Friday, April 22, 2005

Friday 22 April 2005

Frist In Dispute Over Dem Bashing Telecast
Says Only Promised to "View Tape" for 'Justice Sunday'

Already facing one major battle in the Congress, over a threatened Democrat filibuster, Senate Leader Bill Frist is now drawing the anger of Tony Perkins and the Family Research Council over Perkins's planned 'Justice Sunday' telecast.

With a theme of "The Filibuster Against People of Faith", the program will be broadcast to churches and Christian radio and television networks. Perkins and other conservative religious leaders claim that the Democrats are blocking judicial nominees who oppose abortion rights on religious and moral grounds.

"Justice Sunday" will take place Sunday evening, at a Kentucky mega church. Posters for the event depict a young man holding a Bible in one hand and a gavel in the other. Though no names are mentioned on the poster, it does state "the filibuster against people of faith," and under that, copy reads: "The filibuster was once abused to protect racial bias, and it is now being used against people of faith."

Perkins also claims he had Frist's commitment to appear on the program.

A spokesperson for Frist stated the Senator was aware of the broadcast and never confirmed his participation at the event. Frist did however agree to view a videotape of the broadcast and/or a live broadcast. The spokesperson went on to say that viewing the videotape is where the Senator can be of most assistance.

Last month, Frist stunned the medical community, when he correctly diagnosed the late Teri Schiavo, from viewing 4-year-old videotape. Less then two-weeks following Schiavo, Frist correctly diagnosed the late Pope John Paul II, from watching tape, and live broadcasts of the Papal apartment (see The Garlic April 5th - Frist Concurs With Vatican Diagnosis)

Frist is drawing criticism from the National Council of Churches and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, who are planning to conduct a conference call with journalists today for his participation in the telecast. Democrats are calling his participation evidence of Republican extremism.

People for the American Way is buying advertisements and distributing church program inserts that attack Senator Frist for invoking religious faith in what it says is a partisan context. The National Council of Churches is asking members to organize news conferences denouncing Dr. Frist.

Other critics say that Frist's courting the religious right is merely to begin lining himself up for his speculated run for President in 2008. The evangelical Protestant groups and other religious traditionalists are the bedrock that formed President Bush's winning coalition. Frist, a member of the Presbyterian Church, which is considered religiously liberal, does not natural align the Bush's Conservative Christians.

Rev. Clifton Kirkpatrick, a top official of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A., plans on joining the protesters, believing that elected officials should not be bearing down weight for determining public policies on the bases of faith.

Perkins remains optimistic that he and his group can come to terms with Frist to have him appear on the 'Justice Sunday' broadcast.

"We understand that the Senator is a great doctor, and can do wonderful things with videotape. It would be a bigger inspiration if we can have him actually with us. We want the man that is going to stop the Democrats from discriminating against people with faith."

Surveys In: New Pope A Winner - And So Is Mortal Sin

Results from an MSNBC/Reuters polling show a surprising endorsement for the new Pope, Benedict XVI.

Over 10,000 Catholics and 10,000 Non-Catholics were surveyed and 68% of the Catholics believe Pope Benedict XVI is good for the church, while 61% on Non-Catholics believe the same.

A question asking if they were worried, being the new Pope was a Hitler Youth, that he is too much a hardliner, 58% of the Catholics answered 'No', while 78% of the Non-Catholics answered 'Yes'.

On the question of strictly enforcing the church's doctrine, being 'God's Rottweiler', 43% of Catholics thought he was more of a German Shepard and 63% of Non-Catholics saw him as a Doberman Pincer.

87%, from both groups believe that Cardinal Bernard Law is best depicted as a snake.

Both groups responded at 92% for 'Yes', when asked if they, like the television anchors, were fooled by the color of the Vatican smoke signal. 72% of Catholics felt it would be okay to use email to announce a new pope has been chosen, while 67% of Non-Catholics preferred faxes.

