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Saturday, July 15, 2006
 
New From Pajamas Media: Politics Central

A new offshoot of the Pajama Hive; come be absorbed by the Borg!
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Friday, July 14, 2006
 
Israel/Lebanon Situation

So far I've refrained from commenting on the latest in the Middle East. I'm not an expert on the issues there.

So what do I recommend? Tel-Chai Nation is a great Israeli blog, and Ya Libnan my favorite source for information from Lebanon.
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Joe Wilson On His 32nd Minute of Fame

And trying to milk it for all he's worth.

The Ankle-Biters report that the Wilsons are grubbing for loose change to help fund the lawsuit. What, the lawyers aren't doing it on a contingency basis? I wonder why that could be? Maybe because they know Joe (Liar) Wilson and Valerie (Secret Agent) Plame aren't going to win?
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Cindy Sheehan Fast Diaries Part V

More right-wing bloggers are attacking me. Today Michelle Malkin noted that my fast included vanilla ice cream. Hey, I said I was going to fast, not die! And it's still fasting because I haven't had anything solid to eat. It's not like I had Chunky Monkey.

Yes, I suppose I should have mentioned it in my prior posts. But Michelle Malkin going out to a Jamba Juice outlet and checking with the cashier as to whether it's cheating was really unfair. I checked with Diane Wilson, and she said it's fasting as long as they blend it up really good. It's called a juice fast. A banana unblended is not fasting; a banana blended is a completely different thing. And I did not have the "mango concoction", although it sounds delicious, and I'll have to try it the moment I get back to Bushitler's America.
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Moron Josh Marshall

Allahpundit discusses Marshall's first column at Time Magazine. Marshall writes:

[N]ot long after the champagne corks stopped popping at Bush campaign headquarters, terror alerts seemed to go out of style. The color codes became yesterday’s news. With the exception of one warning about mass-transit facilities in response to the London bombing on July 7, 2005, that was pretty much it until this summer. I live in lower Manhattan and my wife works in a building overlooking Ground Zero. So I want to know when something’s really up and not worry that I’m getting bamboozled to amp the President’s approval rating.

Can I prove any of this was politically motivated? Of course not. But that’s the magic of the terror-alert song and dance. There’s no way to know. All the key facts are veiled in secrecy, as they must be. So it’s impossible to know from the outside whether it’s on the level or not. But with another election looming, it seems we’re about to get a bunch of new chances to wonder.


What a freaking dolt! This "I question the timing" crap has been going on for years now. Obvious question: If these terror alerts are so good for Bush's poll numbers, why does he use them in July? Wouldn't it make a whole lot more sense to issue the warnings in late October? I know, I know, just wait and he will.

Allah makes a terrific point:

The truly amazing thing is that he bases his argument on the assumption that terror alerts/arrests necessarily benefit the right. Which, we can all agree, is a fair assumption, but which also underscores how hopelessly compromised the left is on national security. If, five years after 9/11, the mere possibility of terrorism is enough to send voters scurrying for the tender embrace of the GOP, then Marshall has bigger things to worry about than what color Chertoff’s thermometer is this month.
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Thursday, July 13, 2006
 
One Party Serious, One Party Flaky

Hugh Hewitt was talking about this with Mark Steyn during my drive home today:

HH: So Mark Steyn, do you think the American political electorate is watching this, and understanding again what we talk about a lot. There's a serious party in the United States. It might not be always right. It isn't always right. It makes mistakes. But there's also a fundamentally feckless and silly party, and it's the Democratic Party, and it's the political left.

MS: Yeah, well, you know, a Canadian blogger, Kathy Shaidle, who I like tremendously, her website. She said you know, Alan Colmes has said he's agnostic on the matter of whether 9/11 was an inside job. Now let's take him at his word. If these people, high up in the Democratic Party, seriously thought the president of the United States had committed, deliberately killed thousands of Americans...you know, Kathy said if that happened in her country, in Canada, she wouldn't want to live in that country anymore. She'd get her passport, she'd get her stuff together, and she'd get out of there. And the fact that you can sort of say Bush killed thousands of Americans, and then sit out on your cafe in San Francisco, sipping your venti latte, as if that's just something normal...I mean, this is pathetic. There's a disease in the Democratic Party that they've got to cure, because it's not good for the political system.


