Thursday, May 8, 2008

Catching Up: Best of 2004: November & December

Here's another installment in the continuing effort to distill the best postings from my personal mailing list. These are from November and December 2004. * * * * * The Cowboy

An old cowboy sat down at the bar and ordered a drink. As he sat sipping his drink, a young woman sat down next to him. She turned to the cowboy and asked, "Are you a real cowboy?" He replied, "Well, I've spent my whole life, breaking colts, working cows, going to rodeos, fixing fences, pulling calves, baling hay, doctoring calves, cleaning my barn, fixing flats, working on tractors, and feeding my dogs, so I guess I am a cowboy."

She said, "I'm a lesbian. I spend my whole day thinking about women. As soon as I get up in the morning, I think about women. When I shower, I think about women. When I watch TV, I think about women. I even think about women when I eat. It seems that everything makes me think of women." The two sat sipping in silence.

A little while later, a man sat down on the other side of the old cowboy and asked, "Are you a real cowboy?" He replied, "I always thought I was, but I just found out I'm a lesbian." * * * * *

Late-Night Political News from "John Kerry said yesterday, 'In an American election, there is no loser.' Uh, earth to John." --Jay Leno "There's a rumor that Attorney General John Ashcroft will resign before the inauguration. The White House feels that since Bush is going to swear to defend the Constitution, they want to make sure it's still around." --Jay Leno "As you know, Osama bin Laden has released another video. He bragged that he will 'bankrupt the United States.' And today President Bush said, 'two can play that game, pal.'" --Jay Leno "Down in Washington, D.C. today a man tried to climb the fence to the White House. Luckily the man was knocked over by fleeing Bush cabinet members." --David Letterman "Here's a late breaking bulletin from the Bush White House -- the White House Christmas tree has submitted its resignation." --David Letterman "This just in -- Yasser Arafat's funeral went well. Only 30 people died. ... Mrs. Arafat is so distraught she could barely shop today." --David Letterman "The temporary successor to Arafat, Mahmoud Abbas, escaped a shooting by militants as he was visiting Arafat's grave. See, that's why he's called a 'temporary successor.'" --Jay Leno "Dan Rather announced he was leaving. President Bush said, 'I didn't even know he was in my cabinet.'" --Jay Leno "There is good news back home. Congress finally signed a bill completely reorganizing America's intelligence community. And all is took was three years of nagging from grieving 9/11 widows. Cause you know, it was a back burner thing for Congress. It ain't Freedom Fries, people." --Jon Stewart "Donald Rumsfeld held a question and answer session with soldiers on their way to Iraq and one soldier asked why a lot of their vehicles still don't have the proper armor and Rumsfeld said, 'You go to war with the army you have. Not the armor your wish for.' And then he got into his armored car and drove away." --Jay Leno "Senator John McCain thinks that congress may have to step in to control the use of steroids in sports. The Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig agrees. Is this congress' number one priority now? Baseball players. Did we win the war? How about global warming. Have we fixed that already?" --Jay Leno "After an attack at the American consulate, Saudi Arabia has renewed their fight against terrorism, and they're serious, this time they may actually stop funding them." --Jay Leno "President Bush announced that the new head of Homeland security is Bernard Kerik, the former New York City police commissioner. You can actually tell he's a New Yorker because now the color coded warning system will go from green, to yellow to orange to forget about it" -- Conan O'Brien * * * * * Great Quotes "As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron." - H.L. Mencken (1880 - 1956) * * * * * Borowitz Report Excerpts Breaking News CANADA REPORTS HUGE JUMP IN IMMIGRATION Over 55,000,000 Requests for Citizenship Since Tuesday Night Canadian immigration officials have reported a huge increase in the number of requests for Canadian citizenship in the past twenty-four hours, with over fifty-five million such inquiries pouring in since late Tuesday night. . . . Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew said that he was "flabbergasted" by the fifty-five-million-plus requests for Canadian citizenship, adding that it was difficult to pinpoint the precise reasons for the staggering increase. "My only theory is that after many years of exposure in the U.S., hockey is finally starting to catch on," Mr. Pettigrew said. He cautioned, however, that it is impossible to know exactly what is sparking the sudden interest in America's frozen neighbor to the north: "People answering our immigration hotline say that it is hard to understand many of the American callers because they are sobbing uncontrollably." Breaking News GEORGIA SCHOOLS TO STOP TEACHING LAW OF GRAVITY Murphy's Law Could Be Next, District Warns A suburban school district in Georgia has thrown itself into the vortex of a legal controversy after deciding to stop teaching the law of gravity as part of its science curriculum. The Dunnsville Unified School District fired the first salvo in the ongoing debate over the law of gravity last year when it mandated that stickers be affixed to all science texts in the district's schools indicating that "the law of gravity is a theory, not a fact." District superintendent Charles Leverall said that initially it was not Dunnsville's plan to eliminate teaching the law of gravity altogether, but merely to inform students that there were other equally plausible explanations for why things fall down. Breaking News IRAQI ELECTIONS DELAYED TO ALLOW TIME FOR NEGATIVE ADS Swift Boat Veterans Parachute into Baghdad The Iraqi elections, originally set for January 2005, have been delayed six months to give the Iraqi people enough time to produce and air negative political ads, the White House announced today. * * * * * The Concession Speech John Kerry Should Have Given (abridged) [A note that I posted at the time: "This one is bitter, and I wouldn't have phrased it entirely this way, but it does make a point. My own view? Bush in 2004 means Hillary in 2008."] My fellow Americans, the people of this nation have spoken, and spoken with a clear voice. So I am here to offer my concession. I concede that I overestimated the intelligence of the