Saturday, July 23, 2005

Weekend Special - Sautéed Cloves 23 July 2005

The New York Yankees have announced that former Secretary of State Colin Powell will be joining the club as their new Third Base Coach

At a
press conference Friday, Senator Charles Schumer (D - NY) displayed some of the tools and resources he will be employing during the upcoming confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Nominee John Roberts

In recently declassified documents, from the early minutes following the shooting of President John F. Kennedy
, Dallas Police overlooked
an important clue as to where the assassin was located.

In a disturbing new trend, the U.S. Military has discovered that Al-Qaeda is beginning to use 'Suicide Camels' in Iraq on their terror attacks

The Garlic has obtained a rare photo of Vice President Dick Cheney entering his secret bunker.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Friday 22 July 2005

Rumsfield to Downgrade Iraqi Forces To 'Wannabes'

Says Couldn't Fight Way Out Of Paper Bag; Statehood Stalled Without Troops

In his most blunt assessment of the readiness of the Iraq Security Forces, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfield called the Iraqi forces "wannabes" and that, at present "couldn't fight their way out of a paper bag"

In a newly released Pentagon report, only two-thirds of the army battalions are "partly capable" of carrying out missions, and that only with U.S Forces assistance. Iraq's police battalions are in worse shape, with less than half the number established and unable to conduct operations.

"Goodness, I don't know what the problem is" stated Rumsfield. "We have our best trainers there. It's unfathomable why more Iraqis aren't prepared. Heck, we can take a young kid from some poke-town here and in six months, he's a mean, lean fighting machine".

Bush administration officials have repeatedly said the 160,000 American-led allied troops cannot begin to withdraw until Iraqi troops are ready to take over security.

The assessment is described in a brief written response that Gen. Peter Pace, the incoming chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, provided last week to the Senate Armed Services Committee
. The Defense Department is required to update the assessment every 90 days.

Rumsfield lamented that, without a significant number of Iraqi forces, combined with that Iraq is still without a constitution, the prospects of statehood continue to diminish (See The Garlic 12 April - Bush Moves On Making Iraq 51st State).

"That would be it … That's the ballgame …The return on our investment goes phooey", declared Rumsfield. "We've made overtures, we've been up front with them … Direct … Here it is … You want to be a state, this is what you have to do"

'These guys are wannabes … They got all excited when we came in … Saddam's gone and they can breath again. Truth is they would have a hard time … The couldn't fight their way out of a paper bag at this point in time".

Rumsfield cautioned that, without significant improvement, he may have to restate his earlier statements, and go beyond 12-years in which U.S. Forces would continue to be in Iraq.

"We’ll know we've reached the tipping point when we have a generational war … When father and son serve in the same war".

In a related matter, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will make an unscheduled stop in Puerto Rico, upon her return from Sudan. Preparing for the possibility that Iraq will not become the 51st state, Rice is to gauge if Puerto Rico is still interested in the position. No talks have been schedule yet with Washington D.C.

Former Sports Arena Debuts As House of Worship

Video Screens and Cheerleaders Lift Services; Church Fighting CBA Ruling

Lakewood Church in Houston celebrated its' first service in its new church - America's largest - to a capacity crowd of over 16,000, including a Texas-sized welcome from Texas Governor Rick Perry last Saturday night.

Lakewood Church is the former Compaq Center, and former home to the NBA's Houston Rockets. It took more than 15 months and $75 million to complete the renovations, which included adding five stories.

The worshippers at the nondenominational Christian church did have to make a few adjustment to their service, which was also televised.

The service was broken down into four quarters, including a 20-minute halftime and a performance by the Lakewood Church Cheerleaders. Worshippers could watch giant video screens to follow along with the service, conducted by Pastor Joel Osteen and the words to the hymn.

In addition, rather than the traditional passing of the collection plate, the services are now ticketed (and available on Ticketron).

"We're hoping", stated Pastor Osteen, "that some other cities will yield old arenas that can be converted. We can start a league and begin competing against other congregations."