As it happens, because of my 9-11 blogging over at Screw Loose Change, I happen to have the clip of Colmes talking about his agnosticism:



It comes right at the 3:00 mark. Colmes is echoing the guest, Bob Bowman, who lies at about 0:55 by saying "I'm agnostic about these conspiracy theories...", which is clearly not true.

A great example of the unseriousness of the Democrats is the attempted purge of Joe Lieberman. Here's a classic example of this in a column from CBS liberal columnist Dotty Lynch:

One of those who are so worried about the state of the Democrats is conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks. He wails that the campaign against Lieberman, "the most kind-hearted and well-intentioned of men," is a liberal inquisition designed to drive Scoop Jackson Democrats out of the party.

When conservatives start publicly worrying about the Democratic Party losing members, it may be a sign that the Democrats are actually onto something. (Earth to Brooks: the Scoop Democrats, with the possible exception of Jack Murtha, departed a long, long time ago.)

The reason many Connecticut voters are so upset with well-intentioned Joe Lieberman is because of his vaunted principles. They don't like them and are trying to let him and the nation know. Isn't that what primaries and elections are about? Voters get to chose candidates who will carry out policies they want.

Lieberman supported and still supports President Bush's policy on the war in Iraq, which many believe is immoral and misguided and he has an opponent, Ned Lamont, who is more in synch with the voters on this issue. Politics has become so technical and bloodless that it is hard for the pros to understand that voters can get quite passionate about issues, especially moral issues - like war and peace.


It is, of course, as if the WWII Republicans had decided to go after one of their own members in 1944 for not opposing FDR's war plans.

But where the historical precedent ends is that the anti-war movement of the late sixties and seventies was viewed by many as legitimate and courageous.

Chortle. Well, at least she got the past tense right.

The scarcity of 1960s-style protests against the war, says sociologist Todd Gitlin, is due to an "ambivalence about what to do, a lack of belief that protest would matter, and a lack of a counterculture that supports protest."

Excluding, of course, that same old counterculture from the 1960s.
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Say What?

Here's an example of the depth of thought to be found over at TPM Muckraker:

In advance of its August publication date, GQ has released a big piece on Ralph Reed today, with one gem in particular: a plan hatched by Reed and Jack Abramoff which sounds suspiciously like "mortgaging old black people," as a former Reed associate told the magazine.

In July of 2003, Abramoff and Reed considered launching something called the Black Churches Insurance Program.

We know how this scheme would have gone, because Abramoff pitched something similar to a cash-strapped Texas tribe, the Tigua. Basically, since the tribe couldn't pay Abramoff, he offered to arrange "a life-insurance policy for every Tigua 75 or older." When those elders died, the death bene?ts would have gone to Abramoff through one of his non-profits. The Tigua didn't take Abramoff up on the offer, but it was too good of an idea to let go.

So Abramoff apparently thought black churches were a good target. This would have been the same thing, according to GQ's Sean Flynn, except that it was African-Americans. Or as "a former associate of Reed's" told GQ, "Yeah... it sounds like Jack approached Reed about mortgaging old black people.”


In the GQ Article:

The failed con took more than a year to play out, by which time the Tiguas were pretty much broke. So Abramoff came up with a way for his marks to continue paying him: the Tigua Elder Legacy Project. Abramoff would arrange, at no cost to the tribe, a life-insurance policy for every Tigua 75 or older. When those elders died, the death bene?ts would be paid to Eshkol Academy, a private school Abramoff had founded near Washington. Eshkol, in turn, would then pay Abramoff’s fee to continue lobbying on behalf of the surviving Tiguas. Morbid opportunism disguised as charity: Each dead Tigua would be cash in the lobbyist’s pocket.

