Please Visit the New Version of ScrappleFace.

(2002-09-21) -- ScrappleFace, the news satire web site, now has its own domain name: www.scrappleface.com. It also has a new, compelling, robust, scalable, proprietary, user interface. All content from the this old version has been moved to the new one (except for reader comments).

If you are a traditionalist and want to keep coming to this site, the editor recommends you try reading the same old stories with different voices...high and squeaky, gruff and piratey, with a lisp, with a brogue, while holding your nose...well, you get the idea.

In any case, when our technical staff figures out how to write a redirect code, this site will be nothing but a bitter memory. If you want to save our technical staff the time and effort of learning this simple technique, just email us the redirect code snippet.

If you're a blogger who has linked to stories on this site, please link to stories on the new site -- that's right, all of them.

ScrappleFace realizes you have a choice when visiting blogs, and the next time your plans call for laughing at the painful ironies of human existence, we hope you'll choose ScrappleFace.


Dems and GOP Sue Murdoch Over New Game Show

(2002-09-20) -- Accusing Rupert Murdoch of copyright infringement, the Republican and Democratic national committees have jointly filed a lawsuit against the media mogul.

According to Matt Drudge, Murdoch's FX network plans to air a game show, tentatively titled American President, in which viewers would choose a candidate for the highest office in the land the way they chose a pop star on Murdoch's ratings hit American Idol.

In a 40-page filing in district court, the two major political parties claim they have already been running such a game show for several decades. The new show would infringe upon their implied copyright to the concept.

"There's nothing wrong ethically with what Murdoch is doing," said an attorney for the plaintiffs. "He's just about 50 years too late."

The filing also states that if the show were to go on, it should be made subject to campaign finance laws.

However, Rupert Murdoch's spokesman said, "nothing in the new campaign finance reform legislation explicitly prohibits a wealthy Australian-born American guy from paying for a presidential campaign with money from Coca-Cola, McDonald's and major car manufacturers."
Bush's Popularity Skyrockets in Germany

(2002-09-20) -- A day after reports that German justice minister Herta Daubler-Gmelin compared George Bush's rhetoric toward Iraq to a tactic Hitler used, the U.S. President's popularity has skyrocketed in Germany.

Overnight polls showed Bush's German popularity rating gaining 45 points,.

"Bush wants to divert attention from his domestic problems," the German cabinet member said, according to regional newspaper Schwabisches Tagblatt. "It's a classic tactic. It's one that Hitler also used."

Daubler-Gmelin said she was encouraged that her praise of Bush had elicited such a rapid and positive response.

"Hitler was the most wise, beloved and popular leader the German people have ever known," she said. "Bush is a genius for using one of his tactics. Like I said, it's a classic, and the German people are embracing him for it. If only Bush were a German citizen, I'm sure he would quickly become Chancellor."

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said President Bush spent several hours yesterday preparing for an upcoming news conference on the topic.

"Much of that time was spent trying to pronounce Herta Daubler-Gmelin and Schwabisches Tagblatt," Fleischer said.


Steve Case Stays: AOL to Merge with Hershey

(2002-09-19) -- After surviving attempts to dethrone him as CEO, Steve Case announced today that AOL Time Warner will merge with Hershey Foods. The $12 billion deal will create "the world's biggest digital-chocolate-media enterprise," an ebullient Case told reporters.

"We'll double the market value of AOL," he said, "It's a merger of equals, and it's really all about synergy and content. Hershey brings strong brand recognition to our incredible distribution system."

Case said he anticipated no layoffs as a result of the merger, because "our two businesses are totally unrelated."

"You're going to start seeing co-branding almost immediately," Case said. "AOL CDs will be packaged with Hershey Bars... of course, we'll have to make the CDs smaller or the candy bars bigger...but that's just details. Tony Soprano (from HBO) will switch from cigars to Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. CNN's Connie Chung will begin offering Kisses to her interview subjects, and Wolf Blitzer will go by the nickname "Jolly Rancher."