"We'll match our fire-and-brimstone against anybody" declared parishioner Mary Lou Smith

There is controversy brewing as Osteen and the church are fighting in court, a ruling that stipulates Lakewood must "respect and adhere to" the NBA's Collective Bargaining Agreement.

"Being a church, a house of worship, we should have an exemption for this" stated Osteen.

The ruling impacts Osteen and dictates a minimum salary for his other ministers. It also establishes free agency so that his ministers would have the right to move to another church, with Lakewood receiving no compensation.

The NBA contends that they have rights to the building, that were initially part of the agreement with the previous tenant, the Houston Rockets.

NBA Commissioner David Stern declined further comment.

Top Ten Cloves: How Hewlett Packard Told 14,500 They Were Being Laid Off

10. Candy Grams

9. CEO Mark Hurd told the 14,500 to wear pink on Tuesday for a special announcement

8. Code words buried in President Bush's primetime announcement

7. Recruitment letter from Microsoft, expressing thoughts on "your recent job loss"

6. Looked on new Google Maps and saw that their offices were gone

5. Op-Ed piece by Joe Wilson in the San Jose Mercury News

4. Had Sudan President Lt. Gen. Omar el-Bashir's staff do it, roughing up a few employees in the process

3. Karl Rove leaked it

2 2. Secret program hidden inside Grand Theft Auto videogame

1. Brought back Carly Fiorina for a day

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Thursday 21 July 2005

White House Stresses Roberts' Wife "Not A CIA Agent"

No Knowledge of WMD's; No Plans To Send Husband To Niger

In announcing John G. Roberts to be his nominee for the next Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, President Bush stressed to reporters that "Mrs. Jane Roberts is not a CIA operative"

The President went further, saying "there are no planned leaks on Roberts, or his wife" and even chided reporters that "see, we're being up front with you all".

To further demonstrate the point, Chief of Staff Andrew Card released a Press Kit on Mrs. Roberts to the media, which included a detailed interview with the new nominee's wife, and a layout of Google maps, with street and routes outlined to demonstrate that Mrs. Roberts hasn't even traveled close to the location of the CIA Headquarters.

Card did admit that Mrs. Roberts has been near and in the FBI Headquarters, taking a public tour when she was in college. However, Card also stressed that Mrs. Roberts was not employed at any time by the FBI.

"As best as we know, the only thing she knows about Weapons of Mass Destruction is what she has read in the newspapers or seen on television", said Card.

Card advised the media that this actually has been a policy of the White House "for some time" and he wanted to take the opportunity of the prime-time announcement to "refresh" the media on it.

A source close to the White House believes there will be "a flood" of these announcements.

"It's a new strategy to downplay the Rove scandal. Blur the lines … Say we've always down it".

Critics believe Mr. Bush pushed up his announcement for the Supreme Court vacancy in order to push Rove and the growing investigation into the background.

Scott McClellan, White House Press Secretary, said that he was "aware" that Mrs. Roberts was not a CIA operative.

'Yes, they did tell me about this one, in advance".

Card and McClellan were asked if there are any plans to have Mrs. Roberts become a CIA agent, and, if so, will she have the authority to send her husband on secret, fact-finding trips.

"I am not aware of any such plans", stated McClellan. "I don't believe the President has any such plans. He's never stated such plans".

Card indicated, that in the Mrs. Roberts Press Kit, the Google maps will demonstrate that "Mrs. Roberts has never traveled in or near Niger".

Top Ten Cloves: Why Bush Announced Roberts Nomination in Prime Time

10. Wanted to out Robert's wife on national television

9. Roberts bet his old law firm partners he could get the President to do it

8. First Lady was supposed to do a 5-minute stand-up act to warm up crowd but networks said material too racy

7. Knew Justice O'Connor was on West Coast, probably stuck in traffic and couldn't give him grief for not naming a woman

6. Was really a pilot for new reality show - Extreme Legacy Makeover

5. Had to get the Robert's out of their house so FBI could bug it

4. Part of the deal for the advice he gave Brother Jeb on how to rig the 2000 Florida vote and get around the courts

3. Thought, by keeping Rehnquist up late, he'd be so tired, he would want to retire

2. Was a trap, to see if Karl Rove would leak the information as to who the President was nominating

1. Doing it at night, indoors, pretty much guaranteed Roberts wouldn't wear Flip-Flops

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Wednesday 20 July 2005

Editor's Note

The Garlic will not be posted today due to … well … disappointment and re-evaluation

I was riding a pretty good high yesterday, head-up, confident stride and feeling a little smug. So sure was I that President Bush was going to choose myself to be the next Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.