Anybody know the obvious problem with this nuttiness? That's right, life insurance on people 75 years old is not cheap; in all probability, Abramoff would pay as much in premiums as he would make from death benefits. In other words, it's a stupid idea as a money generator.
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A Review of Pat Hynes' In Defense of the Religious Right

Big Mo over at Townhall gives it high marks:

Perhaps the most surprising part is his revelation that a huge key to Bush’s—and the GOP's—victory in 2004 was the hundreds of thousands of small Bible groups that served as impromptu political action groups. They generally share the same values, the same ideals—and the same politics. And that, Hynes discovered, is how the word spread and things happened all across the country for 2004. Not through massed marches, big celebrity concerts and billionaire bucks that the liberals employed—but word of mouth.

I will have my own review of In Defense of the Religious Right next week. Pat is one of the co-bloggers over at Ankle-Biting Pundits.

Update: Third Wave Dave reports that Pat was on the radio with Andrea Shea King and Mark Vance the other day.
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Lieberman Founds Own Party

Called Connecticut for Lieberman. The good news is that there are no CfL bloggers calling for Joe's head.

But some of the most outspokenly Zionist Democrats have suggested that the current political climate has made Mr. Lieberman, as a prominent Jewish hawk, vulnerable to blog-driven criticism.

“We do have a problem with progressives and those in the blogosphere, because the Palestinian position seems to be perfect for the Internet world of pithy back-and-forth and 30-second You Tube tapes, where the Zionist position is more at home in a seven-page New York Review of Books article,” said Representative Anthony Weiner, a pro-Israel hawk who opposes the war in Iraq.


I do think that liberals have come to sympathize with the Palestinians. This is because the frame with which liberals view the world is often in terms of oppressor/oppressed; a worldview that often leads to ridiculous claims that the Israelis are no better than the Nazis.

I'm not sure how many liberals are motivated by this aspect of Lieberman. As Moulitsas and Hamsher have pointed out, they are not attacking other Democrats who supported the war, including Diane Feinstein. They claim the central issue is Lieberman's willingness to attack his fellow Democrats for not showing that support.

“Senator Lieberman, sometimes he seems to go out of his way to undermine the Democrats and poke a stick in the eye of Democrats,” Mr. Lamont said Monday evening as he sipped an iced tea and dug into a plate of potato skins in Wallingford. “It’s President Bush, aided by Senator Lieberman, in many cases, that has taken this country way off its historical norm.”

Similarly, the aforementioned liberal bloggers say that the anti-Semitism charge is just a feint to draw attention away from the broad and increasingly well-disciplined opposition to Mr. Lieberman among the party’s grassroots.


Increasingly well-disciplined? I take it the writer has not been reading over at Firedoglake.
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Wednesday, July 12, 2006
 
Dems Use Subtle 9-11 Dig in New Ad



I didn't see it the first time through because it's very brief, but when Tom Delay's mug shot appears, look at the case number at the bottom. Red State is right; this is disgusting.

Update: The Ankle-Biters speculate that this will be a debacle for the Dems.
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Taking Greenwald to the Woodshed

Sister Toldjah spanks Glenn Greenwald for his tepid condemnation of Deb Frisch (the blogstalker who threatened Jeff Goldstein's two-year-old son) and his simultaneous, "Why aren't the righty bloggers condemning this other post".

Greenwald's a bright guy, but I don't recollect him taking the lefty blogosphere to task over their sins, and Sister Toldjah does a good job of checking on that:

For someone who supposedly doesn’t tie himself to either party, Greenwald has this peculiar fascination with slamming all things conservative, while curiously staying either silent or utilizing the generalized ‘both sides have crazies’ condemnation routine towards the left. His assertion about the right having to "dig" to find reprehensible statements by the left is laughable - there are many more out there beyond the examples I posted which don’t require any digging beyond a simple Google search.

BTW, here's the post over at the Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler that Greenwald wants us to condemn:

So keep that in mind. Should we ever make the mistake of capturing any of the perpetrators of the war crime against PFCs Menchaca and Tucker alive, we can forget about interrogating them in order to catch the rest, according to the Supreme Whores. Well, unless they’re willing to give up information if we ask “pretty please?”, since anything other than that has been deemed illegal by those blackrobed tyrants. Are we exaggerating? Try doing anything to those mutilating darlings of the Supremes in order to extract life-saving intel from them, and then wait for the Supreme Whores to decide that you were “humiliating” them in doing so.

