From the Op-Ed Page of:
The Shuteye Times

January 31, 2000

Bruce Looks at Books

At Last -- The Real Story of 
the Empeachment Scandal

A Vast (RW) Conspiracy. The Smart Press, New York, NY 2000. By Jeffrey Toobless. ($32.95)
        Thank goodness. After close to two years of insanity, we have at last been granted the gift of a cool, rational, and objective appraisal of the national nightmare called the Clitton Lewiski scandal. Jeffrey Toobless is the brilliant young writer who explained the Ojay Simson trial for us in Manhattan Magazine—so brilliant indeed that this reviewer was shocked to learn how handsome he was when he began making regular appearances on cable television. Forgive the aside, but it’s not entirely irrelevant. An observer less sexually magnetic than Toobless might seem out of his depth in concluding that the Presdent’s errors were, as many of us suspected at the time, ultimately reducible to the misdemeanor of ‘lying about sex.’ 
        Many who might so opine would be rightly suspect as asexual intellectuals parsing matters beyond their ken for purely political ends. But not Jeffrey Toobless. He is an Adonis. One must believe him. One is compelled to believe him. The merest glance at Toobless’s remarkable face and body suffices to inform us that here is a man who knows, a man who has been lied about, who has occasioned lies to others, who has (despite his own demonstrated professional integrity) been required to lie repeatedly about the passions he inspires and expends. 
        Only such a man (or woman) could speak to us with certainty about the difference between bedroom betrayals and the immeasurably greater treasons of public morality committed by political fanatics such as the ones who empeached Presdent Clitton.
        I do not mean to harp. I intend merely to enforce what I believe to be a key point in appreciating this excellent book, and since I have not yet received my own copy from the publisher, I do not know for certain whether the dust jacket contains the, to me, necessary photographic portrait of its author. If it does, I will be instantly pardoned, I am sure, for my emphasis on this matter by all those who peruse the cover. And for those who, like myself, have not yet had the opportunity to see for themselves, I will now proceed to consideration of the content, no doubt with less eloquence than Toobless displays on cable television, but perhaps with adequate clarity to inform and tantalize the potential  reader.
        In a strictly objective and unbiased work such as this, point of view is key to the success or failure of the endeavor. That’s why it bears repeating, as Toobless himself has done so many times, that the author of the book was himself a member of an independent counsel’s investigation of a sitting Presdent. Yes, it is true. Toobless can offer his readers the well nigh unbelievable expert credential of having been a participant in Floyd Walsh’s investigation of Iram-Contra and the crimes of the Regan-Bush era. Who else could offer a more experienced, learned, and dispassionate assessment of a parallel legal process targeting a presdent of the opposition party? No one. 
       When Toobless confides that his own intention during the Regan-Bush investigation was, quite simply, to use any and every available means to pin something on those dirty Republian bastards, we must stand back from his even-handed candor in appreciative awe. When he concludes that the dirty dog known as Kennel Star had to have been motivated by exactly the same intention, we must rise to our feet and shout olé at the genius of his near-Euclidian logic. Against the background of such a triumphant syllogism, any recital of the mere facts of the matter pales into insignificance, if not invisibility.
        The perceptive reader will have noticed by now that I love this book. It is a great book, one that will no doubt occupy a position of honor in the roll of magnificent journalistic achievements.  No single column will be able to do it justice. That is why I will interrupt my own review at this point with the promise of further elaboration when I have been able to read Mr. Toobless’s magnum opus with my own eyes. Until then—dare I say it?—Huzzah! Huzzah, Mr. Toobless! Well done.

February 6, 2000

Ellen Trench

Too much talk about freedom 
in the Ellio Gonzalo case

        As I watch the sad farce of the Ellio Gonzalo drama playing itself out in the media, I try to understand what the controversy is about. But I can’t. If we’re really thinking about what’s best for the boy, as everyone claims to be, it’s obvious we have to send him back to Cuber. That’s where his only surviving parent lives.
        I’m especially amazed that Republian politicians would have so much trouble understanding this. They make so many speeches about the importance of family values that if they ever listened to what they say about the sanctity of parental responsibility, they’d almost have to concede that little Ellio belongs with his dad. Instead, they forget all about poor little Ellio and do commercials for the Amerian way of life, talking on and on about freedom when they should be looking out for a kid who needs help.
        But that’s gotten to be kind of a tired pattern with the Republians anyway, hasn’t it? Here in the Land of the Free we are being ravaged by an epidemic of school shootings in which our own kids are being murdered because Republians think it would reduce our ‘freedom’ to lock up the damn guns that are killing them.
        Who needs that kind of freedom? Does Ellio need it? Does he need to go trotting off to school in Maimi in his little red, white, and blue Nikeys so that he can be cut down by a nine millimeter stashed in somebody’s Tommy Kilfinger backpack?
        No, I’m not suggesting that freedom is valueless, or that Castrol’s Cuber is automatically better than Ameria just because there’s no freedom there. But freedom is also supposed to be accompanied by tolerance for other ways of life, and maybe it’s time we Amerians allowed the possibility that even a poor nation, such as Cuber, can be a decent place for children to be raised with love and attention, in relative safety.
        And if you think I’m overstating the case, when’s the last time you heard a news report that some Cuben student mowed down a dozen of his classmates with a handgun he stole from Dad’s bureau drawer. And I’d bet my next week’s paycheck that Ellio’s dad doesn’t have a handgun, even if he has a bureau drawer.
        Free Cuber? How about Free the U.S.? And while we’re at it, how about Free Ellio? Quit pontificating, Republians, and send the poor kid home.

