SEP 2001


PATIENTSí BILL OF RIGHTS... Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) have fought any passage by Congress of a Patientsí Bill of Rights, but they have been willing to compromise - so far at least guaranteeing to recognize a Patientsí Bill.


OLYMPIC DISPIRIT...The International Olympic Committee has selected China as the host country for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games. Which will be very convenient for the worldís athletes - theyíll be able to visit all the prison factories that make their shoes....To celebrate the declaration, all prison laborers will receive one of the Olympic logo-merchandised memorabilia that they manufacture, to keep for their very own. Beer-hat or inflatable seat cushion? You decide!....Perhaps the official logo of five interlocking rings can be reworked to represent leg-irons? Then we can rename the whole thing, "The Falun Gong Show."


HOW MANY RIVERS MUST WE CROSS?...Part of the city of Detroitís tricentennial celebration included a re-enactment of the river landing by founder/explorer Antoine Laumet de la Mothe Cadillac - along with an explanation of "tricentennial." (In an effort to reach out to detached youth, this time Cadillacís canoe displayed a hood ornament, subwoofer and toxic chemical detector.) And in proud tradition, crowds cheered as "A.C." declared his intention to rape the region for all its furry booty.


STEM CELL SOFT-SELL/THE LINE JUDGE SPEAKS...The philosophical/ethical parsing on the subject of limiting federal funding for in vitro embryonic stem cell research would make anyoneís brain stem hurt. President Bush took a firm stand, deciding federal funds would only be used for research on the existing 60 embryo stem cell lines. (Since theyíre already dead, apparently thatís ok. But as far as creating more embryos for the same purpose, well, that would be wrong!???)...Dan Rather, commenting on the presidentís announcement, had this to say: Viewers may want to pick up a newspaper tomorrow morning because television has limitations in dealing with extremely complex issues....Although his admission was a surprisingly refreshing one, donít be surprised if thereís suddenly a new anchor for The CBS Evening News. I mean really, encouraging people to read instead of watch television!?!....Bush tortured the nation by running them through the same morality vs. science gauntlet he endured to reach his decision. In no time it became as painful for us to listen and watch as it was for him to avoid alienating either side - meaning in the end he made nobody happy. And forget about that little get together with the Pope - rest assured America that this was not a political decision. Itís not like Bush is catering to Hispanic voters with some special attachment to the pontiff....And who better to decide this issue than GW? After all, he knows more about lines than a Broadway understudy on crystal meth.

VACATING: THE PREMISE IS...President Bush has come under heavy criticism for taking the entire month of August off from what is rumored to be sort of an important job. At first GW wanted to take the whole summer off, but was quickly reminded his wife was the teacher, not him. (Yet you wouldnít know that if you listened to his speech on stem cells.) Plus he did take a break to work on a house for the Habitat for Humanity (so thatís why Jimmy Carter backed off on his Bush bashing) in of all places, Waco. No doubt a place that could use a new building or two - although this time letís just hope they used non-flammable materials only....If GW hadnít announced it, nobodyíd even know he was on vacation until sometime after Labor Day....The concept of Bush on vacation is very Zen-like: How can one vacate an empty chair?...According to The Washington Post, GW has spent 42% of his time as president either at or en route to vacation spots. I thought he wanted to run the government like a corporation. Do the math, have you heard of many executives who only show up for work twice a week? So how soon before we hand him a golden parachute and ask him to leave Air Force One? Hey, Republicans should understand more than anyone how sometimes youíve just got to cut your losses....But before anyone goes overboard in bashing Bush on this, remember, heís an alcoholic; he never claimed to be a workaholic.

DONE; JESSEíS DONE...After years of opposing the United Nations, Affirmative Action and Gay Rights, Jesse Helms, the most conservative US Senator from North Carolina, has finally announced that he will not run for re-election. Denying rumors of declining faculties, Senator Helms said he proudly looks forward to his new role as Director of the National Endowment for the Arts.

WHODUNNIT? INTERNALIZED...Gary Condidit, I mean Gary Condit should resign from Congress - not for having an affair, but for selfishly impeding a missing person investigation. Yet failing that, he should at least resign from the House Intelligence Committee. Based on his behavior in the Chandra Levy case, heís clearly no longer qualified....And the Bush twins send their love for getting them out of the headlines. (Your check is in the mail. "We cashed in our empties!")

LETíS MAKE A BOOK DEAL...Bill Clinton has signed a $10+ million deal with Knopf for publishing his memoirs, which surpasses both his wife and Pope John Paul II (who coincidentally get about the same amount of action). It will be the highest price ever paid for a non-fiction book, as long as Clinton can prove itís really non-fiction....But Bill is smart, heís saving that "kiss and tell" for a screenplay. (Of course that depends on what your definition of "kiss" is.)...Besides, America needs this book by Bill Clinton. After years of overkill media scrutiny and millions of dollars spent on the Starr Report, there are still so many unanswered questions about his sex life. Also, he has given at least 40 speeches for a minimum domestic price of $125,000 each ($250,000 overseas - shipping something that size is bound to cost you, and good luck getting it through Customs).


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