Volume 16, Issue 2: Cretan Times
U.S. Troop Needs Force Boy Scouts to Iraq
WASHINGTON, D.C.Defense Secretary Donald H.
Rumsfeld on Tuesday ordered about 10,000 active-duty Boy Scouts of America
to prepare to ship out to Iraq in the next few months. The decision
acknowledges Iraq is much more unstable and dangerous than U.S. generals
had hoped earlier this year, when they planned to cut the number of
troops occupying Iraq to about 115,000.
"At this point, Boy Scouts of advancement rank Tenderfoot
and Second Class are exempt from service in Iraq because it's still difficult
for them to carry large weapons," Rumsfeld said. "Scouts First Class
and up will be eligible for the Desert Warfare merit badge which has a
Chief Scout Executive, Roy L. Williams addressed an audience
of concerned Scout parents on Wednesday. He explained the Iraq call-up
waspart of the BSA's Good Turn for America program. "A Scout's oath
is binding, and your sons vowed `On my honor I will do my best to do my
duty to God and my country.' Scouting's oath to America has always been
to serve other people at all times, and now is the time for responsible fun
The Scouts will help replace 20,000 U.S. troops being kept in
Iraq for as long as three months past their one-year tours of duty.
Rumsfeld declined to comment where the difference would be made up,
noting that he would be holding a press conference Friday at the New
York office of the Girls Scouts of America.
Rumsfeld explained that the Scouts need to leave as soon as possible so they will not miss too much school come fall.
Fed Chairman Loses Short Term
Interest RateWASHINGTON, D.C.Federal Reserve Chairman
Alan Greenspan, appearing before the Joint Economic Committee of
Congress, noted the unusually low short-term interest rate has been
"apparently misplaced." Greenspan explained
he was sure he had the rate in his briefcase that morning at
the coffeeshop where he is a regular.
In an exchange with Sen. Paul Sarbanes, D-Md., Greenspan
said that the rate "tends to hover at floor level but must rise at some point
While many market analysts are confident the Fed will find the
rate by summer, Greenspan was careful to leave himself and his central
bank colleagues room for failure. Sen. Sarbanes raised the specter of
the interest rate being picked up by some foreign government
or teenager. Greenspan rifled through his brief case one more time.
"I swear it was just here," he said.
"The rate is obviously going to show up sooner or later, but there is
a lot of flexibility," said Sung Won Sohn, chief economist at
Wells Fargo. Greenspan's news sent stock and bond prices tumbling
Tuesday with comments that presumed a coming period of a missing
The Fed's rate-setting Open Market Committee next meets in
July, and while no discovery of the interest rate is expected, the central
bank almost certainly will change its statement to reflect the
loss. Greenspan promised to check the table by his bed.
9/11 Commission Blames Itself for 9/11
WASHINGTON, D.C.Following four days of closed
door deliberations, the National 9/11 Commission issued a
statement Monday, concluding that if it had existed, the terrorist attack could
have been avoided easily. "Just look at our commission's title," said
commission chair Thomas Kean. "Knowing that date before the attack would
have focused our investigation greatly."
The 10 bipartisan commissioners have attempted to elicit answers
from the panel of former senior Clinton and current Bush administration
officials regarding what the United States did to counter al-Qaida before the
9/11 attacks. "Our interviews have given us such a clear picture of the
pre-attack situation that we alone could have avoided the attacks," said vice chair
Lee Hamilton. "We bear a heavy responsibility for that, and we apologize to
After interviewing Madeleine Albright, Colin Powell, Richard
Clarke, George Tenet, and others, the commission statement concludes,
"Those poor people knew nothing. We wasted too much time on
subjunctives, even though subjunctives are supposed to sidestep time."
The commission has closed its work and determined to spend its
time investigating the next major terrorist attack. "We will be changing
our commission name to a future date so as to be much more effective in
fighting terrorism. We're all future tense this time around," said Kean. "Yeah,
this time," said Hamilton. President Bush was pleased with the report
but expressed quiet confusion.