In a Catholics-Only question, 83% responded that they now only commit Mortal Sins and that Venial Sins were too "low-key" to be bothered with.

Top Ten Cloves: Things NBC Will Do To Lift The Sagging Today Show

10. Clean-up Gene Shalit - He scares people

9. Save some budget and lose the studio - Do the entire show outside on 49th Street

8. This year, have Matt Lauer grow his hair really long, like Johnny Damon

7. Bring back Tom Brokaw; Have him do daily critique of Brian Williams newscasts

6. Let Katie Couric do one of her signature hard-hitting series and accompany O.J. Simpson in his search for the killers

5. Allow Willard Scott to cheat - Anyone 95-99-years-old gets a Smuckers 100th Birthday Greeting

4. Run a Texas Hold'em series between financial advisors Jean Chatzky and Suze Orman

3. On his next “Where in the World is Matt Lauer” annual trip, make him dress like Carmen Sandiego

2. Hire only attractive super models to gawk in the windows during the broadcast

1. Bring back Dave Garroway's Chimp and let him run the show

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Thursday 21 April 2005

Bush Weighs Move To Texas for Sadam Trial
Backs Iraqi Calls For Execution; Swift Delivery of Death Sentence If Guilty Guaranteed

President Bush is considering a change of venue for the trial of Sadam Hussein, and moving it to Texas. The news backs calls in Iraqi for the execution of Hussein, if found guilty of war crimes.

Since 1976, Texas leads the nation in executions.

Ali Dabagh, a spokesman for the largest bloc of the new Iraqi government, the clergy-led United Iraqi Alliance, which holds 140 seats in Iraq's 275-member National Assembly, is calling for Hussein to be executed if found guilty.

'We feel he is a criminal. He is the number one criminal in the world. He is a murderer."

Dabagh also called for new Iraqi President Jalal Talabani to resign if he objects. The Iraqi leader opposes capital punishment.

White House Spokesman Scott McClellan said the President is "very open" to moving the Hussein trial to Texas and is "confident" the former Iraqi dictator will get a "fair trial".

Inside sources say that Bush is worried over the delays in establishing a government in Iraqi and that the trial of Hussein will further inflame the insurgency. Hussein and his top lieutenants were to be put in trial before a Special Tribunal that was put in place in late 2003.

Court TV has applied to the White House to televise the trial of Hussein. The BBC, Al-Jazeera and E! also have applications in.

"Moving it to Texas would be great", said Fred Graham, Court TV's anchor and managing editor. "We might be able to get it on primetime".

Since the Supreme Court lifted the ban on capital punishment in 1976, over 957 executions have been carried out. Texas leads the nation in executions, performing over 340. Bush was Governor of Texas when over half the executions took place and it was a issue in Bush's presidential campaign.

This week, Texas was scheduled to carry out a rare double execution. Last night, two men convicted of separate murders were to receive lethal injections. Douglas Roberts, 42 was executed however Milton Mathis, 26, got a reprieve when the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals said his case should be reviewed because of claims he may be mentally retarded

"The President is confident", McClellan offered, "that if found guilty of his crimes, Hussein would receive swift execution of his sentence - whatever that may be - in Texas".

McClellan said the President understood that Iraqi's may object, and will want the trial to take place in Baghdad

McClellan went on to say that should Iraqi become a state (The Garlic April 12 - Bush Moves On Making Iraq 51st State), it would be that much easier to move the Hussein trial to Texas.

Egypt Protests New U.S. Use of Pyramids
Says Mocking Historic Culture and Islam; Call for American Food Boycott

Egypt is expected today to formally protest to the Bush Administration its MyPyramid, the new food guidance system released on Tuesday by Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns.

Nabil Fahmy, the ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt to the United States said in a press conference yesterday that the MyPyramid "mocks the historic culture" of Egypt, who has pyramids going back to 4,600-years.

"President Mubarak is very distressed over this", offered Fahmy. "He is worried, as is many Egyptians, that fat Americans will only know of this food pyramid, and not the rich history Egypt's pyramids."