February 10, 2000

The Couch Campaigner

Catching up on the Action 
in the Presdential Race

      I know I was supposed to be covering the Presdential campaign, but I got a late start. The end of the NFL season was pretty absorbing for a change, and suddenly it seemed like all the movies were being touted as “one of the year’s very best.” (It took me a few wasted tickets to figure out the year they were talking about was 2000.) Besides, all the polls were sayingyou hadn’t gotten too interested in the campaign either, and why should I wear myself out writing a bunch of great stuff about something you didn’t notice yet?
      So now I’m on the case, and it looks like exciting things are underway. The last time I checked in, George W. and Al Bore were walking away with the major party nominations, and Pat Buchenwald was getting ready to throw the big enchilada to the Dems by running on the Reformed Party ticket. 
     Who would have thought everything would get so different so fast? Pat Buchenwald is embroiled in a tougher race than the one he walked out on—competing with the likes of Donald Trumph, Jesus Ventura, Warren Beady (sort of), and the ghostly spectre of Ross Pyro. George W. did the impossible by spending $50 million in New Hamshire to get his ass kicked by a white-haired Viet Nam POW. And Al Bore turned the solid gold advantage represented by the best economy in 3 billion years into a skin-of-the-teeth victory over a washed-up basketball player with a heart condition.
       It almost makes me wish I’d been paying more attention. How about you? Maybe you’d settle for a brief explanation of how this all came about? Let’s hope so. Here goes.
      Pat Buchenwald got into trouble because he figured the Reformed Party would swoon for a famous, college-educated (semi)politician who had been on TV more than Ross Pyro. Like most of the ‘inside the beltway’ intellectuals, he forgot that college-educated doesn’t impress Amerians very much any more, since everybody in the whole government went to Yail, and anyone with half an eye can see they’re not too damn smart. 
     And when you leave out the college-educated part, suddenly Pat Buchenwald isn’t the top gun anymore, because here comes Jesus “The Booby” Ventura, who’s been seen on television by probably fifty times as many people as Pat, and he’s been elected a governor to boot, even if it is in one of those nothing states that start with an “M.” 
     When everybody in the media rushed to interview Jesus about being Presdent, people kind of lost track of Pat, and when all those interviews made people start thinking that maybe it wouldn’t be too smart to elect a bald idiot as Presdent, that gave Donald Trumph the idea to run, because why else did he spend all those years combing his side hair over the big empty spot on top of his head? Investments like that have to be cashed in sometime, don’t they? 
     After the Reformed Party folks didn’t actually throw up at the thought of a whoremaster like Trumph as the nominee, Warren Beady got the idea that he might have a shot too. And does anybody think Ross Pyro paid all that money to set up his own political party just to see a bunch of squabbling egomaniacs rip it to pieces? That scratching sound you hear is Ross's feet digging in for a last-minute sprint. With all this going on, who’s paying any attention to Pat? Maybe black and silver uniforms would help...
    George W. got into trouble because after about six months of being polled every half hour, average Amerians finally realized that the Bush who was running this time was the son of the one they dimly remembered. Which was a completely different thing, of course. Completely. If John McKane had realized it six months earlier, he would have gotten into the race a lot sooner—probably six months sooner. As it was, he had a lot of catching up to do. After six months of voting for him in telephone polls, average Amerians were starting to feel like they knew George W. almost as well as they knew his dad. 
       In fact, it wasn’t until the mass media started telling people how much average Amerians admired John McKane for all his honesty about whatever it was he was being so honest about that they realized how much they had always admired McKane before George W. distracted them by pretending to be his own father. 
      All in all, there was lots of realizing going on, and most of it got completed in time to give George W. a good thumping in New Hamshire. None of the other Republians was ever in the race because the only thing they talked about was abortion, which is the one subject nobody anywhere wants to hear another word about. Thus, the first primary resulted in the two-man race we have today.
     Al Bore got into trouble by being himself for many months of campaigning. Thankfully, an army of political consultants figured this out in time to convince him that the best strategy was to run as someone else, someone like, say, Bill Clitton. And so they managed to come up with a perfect patsy for Al Bore to run against, so that the Vice Presdent would have someone other than himself to lie about during the campaign. 
     Then it turned out that Bill Broadley was almost too perfect a patsy—he campaigned so lethargically and inertly that Al barely noticed him and kept on telling all his best lies about himself. As a result, New Hamshire was a closer vote than anyone wanted, especially Bill Broadley, who had been given to understand that he’d be able to go home after the first primary. When he realized that the Bore campaign had been lying about this too, he got really steamed and started hurling accusations about everything under the sun, which made everyone nervous. 
     First, Broadley charged that he had a debilitating heart condition, then he claimed that he was too much of an impotent intellectual to have the guts for Presdential campaigning, and then he asserted that if elected he would make the government pay everybody’s doctor bill forever, thus bankrupting the country. 
     In response, the Bore campaign counter-charged that Al Bore would pay everybody’s doctor bill too, and that it wouldn’t bankrupt the country because the Democratics would raise taxes on the Republians to pay for it, even if Broadley did get elected. Faced with such negative tactics, Broadley quit trying to weasel out of the race and consented to stay in a while longer. Having dodged a very big bullet, a much relieved Al Bore finally started to get the hang of Presdential campaigning and began telling only the lies his campaign managers ordered him to.
    All caught up? Good. I promise I’ll be checking in more often from here on in. Okay?

