Thursday, July 28, 2005


July 28, 2005
Grey Owl

WASHINGTON—In a comment on the Capital steps this morning, an ACLU spokeswoman sharply criticized Scotland Yard for forcing British citizens to appear in public without clothing.
Referring to the news this morning that London bobbies forced two Muslim men suspected of having bombs strapped to their bodies to “take off your clothes and come out (of a building) with your hands up”, the spokeswoman said it was just more evidence of the trampling of individual civil rights in what she described as “the so-called” fight against terrorism. As it turned out, the two men did not have any explosives strapped to their persons.

“I examined the tapes very closely - several times," she said. "It was totally unnecessary to make the men strip. The tapes were very graphic. We knew it would come to this the moment that President Bush and Britain’s Prime Minister Tony Blair appeared together in bathing suits on ex-President H.W. Bush’s speedboat. These men have their minds in the gutter.”

The spokeswoman said that the ACLU would file a suit against both governments for what she called “indecent exposure and inciting lewd thoughts in bystanders, news reporters, and interested people everywhere."
“Their thingies were gigantic,” she added. “It was disgusting.”

In a related story, a limited edition videotape of the arrest is being prepared. It will be made available to groups and individuals over eighteen in adult stores for an as-yet undetermined fee (plus shipping and handling) on a first come, first served basis.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


Dems Fears Allayed

Grey Owl
July 12, 2005

WASHINGTON—This morning, after a breakfast meeting with Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY), Hillary Clinton (D-NY), and the President's White House physician, President Bush announced that he will seek Senate approval for the nomination of Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Mass) to replace Sandra Day O’Conner on the U.S. Supreme Court.
The stunning news came just days after Senator Clinton likened the President to Mad Magazine’s “What, me worry?” character, Alfred E. Neuman, and Senator Kennedy himself had renewed his sharp criticism of the President for mismanagement of not only the War on Terror, but the quagmire in Iraq “and for disgracing the presidency itself.”
When asked why, after all the mean-spirited criticism from Ted Kennedy over the years of Bush's presidency, he still saw fit to elevate the Senator to the position of Supreme Court Justice, the President said that he had no comment, except that "some Presidential decisions rise above politics."
But a source close to the White House said it was because the President was hopeful that the nomination would get Kennedy to shut his big fat mouth for awhile. “It is just a matter of self-defense,” the source said, adding, “The President has his health to consider."
There is another unconfirmed report that someone very close to Mr. Bush quoted the President as saying, “This guy’s breath is so bad I’d be afraid to strike a match in the same room. If I had to be around him much longer I'd be back on the sauce myself.”

Monday, July 11, 2005

Hillary Clinton On a Roll

Hillary Warms up to Street Corner Gathering
Grey Owl
July 11, 2005

Aspen—Senator Hillary Clinton, (D-NY) encouraged by audience reaction to her recent comparison of President Bush to the Mad Magazine character, Alfred E. Neuman, today expanded on her characterizations by likening the Secretary of Defense to Harrison Ford. It’s just like having a movie star in the Pentagon,” she said, drawing a laugh from a street corner gathering in the Colorado ski town.
“No, make that Henny Youngman,” she added. “He’s the one who plays the violin, isn’t he? Just like Nero did while Rome burned.”
The Senator, unusually animated in a yellow pants suit, performed a little two-step pantomime of fiddle playing, which drew another chuckle. “Well, this time it’s not Rome. It’s Washington!” she added in an obvious reference to the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon.
“Hey! This is fun!” the Senator said, warming to the passers-by. “Did you ever notice that columnist Robert Novak has teeth just like Margaret Thatcher? And Senator Arlen Spector? Doesn’t he look simply ridiculous with that bald head? He’s starting to resemble an anorexic NBA player! And Bill Frist! He’s a regular cut-up, isn’t he?” This last in an obvious reference to Senator Frist’s background as a heart surgeon.
“And,” the Senator went on, “don’t tell me you haven’t you noticed the uncanny resemblance between Jacque Chirac and Jonathan Winters?”
“Hey!” she concluded, rolling her eyes, “Stick around! We get better! Seriously, folks, I could go on for hours, but I have to go and give my Bill a jingle – if I can drag him away from Sharon Stone for a few minutes!”
Waving goodbye to both of the people still listening, the Senator made for her car where two Secret Service agents were still clapping.