Johanns, in a lively press conference on Tuesday, complete with colorful charts and video, said the new MyPyramid program, which replaces original Food Guide Pyramid introduced in 1992, is tailored to age and daily physical activity, and emphasizes the need for a more individualized approach to improving diet and lifestyle.

"MyPyramid was developed to carry the messages of the dietary guidelines and to make Americans aware of the vital health benefits of simple and modest improvements in nutrition, physical activity and lifestyle behavior".

Johanns was joined in the announcement by fitness guru Denise Austin, a member of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, to help unveil the new guide.

Fahmy indicated that Egypt is considering a boycott on American foods.

"I don't think Americans would be pleased to see Egypt take a United States cultural or religious artifact and make mockery of it".

A spokesperson from the Agricultural Department indicated that Secretary Johanns was unaware of any Egyptian protest and that many ideas and symbols were considered in developing a new food guidance system, including using the Eiffel Tower, The Great Wall of China and Sistine Chapel

Top Ten Cloves: New Pope's Pet Peeves

10. Needs funds for padded seats in the Sistine … His ass is still sore, and it was only four-ballots

9. Always thought you couldn't wear white after Labor Day

8. The way they got me locked up here, I gotta figure out how I can get my World Cup bet placed next year

7. I'm not going to have the time to keep up with my blog

6. Keep the trips to Poland down to one-dayers … I mean, the guy was in here forever and I can't take another pierogi

5. Disappointed the Papal apartment doesn't have cable

4. You think they could'a put a decent coffee place in St. Peter's Square, instead of having to walk six-blocks

3. Man, wish I had my BMW … They're gonna make me ride that lemon, the Pope Mobile …

2. Make note; Get that smart-ass cardinal from Philadelphia to stop calling me Pope Benny

1. Have to look into changing the rules, so that the newly-elected Pope can get a hit off the spliff that gives the white smoke

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Wednesday 20 April 2005

Brady To Retire From Patriots
SNL Offers Long-Term Contract; "Only Downhill" As QB Left

In a stunning press conference yesterday, Tom Brady, star quarterback for the Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots, announced his retirement from football, to move onto a new career as a cast member of 'Saturday Night Live'.

Brady was a guest host on the program last Saturday

"I'm just a humble football player on the Lord's gridiron", beamed Brady, flashing his famous smile.

Brady cited, among other factors, that SNL producer Lorne Michaels offered a long-term contract, something the New England Patriots have yet to do. Brady, as it stood, was due to become a free agent following the 2006 season.

"Things have happened kind of fast for me … Winning three Super Bowls so early in my career … It's probably all downhill from here and Lorne is giving me something the Patriots haven't put on the table … "

Brady's announcement, stunned the Patriot's brass. Coach Bill Belichek and owner Bob Kraft both refused comment and a PR staffer testily stated that there would be a press conference tomorrow.

Citing the long-term contract appears to be biting back at the Patriots. Under the leadership of Kraft and Belichek, the Patriots have employed a strategy - successful so far - of not paying large contracts, trading or cutting key players.

Following winning their third Super Bowl in four-years, popular veteran wide receiver Troy Brown was let go. Two years ago the Patriots cut veteran safety, and perhaps one of the league's best, Lawyer Malloy. Numerous other players have either been let go, or, through free agency, have gone to other teams, and larger contracts.

"The Patriot's", said one sources close to the team, "have a certain dollar figure tied to each position. You want to go over that figure, you're going to do it on another team … They just won't pay it".

As to SNL, producer Lorne Michaels stated that "Brady showed us something …"

"He has a lot of potential and he really fit in with the other cast members. That's not something that happens every week. He worked hard and we feel comfortable bringing him into our family".

Brady, whose fiancé, is actress Bridget Moynahan, will see spot roles for the reminder of the current SNL season, while taking some acting and voice lessons. He will become a full cast member next October and his contract runs through the 2009 season.

