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June 30, 2005

we hear stevie wonder likes it

Looking like a stick someone started whittling and then lost interest, the latest redesign of the “FreedomTower” was revealed yesterday by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC), charged with redeveloping the site on which theWorld Trade Center towers once stood before the terrorist attacks of 9-11

Model_southwestIt is often said that a camel is a horse designed by committee. If so, then a possum is a dog designed by the LMDC.
 
The version prior to this was a soaring asymmetrical design and was meant to evoke the outstretched hand of the Statue of Liberty beckoning all those seeking freedom. This new design evokes a melting popsicle dropped on a sidewalk beckoning all those with a broom and a dustpan.

"It is a rare moment when new is better," said David M. Childs, the building's chief architect, apparently unaware that he had left his glasses at home. “It is unique, yet it subtly recalls, in the sky, the tragedy that has happened here,” he added, a statement we agree with as when we first saw the design the word “tragedy” came to mind immediately.

In fairness, the LMDC has competing interests it must satisfy and a varied constituency consisting of vastly different expectations. Some examples:

The New York City Police and Fire Departments proposed a “Freedom Bunker,” an underground tower triumphantly soaring 100 stories into the ground and sending a message to an often hostile world: “We can’t run, but we sure can hide!”

The 9-11 Families offered up the "Donation Tower,” a 110-story building evoking a giant piggy bank with 3000 slots through which contributions may be left.

MoveOn.org suggested an “Atonement Tower,” with 120 stories each dedicated to detailing a separate atrocity committed by America. The building would be meant as a refuge of sorts for the 95.7% of Americans that MoveOn.org identifies as being members of an oppressed minority. (It was hoped that 5% of the space in the tower could be set aside so Al Franken has a place to sleep.)

The leaseholders of the property offered up the “Income Maximization Tower” that would have been 400 stories of prime office, retail and residential space. Pamphlets would be available in the corner of the lobby (next to the “freedom fern”) for those wishing to honor the memory of those lost on 9-11. And on their way they can stop at Haagen-Dazs where $9.11 gets you “twin towers of ice cream!” (Your choice of flavors.)

The Sean Hannity Fan Club originally proposed the “Avenging Tower,” an 1100-foot building designed to resemble an ICBM. This was quickly rejected when a closer look at the plans revealed it to be an actual ICBM.

Ultimately, the LMDC had to weigh these considerations while always considering the very real security concerns surrounding the project.

The result is brilliant in its own way: A building that looks like it’s already been hit.

J.

June 30, 2005 at 12:12 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 29, 2005

i may not agree with what you thought you heard but i defend to the death your right to think you heard it

You can get the full text of the President’s speech many places including here. But as we all know in these postmodern deconstructionist times it doesn’t matter what he actually said, it only matters how it was interpreted by those listening. In recognition of that and as a service to our readers we offer up the following alternative transcripts:


What liberals heard:

It is time I level with y’all. We went to war with Iraq for the oil. And not just a little of it. All of it. We’ve already signed a contract with Halliburton to turn it over to Dick Cheney who plans to use it to fuel his personal fleet of Hummers.

As for Iraq itself, what a mess. The conditions are desperate and only getting worse. IEDs go off so often that Iraqis use them to keep time. And our troops drive around completely unprotected in Chrysler Sebring convertibles because Rummy got a deal on them from Thrifty and figures you go to war with the rental cars you have, not the ones you wished you had.

But it’s not all bad. Well, actually it is. I can’t lie to you although I’ve been doing it since before taking office in 2001. As I was just saying to Satan (who has taken the form of Karl Rove in his return to the earthly realm), I’m a Texan. We do everything big including lying. Heck, I’m lyin’ right now about being a liar. That there is what folks call a conundr… a conandru… a canundr… a brain tickler!

Looking forward you can expect things to only get worse and for me and my administration to make a series of bad decisions, and then execute them poorly.

Good night, and may a vengeful Christian God smite the nonbelievers and bless only those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal savior.

 
What conservatives heard:

I am here to tell you, Mission Accomplished. Again. And I expect the new mission that we embark upon today to stay in Iraq another year will be accomplished as well.

Things are going great in Iraq. Our boys are in there opening up a big ol’ can of Texas whoop-ass on those terrorists. And the more butt-kickin’ we do over there, the less we have to do over here.

You want a link between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden? How about they’re both sorry SOBs who needed a beat down? 

Our plans moving forward are to stay the course in Iraq. If nothing else, our troop presence there drives Franky Mitterand absolutely nuts. That’s why I call him Franky. Every time I do that he just spews spoiled cheese and overrated wine all over the place.

It is my responsibility as your president to protect you against those who would do this country harm. The Jihadists, the terrorists, the editors of The New York Times. With your help we can achiever victory over these evildoers.