Five ropes, five robes, five trees.

Some assembly required.


Clearly a joke, not terribly funny, arguably offensive. Certainly not something that I would applaud, but also not something I'd get on my high horse about.

Greenwald specializes in this moaning about the righty blogosphere and how hypocritical they are for not condemning what he wants them to condemn.
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Tuesday, July 11, 2006
 
Cindy Sheehan Fast Diaries Part IV

The hunger seems to have subsided; now I just feel exhausted all the time. I've been drinking plenty of water.

Apparently some of the right-wingers don't believe that we are serious about this.

Provided we do not withdraw our troops before then, on Columbus Day we will conduct a roll call of your corps. If by that time any or all of you are still among us, we will know that you have furtively and cynically violated the terms of your solemn pledge, since no one has ever survived a genuine hunger strike for more than seventy days.

Well, that last bit made me a little nervous, because I'm supposed to hold out for about 61 days, which seems to be cutting it pretty close. But I can tell you that Diane Wilson and Dick Gregory are going to stick with the fast until the troops come home. Diane looks like she can last awhile, if you know what I mean, but Dick doesn't look like he has any meat on his bones. I'm worried he won't even make it to September.

Sean left for Hollywood yesterday; good riddance! I couldn't resist asking him if he had to be there for his next film. Of course he made me pay for it by reciting a list of the restaurants he'd be eating at in the next few days and the specialties of the house.
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The Lunatic Is Under the Grass...

Syd Barrett, co-founder of Pink Floyd, dead at age 60. Barrett was the original songwriter for the group, but left when he took too much LSD. The band was fortunate that Roger Waters was able to take over the songwriting chores.
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Protest at the New York Times

Pam Meister has a report from the scene. Great photos, great recap. Highly recommended!
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Kosola Continues to Percolate

Here's a good article focusing on the fallout among the devotees:

The most prominent disgruntlement came in a “diary” written and posted Saturday by Maryscott O’Connor, who describes herself as a “contented and fulfilled…denizen of the Daily Kos community,” and is now the proprietor of My Left Wing, “a spin-off of Daily Kos.”

O’Connor, who was actually the subject of a 2,181-word front-page Washington Post article about the liberal blogosphere published in April, began her July 8 diary entitled “Something is Rotten in Blogmark”:


Sometimes I am embarrassed to call myself a member of DKos. This is one of those times. There is a sort of groupthink, Lord of the Flies kind of behaviour at DKos over certain issues that absolutely makes me nauseated.


O’Connor was referring to a diary by another Kossack, Richard Silverstein, published at DKos on June 26. It openly addressed some of the issues raised by The New Republic’s Jason Zengerle as well as the New York Times’ David Brooks.
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Monday, July 10, 2006
 
Cindy Sheehan Fast Diaries Part III

Right now I'm not sure that I should be making commitments past the end of the month, but I did want to show up for Vermont's impeachment rallies. Of course, the moment I agreed I thought how wonderful it would be if Bush would call back all the troops the day I'm there and I could have a double stack of pancakes with Vermont Maple Syrup.

But I've gotta stop thinking about food, glorious food, hot sausage and mustard! While I'm in the mood, cold cabbage and custard!

Instead of the stage version of Oliver!, I feel like I'm on a particularly bad season of Survivor, where everybody else but me gets to eat. Sean has been particularly obnoxious about it, as I've said before. I never quite understood why Madonna dumped him, but now it becomes obvious. Does he have to smack his lips and rub his tummy while commenting on how that hit the spot?

But, you know, everybody is counting on little old me. Does it matter that I've been swallowing my toothpaste in the morning instead of spitting it out? I torture myself with these things even though this morning Dick was chewing gum. He claimed it was sugarless, but it sure smelled like Double Bubble grape to me.

I was thrilled to hear that the Reverend Al Sharpton has joined us. As you may recall, the Rev (as he asked me to call him) has been on a hunger strike before to close down some place in Puerto Rico and it worked, so obviously Mr Bush will have to shut down Iraq, because he can't let the Rev die. I just hope it happens quick because I really miss Applebee's pies and the Monster Tacos at Jack in the Box.