Brady indicated he'll miss "some of the action" and the rolling rallies, but otherwise is comfortable with his decision.

"Hey, maybe I can win three Oscars, or Emmy's or whatever they give out … Wouldn't that be a kick …"

Justice Dept. Moving on Red Sox Incident
Considers Terrorist Charges, Special Rendition For Interfering Fans

The incident of fan interference during last Thursday's game between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox is heating up. Having been investigated by the Red Sox, Major League Baseball and the Boston Police, the Justice Department announced yesterday that they may take over, implying that it may be part of a larger plot.

A spokesperson for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales confirmed that the Justice Department was "very interested" in the matter and is in the process of taking over the investigation on the grounds of national security.

During the game, a ball hit by Jason Varitek of the Red Sox into deep rightfield, where fans are close to the field, was fielded by Yankee Gary Sheffield. As various fans leaned over the short wall in an attempt to scoop the baseball, one fan, later identified as Christopher B. House allegedly struck Sheffield in the face, while another unidentified fan threw a cup of beer at Sheffield.

The Yankee outfielder initially pushed back at House, but restrained himself as Red Sox security and Boston Police moved into the area. While the game was delayed a matter of minutes, no further incident developed.

After investigating, the Red Sox revoked the season tickets of House. The Boston Police are currently seeking a criminal complaint against House, and the unidentified beer thrower.

The Justice Department spokesperson that the Attorney General himself is taking interest in this case.

"We seen a certain amount of "chatter" and we have concerns", he confirmed.

He also confirmed that a team of investigators - some who have been working on another case involving the New York Yankees (see The Garlic, Monday 18 April - Steinbrenner Calls In FBI To Hunt For 'Real' Yankee's) - has been in Boston, conducting interviews and building a background for the Justice Department to take over the case.

Asked if this was involving terrorism, the spokesperson stated that nothing has been ruled out.

Potentially, House and the unidentified fan could be placed under Special Rendition, the secret government program of kidnapping suspected terrorist and flying them to foreign countries for interrogation.

"We don't know what we are looking at but we will err on the side of protecting the United States. Attorney General Gonzales has authorized the full implement of tools to solve this matter"

Top Ten Cloves: What ABC Will Replace Monday Night Football With

10. Extreme PrimeTime Makeover

9. ESPN's All-Time Bloopers

8. Those Darn Emails! … Wink Martindale-hosted new series where emails of ABC stars are read on-air

7. The Divorced Bachelor

6. According To Martha!

5. Vatican's Funniest Home Videos

4. Where Are They Now? … A look back at the Enron Executives

3. The Tom DeLay Religion Hour

2. Desperate Television Executives Who Lost Monday Night Football

1. New Game Show - The Last Pope Standing

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Tuesday 19 April 2005

Washington Bombshell!
Gingrich To Bump Delay, Retake Top House Role
Loophole in warranty of his Contract for America Gives Edge; Never Cancelled

In a strong rebuke to the embattled Tom DeLay, Newt Gingrich announced yesterday that he will resume his role in Congress as House Majority Leader.

Gingrich, Time Magazine's 1995 "Man of the Year", charged that DeLay is "dragging down the Republican party" and that someone "needs to step forward and put an end to it"

Gingrich says he is invoking a clause, buried on the back pages of his Contract with America, that gives him the power to take such action. The clause was an Evergreen clause, needing one or two parties to cancel it within 30-days, in writing. Gingrich's Contract with America was never, officially, cancelled.

Capital Hill scrambled yesterday as the news reached Senators and Congressmen.

Voting in the House was suspended, as Speaker of the House Dennis Hasbert hastily called all committee chairs into an emergency session.

Senate Majority Leader, Bill Frist gave tepid and cautious statements. Insiders believe that Gingrich could be lining up against Frist for the 2008 Presidential race.