Good night, and may God bless you, and may God bless the United Red States of America.


What most Americans heard:

“And next up for our viewers, this lovely cubic zirconia keepsake. Call now and we will ship it to you at no charge. Look at how it shimmers in the light…”

<click>

“…the Atlanta Hawks have picked up Marvin Williams, that should be a nice fit with their roster…”

<click>

 “Just two good old boys, never meanin' no harm. Beats all you never saw, been in trouble with the law ...”

<click>...

J.

June 29, 2005 at 11:06 AM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack

June 28, 2005

at least no one mentioned anything about a penumbra

Like a college sophomore rushing to finish a term paper he had months to complete but put off because he was busy “doing other stuff,” the Men and Women in Black had an action-packed final day.

To start, in two separate US Supreme Court decisions the justices came down firmly against the display of the Ten Commandments on public property and equally firmly in support of it.

The dividing line is whether the display of the Ten Commandments honors legal history or endorses religion. Examples:

  • Legally honoring history -
    Listing the Ten Commandments.
  • Illegally endorsing religion -
    Listing the Ten Commandments.

Further, the justices ruled that indoor displays would come under greater scrutiny than those kept outdoors. This is known as the “Irish houseguest” rule. Sure, you can let him sleep on the lawn but once you allow him inside you’ll never get rid of him.

So, to sum up, you may display the Ten Commandments on public property except in those instances when you can’t. Hopefully that should put an end to the lawsuits once and for all.

To make up for the expected loss of revenue to trial lawyers as a result of the Ten Commandments decision, the Supreme Court decided in another closely watched case that makers of music and movies could pursue lawsuits against the developers of peer-to-peer (P2P) software which allows the sharing of digital files over the Internet. This was partly expected since during oral arguments earlier this year Chief Justice Rehnquist tried to use an iPod to phone Meals On Wheels to complain that the chicken was dry again, Justice O’Connor was going to check with Frank, Sammy and Dean to see what they had to say and Justice Stevens kept trying to pronounce MP3 as if it were a word (mmmppppthree…).  That, or he was having a stroke.  It's impossible to tell anymore.

As a side benefit, the ruling is expected to address the alarmingly low levels of software jobs that are being exported to countries not subject to US Supreme Court rulings. The real beneficiaries are expected to be teachers of "Hindi as a second language" courses in Silicon Valley.

Dhanya-waadh, Supreme Court, dil kee gaharaeon se.

J.

June 28, 2005 at 11:15 AM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 27, 2005

the bulldozers are for your own good

The US Supreme Court last week affirmed the important constitutional principle that rich people have more money.

In a 5 to 4 decision, the high court ruled that the ‘takings clause” in the Bill of Rights that allows the government to force people to sell their property for public uses includes not just things like bridges and dams but also privately owned shopping malls and office buildings.

This is obvious, of course, as the kinds of benefits provided to the overall community from something like a new highway are very similar to the benefits it receives by getting a new Neiman Marcus. In the one instance you provide speedy and efficient transportation for all residents and in the other you have speedy and efficient access to the latest in high-end fashions and accessories.

Local governments note that developments such as luxury condominiums and executive office buildings can generate more tax revenue than homes and neighborhoods occupied by residents of modest income such as pensioners and immigrants working their way up the American dream, otherwise known by public policy experts as “blight.” More tax revenue benefits the public and by “public” they mean people who are not you.

The Supreme Court thought this was fair as such decisions are made in open forums by local leaders in which the people whose homes are not being destroyed carefully consider how often they might be using the new marina because you know, between the country club dues and little Trevor’s violin lessons these things add up. Those whose homes are being destroyed have ample opportunity to hire their own lobbyists, $500-an-hour lawyers and have the same opportunity to invite public officials to carefully weigh the pros and cons in places more amenable to thoughtful consideration such as those typically found in the south of France.

Because as we all know the Constitution was written to protect the rights of the majority which are under constant assault from people who don’t fully appreciate the intricacies of public policy, the benefits of economic development, or a truly fabulous wine list.

J.

June 27, 2005 at 11:11 AM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 25, 2005

weekend arts & leisure 6-25-05 the summer tan

There are two elements essential to acquiring the perfect summer tan:

  1. Being twenty years old.
  2. Not having a job.

Without these two, you’ll just have to make do.