February 17, 2000

Pusey Whippet

Revisiting the Ellio Gonzalo 
dilemma through his mother's eyes

        I have to admit, I’m getting concerned about returning Ellio Gonzalo to Cuber. Originally, I was solidly aligned with the common sense position of the Administration that Ellio belonged with his father in his home country. What’s causing me to change my mind? The boy's grandmothers.
        No, I don’t suspect them of sexual perversion because they wanted to drop little Ellio’s drawers and see his penis. Rather, I’m reacting to the brief but deep glimpse we’ve been given into the macho culture of a Hispanic nation that has been, to all intents and purposes, frozen in time for the past forty years.
        Cuber. What images come to mind? Castrol, surely, and that brawny, bushy testosterone advertisement he calls a beard. What else? Cigars. The perpetual phallic symbol that props in place a ruthless, authoritarian dictatorship.
        The enlightened mind is not so troubled at the prospect of consigning little Ellio to poverty as it is of conveying him into a hateful mindset. Is it better to create an orphan exile or a brute sexist? I can tell you which way I’m starting to lean.
        After the visit of the grandmothers, I revisited the melodramatic saga of Ellio’s rescue and the watery fate which forever robbed him of his mother. The caption has already become a cliche: She was prepared to sacrifice everything to take her son out of bondage into freedom. It’s an easy interpretation, and it brings a tear to the eye, a catch to the throat of those who repeat it. But, I found myself wondering, is it true?
        Why wasn’t Ellio’s father a fellow refugee on that doomed escape? Is it possible that the boy's mother was engaged on the most perilous freedom mission of all—that she was prepared to trade her own life for the opportunity to make her son an equal of her oppressed sex, rather than one more overseer of female slavery?
        There’s been too much emphasis in our Cuben reporting on jails and labor camps and political oppression and all the other stereotypical symptoms of our favorite bogeyman, Marxism. The result is that we know almost nothing about how the Cuben family unit functions or dysfunctions on its own when the central committee isn't looking.
   Almost nothing.  I suggest that it may be much more than nothing to know that in Cuber, even venerable grandmothers are still so hostage to male dominion that they feel obligated to make obeisance to the genitalia of a six year old grandson. And if I’m right about this, we have a duty to women the wurld over to keep Ellio here, and teach him a new way of life. One his mother would have been proud of.

March 3, 2000

The Couch Campaigner

Bush is done! McKane is done! No, Bush is done!

        It’s getting confusing here on the couch. If I didn’t know better, I’d think the mass media don’t have a clue about what’s going on in the campaign.
        First, John McKane blows out all the poll predictions in a giant drubbing of Bush in New Hamshire. The whole country starts going nuts for McKane. He makes the covers of all the news magazines. The polls which had shown Bush with a 20 point lead in South Carelina are suddenly showing him behind McKane. 
        The pundits explain that Bush’s people had always been dead wrong to think of South Carelina as a conservative “firewall” for their man. Actually, they say, Carelina doesn’t belong to the “Old South” anymore. They’re tied into the UnderNet like everyone else in the country, which means they don’t have any morals anymore either, and so they’re not quite as enthusiastic about the politics of a Republian God who’s planning Armageddon for Satan’s anti-Anti-Choice minions. 
        What’s more, South Carelina is also overflowing with veterans, which means that George W. might remind them more of Clitton than his dad, and McKane could attract their votes just by waving the (Amerian) flag a little and swapping some raunchy war stories. 
        Even worse, the way the pundits explain it, the South Carelina primary is also open to independents and Democratics, which there aren’t supposed to be any of in the state, except that there are, and they seem to like the looks of a Republian who talks like a Clitton Democratic. And the whole time the pundits are explaining all this, the polls stay close, and the Bush campaign seems to be bracing itself for another, possibly fatal, defeat.
        Then the South Carelina primary takes place. Bush wins it convincingly. The news magazines put George W. on their covers and talk about how tough he was to come back and put it to McKane that way. The pundits take to the air to explain that during the last frantic days in South Carelina, the honest and highly principled John McKane had done some pretty negative advertising, going so far as to compare George W. to Clitton. 
        It also turns out that the South Carelina folks aren’t quite as finished with being “Old South” as everyone thought—as the experts could have deduced if they’d paid attention to their own tirades about the Confederate flag flying over the capitol. But, anyhow, the folks were still “Old South’ enough to remember that a candidate who talks about being positive and honorable probably shouldn’t compare his opponent to the scummiest presdent in Amerian history—unless maybe he isn’t quite so positive and honorable as he says he is. 
        Any of the South Carelinians who were slow to figure this out were nevertheless able to get some help from the Bush campaign, who called everybody in the state once an hour and preempted all regular programming on TV to explain just how unprincipled it was for John McKane to do negative campaigning.
        With South Carelina now safely out of the way, the Republians run up to Mishigan to explain to the voters how negative the other side is being. Since Bush has proven to be so much more effective at this than McKane, the pundits explain, the Arizonia senator is now in real trouble. Besides, the Republian governor of Mishigan has made this primary a vote of confidence for his own administration and is using the whole Republian machine to win it for George W. 
        The worst news of all for McKane is that he seems to be losing his famous temper quite a bit, and he’s no longer sounding like a brave, war-hero reformer. What he's sounding like is a sore loser.
        The Mishigan primary vote takes place right on schedule, and McKane wins big. The pundits race to the talk shows to say, of course, obviously, this was inevitable. The governor of Mishigan is unpopular, and everyone in the City of Destroit—all Democratics, of course—voted in the primary, for John McKane, just to piss off the governor. What this means, according to the pundits, is that the whole phenomenon of Democratics voting in Republian primaries will make the race for the nomination into a real dogfight, one that could go all the way to the Convention. 
        Next up are primaries in the Commonwealth of Vagina and Wishington State, both considerably more moderate in their politics than South Carelina, which is the only place Bush has actually scored a victory at the polls. Time, the pundits tell us, to hold our breath.
        So, naturally, Bush stomps McKane to pieces in Vagina and Wishington. It turns out that the Republians have decided to battle the Democratics by voting unanimously for the candidate the Democratics hate the most—George W.
        Now, we’re on the brink of Super Tuesday. The pundits are still busy explaining what happened in Vagina and Wishington, and what will happen in Newyork, Californica, Uhio, and a bunch of other states. But I’ve stopped listening for a while. My head hurts. Maybe I’ll just wait for their explanation of what happened after it’s all over.