The company, to be known as America Hershey On-Line Enterprises, is testing several slogans including: "Hershey: the Great American Online Chocolate Bar."

Hershey recently turned down offers from Wrigley and Nestle to buy the Pennsylvania-based candy maker. As it turns out, its lawyers were conducting intense negotiations with AOL Time Warner. The AOL merger with Time Warner about two-years ago, exceeded all expectations, proving to be a windfall for the firm's accountants and attorneys.

Ted Turner, informed of the merger by phone, wept uncontrollably.
U.N. Orders 'Hide and Seek' Game in Iraq

(2002-09-19) -- The United Nations Security Council today approved a resolution calling for Iraq to play 'hide and seek' with U.N. weapons inspectors.

"First, our weapons inspectors will cover their eyes," said Secretary General Koffi Anan. "Then they will begin counting...one Mississippi, two Mississippi, and so on. When they get to six billion Mississippi, they will formally declare 'Ready or not, here we come!'...and in they go to see how many weapons of mass destruction they can find."

A motion to make the inspectors "count to infinity plus infinity" was narrowly defeated by the council.


Smiley Emoticon at 20: 'Tired of Faking It'

Smiley (top left) at a recent family gathering.

(2002-09-18) -- Smiley Emoticon is marking his 20th birthday in Font Bleu Treatment Center in Taipo, Polynesia. The perpetually-grinning aggregation of punctuation checked himself in last week after gossip columnists reported he was "on a bender, chain-smoking and binge drinking."

Although Mr. Emoticon's agent said the comedian's assistant was just taking a much-deserved six-month hiatus, those closest to him (including Backspace Key and Quotation Mark) say Smiley is "just tired of faking it".

"He's spent the better part of 20 years trying to make stupid jokes look funny," said Mr. Mark. "How would you feel if you had to listen to people groaning all day. And he was never recognized for his peace mission of trying to take the edge off of some really cruel remarks. He was overworked and practically lame from being hackneyed."

Backspace Key said Smiley finally 'hit bottom' just last week.

"The other night he says to me, 'Backspace take me outa here...come on...one, two, three and I'm gone.'"

Mr. Key said he refused Smiley's pleading request, and called the treatment center in Taipo.

NY Times Begins Campaign to Plug 'Dignity Gap'

(2002-09-18) -- The publisher of The New York Times announced a new charitable venture today called "Plug the Dignity Gap." The campaign, sparked by a recent Thomas Friedman column, will eliminate Islamic terrorism by providing young angry Muslims with all the trappings of Western culture.

In a full page advertisement, Times publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr., wrote, "We're going tap the largesse of a great demographic slice of America, our readers, and provide these young religious men with fine homes, sophisticated entertainment devices, fast cars, inspiring liquors and mellow cigars. We will plug the 'dignity gap' and thus put an end to terrorism in our times."

"We know that radical Islam is not the problem," said Sulzberger, "although every nation ruled by it is an incredible sewer of human despair and a well-spring of visceral anger. The real problem is that we Americans have all the good toys even though we cling to the admittedly-inferior Judeo-Christian worldview."

Friedman acknowledged in his column that closing the dignity gap could be a decades-long project doomed to failure, but Sulzberger added, "that's never stopped us from advocating an entitlement program before. Money can't buy you love, but it can purchase a whole pile of dignity."
Sick Nazi Collaborator Excused From French Prison

(2002-09-18) -- A Nazi collaborator, who shipped 1,560 Jews to Auschwitz during World War II, was released from prison today after presenting a note from his mother that he was not feeling well.

"Maurice is a bit under the weather," the note read, "please send him home from prison, so I can take care of him properly."

The note, scrawled in a shakey hand, was signed "Madame Papon," apparently the mother of the 92-year-old inmate. French authorities agreed it was "cruel to detain a sick man, especially when his Mamma is so worried about him."