First is the choice of sunscreen. You’ll want something that is neither greasy nor sticky, that offers all-day protection, and is inexpensive. But then you probably want peace on earth, a Beatles reunion and your kitchen faucet to dispense Guinness on demand and you’re not going to get any of those things either. Just choose something you can live with

Once you you’ve selected a sunscreen brand, you must choose a level of sun protection factor (SPF) which typically ranges between 2 to, at last check, 575 (which allows you to walk the surface of the sun, or get a job as a municipal worker in Chernobyl). You will need to experiment to find which level works best for you. A good indication that you’re using something with too low an SPF is if you wake up in the middle of the night screaming for the sweet mercy of a .45 caliber bullet. On the other hand, if you find your skin has so little color that your child’s science teacher would like you to help out when they start the unit covering human internal organs once school begins, then you might be using too high an SPF.

Finally, you need to find a suitable area for your sunbathing. If, for example, you are an attractive young woman with loose morals and a looser bikini top there is an ideal location outside the Planet Moron offices. (Just look for the webcam.) However, if you are a middle-aged man with unsightly hair and a bad dessert habit (and it shows) we suggest you sunbathe only at night, or better, indoors.

At least, that’s what our neighbors tell us.

J.

June 25, 2005 at 04:25 PM in Weekend Leisure | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 24, 2005

they could always make them out of asbestos

The House of Representatives, recognizing the gathering dangers of excess freedom, voted to approve an amendment to the Constitution that would permit the passage of laws banning the burning of the American flag.

There are a number of reasons why this restriction on the principle of liberty is deemed essential to preserve the principle of liberty:

  1. There is no more fundamental element of healthy political discourse than the avoidance of expressing views that might offend others.  America itself was established on this very principle when a polite letter was respectfully submitted to King George outlining why it was in everyone’s best interest for the colonies to strike out on their own. (Historians note that there is in fact  no record of Union Jacks being burned at the time but then this was before the invention of fire. Or the steam engine. One or the other, it kind of becomes a blur after a while.)
  2. Want to know the number of children who perish in fires as a direct consequence of burning American flags? Does the number 0 surprise you? Sure, that may sound low now but no one wants to be the one to have to tell that first mom, in some distant future, “we’re sorry, we could have prevented this tragedy and we didn’t.”
  3. When burned, American flags give off large amounts of carbon dioxide, a major contributor to global warming which itself is a major contributor to the bank account of the Sierra Club. Such a ban would be a first important step towards limiting the damage done by years of contributions to the Sierra Club.
  4. The most important message you want to send to your enemy in time of war is one of strength and resolve. What better way to demonstrate that determination than to alter your founding document to restrict one of its fundamental tenets because you don’t want people’s feelings to be hurt?
  5. It will annoy Janeane Garofalo.

There are some downsides of course. The Constitution gets a little scorched in the process but then the Supreme Court justices have been lighting cigars with the thing for years.

And heck, we can always burn the French flag should the spirit strike.

J.

June 24, 2005 at 11:07 AM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 23, 2005

it’s always the children (of UN officials) who get hurt the most

Kofi Annan came under renewed scrutiny last week when memos suggested he had closer involvement in the UN’s infamous “oil-for-money” program than previously disclosed and that he knew his son Kojo (and possibly the less well known Tito) had been involved in lucrative inside contracts.

Prior to the war, Iraq had been under trade sanctions as punishment for its invasion of Kuwait and other violations of international law. The oil-for-money program was intended as a humanitarian gesture to provide Iraq the ability to trade its oil for money which could then be used for such desperately needed items as rocket tubes and solid gold bathroom fixtures.

The program was widely considered to be riddled with corruption. While it is not known exactly how much Iraqi oil may have been diverted to food and medicine it is well documented that Republican Guardsmen often had to do without RPGs and the Hussein family itself was reduced on occasion to using stainless tableware and china with gold trimming that was 14 karat at best.

Faced with these new allegations, Kofi Annan tried to divert attention by making a major policy speech on the progress in Iraq. He also lit a fire in the UN men’s room, pulled the fire alarm, and faked his own kidnapping only to tearfully confess he had been “freaked out” by all the attention being paid to him in the General Assembly.

When none of that worked, he offered to personally fund George Bush’s proposed private accounts for social security out of the kickbacks he did not receive from the oil-for-money program.

Where this will all end is unknown at the moment though it is believed that Kojo Annan has prepared a statement ahead of time in which he apologizes that his taking money that belonged to others may have been misinterpreted as theft by some law enforcement personnel and that it was never his intention to in any way get caught.

J.

June 23, 2005 at 11:12 AM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 22, 2005

like felix unger, only more murderous

Sure, he may have been a brutal dictator, but at least he was a homicidal maniac. And he likes Doritos! Now just try to hate the scamp.

Thus begins the public rehabilitation of Saddam Hussein, kicked off this week with a warm, humanizing article in GQ magazine.

The lovable sadist was a chatty fellow with his guards, going so far as to offer advice to one unmarried soldier regarding the selection of a wife. “Not too dumb, not too smart,” which coincidentally is exactly the criteria he used in choosing a Minister of Defense.

