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Iraq, You Report

It's almost time for General Petraeus to present his report on Iraq's progress to Congress.

And a lot of folks are giving the Administration grief over the fact that, while General Petraeus will present the report, the President will prepare the report.

The criticism is unfair, I think.

Look at it from the President's point of view. This is a situation where the President is really just helping out a friend with a tough assignment. I'm sure when the President was in school and he had to present a report, he had someone else write it up for him.

He's just paying it forward.

You Don’t Have to be a Miner to be a Mine Hero

I was sure that the Liberal, Jewish, Gay, Vegan media would spend Labor Day podcasting renditions of the Internationale and running old footage of the Crandall Canyon accident in their ongoing attack on American and corporate values. I was wrong on both counts, the holiday passing with little media attention to workers and their “grievances” old and new. This leaves us free to celebrate true heroes, not your union-made Joe Hills and Mother Joneses, but unsung modern heroes of the mines, who eschew martyrdom yet sacrifice so much. I speak of Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, and MSHA president Richard Stickler, and, of course, CEO Robert Murray. To them I present the Awards for Non-Miner Mine Heroes. Because you don’t have to be a miner to be a mine hero.

I announce these awards just hours before the Senate holds what it calls an "investigatory hearing" -- and what I call a witch hunt-- on "The Utah Mine Disaster and Preventing Future Tragedies." Ironically, and undoubtedly, the heroes praised on these pages will be the scapegoats slandered on the hill.

Bronze Non-Miner Mine Hero Award goes to Elaine Chao. Hers is the typical American story of reward for hard work. The daughter of a shipping magnate, Chao left China for the United States in 1961 . She has labored as a banker, sweated as Bank of America vice-president, and worked herself to the bone at the conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation. She toiled tirelessly to raise $100,000 for George Bush, which earned her the honor of being a “Bush Pioneer.” Chao generously shared the keys to the kingdom of job security in an interview this summer: “American employees must be punctual, dress appropriately and have good personal hygiene…. They need anger-management and conflict-resolution skills, and they have to be able to accept direction.” Chao has already moved to organize an “independent” probe into the mine collapse, which, the indefatigable Chao will personally oversee, even if it cuts into time with her husband, Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell, who received $100,000 in campaign contributions from CEO Murray. Like so many great non-miner mine heroes, Chao is now being persecuted by OCD senators like Ted Kennedy, who is demanding that Chao hand over a ridiculous number of documents related to the Crandall Canyon accident.

Silver Non-Miner Mine Hero Award goes to Richard Stickler. The head of the Mine Safety and Health Administration isn’t named Stickler for nothing. Stickler has dedicated many years to the mines as a high-level executive, and it is this, no doubt, that allows him to creatively interpret the MINER safety act passed after the Sago mine tragedy. For instance, Stickler allows mine operators to meet deadlines by ordering safety equipment (like additional breathing devices), and not having it be on hand. Stickler’s qualifications outweigh the fact that a mine under his supervision had injury rates three times the national average and racked up 3,000 safety violations. Stickler is so bipartisanly respected in Washington that Bush appointed him during a recess after congress had twice rejected Stickler’s nomination. In true stickler character, Stickler is aggressively investigating the collapse: “We want to see if we can get an inkling if there may have been an indication there was a problem before this event.” I’m sure the Stickler means a sign that is more substantial than the cave-in that occurred in Crandall Canyon in March, which he knew about, but did not report, violating federal law. It’s no surprise that Stickler is being slandered by bleeding heart liberals like Arlen Spector, who say Stickler is not “the right man for the job” and cry baby Ted Kennedy, who is

particularly troubled by reports that roof failures, similar in kind to the August 6 collapse, previously occurred in sections of the mine where retreat mining was being conducted, and that this roof failure may not have been reported to MSHA regulators as required by law.

Of course, rather than being allowed to continue his already scrupulous investigation, Stickler will be dragged off to today's hearing and bombarded with endless rounds of questions.

