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"


Castro Resigns! Kennedy's Cuba Policy Pays Off

(2002-09-13) -- Cuban dictator Fidel Castro stunned his nation and political leaders worldwide by announcing his resignation today, only 43 years after seizing power in a military coup.

"President Kennedy's policy of containment has broken me," Castro said. "I cannot take the isolation anymore."

The announcement came on the same day the New York Times ran an Op-Ed piece by Nicholas Kristof praising the Kennedy administration policy of containment and isolation. Kristof suggested that President Bush should follow a similar strategy with Iraq's Saddam Hussein.

"The just vindicates everything I wrote in the Times piece," Kristof said. "If Bush were as smart as Kennedy, Saddam would be packing his bags like Castro. It wouldn't be a question of "if", but "when".
Daschle: "Only Congress Can Declare Burger War"

(2002-09-13) -- U.S. Senator Tom Daschle said he is "outraged" that the Burger King has begun waging a price war with McDonald's without Congressional approval.

"Only Congress can declare war," said Daschle. "I don't care if he is the Burger King, he must submit to the U.S. Constitution."

Daschle urged both restaurant chains to seek a peaceful solution to the conflict, perhaps through mediation by the United Nations.
Hong Kong Eager for Full Chinese Citizenship

(2002-09-13) -- Five years after being set free from the tyranny of British rule, the people of Hong Kong are beginning the process that would allow them to enjoy the full benefits of Chinese citizenship.

Rejoicing greeted the news that anti-subversion laws would soon be in place to protect the people of Hong Kong from bad ideas. The mainland Chinese government will free Hong Kong from having to decide which ideas are bad, and fully empower the local government to rid the land of such notions.

"We're so glad that China is looking out for our best interest," said Hong Kong's Secretary for Justice Elsie Leung. "We are busy people and don't have time to properly cleanse the public square of toxic political, religious and philosophical principles. We look to the great leaders of China to do this. It's kind of like hiring a gardener to pull weeds."


INS to Probe Breaches in Microsoft Windows

(2002-09-12) -- The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) launched a probe today to determine how many illegal aliens are actually entering the U.S. through gaping holes in the Microsoft Windows operating system.

"We know that thousands of Mexicans cross the U.S. borders in Texas and California each year, but that doesn't account for the huge number of resident illegal aliens," according to an INS spokesman. "Recently, we began to wonder how many of these folks are just hacking into the country, or attaching themselves to an email, or exploiting any of the other breaches in Microsoft Windows and Windows XP."

Microsoft says this is a known problem, and it will soon offer a free patch that should block Latinos. However, customers who want to prevent Eastern Europeans and Asians from sneaking in will have to pay an annual fee for that service. Periodic "Alien Definition File" downloads will be available to those premium customers.

Related Link: MS Means Mediocre Security
Bush Convinces U.N. to Back Iraq Attack

(2002-09-12) -- In a surprise move, the U.N. Security Council voted this afternoon to back an invasion of Iraq. Many nations in the general assembly pledged their financial support for the effort to oust Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

The vote came after U.S. President George Bush's compelling address to the 190-nation body. But apparently the speech was not what changed the hearts and minds of the delegates.

That task was accomplished by a hastily-scribbled note Bush left on the podium. The note, which was read to the delegates said this:

You're either with us, or you're paying off your parking tickets."

It was signed "With Love, GWB".

Many delegates interviewed afterward said it would be cheaper to spend a few million on a war than to cover the multi-millions in unpaid citations given to delegates who have thusfar enjoyed "diplomatic immunity."
U.S. Declares 'No Tariffs on Uranium Imports'

(2002-09-12) -- U.S. Customs officials announced today that there will be no import tariffs on uranium shipments to the U.S.. The announcement follows an ABC News investigative piece in which a reporter successfully smuggled 15 pounds of depleted uranium into the country. It also comes on the heels of the World Trade Organization's (WTO) decision to allow European nations to hit the U.S. with up to $4 billion in retaliatory trade sanctions.

"We want to demonstrate to the world that the land of capitalism is a free-market economy," according to Lee Keaborders of U.S. Customs. "We believe in the principles of Adam Smith, that there is an 'invisible hand' which guides free markets for the good of the nation, and the world."

Far from being embarrassed by the ABC News story, customs service officials insisted that allowing quantities of uranium into the country is part of a belief in the unfettered market's ability to regulate itself.

Mr. Keaborders posed a hypothetical example: "Let's say that this wasn't depleted uranium [as in the ABC News story], but rather the enriched, weapons-grade kind. Well, now it's in this country, and who do you suppose is going to make those dirty bombs? Americans, right? And they'll get paid handsomely to do it. And what will they do with that money? They'll spend it in the local economy, sometimes paying sales taxes with it. In other words, the people of that community and state will benefit from free trade."