Part II of this series.
Part I of this series.
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Coulter No Plagiarist

The portside blogs have been pushing this story for awhile, including some of the larger blogs like TPM, Josh Marshall's blog.

In a statement sent to E&P, Universal President and Editor Lee Salem said: "Last week a software program company official ran Ann Coulter's columns through a 'match-text' program, frequently used by teachers to detect original work. The New York Post cited two columns in which some text matched other published materials and also mentioned three snippets in her book, 'Godless: The Church of Liberalism.'

"In addition to looking at the columns mentioned in the New York Post story, we also reviewed a sampling of other columns that have been mentioned in the media. Like her book publisher, Crown, Universal Press Syndicate finds no merits to the allegations of plagiarism brought by the software company executive. There are only so many ways you can rewrite a fact and minimal matching text is not plagiarism.


Indeed, if you look at the supposed examples of plagiarism at TPM, it's not hard to see that they're pretty weak beer. Here's the first one, just to give you a flavor:

Example 1: "As New Hampshire attorney general in 1977, Souter opposed the repeal of an 1848 state law that made abortion a crime even though Roe v. Wade had made it irrelevant, predicting that if the law were repealed, New Hampshire 'would become the abortion mill of the United States.'"

Alleged Source: "In 1977, Souter as state attorney general spoke out against a proposed repeal of an 1848 state law that made abortion a crime -- even though the measure had been largely invalidated by the Supreme Court in Roe. vs. Wade… 'Quite apart from the fact that I don't think unlimited abortions ought to be allowed . . . I presume we would become the abortion mill of the United States[.]'" ("Liberals Leery as New Clues Surface on Souters Views," Los Angeles Times, Sept. 9, 1990)
(Identified by John Barrie/New York Post)


As you can see, the elements that might convince one that the passages are copied amount to a) facts and b) quotes. But facts, as Lee Salem observed, can only be stated in so many ways, and quotes can only be stated in two ways: verbatim and paraphrased.
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Blogs for Heather: Madrid Swallows Globaloney

Our buddy Chris does some research on Patricia Madrid's position on global warming:

A more truthful description of what President Bush and Wilson stand for is "pro-American consumer policies". A recent report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows the regulations Madrid is suing for would add $90 billion to the cost it takes to generate electricity for the entire country. Guess who would be on the hook for this extra cost? You and me.

Terrific post by Chris!
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Moron Dan Rather

Who says there are no second acts in American life?

"We are excited about it," Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team, said yesterday. He described the show as "an opportunity to do news in what I like to call 'fearless mode,' what Dan calls 'with guts.' Go out there and find the stories we think will have impact."

Or, as Rather used to put it himself, "Courage!"
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Moron Kos

Jeez, the media can't get enough of this guy right now. This article in New York magazine pretty much sums up the MSM position. There's the "leader of the lemmings" part, countered by the "he's really a moderate" part.

The sudden Democratic obeisance to the Netroots fills many in the party’s centrist cadres with despair bordering on panic—for they see the likes of Stoller and Moulitsas as “McGovernites with modems,” in the choice phrase of Marshall Wittman, a Republican apostate now ensconced at the Democratic Leadership Council. More than a few leading GOP lights agree, happily foreseeing the liberal bloggers’ leading the opposition down (okay, further down) the primrose path into lefty irrelevance. As Newt Gingrich put it bluntly in Newsweek, “I think the Republican Party has few allies more effective than the Daily Kos.”

But if, temperamentally, Kos comes across as a purity-enforcing commissar—self-appointed head of the Blogitburo—his substantive convictions make him rather harder to pigeonhole. “He’s a former soldier, pro–free trade, and anti–gun control,” notes Simon Rosenberg, president of the progressive New Democrat Network. “The resistance to him in Washington isn’t about issues—it’s generational. Markos represents a new generation taking control, asserting leadership, shaping the conversation. That’s why the old New Democrats are mad at the more partisan edge of the new New Democrats. They feel their power threatened.”