Gold Non-Miner Mine Hero Award goes, of course, to Robert Murray. Like so many activists before him, Murray has many enemies, including several senators who, I'm sure, will attempt to crucify the CEO during today's hearings. Having gulped the liberal media’s poisonous Kool-Aid, Robert’s own workers have turned against him and “Lil Bob” piñatas are selling like hotcakes in both the U.S. and Mexico. An understandably outraged Murray responded to the Utah Republican Governor, who had called his behavior “unconscionable” and demanded inspections of all of Murray’s mines, by sending the Governor a “personal and confidential” letter threatening to cut Utah mine jobs if the governor continued to treat him like his “whipping boy.” And sure enough, four days later, Murray laid off 270 workers from his other Utah mine, explaining to the workers that the noisy governor, the “unfair” Salt Lake Tribune, and the vicious Ted Kennedy were responsible for the Tower Mine closing.

Murray insists the collapse was “totally unforeseen by anyone” and brought on by an earthquake and not retreat mining.

Yet there is evidence to the contrary: A similar incident in March caused a delay in mining – which was never reported to the MSHA, though required by federal law. Murray Co. repeatedly (and successfully) petitioned the MSHA for permission to do retreat mining in areas the previous company had left alone because it deemed that mining in the area would be too dangerous for “personnel and the environment.”

Before making the awards decision, I had to reconcile the words of this compassionate CEO with the facts that have surfaced. Liberal conspiracy theorists claim Robert Murray is a liar who puts profits over people, whose greed, unchecked by a complicit Bush administration, has resulted in the death of hard-working miners. And yet the truth, as always, is far more complicated and nuanced. Far from killing and injuring his workers through his ruthless avarice, Robert Murray is, himself, an injured worker, the victim of an occupational hazard, an on the job injury: early onset dementia. It is because Murray so identifies with his workers that, while his body is healthy, his soul is with his six missing employees suffocated and crushed in the depths of the Crandall Canyon mine. Murray is not lying about the retreat mining and the change in mining plans. He forgot about them. He did not invent an earthquake. He experienced it in his demented state.

Of course, my heart goes out to the six missing miners and the three miners who died while trying to rescue them. But these miners are gone. And besides, they have received more than enough attention and sympathy from the media, the church, and the self- serving unions, which are attempting to exploit this tragedy in order to organize miners so that tragedies like this do not happen again. After the accident, in fact, the family members asked the union to represent them. Luckily, the always impartial MSHA has said that only the miners themselves can ask to be represented. I guess the miners should have thought about that before they entered the mine for the last time on August 6th. While we must honor their memory, we must heal the victim who is still alive: Robert Murray. I hope the Non-Minor Mine Hero Gold Award helps to heal his battered soul and brain.

UPDATE: I have just learned that Robert Murray will not be testifying at Wednesday's Senate hearing on mine safety. As usual, Murray is thinking not of himself, but of his workers, explaining he would not be able to “give the situation in Utah the proper attention it needs if I have to travel to Washington to testify.” I like to think that receiving the GNMH (Gold Non-Miner Mine Hero) award emboldened the principled CEO to defy the Senate's Big Brother meddling. Even though we won’t be able to see Murray testify today, we can always see him testify here.

My Durst Time: Talking with Comic Will Durst about the All-American Sport of Bipartisan Bashing


Will Durst is a San Francisco-based comic, pundit, and “Quite possibly the best political satirist working in the country today.” He and I first met when we performed at a Laughing Liberally show in LA.

A year later, we got a chance to reconnect in New York, where Will is making everybody laugh with his new one-man show Will Durst: The All-American Sport of Bipartisan Bashing. From left to right and everywhere in between, from the New York Times to the New York Post, the critics are raving.

When we met on Manhattan's Upper West Side, Durst was reading the sports section over a cup of black coffee. No doubt he had finished reading the latest issue of the Nation magazine and drunk his chai-organic-double-vegan-latte before I got there. But he wasn't fooling me. And soon we were talking about getting flipped off by Olympia Dukakis, helping the terrorists win, necrophilia and other things liberals enjoy.

Katie Halper: Why do you hate America?

Will Durst:
I'm not an America-hater, I'm an America-lover. Dissent is the ultimate patriotic act. Just like every liberal commie pinko weenie says.

Halper:
When did you start hating America?

Durst:
I started loving America right away. Free water. Water fountains everywhere. Refrigerated, cold, refreshing water. You try getting that anywhere else. Try getting that in France, not gonna happen. Go head, I dare you. It's $5.

Halper:
Funny, I was going ask you why you don't move to France. But I guess it's the whole water thing. Anyway, you have moments of redemption when you praise Bush, calling him a father figure.

Durst:
He has been like a father to me. Just in terms of providing.

Halper:
So he's a good provider?

