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Volume 16, Issue 4: Cretan Times

Gore to Run for Iraqi PM

BAGHDAD—Former U.S. vice president Al Gore threw his hat into the ring Friday in the first race for Prime Minister of Iraq. Elections are scheduled to be held in January of next year.

Wearing a dark, mature beard, aviator sunglasses, and a white turban, he made the surprise announcement Monday to a small throng of supporters, U.S. and Iraqi soldiers, and reporters in a hotel in Baghdad's "Green Zone."
"A new era will dawn in Iraq," said Gore. "If I had been elected in 2000, this war would never had happened and I wouldn't be here today. But in this bold new democracy I feel I can make the difference I never had the chance to make."
Gore, whose political career was thought to be all but over, announced that he had moved to Iraq a week ago to start establishing his residency as soonas possible. He brushed off allegations of carpetbagging from reporters and skeptical soldiers in the audience.
"I feel I have found my true citizenship," he said. In addition to his beard, he has reportedly invested heavily in oil exploration and is "investigating" conversion to Islam. He noted that both Shiites and Sunnis "have their good points" and that membership with either would be "an invaluable asset."His wife Tipper presumably sat behind him during the speech, apparently backing her husband's move. Though she was wearing a burka and never spoke, her eyes shone with pride and determination.
Gore's preliminary platform includes a Clinton-style economic policy, a vision for a "green" Iraq, and a plan to give free internet access to every Iraqi citizen. He also admitted that a distracting, nation-energizing, easily-winnable war in the Balkans or
Many Iraqis on the street were excited about Gore's candidacy. "I would much rather have an American dictator than an American occupation force or even a democracy," said a shopkeeper who refused to give his name. "It's more familiar."
Others were not so positive. A few protesters gathered outside the hotel waving signs that read "Down with the infidel!" and "Can an American Loser Be an Iraqi Winner?"
One protester remarked, "He does not know our culture or the way things work here. When he lost his election in 2000, he went to courts. Here there are not yet any courts. Does he have the guts to defend his honor and smite the infidels?"


CNN Toys With UN Complaint

NEW YORK—The war in Iraq has crossed an ethical line, according to CNN.

"I think I speak for every journalist involved with CNN, and many in the world," Paula Zahn told her own cameras in early November. "We feel the rights of journalists are being ignored. The war has simply become too dangerous for us to cover in the way we would like. I've even heard accounts from some reporters that have been forced to stay in hotel rooms during battles. The U.S. is not sufficiently assuring their safety."
The network is considering filing an official complaint with the United Nations, citing human rights violations of many western reporters.
"To be so close to news but too scared to take pictures infringes on our fundamental need to know," Anderson Cooper agreed. "It's 'Fraidy B/2


France Wants Votes

PARIS—French leaders are not happy with the results of the latest United States presidential election.

French President Chirac has responded to Bush's victory by telling reporters that the French feel disenfranchised.
"Why should we have to live in a world with a most powerful man we did not vote for? Shall I say it in French? It sounds better in French."
He went on to point out that in the global village it is only fair that the global mayor be elected globally. Or at least by Frenchmen.
"It is not that we do not love the American people. We love Americans and all their endearing idiosyncracies. We just feel that they ought not to be trusted alone in voting booths. We were willing to assume that 2000 was a mistake. But what are we left to assume now? It appears that the American people desire Bush. If the French were included in the decision-making process, as we are in the consequences, such mistakes would not be made."
President Bush surprised reporters with a statement from his ranch in Crawford, Texas.
"I would welcome the French vote in America. They might drag their feet on their allies and build nuclear reactors for Muslim countries, but that's not a something we can blame them for. It's a national personality issue. Give them ballots."
President Bush also promised to assemble a proposal for the French which he referred to as Project Leapfrog. Aides have already begun initial drafts which, reporters have been told, include full voting rights for Americans in all French elections.
"This is not diplomacy," Chirac responded angrily to early descriptions. "This is arrogance. We have surrendered Riviera to Texans already. We would have a cowboy in the Elysee Palace. Impudence."