It all was so completely under-the-radar.

Pundits were bashing about names like it was a warm-up at Wimbledon. Issues were thrown in the air like confetti. Speculation was endless, breathlessly hushed as we go to our next commercial break.

Boy, was Edith Clement and Mike Ludig in for a crash they never saw coming.

But then, at 7:22PM, the music stopped. The world was spinning, becoming foggy. That's when I saw the words.

"Don't give up your day job!"

An anonymous commenter posted to The Garlic those soul-changing words.

The clarity and profound vision of this hidden critic. Was a New York Times book reviewer surfing the net and happened upon The Garlic? Did a palm reader descry something in my fonts?

Oh my God! What if it was James Agee being channeled and, out of the billions and billions of postings on the World Wide Web, he tuned into The Garlic?

It was like having vertigo but while lying prone.

What have I done? The day job was long gone and it was too late to call to see if I could get it back

I could get similar work with another company but what if they didn't pay as well? Or offer benefits? And, what would I do if I had to relocate? I made a quick mental note of what cities I would live in and which one's I wouldn't.

Then it hit me, if I got a similar job back, what happens if the company I find myself working for gets sold? Or there's a mega-merger? Time to recalculate the mental note, and add China and India into the mix.

Did I still have a resume? Did I have to update it? Oh man, I'd rather get drilled by six dentists than to sit for hours and, painstakingly, update the resume.

Then, the other shoe dropped.

Breaking news, with such alacrity that my television was rumbling, came that John G. Roberts would be the President's choice to be nominated to the Supreme Court.

Oh well, I thought. Easy come, easy go. I was still under-the-radar and could hold out - there's the rampant speculation hovering over Chief Justice Rehnquist, after all.

To hell with the resume, I said. I didn't care where the comas and semi-colons went. Nor did it concern me if every "I" was dotted or every "T" was crossed. Day jobs, night jobs, full-time, part-time … Who cares!

Bigger and better fish were out there to fry.

And, all the better with a few cloves of The Garlic.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Tuesday 19 July 2005

Bush Cites Need For Proof, Video To Axe Staff

Says Position Hasn't Changed; Also Laments Not Making Goldberg List

President Bush, making remarks at a White House press conference, appearing with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India, says he now needs "irrefutable proof … videotape … getting caught red-handed" in order to fire anyone from his administration.

The President was addressing a question about his Chief Strategist Karl Rove, as mounting evidence points to Rove as being one of the leakers, exposing CIA Agent Valerie Plame as retribution for her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, writing a Op-Ed article at odds with the President contentions for going to war in Iraq.

President Bush defended his remarks, firmly stating that "they are not a shift, or anything different than I have said before".

Over the past months, Scott McClellan, White House Press Secretary, has indicated, and articulating he was speaking for the President, that the President " promises to fire anyone who played a role in the disclosure".

Recently, Mr. Bush's stayed with that statement, but adding that criminal conduct would have to be involved.

In 2003, soon after the identity of Ms. Plame was leaked, President Bush stated that anyone in his administration who had "violated law" would be dismissed

The latest shift in his policy came after consultations over the weekend, with his immediate staff and with Senate Leader, Bill Frist.

Sources close to the White House say the Senator Frist was adamant about demanding that videotape be a requirement. Frist advised the President of his countless examinations conducted by videotape, including his famous pronouncement on the state of health of the late Teri Schiavo, and the finality of proof that videotape offers.

"If this was happening down in Crawford", the President joked, "I'd set a few leg traps to catch the leaker. I'd like nothing better than to find out who in my staff is potential leaking information and even better, if I can catch them red-handed".

