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(June 3, 2005)

THIS: Laura Bush is talked up as a presidential candidate.

THAT: Where is Rod Serling when you need him?

THE OTHER: The most frightening thing about this is that it could happen.

THIS: Naysayers claim that former deputy associate FBI director W. Mark Felt took Nixon down, at least in part, because he had been passed over for his department’s top job.

THAT: All the guys with conscience who were troubled by Nixon’s behavior, such as White House deputy counsel Fred Fielding and White house lawyer Leonard Garment, did nothing.

THE OTHER: We’ll settle for vengeance, if that’s the case.

THIS: The cover of the last L.A. Times Thursday Calendar tabloid section featured yet another cutting-edge report on a brand-new phenomenon! Yes, it was about. . .skateboarding!

THAT: Word is that the Times is feverishly working up an article entitled, “The Combustion Engine: Will it Work?”

: Felt’s family called him an American hero who saved the country from “a horrible injustice.”

THAT: When you consider the risk the man took, his disgust with Nixon’s illegal use of the FBI, the fact that Nixon had ordered the FBI to stop investigating Watergate, it’s hard to disagree with the family.

THAT: Wonder how Mark would have Felt about W.

THIS: MTV tells Nine-Inch Nails it may not perform its anti-war/anti-blind nationalism song, “The Hand That Feeds,” in front of a portrait of “President” Bush, at the MTV Music Awards.

THAT: MTV, which poses as a bastion of free speech and liberalism, is owned by Viacom.

THE OTHER: Another nine-inch corporate nail in the coffin of free speech.

: Laura Bush is talked up as a presidential candidate.

THAT: The second most frightening thing about this is that it makes Jeb Bush seem almost attractive.

THIS: Seventeen multi-million-dollar dream palaces in Laguna Beach slide down a rain-weakened hillside.

THAT: Be it ever so tumble, there’s no place like home.

THIS: “President” Bush dismisses Amnesty International’s report in which the U.S. is called one of the world’s leading violators of human rights as “absurd.”

THAT: Bush (and Cheney, who has emerged from winter hibernation) said that all Guantanamo “detainee” claims of abuse were investigated, and in almost every case were nothing but lies by “America-haters.”

THE OTHER: If they didn’t hate this country before, they do now.

THIS: Report: price of beef is up because there are not enough cows to meet the demand for hamburgers.

THAT: If cows didn't hate this country before, they do now.

THE OTHER: “Now we like to air-condition, but the world has no ozone ring/ Still they’re chopping down the forests for McDonald’s and the Burger King/ Eating cows with such persistence doesn’t offer much resistance/ to this cockamamie business.”---George Harrison.

THIS: There are many nations with far, far worse records on so-called human rights, of course, beginning with China, and including quite a few vacation spots in Africa.

THAT: Amnesty singled out the U.S. because it has always been expected to set the example for avoiding sinister and diabolical tactics in international relations---or at least hiding them well.

THE OTHER: Guess Bush believes that grabbing people on vague suspicion, duct-taping their eyes and limbs for days or weeks on end, flying them to prisons (but not calling them “prisoners”), keeping them in cages indefinitely with no chance of trial---or shipping them to countries where torture is a routine part of incarceration---is not a violation of human rights.

THIS: Laura Bush is talked up as a presidential candidate.

THAT: Talk about a violation of human rights.

THIS: Paul McCartney writes children’s book.

THAT: Talk about a violation of human rights.

THE OTHER: Celebrities should stop writing children’s books and leave children’s book writing to writers.

THIS: El Camino Real High in Woodland Hills orders the removal of a hundred posters for a satirical school play. The posters depict Bush as Groucho Marx.

THAT: “That’s our take on student speech and conduct,” said Principal Kenny Lee.

THE OTHER: “Those are my principles. If you don’t like them, I have others.”---Groucho Marx.

THIS: Said El Camino Student Jes Shah: “It taught us that the first amendment certainly does not guarantee the right of free speech.”

THAT: Who says kids aren’t learning anymore?

THE OTHER: Depicting Bush as Groucho is outrageously degrading, rude, indecent---to Groucho.

THIS: Pentagon report---released late Friday, of course, so as to be buried in the weekend papers---confirms Koran abuses at Guantanamo.

Newsweek was cowardly in backing off its story about Koran abuse. The Bush Administration has the mainstream press running scared.

: Read Dave Lindorff.

The so-called Downing Street Memo proves what Riposte and many others have maintained since before the invasion of Iraq: the attack was planned well in advance, and the charges were trumped up.

Will this become the next Watergate?

Not if Newsweek is covering the story.

The L.A. Times devoted a major feature to Michael Jackson's tailor.

What of the sartorial proclivities of other persons on trial for child molestation?

: So-called “insurgents” in Iraq are upping the suicide bombings, and assassinations of government figures are a dime a dozen.

THAT: “President” Bush says that there are no plans to withdraw from Iraq until “the job is done,” or some ‘40s war movie dialogue like that---while the U.S. quietly builds several enormous, permanent military bases in the country.

THE OTHER: Can you say “51st state?” (Or 52nd, if you include Saudi Arabia. Or 53rd, if you include Israel. Or 54th, if you include Afghanistan. . .)

THIS: Marilyn Monroe’s painting of a rose intended for JFK fetches $21,000 at auction.

THAT: Wonder what Monroe would make of all the insane idolatry, fetishism and greed associated with her legacy.