Gingrich rose to power in 1994, leading the Republican Party to recapture the majority in the House. His Contract with America, introduced in the weeks prior to the 1994 Congressional elections was a national conservative revolution, recommending specific actions to be taken, and was overwhelming endorsed by Republicans.

Within the first 100 days of the new Republican majority, 9 of the 10 points published in this contract were passed by the House. Many of the sections of the Contract failed to pass in the Senate, or to overcome President Clinton's veto however, Gingrich claimed victory as to delivering on the promise of introducing bills as outlined by the Contract.

Gingrich was a vocal advocate for the impeachment of President Clinton so his current move to retake his House Majority position has a certain amount of irony - Gingrich himself was chased out of office in 1998, by ethics charges, including having a extra-martial affair.

Tom DeLay is said to be stunned and livid at the Gingrich move. A House staffer said the DeLay was meeting with Republican leaders, including RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman and said DeLay expects the House Republicans to stand behind him and block the Gingrich move.

White House Spokesman Scott McClellan indicated the White House was monitoring the situation and had no comment.

Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the Democratic leader said that she was confident that the country could not take "both Gingrich and DeLay", adding that she doubts "there's enough soft money out there to keep them both happy"

McDonalds Celebrates 50th Birthday
Introducing New Finger Food Menu

The fast food giant McDonald's celebrated its' 50th birthday last week by announcing a new Finger Food menu to mark the occasion.

McDonald’s was founded by Ray Kroc on April 15, 1955 in the Chicago suburb of Des Plaines and has grown into an international
force, with 30,000 local restaurants serving nearly 50 million people in more than 119 countries each day.

Famed for its' golden arches, McDonald's has been the leader and trendsetter for the fast food industry.

To celebrate its' 50th birthday, Mike Roberts, President and Chief Operating Officer, McDonald's Corporation announced a new, diet-conscious menu of Finger Foods. All of McDonald's favorites, from Big Mac's to Chicken Nuggets and apple pie will be available in this new menu.

Industry analysts say the move to Finger Foods is a bold step by McDonald's, coming in the midst of the Wendy's controversy.

Last month, a woman in California charged that she discovered a partial human finger in her Wendy's food. As the investigation moved forward, evidence surfaced dismissing the credibility of the woman, suggesting she placed the finger herself. Wendy's recently increased its' reward for information about the finger to $100,000.

Said one analyst;

"They'll either hit a homerun and serve another 10-billion people, or it will be a bust"

Top Ten Cloves: If Detroit Free Press Had Mitch Albom Cover The Boston Marathon

10. It was most unusual, a rare April snowstorm that the runners had to deal with

9. Officials at the Boston Athletic Organization …

8. Tradition has the race passing by Fenway Park, where the Red Sox play an 12Noon game each Marathon Day

7. The race was started by the legendary Johnny Kelly

6. I had a good spot, at the finish line, right in front of the Prudential Building

5. And the pain for the runners increases, close to the end, as the they trudge up Heart Attack Hill

4. From near the starting line in Holliston …

3. While thousands jam the course, the rest of Boston is celebrating Paul Revere Day

2. Of course, back in 1980, there was the famous imposter, Rachel Roses ...

1. Running for the first time were two former stars for Michigan State, Mateen Cleaves and Jason Richardson

Monday, April 18, 2005

Monday 18 April 2005

Steinbrenner Calls In FBI To Hunt For 'Real' Yankee's'
Homeland Security Looks At Possible Terrorist Plot; MLB Considers Shutdown

Agents and investigators of both the FBI and Homeland Security descended on Yankee Stadium early last evening to begin one of the largest manhunts in U.S. history. Their target may be the baseball team, the New York Yankees

As his team flopped into losing their eighth game out of the last ten, owner George Steinbrenner became very concerned that his team was not the 'true Yankees' and, after contacting General Manager Brian Cashman, Steinbrenner called into the FBI to seek their assistance.

A command post has been set-up at Yankee Stadium and agents have been dispatched to Tampa Bay, Florida, where the Yankees are scheduled tonight to compete against the Tampa Bay Devilrays. Additional agents have been sent to all 30 teams of Major Baseball to begin investigating and collecting witness statements.

