Bush Asks Congress For $30 Billion To Help Fight War On Criticism

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Vol 39 Issue 25

Security Guard Makes Passing Women Feel Unsafe

DALLAS—The presence of security guard Frank Basso, 45, at the Lane Bryant store in Dallas' Valley View Mall makes female shoppers feel significantly less safe, sources reported Monday. "He just stands there by the door, staring at you while you shop," said customer Tracy Farr, 23. "Then he'll decide to wander around the store a bit, but he'll always wind up hovering somewhere around the lingerie section." Farr said Basso also has a creepy habit of tapping his club whenever an attractive woman passes by.

Soldier Hoping We Invade Someplace Tropical Next

BAGHDAD, IRAQ—Sgt. Daniel Marshall, a member of the Army National Guard's 501st Infantry, is hoping that the next place he is ordered to invade has a tropical climate. "I'm proud to have served my country here in the Iraqi desert, but it sure would be nice if we got into a conflict with someplace nice," Marshall said Tuesday. "With any luck, President Bush is thinking about shocking-and-awing Cuba next—a little deep-sea fishing would really boost the morale of my men." Marshall said he is "so jealous" of his uncle Stephen, who got to invade Grenada in 1983.

Man Who Hasn't Moved In Six Hours Repeatedly Welcomed Back By TV

PADUCAH, KY—Despite not moving from his couch for more than six hours, Randy Kresge, 26, was repeatedly welcomed back by his television Monday. "Welcome back to Blind Date," said show host Roger Lodge, one of 12 different TV personalities to herald the return of the inert Kresge. "So glad you could join us." Kresge's obvious intention to remain seated did not keep the television from repeatedly urging him to "stick around."

Newsweek Editors Argue Over What To Make Readers Fear Next

NEW YORK—Having devoted cover stories to the threats of Hepatitis C, identity theft, and airport security, the editors of Newsweek spent Monday arguing over what they should stoke fears of next. "We could do the dangers of caffeine—that'd get people pretty worked up," managing editor Jon Meacham said. "Or how about daycare workers? There must be some alarming new study revealing just how few of them undergo background checks." Among the other ideas the editors proposed: the possible link between laptop computers and stomach cancer, the potential threat of water-supply poisoning by terrorists, and stunning new Biblical evidence pointing to April 4, 2004, as the date of the apocalypse.

Pottermania Yet Again

With first-day sales of five million, Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix is a publishing phenomenon. Why are people buying it?

Minister Constantly Mentioning Teenage Son's Virginity

PENSACOLA, FL—Much to his son Paul's chagrin, minister Donald Genzler takes every possible opportunity to proudly inform members of Faith United Presbyterian Church that the 16-year-old is still a virgin, "unspoiled by sins of the flesh," sources reported Tuesday.

It's Not Nice To Be Smarter Than Other People

I can't think of anything ruder than people who have to be all brainy and intelligent. As my mother used to say, if you can't say anything mundane, don't say anything at all. She was right: It's not nice to be smarter than other people.
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Bush Asks Congress For $30 Billion To Help Fight War On Criticism

WASHINGTON, DC—Citing the need to safeguard "America's most vital institutions and politicians" against potentially devastating attacks, President Bush asked Congress to sign off Monday on a $30 billion funding package to help fight the ongoing War On Criticism.

Bush unveils his sweeping new anti-criticism initiative.

"Sadly, the threat of criticism is still with us," Bush told members of Congress during a 2 p.m. televised address. "We thought we had defeated criticism with our successes in Afghanistan and Iraq. We thought we had struck at its very heart with the broad discretionary powers of the USA Patriot Act. And we thought that the ratings victory of Fox News, America's News Channel, might signal the beginning of a lasting peace with the media. Yet, despite all this, criticism abounds."

Critical activities, Bush noted, have not returned to pre-Sept. 11 levels, when well-organized, coordinated attacks on his administration were carried out on a near-daily basis. But in spite of the National Criticism Alert Level holding steady at yellow (elevated), administration officials warn of severe impending attacks.

"We've become too complacent," Attorney General John Ashcroft said. "We've grown accustomed to thinking of criticism as something that only happens to people in other political parties. But this administration needs this funding to counter a very real threat to its reputation."

Ashcroft said the Justice Department, working closely with the CIA and FBI, has identified more than 300 potential targets, ranging from the Bush Administration's inability to produce the weapons of mass destruction used to justify the war with Iraq to its deficit-ballooning fiscal policies.

"I doubt I could protect my ongoing Halliburton cronyism from critical strikes with just a few million dollars—especially if it was not accompanied by powerful preemptive legislation," Vice-President Dick Cheney said. "We need to build stronger anti-criticism defense shields in this country. And the time to act is now, before the media say something negative about us."

If the funding is approved, the Bush Administration will act swiftly to shore up numerous areas of vulnerability. Among the actions: ensuring that the White House is defended against verbal snipers, safeguarding the president's past illicit actions from biographical weapons, and sealing off the largest sources of domestic criticism by securing and patrolling the nation's newsrooms.

Congressional leaders are already pledging their support for the plan.

"As government officials, we have an absolute obligation to protect the leader of this country from future acts of criticism," U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) said. "And it will not be cheap, easy, or quick."

"We're all in this together," Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert said. "You attack one American politician, you attack us all."

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