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
CNN Toys With UN Complaint
NEW YORKThe 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
France Wants Votes
PARISFrench 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
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
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
BROOKLYNThe 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."
Les Misemoney:Des Moines Sing-Along Strikes Gold
DES MOINESThe 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
"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."