Athens Officials Admit Olympic Hosting was Prank
ATHENS, GREECEWith none of the major Olympic
construction completed and only months away from the start of the games,
chief Athens Olympic organizer Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskaki announced at
a Friday press conference, "Greeks are very funny people. We love
practical jokes. And this time we tricked the whole world."
Angelopoulos-Daskaki strongly denied reports suggesting that
constant napping by Greek construction workers was to blame. "No, I told you. It's
a Trojan horse thing," she said. "Like surprise! No Olympics." She
explained that afternoon napping was a scheduled part of the prank, as well
as being a long Greek tradition.
The International Olympic Committee was quick to
reply. Executive Director, Gilbert Felli said,
"I just don't find that sort of joke funny. Bananas are funny. Monkeys with
eye patches are funny. But pretending to host the XXVIII Olympiad 2004
is just tacky."
The Athens Organizing committee issued a public statement in which
it called on the IOC to "lighten up."
The statement suggests that "some country like Germany or Switzerland would
be real handy with engineering" and should be ready by August.
When asked whether Athens could use existing football
stadiums and pools to help resolve the crisis, Athens Mayor Dora
Bakoyannis explained, "We're actually very
busy this summer. Anyway, Athens isn't really an Olympic sort of city.
The IOC is scrambling to find an alternate location. Felli concedes
that the White House has been pressuring him to hold the games in
Baghdad. Felli said, "There are plenty of
newly opened spaces. And President Bush thinks it would be good for
The Athens Olympic Team committee announced it
would boycott the games if held in Iraq. "The games don't need to leave
Europe," Angelopoulos-Daskaki urged.
"Just postpone the games for a few months or blend them with the Winter
games in Turin 2006."
When asked about the half-finished facilities, Mayor
Dora Bakoyannis explained that they would be left as is as a testimony to
Greek humor. "Athens is famous for its ruins. We are good at that and happy to have them."
California Wildfires Caused by American Obesity
LOS ANGELESSouthern California's first wildfires of
the season burned homes and brushland, forcing thousands of people
to evacuate on Tuesday. Authorities blame the fires on the current
drought and the obesity epidemic.
"People drink too many giant sodas, and that drains moisture
from the atmosphere," said Claude Coleman, a regional health
consultant for the U.S. government. "The fire
hit an area known for its fast-food wrappers. Those things light up
like Detroit on Halloween."
Others disagree. "The obesity-fire connection is much
more dangerous than Big Gulps," said Forestry Department engineer
Rick Greggs. "American weight pressure across the continent is
forcing magma gases to the surface." Authorities conceded that three
of the six fires showed evidence of magma squeeze.
For the past two decades, Americans have gained two pounds
a year, every year, between the ages of 20 and 60. "This continent is
about to pop its buttons," warned Greggs.
Jack Pi-Sunyar, director of the Obesity Research Center concurs
and has begun the nationwide campaign, "Relieve the Magma." Pi-Sunyar
said in an interview, "Fat people threaten our forests and scrub brush. I'm
afraid Minnesota will one day be one giant sinkhole."
Forestry officials across the nation are working on plans to
solve both problems. "Put obese people on the front fire lines," said San
Bernardino Fire Marshall Ben Jansen. "Our firemen generally lose between
ten and twenty pounds a fire season. And they're mighty handsome by
Kobe Bryant Demands Taller Jury
DENVERIn motions released Monday, Kobe Bryant's lawyers
asked the judge to be prepared to supply a jury of Bryant's peers in the
six-foot-five to seven foot range. Bryant is six-foot-seven.
"How else can Mr. Bryant expect a fair trial?" said Bryant attorney
Pamela Mackey. "Short jurors have the natural tendency to view extra-talls as
monsters. Fairness demands jurors who share Mr. Bryant's perspective
Judge Terry Ruckriegel rejected the attorneys' motion that jurors
weigh around 210 pounds and earn approximately 13 million dollars a year.
Sources reveal the judge has inquired whether the Denver
Nuggets basketball team would be free since they could not overcome a
twenty-six point deficit in game 5. Their highest salary, though, is Marcus Camby's at