The Yankees and Devilrays are currently tied for last place in the American League Eastern Division.

Steinbrenner stated he felt something was amiss, as the team started the season very 'sluggishly".

"I am bitterly disappointed, as I am sure all Yankee fans are, by the lack of performance by our team. It is unbelievable to me that the highest-paid team in baseball would start the season in such a deep funk".

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales did confirm that the Justice Department has been contacted and it was Gonzales who, in addition to the FBI investigating, called in Homeland Security officials. Gonzales indicated that recent terrorist chatter has been "high" and there are concerns that there could be some level of terrorist involvement.

In Tampa Bay, FBI agents are collecting and examining fingerprints and DNA samples for those that say they are New York Yankees. Results of those tests may take days, even weeks to complete.

Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig released a statement that Major League Baseball is offering "full cooperation" to the investigation and his office is monitoring the situation "by the hour". There is speculation that, if the case isn't solved in the next 24-hours, Selig may shutdown baseball, as a precaution for any other teams being taken over or damaged in this plot.

The FBI, in a brief statement, stated that no subjects are being ruled out as possible suspects. Washington insiders say the FBI is tracking down a rumor that drug lords and pharmaceutical companies may be involved, as retribution for the steroid hearings and possible ban of steroids in baseball.

Sideways Team Uncorks Again
Begin Shoot on Sequel, Rightside-Up

Who knew the runaway 2004 smash hit film, 'Sideways', was only the first installment of a trilogy?

'Sideways' was the sleeper hit of 2004, winning an Academy and Writer's Guild Awards for Best Adapted Screenplay, as well as two Golden Globe Awards for Best Picture and Best Screenplay. Thomas Haden Church was also nominated in the Academy's Best Supporting Actor category and 'Sideways' was the top selections of both the New York and Toronto Film Festivals.

Producers Michael London and George Parra have cast and crew together again for the second chapter, 'Rightside-Up', which begins principal shooting in Madison, Wisconsin this week.

Where 'Sideways' had Miles Raymond, played by Paul Giamatti and Jack, by Haden Church, touring through California's wine country, 'Rightside-Up' will have the introspective pair visiting the cheese capital of Wisconsin. Carrying over their oenophile skills, Jack and Miles seek out the perfect cheese to accompany a fine Merlot.

"That's kind of a running joke", offered London. "Where we, somewhat dissed merlot in the first film, we thought we'd make it up to it in this film".

In 'Sideways', Miles declares, in a rather disparaging manner, his dislike for merlot

Wine industry analysts stated that, while merlot did take a bit of a dip in sales, 'Sideways', overall, boosted the wine sales, perhaps as high as 15%.

London was tight-lipped as to the storyline for 'Rightside-Up'. He indicated that Maya and Stephanie, played by Sandra Oh and Virginia Madsen, will have roles in the story but declined to state how large a presences they will have, even hinting that Miles and Jack may meet with some 'cheese girls'.

London offered that during the shooting of 'Rightside-Up', some scenes for the third and final installment, 'Upside Down', will be shot. London refused to discuss the storyline or characters for 'Upside Down'.

Top Ten Cloves: Reason People Filed Their Taxes Late

10. Couldn't go to Post Office; Have fear of mad, gun-toting postal workers

9. Busy having fight with Gary Sheffield in rightfield at Fenway Park

8. Use the Chinese calendar - Have three more months before having to file

7. Feels the EZ Form is so easy, IRS should know what my return will say

6. Accidentally threw return in Boston Harbor, during Boston Tea Party Reenactment

5. Had identity stolen; Thought the thief was the one who has to file

4. Already sent it - Mitch Albom says so in his column

3. Believes IRS is "against people of faith" and refuse to send return so government can pay activist judges

2. Busy hunting stray cats in Wisconsin

1. Waiting for call to see if they elected to be new Pope