"Since our customer focus groups revealed this thriving market for fissionable materials, we're thinking of selling the stuff in our duty-free shops," he added.


Agents "Rescue" Janet Reno from Polling Booth

(2002-09-10) -- Heavily-armed federal agents burst into a Florida polling place today, snatched former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, and whisked her away in a bullet-proof SUV. The daring daylight raid, reminiscent of the Elian Gonzalez incident, turns out to have been a mistake, according to Reno.

Visibly-ruffled more than usual, the gubernatorial candidate called for an investigation into who ordered the raid.

"I wasn't a hostage at the polling place," said Reno. "They were having trouble with the new, improved voting machines, and I just had to wait like everyone else."

Reno had to cut short her phone interview with this reporter as she was arguing with an INS agent. The Immigration and Naturalization Service says it will try to determine her nation of origin so they can deport her. A spokesman said, "She'll be happier with her own people."

Related Link: Polls Open Late
WARNING: The Following Story is Not Satire

We're On Top of That

(2002-09-10) -- A couple of years ago, my young daughter and I stood on the top floor of one of the World Trade Center Towers. I had been atop the Sears Tower in Chicago before, but this was more impressive. Because from the top windows of one tower, you could look across to the other and get real perspective on where you were, and what the designers and builders had accomplished. It was like looking in a mirror.

I pointed and told my daughter, "We're on top of that."

At street level, there was still a huge tarp over the hole that some murderers had blasted in the side of one tower. And New York City bustled on. Only the tourists gawked and snapped photos.

New Yorkers from a hundred lands have become Americans.

Americans will not be deterred from their God-given right to pursue happiness. They will not be enslaved by fear. Liberty is presumed.

In 1776, John Adams wrote: "Freedom is a counterbalance for poverty, discord and war, and more." He also wrote that happiness is to be found only in virtue, and government’s task was "to stimulate virtue in its citizens."

Adam’s virtue drove him to seek liberty almost at any price. His sense of virtue compelled him to create a republic, rather than a true democracy, because a republic is "an empire of laws, not of men." He knew too well that men were "addicted to corruption and venality" -- drawn continually to "despotism and repression."

The virtue of which Adams spoke was steadfast, strong, and even aggressive. Though he feared the consequences of war on his family, friends and land, he knew history would judge him based on his actions in this moment.

The pursuit of liberty demanded (and Adam’s anticipated) that people must be armed and trained to defend themselves.

Against all odds...against the greatest military power the earth had ever known...Adams knew what he must do. His hopes for the outcome were clear, but he could not know for sure if taking a stand would lead to destruction and further enslavement, or to a land of liberty such as men had never seen.

He summed up his concerns for the future this way: "I must submit all my hopes and fears to an overruling Providence, in which, unfashionable as the faith may be, I firmly believe."

And today, a year after the towers fell, I point my children to people like John Adams, and the ideas for which they were willing to risk everything.

I point and say: "We're on top of that."
Dan Rather to Colleagues: "Get Behind Our President"

(2002-09-10) -- Veteran CBS anchorman Dan Rather castigated his colleagues in the news media last night for their critical coverage of the Bush Administration and negative perspective on America. His speech before a packed house of reporters, anchors and news editors, stirred the hearts of many in the audience.

"Now, more than ever, we need to get behind our president," said Rather. "He is the leader of our great republic and deserves our full respect and support. Sometimes it seems like reporters think it's their job to make the president look bad. They seem embarrassed to be Americans. Not me, ladies and gentleman. I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm free. And I won't forget the men who died who gave that right to me. And I'd gladly stand up next to you, and do a live report from somewhere near the frontlines like I did in Vietnam."

Rather ended his talk by leading the broadcast journalists in an a capella rendition of "God Bless America", followed by a solemn recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.

Related Link: More Patriotic Talk
Bill Introduced to Criminalize Intolerance

(2002-09-10) -- Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives introduced a bill today which would make intolerance illegal.

"There is no place in our society for intolerance," said legislative aide who helped draft the bill. "Soon it will be a federal crime to publicly claim that any idea, philosophy or theology is better than any other."

Lobbyists from several special interest groups are distributing bumper stickers and lapel pins with slogans like "Ban Intolerance," "It's All Good", and "I hate your provincial ideas."


Vatican Air Force to Join Iraq Attack

(2002-09-09) -- The Vatican Air Force will join the U.S. and Great Britain in the attempt to drive Saddam Hussein from power. The little-known airborne contingent is comprised of archbishops, monks and abbots who have devoted themselves to the practical study of peacekeeping weaponry.

Flying F-21 "Cheek-Turner" fighter jets, the clerical pilots will fire only when fired upon, or "when they prophesy that they might be fired upon," according to Abbot N. Costello, of our Our Lady of Holy Smokes monastery near Vatican City.