Durst:
Yes, not just a decider and a commuter; he's also a provider. Not just for me, but for editorial cartoonists, columnists, anyone with a speck of consciousness. He is very fecund and fertile.

Halper:
He is very virile.

Durst:
He's like a rising tide. The rising tide of Bush lifts all boats. It's a wonderful rain, it's a hard rain.

Halper: I saw Olympia Dukakis sitting right in front of me in the theater [at your show] and I knew I was in a scary place: a theater in New York, a woman who represents the unholy alliance between the Hollywood elite and liberals. But I was impressed when you got into a hissing match with her. Because anyone who hisses at a Dukakis is a friend of mine.

Durst:
Yeah, I told a tough joke about Hillary, which I thought was fair, and then she hissed at me. I got her back on my side by doing the second part of the joke. I didn't know it was Olympia Dukakis at the time. But then when she came backstage, I recognized her. "Oh, my living god. I got heckled by an Oscar winner."

Halper: I think you got flipped the bird too.

Durst: Oh really? She flipped me off?

Halper:
Yeah. How does it feel being flipped off by a Democrat?

Durst: Well somebody's gotta do it. I feel like Dennis Miller.

Halper: You make fun of Arnold Schwarzenegger for signing a law outlawing having sex with corpses. Why do you want to legalize necrophilia?

Durst:
It's a freedom issue. Like the sanctity of life. It fits into the whole pro-life thing. It's actually part of the pro-life movement.

Halper: Right, the right-to-lifers for necrophilia. And then you're not wasting the seed either.

Durst: Right. Although I'm not sure exactly how that fits in, so to speak.

Halper:
In your show you provide immigrants and terrorists with a plan for getting across the border. Why do you help the terrorists win?

Durst:
I am of two minds about putting that portion in the show. I understand it could be considered aiding and abetting the enemy to let them know they could go around the 700-mile-long, 16-foot-high wall that covers a 1,952 mile-long border. Or they could bring a ladder. But since they have already started building tunnels, they probably already thought of it. But I really hope that you don't make a big deal of it. Maybe you shouldn't even print this.

Halper:
What do you think that political comics can achieve?

Durst: I think we can distill what seem to be incredibly complex questions into something any audience member can understand. They don't have to be a poly-sci major. You can empower them to know that their opinion is important. There's no way that people are going to become enlightened. You're usually preaching to the choir. But it's nice to get the choir to sing. Especially after we've been used as human dart boards for the last six and a half years.

It's funny because there was a time when you couldn't do jokes about Bush. Even though we were, starting on Jan. 21st, 2001. Then Sept. 11th happened, and you couldn't touch him. It was seen as unpatriotic; we were involved in a war. Then Katrina happened. And taking on Bush became fashionable, and now it's considered old hat. We had a window of 18 months for Christ's sake when it was OK. And then it was, "Oh no, Bush is low-hanging fruit," or, "Everybody bashes Bush." Fuck you! We haven't hit him hard enough, and we're gonna hit him until ... until he dies, OK, until he dies, and we'll keep hitting, and then that still won't be enough.

Halper:
And then you'll have sex with him?

Durst:
Exactly, goes back to the Schwarzenegger law.

Halper: We've really come full circle. Speaking of dead people and perverts, let's go back to the Democrats. My favorite part of the show, obviously, is when you focus on your Clintons, your Kerries, your Dukaki. More of your thoughts on them?

Durst:
The Democrats seem more interested in getting re-elected than they are in changing anything for the better. When Gore ducked the Kansas Board of Education teaching intelligent design along with evolution and said, "Children should be exposed to varying theories," I just wanted to dick-slap him, I really did. And he would have had to have been very close, and I understand that. Not that I don't believe in Giselle the Mountain Sprite. She's from where all things flow. She's my goddess.

Halper: Do you renew the show every day with new news stories and headlines?

Durst:
I try to. There was a quote from yesterday about dog fighting, and I'm chomping at the bit, so to speak, to put it in the show tonight.

Halper:
And how do you actually get your news?

Durst:
First I wake up at noon. Then I have to clear all the potato chip bags and beer cans that are covering the floor.

Halper: And the copies of the Nation?

Durst: Of course. Then I find a phrase that I love, and I try to come up with a punch line. I'm all one-liners. They're strung on top of each other so that hopefully the previous punch line is a set up for the next joke. It's piggybacking, which is a timing that I learned works because if you wanna do political comedy in Stockton, Calif., at Uncle Chuckles Fun Hut, then you have to learn how to get them to shut up.