The President refused comment on Lewis Libby, Chief of Staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, who has surfaced with new evidence as the second source of the leak to Time Magazine reporter Matthew Cooper.

"I wouldn't want to be a lizard on the wall for that one" stated Mr. Bush. "Dick, on a good day, is pretty ornery".

The President was then asked if he has read the Bernard Goldberg book, '100 People Who Are Screwing Up America'.

"Geez … What's a guy got to do to get on that list? I think I have a pretty good resume to qualify for it, don't you think".

Rumsfield Said To Be Exploring Gitmo Options

Believes Love In Action Group Can Convert Enemy Combatants

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfield, after months of hearings and criticism over the detention and treatment of prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp, is said to be close to a controversial deal that will turn over a certain number of the detainees to the group Love In Action International, based in Memphis, Tennessee.

Love In Action has gained worldwide recognition as a leading authority on healing from sexual brokenness. Founded in 1973 by Frank Worthen, one of the groups' boasts is that "there is a way out of homosexuality!"

Love In Action runs a religion-based program, with the intention to change the sexual orientation of gay men and women. Known as reparative or conversion therapy, such programs took hold in fundamentalist Christian circles in the 1970's. The group is often used as a referral by ministries such as Focus on the Family and The 700 Club.

Rev. John J. Smid, the executive director of Love in Action, himself once gay but now renounces homosexual behavior, believes the principles of the various Love In Action programs would work "quite well" in converting enemy combatants and terrorists into "more civilized members of society".

"And, if they happen to be gay", stated Smid, "we can take care of that as well. Our experience in this field tells us many of these people are dealing with quite a few repression issues".

Rumsfield is optimistic that the Love In Action program will be effective.

"Goodness, it better be", smiled the Secretary. "I'm signing the contract today. I suppose it could all go wrong … Blow up on us and we get back some sort of Muslim version of the Village People.

Representative Duncan Hunter, a staunch supporter of Rumsfield and the current Gitmo policies, was holding back on his endorsement of the Love In Action deal, pending an on-site inspection of their cafeteria and food services.

"We have a standard to preserve. The lunches .. food at Gitmo is fantastic".

'If it does work", said Rumsfield, "I'm sure the President will be interested. It might be something for him to cure all those leakers with".

Top Ten Cloves: Other Pay and Revenue Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger Will Give Up

10. Nutrition Supplements will have to come off the menu at State House cafeteria

9. Subscription revenues from his special 'Conan The Barbarian' newsletter

8. Well, Ballco is just about out-of-business, so was going to lose that anyway

7. Winnings he gets off special tips at Bay Meadows

6. Can't get paid anymore for being bodyguard when wife is working on assignment

5. The $5 Friday Feel Up where anyone can come into the Governor's office and touch his muscles

4. Will have to take his used, smelly gym clothes off eBay

3. 15% Fee imposed for managing his children's allowance

2. Can't get out of automobile to scrounge for loose change dropped at the Golden Gate BridgeToll Booths anymore

1. No more charging tourists visiting Capital to hear him say "I'll Be Back"

Monday, July 18, 2005

Monday 18 July 2005

Goldberg Book Gets Heat From Govt, Conservatives

Publishers Considers Changes In Face of Pressure; Calls Come For New Slant To Push Abstinence

Harper-Collins, publisher's of the Bernard Goldberg book, '100 People Who Are Screwing Up America', is pulling the book out of stores and off of the internet, after increasing and mounting pressure from Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings and other conservative groups.

"We believe Mr. Goldberg has acted irresponsibly in promoting this level of sexual promiscuity", said Secretary Spellings. "This is far worse than anything Buster could do."

Spellings, of course, was referring to her letter and pressure from last January, to PBS CEO Pat Mitchell, expressing "strong and very serious concerns" about the "Postcards From Buster" episode. The episode in question, "Sugartime!", was when the 8-year-old animated Buster visited two families in Vermont who made maple syrup and cheese; one of the families was headed by gay parents.