""Sometimes you have to do unto others, before they do unto you...if you know what I mean," Costello said.

Related Link:Vatican: All for One, or Nothing
Irish Curse E-Mail Spreads Like Wildfire

(2002-09-09) -- A viral e-mail making the rounds on the internet today promises misery and pain to all who forward it. Yet, corporate e-mail servers are locking up and shutting down worldwide due to the flood of messages. Millions of computer users are forwarding the so-called "Irish Curse" chain letter to their distribution lists, apparently without reading it.

The message says in part: "Do not forward this to your friends. I did, and I came down with Crohn's disease. I received the email from a "friend" who immediately contracted Shingles. His father-in-law, now a leper, had sent it to him. And before that the message came from a distant relative who now sports a goiter the size of a grapefruit on the side of her neck. So, please, do not forward this Irish prayer:
May the road before you drop off a cliff.
May the sun create lesions on your scalp
May the wind chap your sensitive tissues
And the rain deluge your low-lying village,
And until we meet again...should you live so long...
May God smite you with his powerful hand."
[Editor's Note: Please do not forward this to anyone. This is presented as a public service.]


McDonald's Leaks List of Proposed Enhancements

(2002-09-08) -- Reports from inside the McDonald's corporation indicate the world's largest restaurant chain is desperately looking for ways to increase sales. Proposals include rehabbing older restaurants, and introducing new menu items for under $1 (U.S.). ScrappleFace has received a copy of notes from a brainstorming session among top-level McDonald's execs about how to increase McDonald's appeal with consumers. We reproduce the notes here, unedited:

  • Charge less for the food.
  • Make the food taste better
  • Clean the restroom at least once per week.
  • Get rid of 'that smell'
  • Diction lessons for teenage associates.
  • Start ugly rumors about roaches at BK, Wendy's, etc.
  • McEscargot

McDonald's officials refused comment on the list.

Related Link: McD's Seeks to Spur Sales
NY Times Story Sets New Records

(2002-09-08) -- Journalism junkies are checking the record books after reading a recent story in The New York Times under the headline: U.S. Says Hussein Intensifies Quest for A-Bomb Parts.

"We think we may have several new world records in this one piece," said an unnamed spokesman for the Columbia Journalism Review (CJR). "We're all very excited. Journalism students will be studying and emulating this one for years to come."

The roughly 3,460-word story, filled with unattributed information allegedly emanating from the Bush administration, may have broken the record for mentions of "hard-liners" in a story not about the old Soviet Politburo. (There were six.) The piece, which appears under the dual byline of Michael R. Gordon and Judith Miller, also quotes only two people by name, and one of those is an admittedly made-up name.

Gordon and Miller would not comment about the story "on the record", but two unnamed sources who work for The New York Times as reporters said the story was a journalistic tour-de-force.

"We managed to crank out almost 3,500 words and the only guy we actually quote by name is an old Clinton administration NSC staffer no one's ever heard of," said the unidentified reporters. "We think this story demonstrates that reporters need not be hindered by the lack of credible sources."

Jailed Parents Imposed Views on Their Own Children

(2002-09-08) -- A Minnesota couple has been jailed on suspicion of imposing their own views on their young children. A public school teacher first alerted the division of family services (DFS) which immediately took three children out of the home pending an investigation. The arrest was made as the family left a Sunday morning worship service.

"We found in this home evidence of the worst sort of bigotry," said a spokeswoman for DFS. "Not only were these children receiving explicit instruction in the religion of their parents, to the exclusion of all others, but the parents also imposed a whole range of their own provincial ideas upon the youngsters. These little blank-slate minds were subjected to dogmatic instruction in everything from eating, clothing and hygiene practices, to beliefs about virtue, sin and the existence of God."

The children will continue in public school and will be reared in the Huxley-Freud Group Home, where they will receive intensive post-traumatic stress counseling and instruction from government-approved text books.

U.N. Threatens Saddam by Counting to Three

(2002-09-08) -- As Saddam Hussein celebrates more than a decade of ignoring United Nations sanctions against Iraq, the U.N. today threatened him again by counting to three. However, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan counted quite slowly, stretching out the pronunciation of each number, then pausing after "2" to say, "I mean it this time."

When the counting failed to spark action, Annan tried the time-tested 'saying of the full name': "Saddam Patrick Hussein, I'm not going to tell you again."

However, Annan did tell him again, and the Iraqi leader plugged his ears with his index fingers and shouted "LA-LA-LA-LA I can't hear you!"

Monday, the U.N. Security Council will take up the issue of "time out" for the entire nation of Iraq.

Related Link: Blair Backs Bush Plan