There are about four places where we can work and people really know what we're talking about. N.Y., San Francisco, D.C., Boston. And I don't blame people because it's such a morass, it's so ugly, it's hard to keep up. The names are constantly changing. The circus remains the same, but the clowns are different. So I don't blame people if they don't know what I'm talking about. They have families, jobs, they have a life. It's our job to keep up on this shit and try to put it in terms they understand.

Halper:
Was your comedy always political?

Durst: When I started doing standup in 1974, there was the Vietnam War and everything was, "We're gonna fight the man, man." Now, we are the man, man. But everything was political then. High school arithmetic was political. Of course in Wisconsin we didn't get the '60s until about 1974 anyway.

Halper:
Was there one thing in particular that politicized you?

Durst:
There were some riots in Milwaukee. I actually got run over by a horse. I was there for the chicks. That's what everyone went to rallies for no matter what they say. That was about as political as I got. I was never a big Weatherman kinda guy. I thought blowing shit up to protest blowing shit up was kinda oxymoronic.

Halper: Why a show and not just standup?

Durst: Bigger canvas, more paint, and with writing you can plant a seed in the first paragraph and follow it until it blooms in the last paragraph. That's something I can do with the show. I can take my time between laughs. I always thought I was more literary than most comics. Which doesn't mean they're not smart. Comics are smart. They have a lot going on in their minds. Most are ADHD.

Halper:
Are you?

Durst: I dunno. When I was a kid, I was hyper. They started feeding me coffee at the age of 10. That was a popular therapy at the time, over-amping the kid to short-circuit him.

Halper: What's the worst thing that ever happened to you at a show?

Durst:
A guy threw his prosthetic leg at me. He was trying to be funny. I held it up. Then I had a glass ash tray shatter behind me on the wall. The woman said she threw it because she was laughing so hard. Then I had a guy taken out on a stretcher because he had a heart attack right before I went on stage. I had a corporate gig the week after 9/11 for a law firm in Palo Alto, and they had an office in the World Trade Center and had just lost 16 people. So they had a moment of silence, and then they brought me on stage. I swear to fucking god.

Another time, this guy started yelling at me, and I couldn't hear him. And someone was taping the show, so he rushed at the camera and tried to grab it and had to be escorted out. It turns out he was an out-of-work right-wing talk show host. So he's calling all the radio stations in Sacramento and saying he was molested by the club staff, saying his freedom of speech was violated. Nobody would return his calls. Another time someone was going to beat me up in a club, but he got into a fight with someone who liked me, and they beat each other up. Good times.

Halper: Are you going to be sad at the end of Bush's term?

Durst: No. Because we're gonna get to know so much about the next person. Some people predicted the demise of political humor after Bill Clinton. Everything was below the belt. Every two-bit hack in America took his dick jokes and made them presidential dick jokes. Corporate gigs loved it when I would take on Clinton. I lost a lot of corporate gigs after Clinton. It's not so funny when you take on the boy king.

Halper: Who was your biggest influence?

Durst:
Lenny Bruce. I used to listen to him before I went on stage. I read his autobiography, How to Talk Dirty. And there are great political comics out there. You were hysterical the other night. And there's Lee Camp, Costaki, David Feldman, Johnny Steel, Barry Weintraub. Marga Gomez is my hero. I worked with Mort Sahl a few months ago. He's great. He's 80 years old and his opening line was, "If Paris Hilton goes to jail, will that rob her life of meaning?"

Halper:
What are you hoping your show will accomplish?

Durst:
Driving a nail through capitalism.

***

Will Durst: The All-American Sport of Bipartisan Bashing
is now playing at New World Stages, 340 W. 50th St., Manhattan, (212) 239-6200. It is presented by Hanging Chad Productions, Jennifer Sachs and Allen Spivak; and directed by Eric Krebs; and it features a production design by Peter Feuchtwanger. For tickets go to Telecharge.com or call 212-239-6200.

Breaking News: Perry caves in to anti-death penalty nuts

UPDATE: Yesterday, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles voted six-to-one to commute Kenneth Foster's death sentence and Governor Rick Perry commuted the sentence to life in jail. Guess the governor didn't get my letter on time. Oh well, Texas still has 23 more executions before the year is over.