But this part is ridiculous:

On its face, this sort of strategizing is impressive enough—yet what makes it even more so is the contrast with the utter disarray on display over money in the Democratic Party’s upper echelons. A little more than a month ago, a meeting between party chair Howard Dean and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman Rahm Emanuel broke out into a yelling match. The dispute centered on Dean’s insistence on a “50-state strategy,” with resources being invested broadly and with an eye beyond 2006, and Emanuel’s belief that cash should be funneled predominantly into races where Democrats stand the best chance of making gains. (Democrats must pick up fifteen seats in the House and six in the Senate to retake control of Congress.) The two men haven’t spoken since.

Basically Kos sides with Dean, and doesn't want to target money only to races where the Democrats have a chance of winning. His "strategizing" amounts to wasting the one asset that he has, which is his ability to raise money.
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Sunday, July 09, 2006
 
Chait Rattles the Cages

This is actually a pretty clearheaded column from Chait, which means that some Lefty should be starting the "Open Letter to Jonathan Chait" blog any moment now.

But if Lieberman's allies are irritating and often wrongheaded, alas, his enemies are worse. Lieberman recently declared, "I have loyalties that are greater than those to my party." Markos Moulitsas, the lefty blogger from Daily Kos who has appeared in a Lamont commercial and has made Lieberman's defeat a personal crusade, posted this quote on his website in the obvious belief that it's self-evidently absurd. But shouldn't we all have greater loyalties than the one to our party — say, to our country? Partisanship isn't nothing, but must it be everything?

Moulitsas and many of his allies insist that they just want Democrats to win. But in fact, they believe that any deviation from the party line — except for a few circumscribed instances, such as Democrats running for office in red states — is an unforgivable crime. They have consigned large chunks of the center-left to enemy status. It is an odd way to go about building a majority.


Digby uses his typical restraint in responding to that:

It's the only way to go about building a majority that isn't a carbon copy of the other party. Liberals have been turned into pariahs not just in the country, but among certain center-left (I would argue center-right) politicians who have allowed the party to be unnecessarily dragged to the right out of a failed experiment in third-way politics while the Republicans were playing brute partisan politics. The proof is in the pudding. We are in the minority and have been for quite some time now. And this polarized 50/50 nation always seems to just tilt enough to the right that we get screwed. "Centrists" like Lieberman are the dupes who make that possible.

Get it? Liberals are in the minority and have been for some time now, and the way to get back into the majority is to become more liberal, and get rid of these "center-left" folks like Joe Lieberman. The Democrats can only grow the party by shrinking it.

It's lunacy, but it's fun to watch!
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Steyn on the Fast-a-Thon

This is one where he really lets himself go with the jokes:

At adjoining tables, other celebrities rushed to show their support for the anti-war movement: ''I'll not have what she's not having." Winona Ryder is telling waiters, ''Hold the haunch of venison.'' Keira Knightley is saying, ''Hey, I'll just go with the short stack this morning. And the low-fat simulated-maple syrup substitute.'' Ice T has given up iced tea. Disgusted by the callousness of the Bush war machine, William Powell and Myrna Loy have decided to go without the olive in their fourth martini. Willie Nelson is said to be gaunt and sounding croaky. Michael Moore, hovering dangerously at 300 pounds, has told friends, ''You can never be too rich but you can be too thin.'' Molly Ringwald's press agent has announced his client is starving for publicity. Tom Cruise was reported as looking physically shrunken, but then put his elevator shoes back on. Demonstrating yet again his strong personal commitment to political activism, George Clooney has delegated his rolling fast to his stunt double for insurance reasons. Yoko Ono has released a new all-star charity single of ''Give Peas A Chance.'' In the forthcoming Bond movie, 007 is tossed into a tank of ravenous sharks, but they refuse to eat him and, in a savage indictment of Bush foreign policy, sip their mineral water in a desultory fashion for 20 minutes before calling for the check. America's greatest living war hero and simultaneous anti-war hero, John Kerry, pledged his own passionate support for the crusade of his celebrity friends: ''I ordered the banana cream pie before I sent it back.''
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