Papon had successfully avoided trial for crimes against humanity for 58 years while serving in French government jobs. He is now resting comfortably in his family villa in the town of Gretz-Armainvilliers east of Paris.
Inspectors Allowed in Without Conditioner

(2002-09-18) -- Iraqi minister of foreign affairs Naji Sabri today attempted to clear up confusion about his nation's offer to re-admit U.N. weapons inspectors.

"We didn't mean 'without conditions'," Sabri said. "We meant to say we would allow the return of weapons inspectors 'without conditioner'. In Iraqi culture, shampooing is appropriate, but conditioning is taboo. Weapons inspectors with full, silky hair would be an affront to our indigenous people."

The Bush administration responded by warning that Saddam Hussein has a record of "deceiving, delaying and detangling."


Iraqi Congress Threatens to Overrule Hussein

(2002-09-17) -- The Iraqi House majority leader lashed out at Saddam Hussein today for his "hasty decision" to allow U.N. weapons inspectors to return to the Republic of Iraq.

"We're concerned that President Hussein may be fooled by all the peaceful talk coming out of the U.N.," said an aide to the majority leader. "We have the votes to override Hussein's action, and in any case, it certainly wouldn't stand up in a court challenge."

Debate on the inspection measure had dragged on for weeks in the Iraqi Congress before President Hussein issued an executive order re-admitting the U.N. teams.

"We in the majority party don't want to make this a political football," the unnamed aide said, "but President Hussein should be well aware of the implications of his actions with elections just around the corner."

Polling data in the Republic is running 3-to-2 against allowing inspectors. Despite his popularity, sources said Hussein knows better than to swim against the tide of public opinion.

"The Congress represents the people of the Republic of Iraq," said the aide, "and it must enact the will of the people."

Other Congressional sources said they were looking for a way to allow President Hussein to "save face" after this "policy gaff".

"We want to show a united front to the world community," said one source, "but make no mistake, if he stands firm on this he'll pay a price politically."

Related Link: Letter from Iraq to U.N.
ABC Reporters Have 200 Missing Ukrainian Nukes

(2002-09-17) -- ABC News announced today that it has the 200 missing Ukrainian nuclear weapons. ABC reporters around the world are attempting to smuggle the weapons into, and out of, various countries as part of an upcoming undercover report.

"We were going to tell the State Department as soon as we finished shooting...shooting the news report that is...you know, on videotape," said an unnamed source at ABC. "We've been amazed at how easy it is to buy and move these weapons. Most of our reporters are now smuggling something, whether it's nukes, crack cocaine or Chinese bootleg Jackie Chan DVDs. People love these undercover stories."


Tribune Reporters Dig for Story on Bob Greene

(2002-09-16) -- Jim Kirk and Monica Davey, reporters for the Chicago Tribune, are trying to play down talk of a Pulitzer Prize for their investigative piece on the dismissal of Chicago Tribune columnist Bob Greene.

The popular writer resigned under pressure this week after revelations that 10 years ago he had sex with a young woman who was a source for one of his stories.

Reporters Kirk and Davey earned the admiration of investigative journalists across the country by clipping and pasting a company memo, and polishing it into a major 1,500-word expose.

The story included the following:

  • The refusal of Tribune editors and executives to comment.
  • The failure of Bob Greene to return the reporters' phone calls and emails requesting comment.
  • The revelation from Greene's own news release that he had committed "indiscretions in my life that I am not proud of." (Indiscretions that Greene is proud of are not mentioned.)
  • A reference to editors and publishers having "high-level" meetings, and running an internal investigation...both of which were so "high-level", nothing more could be said about them.
  • Unnamed sources on the Tribune staff who saw an email from the woman with whom Greene had sex. These witnesses were referred to as "sources familiar with the message" and "people who saw the email."
  • Unsuccessful attempts to reach both the Chicago office of the FBI and the woman who made the allegations about Greene.
  • Acknowledgement that Tribune "officials" would not name Greene's accuser due to Tribune policy on investigations of misconduct.
  • The following quote from Greene's colleague Paul Galloway, "It's a terrible shock. It's like a kick in the stomach to me," he said. "I'm looking forward to talking to him to find out the real story. The statement in the Tribune [seemed to be] carefully crafted by lawyers."

