Oscar Gonzalez

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 Laura Bush later rescinded that order purportedly because she relies heavily on the Looney Tunes character to get the President "in the mood."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.

The War Roundup

Bush Administration Demands that Iraq Prove Absence of Weapons

The Bush Administration continues to insist that even though UN weapons inspectors have not found a "smoking gun," war can only be prevented if Saddam Hussein provides proof beyond a reasonable doubt that he does not harbor weapons of mass destruction.

"This is not about weapons inspectors finding anything, but about Saddam Hussein giving up what he claims does not exist," explained Paul D. Wolfowitz, U.S. Deputy defense secretary. Mr. Wolfowitz said that proving a negative has always been part of the original UN war resolution. Mr. Wolfowitz also mentioned additional obligations that Saddam Hussein must discharge "in weeks, not months" to prevent a US invasion. Among other things, he must prove that he was not the second gunman in the JFK Assassination and that he is not responsible for crop circles. Secretary of State Colin Powell, once considered the only moderating voice in the Bush Administration, said that he is now convinced that an immediate U.S. attack is necessary, especially after the French, who oppose the war, had been so rude to him during last night's state dinner.

Osama bin Laden Surfaces--But No One Cares

Osama bin Laden appeared on Al Jazeera, the Arab TV network, to remind the world that he is still alive and kicking. Bin Laden is distraught that Saddam Hussein displaced him as the most evil person on earth. He pleaded, "Praise be to Allah, I survived the attack from the crusader armies of Bush and Blair. But now they have somehow forgotten that I, and not the infidel Hussein, am their greatest enemy."

Bin Laden challenged the U.S. military to hand-to-hand battle and provided the date, time and street intersection where he will be waiting. "Do not be fooled by the dialysis machine. I am as strong as a lion, and I will be wearing Converse high tops and an Oakland Raiders jersey so no one misses me."

Bin Laden apologized to U.S. Special Forces for having previously escaped their grasp by giving his cell phone to a subordinate, whom the Special Forces tracked while bin Laden made his escape through the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. "There will be no decoy this time. The West has been asking who the real Osama bin Laden is. Well, here I am."

U.S. Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld dismissed bin Laden as irrelevant. "Germany and France are old Europe. Bin Laden is old terror. Neither will diminish our resolve." Tony Blair, prime minister of Great Britain, issued his latest blanket statement endorsing everything the USA does, has done, or ever will do.

Rumsfeld Clarifies Views on Draftees

Following his apology to veterans' groups for saying that military draftees provided "no value" to the country, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld clarified his views. "What I meant is that only the draftees who fought on the front lines during Vietnam had no value. That's why we put them there. They were of no value to the country, but as human fodder, they sure came in handy, and the country appreciates their sacrifice. Disposability is its own virtue. If a young man was of any value whatsoever to the country -- measured by universally accepted indices, such as net worth and membership in Yale's Skull and Bones Society -- he qualified for deferment, National Guard duty, or his own AM talk radio show."

Upon hearing this explanation, the Veterans of Foreign Wars invited the Defense Secretary to further make his case to them in person, unaccompanied, in the back alley of their organization's headquarters.

Bush Threaten Iraqis With War Crimes

President Bush today raised the threat of war crime prosecution against any Iraqi general who uses chemical or biological weapons against U.S. troops. Mr. Bush made it clear that, "You may shoot, knife, bomb, stone, rope, decapitate, strangle, or disembowel our young men and women, but we will not allow you to gas them. If you do, you'll be tried as a war criminal." The White House immediately retracted the statement, however, upon realizing that the U.S., at the behest of the President, had refused to join the International Criminal Court, the recognized forum for prosecuting war criminals.

PETA Calls For "Cruelty-Free" War

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) delivered a boatload of vegan cookies during Christmas to the Navy crew aboard the USS Truman. PETA was seeking to promote vegetarianism among the troops and considered the sweet treats to be the "best weapon in the war against cruelty to animals." The controversial animal rights group now is revving up its anti-meat campaign for Valentine's Day. PETA is mailing candy heart boxes to thousands of U.S. and British troops. The boxes contain vegan chocolates and a card with a "Valentines don't eat other Valentines" message.

PETA President Ingrid Newkirk explained, "Even as bombs are dropping around and bullets are flying, we're hoping that by turning to a vegetarian diet during combat, our brave men and woman in uniform will make this a cruelty-free war." Ms. Newkirk insisted that she was not under the influence of hallucinogens.

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

Piece Of Earth

Washington, DC (Neuters) -- Concerned that messages of love and peace may be hampering its War on Terrorism, the Bush Administration is calling on Americans during this holiday season to think "Piece Of Earth" instead of "Peace On Earth."

According to U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, "Peace is so elusive, especially when you're not looking for it. So why not promote something that you actually want -- a piece of the Earth? Right now the piece of Earth is Iraq, but it could apply nicely to any prime real estate worth fighting for. Heck, I've got visions of Venezuela's oil fields playing in my head even as we speak."

Mr. Rumsfeld also urged family members of US troops not to mail cards and letters that mention peace.

"We don't want to confuse our soldiers about what their main mission is out in the field. If you send cards, use a Sharpie to cross out love, peace, and any other offending or unpatriotic words or phrases. If you must mention Jesus, don't refer to him as the "Prince of Peace." Try the "The Rocking Redeemer" or "Subcomandante J" instead."

Senator Bill Frist of Tennessee, who is likely to replace Trent Lott as the Senate's Republican leader, claims to have the votes to amend the U.S. Patriot Act to punish as treason the waging of peace during Christmas.

According to Senator Frist, "Now that we're at war with Saddam, oops, I mean, IF we go to war with Saddam, we can't think of peace. While peace is a nice thought, it should be an afterthought. We should think about it after we win the never-ending War on Terrorism. We can address peace after we've killed all our enemies."

Civil rights groups criticized the Bush Administration's policy, but took great pains to make it clear that they were not attacking the President. One prominent civil rights advocate said, "Doing away with the First Amendment does concerns us somewhat, but we don't mean any disrespect toward President Bush. We can and do distinguish between the man and his policies. We think George Bush is adorable and that his every command, however quirky and bizarre, should be obeyed without pause. However, we do think his policies are a little Nazi-like -- er, you did say this was off the record, right?"

Polls reveal that 30 percent of Americans believe that the difference between peace and piece is pure semantics. Fifty-five percent believe that the Augusta National Golf Club should invite Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Ladin before allowing any women to join. And 73 percent think that buying holiday greeting cards that say "Peace on Earth," especially those featuring Snoopy and Woodstock, are the best way to achieve world peace.

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