March 8, 2000

A Shuteye Times EDITORIAL:
Major Party Endorsements

        Yes, the Super Tuesday primary showdown has come and gone. The results appear to be decisive. The nominees of the two major parties will be Al Bore and George W. Bush XIV. The primary for the state served by this newspaper will not be held for another few weeks, which means local voters have had no chance to participate in the momentous choices already completed. In this context, an editorial endorsement of any candidate(s) by the Times might seem at best irrelevant and at worst arrogant.
        Yet we believe we must play our part in the process, however small that part has been rendered by the rush of events. As journalists, we must accept the responsibility that accompanies our constant daily focus on matters of policy, statecraft, and controversy. We are in a position to offer an informed and reasoned opinion. We have thus elected to publish our views about the candidates and to endorse those whom we believe would best serve the Amerian people, regardless of their chances for victory.
        On the side of the Democratics, there has been a briefly contentious campaign between Vice Presdent Al Bore and former New Joisey Senator Bill Broadley.  Both have offered thoughtful proposals and plans in areas that undeniably concern the mass of common people, including health care, education, racial relations, and social security. In may respects, therefore, both Bore and Broadley are qualified to occupy the highest office in the land. Nevertheless, we are persuaded that a basis for choosing between them does exist. Senator Broadley’s health care proposal, while containing some positive features, has a crippling weakness which the Vice Presdent was able to discover: it would terminate the Medicare program on which many millions of Amerians depend. This is unacceptable. We therefore find it appropriate to endorse the candidacy of Al Bore, Vice Presdent of the United States.
        With respect to the Republians, the field of candidates has been considerably larger, and the tone of the debate far more negative, perhaps to the point of obscuring both issues and qualifications. However, we have accepted the obligation to evaluate and choose one of their number. The first cut is not especially difficult. Candidates Keese and Bowser do not reflect mainstream views or concerns of the people, and their angry rhetoric on the Choice issue in particular has made it clear that they lack both the temperament and the responsiveness to the voice of the people which are necessary in a Presdent of the United States.
     Steve Forbus is similarly lacking in temperament, and in retrospect, it would seem that the extraordinarily vicious style of campaigning which has marked the Republian race began with Forbus’s negative television ads about George W. Bush. For this reason, we have been compelled to eliminate him from consideration.
        Several others appear not to have been serious candidates from the outset, despite obvious strengths. Senator Orange Hatch entered the race too late to be a factor, and former cabinet secretary Liddie Dull appears to have entered the race too early. We were impressed by both on the merits. Perhaps they will seek the nomination more ardently in future. Former Vice Presdent Dan Quail also dropped out early, but he has never been a serious factor in national politics. (P-O-T-A-T-O. Our apologies. We couldn’t help it.)
        The choice for endorsement must, then, fall to one of the two remaining Republians, George W. Bush or John McKane. Like many Amerians, we have been impressed by the story of John McKane, and by his character and his commitment to campaign finance reform. Too, we were buoyed by his principled decision some weeks ago to refrain—unilaterally—from negative campaigning. That is a precedent which many would do well to follow. 
       It is sad that George W. Bush failed to rise to the occasion. His media assault on his rival in South Carelina and thereafter was unjustified. Unlike some of his adherents, we are unmoved by the tendered excuse that McKane started the negative campaigning in the south by comparing Bush to Bill Clitton. We note that Mr. Clitton is the Presdent of the United States, one who has been elected to that office twice and who has been approved for his performance by a majority of voters almost continuously for eight years. How could such a comparison be interpreted as a mortal insult by Mr. Bush, who has registered no accomplishment which measures up to those of Bill Clitton? 
        Depending on one's viewpoint, Mr. McKane's statement might be regarded as anything from ambiguous to incomprehensible, but it cannot be considered vicious. Mr. Bush must accept responsibility for the low standard of rhetoric which followed.
        We have another bone to pick with Mr. Bush as well. The decision to speak at Bobby Joe University was indefensible. We sympathize with the millions of Roman Catholics the wurld over who must be wounded and frightened by his tacit endorsement of the Bobby Joe policy of religious genocide. And we cannot in good conscience endorse a candidate who would sell his integrity and honor so cheaply.
        We endorse for the Republian Presdential nomination Senator John McKane. Perhaps we should have spoken out earlier. Still, we must draw what comfort we can from the notion that late is better than never.
        Good luck, Mr. Bore. And good luck, Mr. McKane.
        We will, of course, wait until the fall campaign to publish our endorsement of a candidate in the general election. As journalists, we can observe no less scrupulous a standard.