Related Link: Carefully Crafted, Fully Vetted

Hussein Asks: "Will These Things Really Work?"

(2002-09-16) -- Saddam Hussein has invited United Nations' weapons experts to come to Iraq to examine his nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.

"Frankly, I just want to know if these bombs are going to work," said Hussein. "Our scientists don't have enough experience and Iraqis don't exactly have a reputation for craftsmanship. Who better to judge whether these armaments are functional than the best weapons inspectors in the world?"

Hussein went on to express his bewilderment at his extensive collection of deadly agents like VX, Sarin, mustard gas, anthrax, small pox and even enriched plutonium.

"Oy! Who can keep it all straight?" he asked. "I realized a few months ago that, if we're going to be world class at deploying this stuff, we're going to have to think outside of the box...and get some QC people in here."

The Iraqi leader said he would like to see each weapon of mass destruction imprinted with "Inspected by No. 12...just like my Fruit of the Loom underpants," he added.

Lesbian Clinic Hires Veterinarian To Perform A.I.

(2002-09-16) -- A European fertility clinic for lesbians has hired a veterinarian as chief of artificial insemination (A.I.).

"The way I figure it," said Hank Estrus, the new director of A.I. at The Women's New Life Centre, "it's just like I'm looking at a field full of breeding heifers, or brood sows. Ain't no bulls or boars involved. The trick is figuring out when they're in heat."

Jackson to Lead USA Quad-Decennial Parade

(2002-09-16) -- Jesse Jackson today was named Grand Marshall of the USA Quad-Decennial Parade. The event, which celebrates the 40th anniversary of the founding of the United States of America, will be held in Selma, Alabama, in 2005.

The Rev. Jackson will start the event with a prayer thanking George W. Bush, the "Ruler of the World", for his beneficent sovereignty. The prayer will be followed by an hour-long speech which the former civil rights leader will deliver entirely in Mandarin Chinese -- a much more popular language than English.

The parade will feature the surviving "bunch of white men" who wrote and passed the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Organizers predict the parade will draw a crowd rivalling the 600 people who packed a 15,000-seat auditorium for Jackson's recent speech at Michigan State University.

Black Caucus Bolsters Gore's Hope for '04 Run

(2002-09-16) -- Two members of the Congressional Black Caucus who shouted "Amen" during Al Gore's speech before the group Saturday night, have bolstered the former presidential candidate's hopes for another run at the White House.

"I'm not sure whether they were 'amen-ing' my economic ideas, or my self-deprecating humor," said Gore, "but there were clearly some 'amens' out there."

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus interviewed later confirmed that at least two strong 'amens' were heard.

"Of course, I haven't decided about running in 2004," said Gore, "but if this groundswell of support continues to build, I may not be able to resist the will of the people."


NBC Introduces "That Television News Show"

(2002-09-14) -- NBC will make a mid-season addition to its fall lineup: That Television News Show. The 60-minute unscripted "reality" program will follow the everyday lives of the people in the NBC News department.

"On September 11, 2002, all the major news networks found that viewers will watch news programming that is largely about how we cover the news," according to an NBC news release. "I think we've known it for years, but it really came through this week that news programming isn't about the people and events that define our times. It's about the people who cover the people and events. In other words, it's all about us. People don't tune in for the news. They tune in to watch Tom, Peter, Dan, Shepard, Wolf or Connie tell them what's important. In the end, we are what's important. The mediators are the message. Everything else is just content."

NBC's cameras will follow these newsmakers from dawn to dusk, and then air the most exciting and funny moments as "That Television News Show." Each episode will also include five minutes of bloopers.

NBC executives admit they may have to cut other news programs to make way for the new show.

Related Link: Dan: "It's Not About Me"