Do Not Not Kill and Innocent Man

Dear Governor Perry,

First of all, happy belated happy 400th execution day! It seems like only yesterday that Texas reinstated the death penalty, and yet you have managed to execute 400 people since 1982. Oops, scratch that, you killed DaRoyce Mosley Tuesday night, so make that 401 people, right? Actually, by the time you get this letter, you may have killed your 402nd inmate, John Amador, scheduled for August 29th. Or you may even have killed the 403rd person, Kenneth Foster, scheduled to die August 30th. As you know, Kenneth Foster’s fate is in your hands. In 1996, when Michael LaHood was fatally shot, of course, the man who pulled the trigger was not Foster, but Mauriceo Brown. And sure, Foster was inside a car at the time of the murder. Sure, 80 feet away from the crime scene, he was unaware of what Brown was up to. And sure, Amnesty International says,

In essence, Kenneth Foster has been sentenced to death for leaving his crystal ball at home. There is no concrete evidence demonstrating that he could know a murder would be committed. Allowing his life to be taken is a shocking perversion of the law.

The law of parties allows anyone involved in anyway in a crime to be found as guilty as the person who committed the crime. Texas is unique because it applies this law to death penalty cases. In other words, Texas is so special, it will execute you for a crime it admits you did not commit.

I know you have received letters from leftist anarchist wing bats like Archbishop Tutu, Jimmy Carter, and the European Union who are trying to bully you into granting a stay of execution. So I wanted to write you my own letter, urging you to hold your ground. Stay strong Mr. Governor! I so admire how you stood up to those EU girly boys, telling them,

230 years ago, our forefathers fought a war to throw off the yoke of a European monarch and gain the freedom of self-determination. Texans long ago decided that the death penalty is a just and appropriate punishment for the most horrible crimes committed against our citizens. While we respect our friends in Europe, welcome their investment in our state and appreciate their interest in our laws, Texans are doing just fine governing Texas.

Who cares what the EU pansies think? When it comes to the death penalty, you are in good company. Some of the most freedom-loving countries-- Saudi Arabia, China, Iran, Zimbabwe—have capital punishment. I, like yourself, am a traditionalist and love your argument that “the people of Texas decided a long time ago that the death penalty was a good idea.” After all, Texas has a long proud history of old noble decisions going back to the War of Northern Aggression.

And, of course, "Texans are doing just fine governing Texas," representing its people and defending their interests. I think the Texan record speaks for itself. You are number one in percentage of uninsured, and number two in non-immunized children and teenage pregnancy. You are number five in poverty AND child poverty (no fair!)

Mr. Governor, I'm sure your used to people accusing the Death Penalty of being racist. And of the three men killed/ to be killed this week, one was black and one was Latino. But, out of the 10 upcoming executions, one of them is white.

Governor Perry, when you feel yourself faltering, just remember the strong gubernatorial roots that ground and nourish you. President George Bush, arguably Texas’s greatest governor, executed 152 people in his unique caring way. In his page-turning autobiography A Charge to Keep, Bush wrote, "I take every death penalty case seriously and review each case carefully.... Each case is major because each case is life or death." Bush took the cases so seriously, that he would even read the clemency pleas, according to his then legal council Alberto Gonzalez, "from time to time". Signing 152 death sentences was so stressful for Bush, sometimes the poor governor had to resort to impersonating death row inmates’ pleas for clemency in order to decompress.

So please listen to reason, Mr. Governor, your own reason: "Texans long ago decided that the death penalty is a just and appropriate punishment for the most horrible crimes committed against our citizens." Like sitting in your car and not being clairvoyant.

Sincerely, Katie Halper

To tell Governor Perry what you think about Kenneth Foster’s case, call 512-463-2000, fax (512) 463-1849 and visit here.

And call the Board of Pardons and Paroles today!

