you like to begin with that amount?
$500? That wouldn't even buy a continental breakfast at a Bush-Cheney fundraiser...
There was no possible way to know how much the war was going to cost, Alex.
Alex [sighs]: 
Iraq for $500--the answer is: Considered a major reason for invasion prior to the war, these items have thus far NOT been found.
[Cheney buzzes]
Mr. Bush--I mean, Mr. Cheney.
Why don't you go f**k yourself, Alex. And Saddam had ties to Al Qaeda.
I'm sorry, Mr. Cheney, that was incorrect, AND you forgot to phrase it in the form of a question.
Huh? I answered ALL the questions they asked me.
I'm sorry Mr. Bush, but Mr. Kerry now gets a crack at it.
[Bush snickers]
Bush [to Cheney]:
He said CRACK!
[Cheney whispers sternly into Bush ear. Bush looks crestfallen--he stares blankly into space]
What are Weapons of Mass Destruction, Alex?
Correct, Mr. Kerry. The board is yours.
Hey, wait--Florida is in MY column. Jeb told me the deal was done.
I said BOARD, not Florida, Mr. Bush. Go ahead, Mr. Kerry.
Thank you, Alex. I'll take the economy for $100.
You can HAVE the economy for $100--and I'll even help you ship it overseas to China. [smirks]
[Cheney again whispers sternly into Bush's ear. Bush nods, then frowns]
The answer is: This strategy, advocated by John Maynard Keynes, is designed to lift an economy out of recession, according to the classic model.
That's a hard one, Alex. Wish you'd told me that one in advance. Lemme think about this one... 
Mr. Bush, you're required to buzz in to answer the question.
Bush [raises his hand]:   
Alex, let me finish! [His eyes narrow. He scowls. Cheney whispers into his ear] [to Cheney] Oh...[he fumbles with the buzzer for a bit, until Cheney shows him how to operate it]
[Bush buzzes] 
Mr. Bush.
Tax cuts for my base!
I'm sorry, but that's not correct--and, don't forget, on Jeopardy, you MUST phrase your response in the form of a question.
Bush [staring into space, lips pursed, shaking his head]:  
I can't think of a single mistake... 
I have a question, Alex: How would you like to engage in a frank exchange of views?
[Kerry buzzes]
Mr. Kerry.
What is deficit spending, Alex?
Correct, Mr. Kerry. Continue please.
I don't think you answered MY question, Alex.
Please, Mr. Cheney, let's just continue the game.
Terrorism for $100, Alex.
The answer is: Considered the world's most wanted terrorist, it's believed that he resides in the mountainous border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
[Bush looks puzzled. Cheney whispers into his ear]
[Kerry buzzes]
Mr. Kerry.
Who is Osama bin Laden? 
I could care less about one man [Cheney whispers furiously into his ear]...I mean, unless we can make him the 'October surprise,' you know. [Cheney kicks him below the dias] Ow, that hurt! [Bush glares at Cheney. Cheney again whispers furiously into Bush's ear, then does a chopping motion with his hand as if to say 'just cool it.' Bush looks puzzled. Cheney repeats the gesture].
I want to get to the bottom of this as much as anybody, Alex [Cheney kicks him again. He glares at Bush, who looks confused and shrugs his shoulders. Cheney puts his index finger to his lips] [to Alex] I--uh--believe strongly in's just...look, fool me once, shame on you. Fool me--uh...won't get fooled again. Next question.
Mr. Bush, it's Mr. Kerry who controls the board.
I make decisions and I stick to them. I believe, and a strong on terrorism...[shakes his head, alternately frowns and grins,  and occasionally leans into the camera]...look, we're a wartime president...I mean...we're at peace and this is a're either with us...or, you're against us, because-you' see, you're against us...they're against us, the terrorists...because this is a war, like a war [fading]... 
[During this time, Cheney has been quietly whispering into a cellphone]
[enter John Ashcroft--he steps to the contestants chair, sees the microphone, and begins singing "Let the Eagle Soar." Cheney kicks HIS shin, and whispers sternly into his ear]. 
Ashcroft [to Cheney]:   
Uh, yes Mr. President. [Cheney glares at him] I mean, um [clears his throat, scowls into the camera]. It has come to our attention that terrorists are intending to attack the United States sometime in the 21st Century. Given that this IS the 21st century, this can mean only one thing: we are in grave danger. If the terrorists attack before the Rapture, it's entirely possible that some of the chosen people might miss their rondevouz with the Almighty--Jesus Christ, is that a calico cat?
[Ashcroft panics, and flees from the stage]
John, get the hell back here--it's just someone in the audience wearing a plaid skirt. [tries to grin, but it looks more like a grimace] I'm sorry Alex--we can continue, in spite of the grave threat facing our country this century.  I remain convinced that the terror 'color code' won't change, and of a tie between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda.
Alex [clearly exasperated]:   
Thank you, Mr. Cheney. As I was saying, go ahead, Mr. Kerry.
[enter Tom Ridge]
I'm sorry Alex, but the Department of Homeland Security has credible evidence of a terrorist threat to do something, sometime, at some place. Did I mention that this evidence was extremely credible? Now, we don't actually know what it is they intend to do, nor do we know when they intend to do it, or where. But this evidence is so--credible, and so detailed, that I think it would be a disservice to the public if we did not share it with them. And, if such an attack occurs, it would be foolish to proceed with the game--uh, I mean the elections. But, otherwise, just go about your business--as usual.
[Cheney grins--it still looks more like a grimace]
Good boy, Tom.
You did a good job, Tom.
Shut up, George.
[off camera, Ashcroft is heard among the audience]
I don't care if you're off camera! You're showing far too much cleavage! [to an aid] Cover her up with this blue curtain--now!
Well, actually, Mr. Ridge was inadvertently correct when he announced that we can no longer proceed with the game--thanks to the interruptions, we unfortunately are all out of time, and will have to pick up tomorrow where we left off. Mr. Kerry presently holds the lead, but we'll see if Mr. Bush--and, uh, Mr. Cheney--can close the gap before November, which is about how long this game will go on if we continue to have unscheduled announcements of the kind Messrs. Ridge and Ashcroft made. In the meantime, I'd like to apologize for Mr. Cheney's language, or, as he called it, his frank exchange of views. Have a good night, and see you tomorrow.
[closing theme. Announcer voice over: "In addition to parting gifts, our Jeopardy contestants will receive a wrecked economy, ballooning deficits, and a quagmire knows as the invasion of Iraq. Remember, while this special edition of Jeopardy will eventually have a winner, ALL of the American people, particularly the very youngest ones, will be losers when it comes time to pay the bills for the folly of the last four years. Ah, but the future's so far away, so why worry? We'll see you tomorrow for another episode of Jeopardy, Election 2004. Good night."]
Taped voice over:
Promotional consideration has been given to Kellogg, Brown and Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton, in exchange for catering and laundry service.
Promotional consideration? That's it? Bulls**t! I'm gonna make some phone calls--we'd better be getting $2,000 a plate for each bag lunch and $100 per pound of laundry or they can all go f---
Taped voice over:
Jeopardy is a Merv Griffith Production. 
Hey, I wasn't finished! I said they can all go f--
[fade to black]