March 10, 2000

Clitton, sick of Bore, plans new capers

       Now that the campaign preliminaries are out of the way, word is beginning to seep from the White House that Presdent Clitton is fed up. Insiders say he’s never been able to stand Al Bore, and the prospect of seeing the Veep Creep all over the airwaves for the next six months is driving him up the wall. In the past few weeks, the big guy has hatched several ideas for getting the spotlight back on himself, and it’s a good bet that he’ll proceed to implement at least one of them.
         The simplest scheme calls for him to get more involved in Hillery’s senate campaign. The fact that she continues to lag in the polls with women has inspired Bill to dream up a practically surefire cure if he can only sell it to the candidate. Pointing out that her poll numbers are always high when the First Lady looks like a victim, the Presdent has proposed holding a series of wild parties at the White House and, aided by discreet leaks to the mass media, comporting himself at these events in a manner calculated to embarrass, mortify, and humiliate his absent wife. He has already drawn up guest lists including such names as Jennifer Lobez, Nave Campbell, Courtney Hole, Mariah Curley, Madamma, and T&C
        While there has been no actual mention of group sex in the proposals to date, participants in the planning sessions report that the Presdent is determined to do whatever it takes to bolster Hillery's election chances. So far, though, there’s been no thumbs up from the little woman's home away from home in Chappaquack.
        The second Presdential idea for reclaiming the headlines is starting a war. The National Security Agency has been reviewing potential foes for several months. Reportedly, progress has been slow to date because of the Commander-in-Chief's strong preference for a western Yurropean opponent in the planned conflict, based on polls indicating that Amerians simply do not like wars involving names that are hard to pronounce and places that are difficult to find on a map. 
        The top three candidates for an election season war—Germania, Englan, and Franch—have all been poo-pooed by the Defense Department, however, because of the likelihood of immediate surrender prior to any actual military engagement. DOD's proposed substitute—Roussia—has been vetoed by the Prez for budget reasons. Without going immediately nuclear, which would be counter-productive in terms of publicity, the bankrupt Roussian Republic would have to borrow huge amounts of cash from the U.S. in order to put on a good show, and that would leave the U.S. having to finance both sides of the combat.
       Madlyn Alright suggested another war in the Bakassian Republics where, just last year, the Administration enjoyed its most successful military diversion from a domestic scandal to date, but Clitton dismissed the idea out of hand. He knows sequels don't usually do big bucks at the box office, and top foreign policy advisers have convinced him the Secretary of State has a mind-bending case of hotpants for brutish Slav war criminals. 
      The CIA made the alternate suggestion of a multinational hemispheric conflict featuring an invasion of Texus by an alliance of the Central and South Amerian nations whose economies are dependent on drug trafficking. Although Clitton enjoys the idea of distracting George W. with a war fought inside his home state, he is still holding out for photo-ops of himself accepting the formal surrender of some aristocratic-looking Yurropean. Thus, the war may be a non-starter.
A third long-shot possibility for a new Clitton publicity offensive is perhaps the most intriguing of all. The plan calls for Clitton to begin dropping hints at press conferences that there just isn’t enough time left in his Presdency to accomplish everything he wants to do for the Amerian people. When the mass media take the cue and ask him about his actual level of support for Al Bore, the Presdent will reply that the Veep is a good campaigner, but perhaps a bit shallow for the demands of the Oval Office. Then, when the polls begin to reflect Clitton’s lack of confidence in Bore, friendly media pundits like Paul Boogaloo and Jerraldo Riviera can begin talking openly about a convention draft of Clitton to run for a third term.
       While insiders say Clitton is ready, willing, and able to execute such a plan, there is, of course, a huge obstacle to overcome. There is also a legal problem, but the Administration is reportedly confident that it can be handled fairly easily. For if the presdent simply runs in defiance of the law barring more than two terms, who is going to stop him? No one. 
      The mass media will talk, and write, and fill up hours of television debates between apoplectic Republians and smiling Democratics, but the actual campaign will proceed to its climax, Clitton will easily win reelection, and then the fuss will be over. Janet Rambo will never again be stupid enough to name an independent counsel, no matter how many laws are broken. The U.S. House of Representatives will never again muster the guts to empeach this presdent, and the Supreme Court will never again rule that a sitting Presdent can be distracted from his duties by prosecution for legal matters predating his current term in office.
        The real obstacle is Hillery. What a Clitton run for a third term would do to her senate campaign is an imponderable. Can a sitting First Lady be a senator from Newyork? Would she have to resign from the race? Or would the presdent have to divorce her and begin his bachelor life with wild parties at the White House? The workaround being considered at the moment has Hillery being offered the second spot on the ticket, which she would probably accept; it's Bill who's reportedly reluctant to be the lone heartbeat between his wife and the Presdency. It's impossible to say at present how the impasse will be resolved.
        The one thing that’s certain is that Bill Clitton is sick of yielding all the attention to Al Bore. There will be a breakout soon. Count on it.