American people. Though the people disagree with the President on almost every issue, you saw fit to vote for him. I never saw that coming. ... I concede that I misjudged the power of hate. That's pretty powerful stuff, and I didn't see it. So let me take a moment to congratulate the President's strategists: Putting the gay marriage amendments on the ballot in various swing states like Ohio... well, that was just genius. Genius. It got people, a certain kind of people, to the polls. The unprecedented number of folks who showed up and cited "moral values" as their biggest issue, those people changed history. The folks who consider same sex marriage a more important issue than war, or terrorism, or the economy... Who'd have thought the election would belong to them? Well, Karl Rove did. Gotta give it up to him for that. I concede that I put too much faith in America's youth. With 8 out of 10 of you opposing the President, with your friends and classmates dying daily in a war you disapprove of, with your future being mortgaged to pay for rich old peoples' tax breaks, you somehow managed to sit on your asses and watch the Cartoon Network while aging homophobic hillbillies carried the day. You voted with the exact same anemic percentage that you did in 2000. ... More than 40% of you Bush voters still believe that Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9/11. I'm impressed by that, truly I am. Your sons and daughters who might die in this war know it's not true, the people in the urban centers where al Qaeda wants to attack know it's not true, but those of you who are at practically no risk believe this easy lie because you can. As part of my concession speech, let me say that I really envy that luxury. I concede that. Healing? We, the [blue state] people at risk from terrorists, the people who subsidize you, the people who speak in glowing and respectful terms about the heartland of America while that heartland insults and excoriates us... we wanted some healing. We spoke loud and clear. And you refused to give it to us, largely because of your high moral values. You knew better: America doesn't need its allies, doesn't need to share the burden, doesn't need to unite the world, doesn't need to provide for its future. ... And I make this pledge to you today: In the next election, there will be no pandering. Next time we will not pretend that the simple folk of America know just as much as the people who devote their lives to serving and studying the nation and the world. They don't. ... * * * * * Clippings In a recent issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, the Atlanta-based federal agency said that bigger luggage is not the only thing weighing down airliners and causing them to burn more costly fuel. In fact, the CDC said, the average weight of Americans increased by 10 pounds during the 1990s - requiring an extra 350 million gallons of jet fuel to fly them around each year. SALT LAKE CITY, Nov. 16 - In a case that has spurred intense soul- searching in legal circles, a 25-year-old convicted drug dealer, who was arrested two years ago for selling small bags of marijuana to a police informant, was sentenced on Tuesday to 55 years in prison. The judge who sentenced him, Paul G. Cassell of the United States District Court here, said that he pronounced the sentence "reluctantly" but that his hands were tied by a mandatory- minimum law that required the imposition of 55 years .... Judge Cassell said that sentencing Mr. Angelos to prison until he is 70 years old was "unjust, cruel and even irrational" .... The question of Mr. Angelos's sentence was at the center of a debate as to whether it was fair to send a minor drug dealer to prison for 55 years when a murderer, rapist or terrorist, according to the same sentencing directives, would ordinarily receive no more than about 25 years. [China] today has more church-going Protestants than Europe, according to several foreign estimates. Buddhism has become popular among the social elite. Beijing college students wait hours for a pew during Christmas services in the capital's 100 packed churches. American universities, which for half a century have attracted the world's best and brightest students with little effort, are suddenly facing intense competition as higher education undergoes rapid globalization. The European Union, moving methodically to compete with American universities, is streamlining the continent's higher education system and offering American-style degree programs taught in English. Britain, Australia and New Zealand are aggressively recruiting foreign students, as are Asian centers like Taiwan and Hong Kong. And China, which has declared that transforming 100 universities into world-class research institutions is a national priority, is persuading top Chinese scholars to return home from American universities. ... Mr. Payne briefed the National Academy of Sciences on a sharp plunge in the number of students from India and China who had taken the most recent administration of the Graduate Record Exam, a requirement for applying to most graduate schools; it had dropped by half. Foreign applications to American graduate schools declined 28 percent this year. ... Some of the American decline, experts agree, is due to post-Sept. 11 delays in processing student visas, which have discouraged thousands of students, not only from the Middle East but also from dozens of other nations .... International students say it's not worth queuing up for two days outside the U.S. consulate in whatever country they are in to get a visa when they can go to the U.K. so much more easily. ... According to one survey, 56 million Americans say that nighttime pain interferes with falling and staying asleep. * * * * * Worst Political Quotes of 2004 "You bet we might have." —Sen. John Kerry, asked if he would have gone to war against Saddam Hussein if he refused to disarm "All of a sudden, we see riots, we see protests, we see people clashing. The next thing we know, there is injured or there is dead people. We don't want to get to that extent." —California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, on the dangers posed by gay marriage "Too many good docs are getting out of the business. Too many OB-GYNs aren't able to practice their love with women all across this country." —President George W. Bush "I actually did vote for the $87 billion, before I voted against it." —Sen. John Kerry, on voting against a military funding bill for U.S. troops in Iraq "Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we." —President George W. Bush