Rissie Owens
(512) 936-6351
(936) 291-2161

Charles Aycock
806-359-7656

Linda Garcia
979-849-3031

Jose L. Aliseda,
210-564-3721

Juanita Gonzalez
254-865-8870

Conrith Davis
936-291-2161

Jackie DeNoyelles
903-723-1068

Who Framed Larry Craig

The real tragedy behind Craig’s arrest: the death of the Singing Senators

Today is a terrible day for America, public bathrooms, a cappella music everywhere. The arrest of Senator Larry Craig by an undercover police officer for lewd conduct in a public men's bathroom is the final nail in the coffin in which rots the once vibrant barbershop quartet known as the Singing Senators. Also called the Vocal Majority, the Singing Senators, or SS, consisted of John Ashcroft, baritone; Trent Lott, bass; Jim Jeffords, tenor; and Larry Craig, lead. The quartett’s beginning were as humble as the senators themselves. They started out harmonizing to Happy Birthday at the birthday party of fellow Republican senator Bob Packwood a framee in his own right, who would be forced to resign over sexual harassment charges based on bogus evidence like his diary and accusations from 11 different people. The crooners had their formal debut at the Kennedy Center and then went on to record an album Let Freedom Sing in Nashville and perform on the Today Show. As their popularity skyrocketted, The SS started performing more frequently, raising millions of dollars for Republican causes and charities. They may have sounded in tune, but something was out of key. And that was Jim Jeffords, who became an Independent, betraying not only the GOP but the SS. Days before Jeffords defected, a hopeful Lott predicted Jefford would stay in the party “After all, I mean, what would we do in the future about the Ainging Senators? We need Jim to be part of that harmony.” But Jeffords abandoned the quartet, and in a flash the Singing Senators were over, a blast from the past. Lott never saw it coming.

But Craig would not be silenced and, the quartet’s lead, used to leading, launched a solo career, writing his own songs, the most notable perhaps, an homage to Judge Samuel Alito, (to the tune of the West Side Story's "Maria"

The most beautiful sound I’ve ever heard/Alito, Alito/Alito, I just met a judge named Alito/And suddenly the name will never be the same/Alito, Bush just picked a judge named Alito/Alito, say it proud, that Republican saying/Say it soft and there’s Democrats praying/Alito, may the Senate confirm Alito.

Singing was just to fun for this Senator to give up. As Craig explained to Senator John Thune, whom he tried to recruit to the SS, “You’ve got to let your hair down and enjoy it.”

Then finally, only 2 moths ago, on June 12, after a 6-year hiatus, the Singing Senators made a comeback! Purged of the defecting Jeffords, their sound was purer and the trio was tighter. Craig explained, “We’re not a quartet any longer. We’re a trio, and there are a lot of good reasons for that.” Singing at a fundraiser for the Congressional Coalition of Adoption Institute, the three singing senators performed God Bless America, country and gospel tunes, and the sexy Oak Ridge Boys hit American Made:

She looks good in her tight blue jeans /she bought in Mexico/ And she loves wearing French perfume everywhere we go/ But when it comes to the lovin' heart/ one thing is true/ My Baby's genuine "U.S.A." / red white and blue/ From her silky long hair to her sexy long legs/ My baby is "American Made".

The SS had performed with the Oak Ridge Boys in 1997, so singing American Made marked a 10 year anniversary of Christian jamming.

Here's where things get fishy. This reunion show took place on Tuesday June 12. The arrest of Larry Craig took place on June 11th, one day before! And the arrest report was enetered on June 12th just hours before the reunion concert would kick off. A coincidence? Or a vast left-wing conspiracy? The reunion concert had to have been widely publicized through the series of tubes that is the internets. And the arrest was surely an attempt to silence Craig and the Singing Senators. The former rancher, family values conservative Idaho senator is said to have solicited gay sex in an airport bathroom. And yet, Craig is so straight, he voted for a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage(sorry Mary cheney), opposes including homosexuals in hate crime legislation. And he’s so not gay that when he was accused of being involved in a sex scandal involing male pages he said that made him “Mad as hell.”

Which sounds pretty macho to me. If he’s gay, why did he preemptively release a statement saying he wasn’t when he hadn’t been implicated in the scandal anyway? Sheesh. What could be less gay?

It looks like someone wants to shut up the Singing Senators.... only this time... for good.

The Barbersop ensemble, be it quartet or trio, is the most wholsome, most patriotic of all American all-male a cappella singing traditions. The values, the freedom-loving, and the irresistible melodies and rthyms of the SS threaten the liberal, gay, Jewish, vegan establishment bent on bringing down America.

Well, they may be able to stop the Singing Senators. They may be able to frame Craig. They may be able to persecute Lott, destroy his porch and put racist words in his mouth. They may be able to recruit Jim Jeffords. But nothing, not even pancreatis or Gonzolezean hospital-room harassment can bring down John Ashcroft. He will sing for the Senators, he will make the Singing Senators Soar.