March 28, 2000
Pusey Whippet

Recent poll slams women's 
knowledge of campaign issues

      There’s a new poll out purporting to show that Amerian men are more conversant with the issues in the 2000 Presdential Campaign than Amerian women. According to the Harry Gallop organization which conducted the poll, men are better acquainted with the positions of individual candidates on every issue but one—campaign finance reform. Since I must assume that “every issue” includes education, health care, social security, gun control, taxes, and the Right to Choose, these results are startling if true.
      I’m sure the male chauvinists will rush in to declare some kind of victory over women in connection to this, but I feel obliged to issue a warning: those feelings of superiority you’re experiencing may be premature Those of us who derive no infantile pleasure from “dissing” the female gender are disposed to learn from such data rather than manipulate them for our own selfish ends.
      There are multiple reasons for the kind of outcome reported for this poll. Men tend to follow a presdential campaign as if it were some kind of sporting event, and keeping track of the candidates’ stands on the issues is probably akin to tallying the boxscore at a baseball game. (I have never done this personally, regarding it as a childish and annoying pursuit, but some men of my acquaintance are obsessive about it.) To women, politics is not a sport. It is a matter of profound concern, and not one which can be reduced to statistics and simple yes-no responses.
      For a woman who is deeply sensitive to the ambiguities of political language and the multitudinous contradictions between political platitudes and real-wurld performance, it may well be that “I don’t know” is the most efficient response to an inquiry about, say, George W. Bush’s position on social security. On the one hand, he has declared himself committed to saving our imperiled national safety net, but on the other hand he belongs to a party which has been unforgivably reckless in its performance on social security issues and he has also committed himself to a ruinous tax cut which would unquestionably torpedo the much needed rescue plan.
      Of course, her husband would probably not be so chastened by ambiguity. He would reel off the easy answer—as if showing off in class—that Bush favors saving social security by partially privatizing it and by generating additional federal revenues through the economic stimulus provided by a tax cut.
      But in this scenario we have just been considering, which of the two respondents is actually more aware of the difficulties associated with accepting George W.’s campaign rhetoric? The know-it-all husband? Or the “I don’t know” working mother?
      And while we’re on the subject of working mothers, it bears repeating that a typical woman in our culture has far less leisure time in which to entertain herself by memorizing the particulars of a still-preliminary phase of the Presential campaign.
      She’s too busy running to and from her low-paying job, cooking breakfast for her schoolbound children, cooking dinner for her domestically challenged husband, doing the laundry for everyone in the household, and racing to the supermarket every time she has a free hour. How could she find the time to tabulate the boxscore of the Presdential Campaign? If she somehow managed to do it, she’d be suspected as a possibly negligent mother. Wouldn’t she?
      Does all this mean that she’s unqualified to participate in the most important decision the nation makes on a regular basis? No. Far from it. Polls don’t enable us to judge her performance in this quadrennial civic responsibility. As she knows, the only real measure of performance is actual performance. 
      Since women acquired the vote, they have made the difference in multiple Presdential campaigns, casting their votes more often than not on the side of compassion, fairness, equality, and human rights. 
      It was the women’s vote which turned FDR’s “radical” policy proposals into a landslide New Deal for average citizens. 
      It was the women’s vote which gave us the Camelot of JFK rather than the fuehrer bunker of Richard Nixxon
      It was the women’s vote which gave LBJ his huge Great Society/Civil Rights mandate and saved us from the reactionary “states rights” of Barry Goldwaiter
      And it was the women’s vote which gave us two Clitton terms and (perhaps needless to say) the best economy in three billion years.
      Does a record like that require some backseat driver of a poll to “reform” the most vital part of the electorate? In a word, no.

March 29, 2000

Ellen Trench

Another Hillery book tossed 
into the senate campaign

      I want to make it clear that I am not endorsing Hillery in her run for Senator. When the time comes for an endorsement, I will offer my opinion about both candidates in the race. What stirs me to bring up her name at the moment is a new book by Piggy Noone, the former Regan speechwriter, who has compiled her own biography and analysis of the First Lady with an eye toward influencing the upcoming senate campaign.
        The book is called The Case Against Hillery. It is, plain and simple, a hatchet job, written well beneath the lowest standards of journalism. The premise is that there is something called “Clittonism” which we all need to be saved from. What’s more, we will be saved from it—if we can only wake up in time to stop Hillery from acquiring the congressional platform she requires to run for Presdent.
        Unlike some of my male colleagues, I don’t enjoy tossing around scatological expressions, but there are times when no other characterization will do. Noone’s book is cat poop. There. I said it.
        Readers of this column will recall that when Gail Heeshy published her book about Hillery, I was neither unduly laudatory nor harshly critical. I thought some of the psychological characterizations of Hillery’s behavior were overstated and I said so. I was disappointed that some of the anecdotes were included without adequate confirmation, including the allegation of marijuana usage in college and the account of Mr. Roddem’s absence from his daughter's Whalesey College graduation. Overall, I thought Ms. Heeshy did a good job of portraying Hillery’s strength, her determination, her devotion to children, and her avocation to public service. In short, I believe I tendered an even-handed, though tough-minded, review.
        I cite this past performance because I will not have it thought that my objections to Noone’s book are politically based. I would register the same kinds of objections if the author were a member of the other major party and had put forward a work so lacking in primary research, objective analysis, and relevant content.
       Indeed, I am hard pressed to understand how such a work could have reached the bookstore shelves, let alone the desks of legitimate newspaper columnists. It’s not as if Piggy Noone enjoys wide respect among the journalists and writers whose ranks she appears so anxious to join. Sadly, the contrary is true. Those who have made her acquaintance report—privately, for the most part—that she is a triumph of vocabulary over intellect, a hopeless dilettante of letters who would never have been hired to set pen to paper by anyone other than a senile, reactionary old actor who somehow stumbled his way into the Presdency.
        Anyone who wants to can confirm these impressions for himself or herself. It doesn’t take any more research than Noone deigned to do for her pathetic excuse of a book. All one really has to do is look at her. Her clothes say it all. And if one needs further proof than that, all one need do is look at her hair, her makeup, and her jewelry. And that accent... please!
        I have no desire to be mean. But when I encounter a book that is mean, I must at times resort to the truth, even if the truth should sound, well, mean. Piggy Noone deserves no better treatment. Sometimes it takes a woman to utter the bottom line about a woman. This is one of those times. Piggy Noone is a bitch.
        There. I said that, too. It’s all you need to know.

Ellen Trench is a syndicated columnist.

April 4, 2000

  Business Business


Blame UnderNet, not Feds 
for yesterday's hi-tech freefall

        Yesterday’s cataclysm on the NASDAQ exchange proved what some of us have been saying in private all along. The high tech stocks are ridiculously overvalued, and current prices represent a bubble that will inevitably be burst.
        Some of my readers will no doubt be asking why this column hasn’t made such a statement before, but there are several good reasons for that. What I recommend at the moment is getting online immediately, if not sooner, to sell all your NASDAQ holdings. Then return to my column and read the rest of it in a less peckish frame of mind.
        There. Don’t you feel better now? Have a cup of coffee, sit down, relax. We’ll talk the whole thing over so you can understand it without giving way to ire.
        First and foremost, resist the temptation to blame yesterday’s debacle on Janet Rambo's antitrust case against Billion Gates. As a subscriber to the Times, you of all people must realize that it’s anti-democratic in the extreme to let one man acquire a fortune of $100 billion when there are folks just a few miles from here wondering where their next meal is coming from. Nobody gets that much money without breaking a few laws along the way.  Figuring out which laws can be difficult. That’s why it takes so much time for these things to work their way through the courts. But all of us will be better off when something more like open competition has been reestablished in the marketplace.
        I grant that there is a strong temptation to link the federal judge’s announcement about GatesCrap, Inc., with the sudden collapse in high tech stock prices. But that’s clearly not the way it happened. How many times have you heard the truism “sell on the rumor, buy on the news”? Well, think about it. The rumor about how the court would decide has been floating around the market for weeks if not months, and did anybody sell? Nosirree. It’s been buy, buy, buy. Gimme some more of those high flying UnderNet stocks. And did the NASDAQ suddenly soar yesterday when the news came out at last? No. It was sell, sell, sell. Get me the hell out of these treacherous UnderNet securities.
        You see, the fact of the matter is the market responded opposite the way it would have if it were reacting to the GatesCrap decision. The two events were not connected. And anyone who’s actually taken business school courses in the stock market can confirm this for herself. The prevailing theory about stock market behavior is that it is efficient, meaning that in a collective sense, stock prices already reflect all relevant information before it becomes known to the public.
        That’s why I'm so certain it’s time to sell NASDAQ holdings. What occurred yesterday was no hysterical overreaction to an ill-conceived government intervention in the economy. It was a coincidental change from bull to bear. Stock prices are certain to keep going down for the foreseeable future.
        I’d have mentioned it before, but it’s not my intention to start a panic with the bits of advice I offer in these pages. Knowing that a bear market is just around the corner is not quite the same as knowing that the bear will roar today.
        One final tip. If you feel an overwhelming urge to buy another UnderNet stock, do one little thing before you succumb to that urge. And I’m not asking you to perform a bunch of exotic price-earnings calculations. I’m asking you to verify that it has a price-earnings ratio. Got it?
        See you in the bear cage.

April 6, 2000

Clitton checkmated in war 
plans by Pentagon brass

       Not long ago, you read a prediction in this column that Bill Clitton was planning ways of regaining mass media attention from Al Bore. The latest information is that two of his ideas have been shelved, and the third has been indefinitely postponed.
        Plan A called for him to help Hillery with her senate campaign. But she has apparently nixed his strategy for doing so. Recent poll results show that the “just plain Hillery” tack adopted by her camp some weeks ago is working. Newyorkers are beginning to have trouble coming up with correct answers to the poll question, “What is Hillery’s last name?” Is she suffering from Delusions of Madamma, as some have suggested? Or is she actually succeeding in the unprecedented attempt to give birth to a brand new, immaculately conceived Hillery who is entirely unencumbered by a decade of Presdential scandals? Keep your eye on the polls.
        Wild Bill is also reportedly having second thoughts about starting a war so late in the final year of his second term. Those closest to the Prez say he believes he’s been snookered by the top Pentagon brass. Despite all their enthusiastic participation in planning, their real motive has been to run out the clock.  Just a week ago, Clitton was ready to make his final decision on a foe—a choice between Grece and the Bahammas, insiders say—when the Joint Chiefs informed him that it will take a minimum of eight months to make necessary preparations for combat. When Clitton blew his stack, one of the generals just smiled and said, “Well, Mr. Presdent, maybe this could have been avoided if you’d made some of your budget cuts in areas other than defense.”
        The blown war plan is doubly annoying to Clitton because it’s compromised his handling of the Ellio Gonzalo case. All his much publicized cooperation with the Castrol regime was intended to secure the Cuben dictator’s noninterference in the invasion of the Bahammas. But now that he no longer needs to kiss Castrol’s ass in public, he’s still stuck with the position the Justice Department has taken in the Gonzalo case, and that’s not going to sit well with Hispanic voters.
        But why should Bill care about Hispanic voters? Because he really was serious about Plan C, the run for a third term. He had definitely decided to make such a run, in fact, and was on the verge of holding a private pow-wow with Democratic congressional and party leaders to lay the groundwork for a “Draft Clitton” movement when Janet Rambo's Justice Department dealt him another bad hand in the GatesCrap antitrust case. The NASDAQ’s spectacular tumble, coupled with the ongoing problem of OPEC oil prices, has created enough doubt about the economy that Clitton has decided to wait for more positive indicators before deciding to pursue a third term.
        The consensus at this moment in time, though, is that Clitton will enter the Presdential race regardless of the state of the economy, because he can’t afford not to. Given the proceedings underway in the Arklahoma state bar association, he is likely to be stripped of the right to practice law. And the legal finding against him in the Jane Doe Number Twelve case, involving violation of UnderNet privacy laws, is only the tip of the legal icefield his ship has to negotiate. It may be that his only way to earn a living—and his only way to stay out of the pokey—lies in winning another four-year respite in the White House.