PR professionals gave Saddam high marks.  “Revealing his obsession with cleanliness was a nice touch,” observed one PR executive (who wished to remain anonymous to preserve his ability to not be beheaded). “There’s nothing quite like an endearing personal quirk to take the edge off the whole monstrous tyrant thing.” And he’s well positioned for product endorsements too with his know affinity for such items as Raisin Bran. The trick is to turn the public’s attention away from “killer of women and children” to “killer of high cholesterol and unsightly cellulite.”

The attempt to soften his image appears to be working.  A Kurdish tribal leader in northern Iraq was overheard to say, “Did you hear how he hates Froot Loops? I hate those vile things too! I can’t say I’m still not a little sore about his attempted genocidal murder of my people, but aaah, how can you stay mad at the guy?”

“And if he hadn't cut out my brother's tongue , I’m sure he’d say the same thing.”

Among other projects, UPN has a treatment in the works for a half-hour sitcom tentatively titled “Oh, Saddam!” which will revolve around the antics of a dictator with a crusty outside but an inside that’s all marshmallow. Follow his madcap adventures trying to run a wacky Muslim country with different tribes feuding over everything from where to have holiday dinner to who deserves to die for dishonoring Allah with the filthy sect they call a religion! Tuesdays at nine following “America's Next Top Model.”

Saddam was also revealed to be a budding poet. One of his works, cleared for release by the Army and Homeland Security, demonstrates his creative flair:

I am at the airport
That is where they are holding me
The place is like a fort
But the guards have the key 

They are a predictable sort
Changing shifts at three
You can jump them in the open court
Then I will be free

The piece brought Bill Moyers to tears. He plans on doing a special reading on Al Jazeera this weekend. “It’s too beautiful not to share, speaking with a powerful voice to feelings of alienation and the universal yearning for freedom.”

Despite all that has transpired these last couple of years, Saddam told his guards he believed he was still President of Iraq. When the guards protested, Saddam looked at them with a sly smile and a twinkle in his eye, “My election was every bit as legitimate as your own president’s.” He then laughed out loud. “I’ve got to start writing some of this stuff down,” he said, reaching for a pen.

J.

June 22, 2005 at 11:11 AM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

June 21, 2005

it's as bad as a GM business plan

Political hyperbole reached new heights last week when Senator Dick Durbin likened troops in Guantanamo to Pol Pot and others. In the interest of trying to reintroduce civility to public discourse, Planet Moron offers these useful suggestions for those still wishing to make a point using historical comparisons but in a kinder, gentler way.

Instead of: Adolph Hitler
Substitute: Spiro Agnew
Example: “This is the kind of murderous brutality you’d expect from Spiro Agnew.”

Instead of: Khmer Rouge
Substitute: Moulin Rouge
Example: “This situation is not unlike the horror visited upon innocent movie goers by the likes of Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman, the perpetrators of the infamous ‘Moulin Rouge.’”

Instead of: The Killing Fields
Substitute: The The Kansas City Royals infield
Example: “It is an atrocity the world has not seen since last witnessing the cruelty of the Kansas City Royals infield.”

Instead of: Gulag
Substitute: New York City Public High School
Example: “From these reports you’d think you’d just walked into a New York City public high school, and not a United States Army prison.”

Instead of: Concentration Camp
Substitute: Lindsay Lohan Press Conference
Example: “These people, with their blank stares and desperate demeanor, bear a striking resemblance to the unspeakable horror of what those first GI’s encountered outside a Lindsay Lohan press conference.”

Hopefully this will help reduce the animosity that has crept into politics and allow us to focus on the important issues facing our great republic: Sugar beet tariffs and ethanol subsidies.

J.

June 21, 2005 at 11:27 AM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 20, 2005

your papers, bitte

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year by promoting a nationwide campaign that calls for more random traffic stops and sobriety check points. In this spirit of “liberty shmiberty” we at Planet Moron would like to join with MADD and propose our own Five-Point Plan we like to call “Stop This Annoying Liquor Now” or “STALiN.’

  1. Randomly cordon off areas known for frequent and heavy drinking such as New York’s South Street Seaport, Key West’s Duval Street, and the entire state of Texas.
  2. Take away Courtney Love’s driver’s license. Forever.
  3. Require systems that would automatically disable a vehicle whenever it is below 30 degrees out, all the windows are open, and the stereo is playing “Wham’s Greatest Hits” at full volume.
  4. Require that all beer labels depict graphic pictures of traffic accidents.
  5. Discourage burgeoning eBay collector’s market in beer labels that depict graphic pictures of traffic accidents. (Collect ‘em all!)

Some of these measures may seem drastic. But the life they save could be your own. But probably not.

J.

June 20, 2005 at 08:29 AM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack