The Week in Surreal News

Court Gives Death Row Inmate A Second Chance ...To Die

The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit issued another startling opinion on the death sentence. Just one week after permitting a man to be forcibly administered anti-psychotic drugs to make him sane enough to execute, the appeals courts ruled that a state can seek to resuscitate long-dead prisoners for the sole purpose of executing them. Lazar Russ, a death row inmate, died in 1999 in an Arkansas prison from natural causes the night before he was scheduled to die by lethal injection. A prison guard bemoaned, "It just didn't seem fair for him up and die on us at the last minute. We had stocked up on drugs and needles from Eckerds because we were running low, and some of us even canceled our bowling night. We wanted to make sure all our work and sacrifice wasn't for nothing."

Resourceful prison guards quickly severed the head from Mr. Russ's body when he died, packed it in ice and shipped it to the Cryogenic Center in Hope, Arkansas, where it was stored in a vat of liquid helium. There it now awaits science to find a way to revivify Mr. Russ. According to state officials, only the head was preserved because a full-body freeze would have cost too much.

Don't Drink the Perrier, and Other Federal Mandates

The anti-French fervor is still building within the Bush Administration over France's opposition to a preemptive strike on Iraq. Dennis Hastert, Speaker of the US House of Representatives, called for an embargo on French wine. President Bush was so furious at the French that he ordered the removal from the White House movie theater of Looney Tunes cartoons featuring Pepe Le Pew, the amorous and suave, albeit odiferous, skunk. Laura Bush later rescinded that order purportedly because she relies heavily on the Looney Tunes character to get the President "in the mood."

The Department of Defense is also considering changing the pronunciation of "Green Berets," also known as the U.S. Army Special Forces. The new official pronunciation of "berets" will rhyme with "parrots," and will be keeping with the way that the President pronounces most funny-sounding foreign words.

Bush Is Undeterred by Weekend Protests Against War

In a brief question-and-answer session at the White House, President Bush said, "I respectfully disagree" with millions of protestors who marched against his plan to attack Iraq and that the protests had no effect on his determination. "Democracy is a wonderful thing, but it's never gotten in the way of what I want. If I had let listened to the will of the people, I wouldn't be President, now would I? If Nixon and Johnson had listened to protestors during Vietnam, we would not have won that war."

The White House issued a statement afterward clarifying that the President did not mean that the US won the war in Vietnam, but rather that he loves the First Lady's winning recipe for Vietnamese lemon grass chicken.

Dan Rather Shipped to the Front; CBS News Looking For New Anchor

Operating under his expanded powers, Secretary of Defense Daniel Rumsfeld yesterday conscripted CBS News Anchor Dan Rather into the US Army. The Defense Secretary said that Mr. Rather would undergo an intensive week of basic training and then be shipped to the front lines in the upcoming war in Iraq. He also denied that he was trying to stifle media opposition to a war on Iraq or that he was retaliating for recent CBS news coverage that was critical of President Bush. "I'm just taking Dan Rather up on his offer," explained the Defense Secretary.

Mr. Rumsfeld was referring to the tearful vow that Mr. Rather made on the David Letterman show shortly after 9/11. Mr. Rather said, "George Bush is the President. He makes the decisions and...wherever he wants to me line up, just tell me where." Mr. Rumsfeld explained, "The President wants him to line up 200 yards ahead of our first infantry units."

Federal Courts to Come Under the Department of Homeland Security

President Bush today announced that he is reassigning the federal judiciary, including the US Supreme Court, under the jurisdiction of the Department of Homeland Security. The President claimed that the Homeland Security Act of 2002 and the US Patriot Act gives him the authority to freely transfer federal functions as he sees fit and to make the federal government more efficient and responsive to the War on Terrorism.

Tom Ridge, the Secretary of Homeland Security, tried to counter objections that the restructuring might violate the separation of powers under the US Constitution. Secretary Ridge observed, "Checks and balances are not being eliminated. We'll still be checking with the judiciary to make sure our policies, on balance, are legal and fair. We ran the idea past Scalia and he doesn't see a problem. I don't see how the Democrats can whine about it."

Oscar Gonzalez is a lawyer and writer of satire who lives in Dallas, Texas.

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