An Open Letter to Robert E. Murray


To Robert E. Murray
CEO, Murray Energy Corporation
Address unknown

Dear mine-owner and CEO Murray,

I was touched when you promised that you would "not leave this mine until those men are rescued, dead or alive." So I was extremely worried, having read the headline "Murray's Absence Puzzles Families." A company spokesman said you were "ministering" to the families of the miners, but it turns out the families have not seen you either. The ingrates actually "feel that Bob Murray has abandoned [them]." What these families fail to understand is that your absence is selfless, not selfish. Six years ago, Mayor Rudy Giuliani went down to Ground Zero and was exposed to the "exact same things that [the rescue workers] were." He became "one of them." And today, you, Mr. Murray, with a Rudy-esque valor and empathy, have put yourself in the same position as the little people who work for you, and you too are missing.

Wherever you are, I hope you can hear me and know that you are in my thoughts and prayers. I know you must be doing something righteous. You yourself are the first to admit that you fight for "the little guy that nobody cares about." Like the little guys to whom you donate: George "Maccaca" Allen, Katherine Harris, Mitch McConnell and Christopher "Friend of Jack Abramoff" Pombo.

You stand up to special interest groups like Mine Safety. Your friend Senator McConnell happens to be married to Labor secretary Elaine Chao and when an inspector for the Mine Safety Health Administration, which Chao oversees, got out of line, and wouldn't shut up about safety violations, you tactfully reminded him, "Mitch McConnell calls me one of the five finest men in America, and last I checked, he was sleeping with your boss." Luckily, Department of Labor justice is as blind as Department of Justice justice and the uppity safety inspector was transferred and forced into early retirement.

When opportunistic politicians tried to politicize the Sago mine tragedy by passing laws which would protect workers' safety, you stated "I resent these politicians playing politics with my employees' safety because I take the safety of my miners to bed with me every night." When the most opportunistic of all, that senator from New York, Hillary Clinton, said America needs a President who is "pro-labor and will appoint people who actually care about workers' rights and workers' safety" you had the balls of coal to call her "anti-American."

When tragedy struck you experienced a state of denial only felt by those who are at one with the little miners. At a press conference following the collapse you insisted "there's no emergency here," and threatened to call off the conference unless helicopters flying overhead were removed. You are a believer and explained "the lord has already decided whether they're alive or dead and whether they were killed from the percussion from the earthquake. But it's up to Bob Murray and my management to get the access to them as quickly as we can."

The liberal, Jewish, gay, vegan media is claiming that retreat mining, the fictitious method in which miners pull down the last standing pillars of coal and let the roof fall in, caused the collapse. Retreat mining sounds pretty safe to me, and it's only killed thirteen people in the last seven years. Talk about conspiracy theories! You know that the unfortunate accident had nothing to do with alleged "dangerous mining conditions." And you swear that "this was caused by an earthquake, not something that Murray Energy or our management did. It was a natural disaster....And I'm going to prove it to you." Government seismologists argue there was no way this was an earthquake, but who are we going to believe? A bunch of nerds who have nothing better to do than get PhDs in seismology? Or you, a man who knows it's all up to G-d any way.

This isn't the first time you have used your organic grasp of science to take on pseudo-science. You called global warming a myth and "Albert" Gore "the shaman of global goofiness and gloom and doom" responsible for "the destruction of American lives and more death as a result of his hysterical global goofiness with no environmental benefit."

Because you are an outspoken defender of coal rights, because you speak truth to power, and truth to mishigas like global warming and non-earthquake induced collapses, you are persecuted by those who harp on harmless minutiae: the 2,787 violations, $2.4 million proposed fines, and accident rates two times higher than the national average at your mine in Illinois; your 64 violations and $12,973 in fines proposed at Crandall, or the injury rates that are eight times higher than average at Ohio Mine.

I can only surmise you are off chasing the real culprit, the earthquake, as you promised. Or perhaps you are talking to God to see whether he decided if the miners were "dead or alive." Or maybe you overslept. That is a distinct possibility since you do take your miners' safety with you to bed every night.

So let us call off this lost cause of a search for the little miners, and search for the one great man we must find and save: Robert Murray.

Sincerely,
Katie Halper

The Liberal Question

People from around the country ask the Democratic Presidential candidates if they are in fact 'liberals'.