THE OTHER: It's enough to drive a person to suicide.

THIS: The great George Mikan of the Minneapolis Lakers passes away at 80.

THAT: Old footage of Mikan at work shows a game of little physical contact, a great deal of finesse, and systematic play-making.

THE OTHER: You know, just like today’s NBA.

: “President” Bush dismisses Amnesty International’s report in which the U.S. is called one of the world’s leading violators of human rights as “absurd.”

THAT: “The sharpest criticism often goes hand in hand with the deepest idealism and love of country.” ---Robert F. Kennedy.

THE OTHER: “Military justice is to justice what military music is to music.” ---Groucho Marx.

THIS: Nine-Inch Nails lyric: “Just how deep do you believe?/ Will you bite the hand that feeds?/ Will you chew until it bleeds?/ Can you get up off your knees?/ Are you brave enough to see?

THAT: McDonald’s slogan: “I’m Lovin’ It!”

THIS: Laura Bush talked up as a presidential candidate.

THAT: Pigs are circling the moon in formation.

THIS: Kim Jong Il calls President Dick “Vice-President” Cheney a “bloodthirsty beast.”

THAT: Takes one to know one.

THIS: By the looks of those homes in Laguna Beach that slid down the hillside, they probably averaged three-to-five bathrooms each.

THAT: Are the obscenely rich abnormally beset with digestive difficulties?

THIS: Interesting quote: “George W. Bush and his gang of neocon warmongers have destroyed America’s reputation. It is likely to stay destroyed, because at this point the only way to restore America’s reputation would be to impeach and convict President Bush for intentionally deceiving Congress and the American people in order to start a war of aggression against a country that posed no threat to the US. America can redeem itself only by holding Bush accountable.”

THAT: What’s interesting is that this was written by Paul Craig Roberts, a former secretary of the U.S. Treasury, former contributing editor of the Wall Street Journal and National Review. A man who would normally be referred to as a staunch conservative.

THE OTHER: To be a stanch conservative now, you have to believe that science is “junk,” humans were sculpted out of clay by Gawdalmightee, the world is here for humans to usurp, and Jesus is waiting in the bye-and-bye with a nice silk suit, slippers, cigar and brandy for you. And possibly hookers.

THIS: Mikan did it mostly with an agile, graceful hook shot---the predecessor of Kareem’s “skyhook” (term coined by the late, great Chick Hearn.)

THAT: These days, a beautiful hook shot is so rare as to be the thrill-equivalent of a slam-dunk, back in the ‘60s.

THE OTHER: Hearn also invented “slam-dunk.”

THIS: This from Pat Buchanan, who anonymous sources say was eating live baby birds when he wrote it: “For in the 1970s, a hero was any turncoat who would sink teeth into a president who was ending with honor a war into which the liberals had plunged this country. . .”

THAT: Damned if I know how the fall of Saigon, in which South Vietnam was left to the communist north while the U.S. hastily exited, was ending a war “with honor.” Damned if I know how Nixon’s “winding down a war” over about six years of completely unnecessary death and maiming was “with honor.”

THIS: Had it not been for “liberals” like Kennedy and Johnson, Barry Goldwater might well have dropped the big one on Hanoi. (Of course, Pat might have preferred that.)

THAT: Funny how Buchanan and many others refer to Kennedy and Johnson as “liberals,” when they were both party to bankrupting the country in order to fight a ridiculous and unwinnable war far from U.S. soil.

THE OTHER: You know, like Bush and Cheney.

THIS: The new Dodgers announcer, Charley Steiner, is one of those guys who tries to speak wittily and authoritatively.

THAT: Instead of speaking wittily and authoritatively.

THE OTHER: Ex-Dodger announcer Ross Porter's affable recitation of stats was a delight, by contrast.

THIS: A group called "Human Events" asked a panel of 15 conservative scholars and public policy leaders to compile a list of the "Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries."

THAT: Among the choices:  "The Communist Manifesto," by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels (No. 1), "Mein Kampf," by Adolf Hitler, "Quoatations of Chairman Mao," by Mao Tse-Tung, "The Kinsey Report," by Alfred Kinsey, "The Feminine Mystique," by Betty Friedan. "Origin of Species," by Darwin, weighed in at No. 17.

THE OTHER: In terms of the number of deaths that it has caused, the group seems to have overlooked The Bible.

THIS: Funny that the list omitted so many other obvious choices.

THAT: The complete works of Danielle Steele come to mind. "Big Russ and Me," by Tim Russert. . .

THIS: News item: President Bush urged Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to show the world his country can set an example for others by holding free and fair presidential elections.

THAT: Who says Bush doesn’t have a sense of humor?

THIS: Iraq Interior Minister says “insurgency” has killed 12,000 civilians. Add to that anywhere from 30,000 to 100,000 innocent Iraqis blown up during the U.S invasion, depending on which report you believe.

THAT: “America, the world and Iraq is (sic) better off for what we did in bringing democracy.”---presidential aspirant Sen. John McCain.

THE OTHER: "All war is a symptom of man's failure as a thinking animal."---John Steinbeck.

THIS: The L.A. Times Pulitzer Prize-winning automobile columnist, Dan Neil, endorses the Range Rover after seeing it climb nimbly up a 45-degree rock wall in a canyon near Moab, Utah.

THAT: Good that Dan takes practical considerations into account.

THIS: Laura Bush is talked up as presidential candidate.

THAT: "That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard."---Groucho Marx.

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