Orthodox Jews to Investigate Edwards' Messianic Claims

BROOKLYN—The presidential campaign is over but something much larger may be at stake. Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn are investigating the possibility that John Kerry may be the long-awaited Messiah. Discussion of Kerry's potential messiahship began when then vice-presidential candidate John Edwards made a claim in mid-October about Kerry's ability to heal paralytics.

"When John Kerry is president, people like Christopher Reeve will get up out of that wheelchair and walk again," Edwards said. Christopher Reeve, former Superman and paralytic of nine years, had recently died of complications arising from a bed sore.
John Kerry's wife, Teresa Heinz-Kerry was a little surprised. "I'm Jewish so it would be a little odd to discover that I was married to the Messiah, though I'm not sure what that would entail. I think John would be excited. He was sure his political clout was gone. I'm keeping the prenup either way. "
When asked if she believed one way or the other, she merely expressed her trust in the Rabbis examining the claim alongside the book of Isaiah.
"These are qualified men. Some of them do the sausage checks that get kosher dogs stamped for resale. I trust their judgment." Kosher B/9


Les Misemoney:Des Moines Sing-Along Strikes Gold

DES MOINES—The musical that has always been of the people is now also for the people. Or so Richard Popov says. His troupe of musicians and actors has now completed its first month performing Les Miserables for the people of Des Moines. But what makes Popov's Miserables special?

"Everybody sings," Popov says. "It's pretty much mass karaoke. It sounds like chaos in there but the audience loves it."
The sing-along has played to sold-out audiences every showing. Most attendees are simply provided with score sheets so that they may join in in any of the musical's famous numbers. Some higher paying customers are allowed into costume and onto stage. But
"I thought we could have multiples of characters. At first it worked. But then we started having too many Cosettes. Actually two Cosettes was too many. It always ended in a fight. Not that the audience minded. It was more a liability issue for us."
When asked if he enjoyed the musical himself Popov was unflinching.
"Well, I do in that it brings me money. But I don't otherwise. I just saw a business opportunity. Les Miserables has a huge fan base among a certain kind of people and there are a lot of that certain kind in the Midwest. They think this thing is the human condition set to music, and I'm for letting them think it. But I skip all the performances. Watching my customers sing just makes me sad."
Popov thinks a version should be ready for Asian markets and San Francisco by mid-Spring.


Derrida Mantle Passes to Ross Billings

CASPER, WY.—Jacques Derrida is dead. Many thought that with his death, deconstruction would die as well. Deconstruction, a post-modern critical theory that brought Choose-Your-Own Adventure novels into their golden era, is not dead. Derrida may have died, but he had a mantle, a mantle failed philosophers and critics have been jockeying to receive since word that the famed philosopher was mortal was first released. That mantle now belongs to Ross Billings of Casper, according to a statement released by his publicist last week.

"With the passing of greatness comes sadness. But sadness is followed by inheritance," the statement said. "A mantle has been passed on, and Ross Billings now owns it."
The mantle is a pale pink, three-quarter sleeve, zip-up hoodie that spent three days on eBay before the auction closed at $2700. The seller could not be contacted. Some philosophers claim the mantle is not genuine, but Billings is confident.
"What is genuine?" he responded to questions at The Lemon Ranch, a car dealership where he washes
vehicles. "I interpret it as genuine. Others might call it phallic, except it's pink. Previously, I had not read Derrida as gay. That's a perspective I now have to consider."
Some, like John Rawlings of Stanford, are denying Derrida's death.
"He is not dead. Death is in the eye of the one who watches. I still see him, and his mantle has no zipper and is so tight around his neck that you'd have to kill him to get it."
"They're just jealous," Billings said of doubters of his new mantle. "Of course he has to die before he passes on a mantle. And he did. And I bought it."
When asked about the selling price, Billings seemed confused.
"I'm not paying that," he said. "I may see my obligations differently than the seller."
Billings is currently planning an international speaking tour.
"I don't have much to say, but I don't think I'll need to, as long as smart people come. They'll bring their own meanings with them. I'll probably just do charades. It should be profitable."

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