Spellings sent a similar letter to both HarperCollins and Mr. Goldberg.

In a copy of the letter obtained by The Garlic, Spellings expressed "a concern for young school children seeing this book cover, and the explicit language and act inferred". Spellings included a computer print out, as a sample, of New York City, listing bookstores near schools.

Spellings also noted in her letter that the specific word, "screwing' and added "I thought we nipped this kind behavior following the Janet Jackson incident".

Spellings ended the correspondence with "I hope that Mr. Goldberg can imbue his work with some strong, Christian values, including the equal promotion of abstinence".

HarperCollins issued a statement that "we are re-evaluating our marketing and campaign for Bernard Goldberg's latest work".

Goldberg has also published 'Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How The Media Distort The News' and 'Arrogance: Rescuing America From the Media Elite' and also appears on HBO's Real Sports, as a reporter.

Goldberg, at a press conference, was livid.

Clutching the letter from Spellings, he angrily denounced the "implied censorship".

"She wants me to include abstinence? … Fine - We call the new book '100 People Who Give Blow Jobs To America'!"

Along with the Spellings letter, conservative Christian groups and organizations have also called for the book to be changed or edited.

"We really can't have a title like that", stated Tony Perkins, leader of the Family Research Council.

"If we have to, we'll call a massive 'Bernard Goldberg Sunday' and have ourselves a big bonfire".

Denny Pattyn, leader of the Silver Ring Thing, a group that hold events for young teenagers and gets the message of abstinence across through music, activities, and 'The 7 Stages of Silver Ring Thing', supports the call for the Goldberg book to be taken off the market.

'We can't be waving that in these teenagers' faces"

Pattyn set up The Silver Ring Thing to "attract the attention of the typical 21st century teenager and offer them protection from the destructive effects of America's sex obsessed culture". Teens in The Silver Ring Thing take a voluntary pledge to abstain from sex until marriage.

Pattyn is planning a new product to market - The Silver Bookmark - to the members of his group. The Silver Bookmark is to be used in classics and other books that don't focus or promote sexual activity.

"You won't find any of our teens with The Silver Bookmark in Bernard Goldberg's book".

The ACLU has gone to federal court against The Silver Ring Thing and Federal Government, in an attempt to strike down federal funding for an abstinence-based sex education program, calling it an unconstitutional endorsement of religion.

The Union of Concerned Scientists charges that the Bush Administration has ignored, and actually distorted scientific evidence regarding performance measures that test whether abstinence-only programs were proving effective. The UCS also says that the Bush Administration has suppressed other data that is at odds with their preferred policies.

Ironically, in ''100 People Who Are Screwing Up America', Goldberg takes a conservative position and 97% of the people listed are liberals.

And the reviews?

One Customer reviewer calls Goldberg a "balding 'Ann Coulter in a suit" Another writes that Goldberg "exposes his own flagrant bias by writing a nasty piece of work where he blames liberals for everything that is wrong with America".

Goldberg indicated that he did receive a letter of support from White House Chief Strategist, 'Karl Rove, who, himself, is also under fire.

Goldberg said that Rove told him to "hang in there" and also asked if Goldberg "knew that Joe Wilson's wife worked for the CIA".

Top Ten Cloves: Ways To Tell Your Next Door Neighbor May Be Involved In The CIA Leak Case

10. You find neighbor - and yourself - being quoted in Robert Novak's column

9. Scott McClellan has no trouble telling media you were involved

8. Bloggers are saying nasty things about you and have posted photos of your house

7. President Bush deems you haven't been loyal enough and gets you fired

6. Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald threatens you with jail if you don't give up your neighbor's sources

5. Reporters are badgering you for your wife's name

4. Karl Rove writes an Op-Ed piece, accusing you of helping your neighbor trying to sell yellow-cake uranium to Iraq

3. You get a note from Judith Miller, telling you not to worry, she won't give you up

2. Bernard Goldberg says he's going to list you in the squeal - 'Another 100 People Who Are Screwing America'

1. Neighbor comes over to borrow a cup of suger and stays an hour, smearing Joe Wilson