Saturday, July 09, 2005


Liftoff set for Wednesday
Grey Owl
( July 9, 2005)
CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida -- The seven astronauts who will make the first space shuttle flight since the Columbia disaster arrived early at the launch site Saturday, claiming they were all “as hungry as bears.”
Commander Eileen Collins and her crew flew in by NASA corporate jet in the evening, and were greeted by Kennedy Space Center's director and nearly 100 journalists.
The crew's exuberance was apparent.
"It's been 2 1/2 years since a crew stood here before you as hungry for lunch as we are, and that's way too long," one astronaut told the crowd gathered at the runway. "It is definitely time that we go back to the facility’s cafeteria and dig right in."
Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi raised his fists in the air and shouted, "Ret's go fry!"
Journalists seemed confused. Dan Rather, a newcomer to the Cape Canaveral beat, said, “Excuse me, but what is all this talk of lunch? We came down here to witness a shuttle launch, not watch astronauts eating lunch.”
A Houston ground control supervisor stepped to the microphone and said, “Launch? Did you say ‘launch’? We thought that we were supposed to fly down here to the Center for lunch!"
After a hurried conference with Space Center officials she returned to the microphone.
“You’ll have to forgive me. I’m in the middle of a messy divorce and I’m just not paying attention. I was almost certain Houston sent us down here to the Cape for lunch. It’s way too early to launch. That’s not scheduled until next Wednesday. The crew were supposed to fly in from Houston on Sunday, the same day as the start of the countdown, but I was told that the trip was moved up because of gastronomical conditions, so I advanced our departure from Houston."
“Are you sure you don’t mean meteorological conditions?” a CNN reporter said. “Hurricane Dennis, perhaps?”
"We're having a hurricane?" she said.
At this point, a Kennedy Space Center official took the Houston official by the arm and led the her over to a waiting automobile. “This news conference is at an end,” he said.
In an aside clearly not meant for the assembled reporters, he added,
“Sheesh! Women in space!"

Friday, July 01, 2005

Animal Farm redux

I think we all know by now that the United States Supreme Court recently voted to deny the petition of a group of home owners in New London Connecticut to overturn the city's decision to take their domiciles from them and give the properties to a private developer so that he can raze the homes and build on the land. The city claims that even though it will be used for private enterprise and not for public use as required by the original "takings" clause in the Constitution, building a shopping mall will provide jobs for residents of New London.

Three decades ago, the city of New London confiscated a private home under the takings amendment in order to construct a sea wall. Thirty five years have passed and the sea wall has yet to be built. The son of the home owner who was evicted then is one of the petitioners in the present case. The Court's new decision has provided that he will endure a second trampling of his rights under the Constitution, one which does not now have to disguise itself as being "for the public good".

The current decision has been five years in review, and at the time of the original takings decision, the city of New London determined that the home of the principal petitioner had a "fair market value" of $60,000. Because of the increase in property values over the years, the property is marketable today for something like $250,000, but according to the town politicians, a deal's a deal, and word is, only the original amount will be paid to the property owners.

We might ask ourselves what sort of living quarters can be had today for $60,000. One petitioner's family has lived in her house since 1918; she herself, now quite old, was born there. Even if the homeowners attempt to protest the out-of-date remuneration estimates they will have to appeal to the same politicians who made the decision to confiscate their homes in the first place. Any adjustment in price will be the decision of the City Council. Since the Council's argument for the private property seizure in the first place is that the town is deeply in debt and needs to "provide jobs", the homeowners are more likely than not to be rebuffed.

The Supreme Court decision, five-to-four, was strictly split along conservative/liberal lines, all the "liberal" judges voting to allow politicians to seize private property so that it can be used by another citizen for his own use, and every "conservative" judge voting to preserve private property rights against confiscation unless said property is used for public facilities which are clearly shown to be needed for the benefit of all citizens; in other words, not allowing interpretation of the takings clause in the Constitution to be anything other than it is.

At the end of all this of course, a question begs to be asked: what is liberal about allowing government seizure of private property - the homes in which people live and raise their children - so it can be turned over to another citizen - in this case a private businessman - for a profit-making endeavor, however the underlying motive of personal profit is euphemized?

This is not the first such disregard of citizens' rights under such "liberal" interpretations of our Constitution: (I'm reminded of Elian Gonzales' kidnapping, the Waco Texas massacre, and Terri Schiavo's government-sanctioned murder.)

Perhaps it is time, in this country, to re-think the terms "liberal" and "conservative".

Grey Owl