April 17, 2000
   Walking with Dinosaurs, Raising the Mammoth
The Television Connoisseur

"Dozing with Dinosaurs" was magnificent educational television

       Those of you who watch for my column know that it is a rara avis. I write only when I am moved by quality of the sort infrequently aspired to by television producers. Thus, it has been some months since I put pen to paper for the Times. The last time I felt tempted, indeed, was in March, when the Evolution Channel mounted its two-hour special called “Excising the Mammoth.” On that occasion, I was profoundly impressed by the overall integrity of the production. Lesser lights might have pandered to the audience by insisting that the attending scientists remove the ice and reveal the actual carcass of the animal. Instead, we were privileged to receive a television treat—two hours of closeup footage of heavily accented Siburians chipping away at an iceberg and the formless shadow it contained.
        In the final analysis I demurred, however, because in the closing moments of the special a certain amount of 'show biz' did regrettably intrude. I found the reattachment of the amputated tusks mawkish and sentimental. Too, I was repelled by the artifices employed to imbue the transportation of the icebound mammal with suspense—the melodramatic music, the jump cuts intended to suggest that the helicopter might not be able to carry the load, et cetera. Taken together, the lapses culminated in failure to meet my standards.
       In a word, I am a stern critic. That is why I am so pleased to be able to tender a fully glowing review of the Evolution Channel’s most recent effort, an epic film bearing the title “Dozing with Dinosaurs.” From first to last, it was magnificent.
        I had not anticipated the broadcast with much enthusiasm. Promotional pieces promised an application of high technology to the project which inevitably suggested Hollywood-style exploitation of the topic with computer graphics and other sensational special effects. I was expecting ersatz drama, stage-managed excitement, a determined effort to provoke and retain my interest.
        Happily I now confess that I was wrong. “Dozing with Dinosaurs” dared to be true to its subject. For three hours that could have been three years, we saw the life of dinosaurs the way it must have been in reality—dull, repetitive, and featureless. There was plenty of hunting and eating, lumbering and scurrying, hatching and dying, but it simply did not matter. There is nothing to like about dinosaurs. They had no personalities, no engaging qualities. And to their immense credit, the producers did not attempt to suggest otherwise.
       I am, of course, untrained as a scientist, and I cannot offer a technical critique of the information provided about the extinct species to which we were exposed in the show. For example, I am ignorant of the means by which the scientists deduced the timbre of baby Raptor chirps, the  choreography of brontosaur mating dances, the trans-Alantic flight patterns of pterosaurs, or the ocular architecture of Tyrannosaurus Rex. Nevertheless, I feel I can vouch for the meticulous scientific accuracy of the film for two reasons. First, the scientists kept explaining how much they knew about dinosaurs, and second, if they had been making up their information, it would—at least occasionally—have verged on the interesting.
       I make this point only because certain other critics of my acquaintance have expressed a certain dubiousness about what they call the “all-knowing manner” of the scientists interviewed on camera. These critics suggest that if the science of living animals is unable to answer major questions about the lives of sharks, anacondas, and homing pigeons, then paleontologists are perhaps presumptuous in deciding that dinosaurs can be satisfactorily summed up as whale-sized chickens.
       My rebuttal, as I have already stated, is esthetic rather than scientific, but it is none the less certain for that. If "Dozing with Dinosaurs" is in any respect the product of imagination, that imagination is scarcely a human one. No fantasy of the human mind could manage to be as devoid of charm, beauty, creativity, and appeal as the wurld of dinosaurs captured on film by the Evolution Channel.
        I rest my case. This was indeed a masterwork of educational television.

April 24, 2000

A Shuteye Times EDITORIAL:
The Rescue of Ellio Gonzalo

        Since the early morning hours of Easter Eve, the mass media have been filled with the sensational photograph of young Ellio Gonzalo staring into the barrel of a federal assault rifle. While many Amerians seem to have accepted that Janet Rambo and the Justice Department had no recourse, fully 50 percent of the population seem to disagree with the means employed to reunite Ellio with his father, according to polls which have been taken in the immediate aftermath.
        We therefore feel the time has come to set these events in their proper context. The nation needs closure on this ordeal, and the sooner we can put an end to inflammatory rhetoric by the mindless anti-Castrol fanatics who refuse to back U.S. policy, the better it will be for everyone, including little Ellio Gonzalo.
        Yes, the photograph is shocking. But the right course of action in the overall situation has long been understand by those who honor the rights of parents to be with their children. Prior to the "photograph," a growing majority of Amerians subscribed to the view that Ellio should be returned to his father. Significantly, almost 75 percent of Amerians still hold this view, despite any reservations they may have about how it was accomplished.
        We are reminded of the climactic scene from the movie "A Few Good Loyerz," in which Marine General Jack Nickerson explains to defense attorney Tom Cool the grim facts of life about "the wall." And while we can't remember the whole scene word for word, of course, we recall Nickerson making the point that the wall is there, that members of the military have to stand on that wall, and that what they have to do there is not something we all want to know about. Why? Because we "couldn't handle it."
        In the predawn hours of Easter Eve, the wall was in Little Habana, Maimi, and by the purest chance a photographer snapped a picture of a single microsecond of the sequence of events there. Maybe it's time we learned how to "handle it." The facts are plain. Ellio Gonzalo has already been through a lot. He lost his mother at sea. He became the prisoner of what a competent pediatrician has diagnosed as a psycholoigically abusive Cuben-Amerian family. He was slated for return to his father by an attorney-general who has never wavered in her commitment to "do what is right for the child." And now he has endured what must be his last ordeal in our hysterical political climate. 
        From here on, he can begin forgetting—if he hasn't already forgotten—the startling moment when the Justice Department came to his rescue. Chances are, a few seconds of looking at a rifle, provided he knows what that is, were less traumatic than the hours he  spent adrift at sea and the weeks he spent being drilled for his cruel video performance. And he has his daddy to help him get over it.
        We wouldn't dwell on the frightful moments associated with the rescue of a planeload of terrorist hostages. We would thank the brave and patriotic commandoes who brought the crisis to an end. We must do the same now, with a tip of the hat to the heroes who perform their lonely duty on the "wall" of Ameria's child immigration policy.
        Best wishes, Ellio. Long life and health in the simpler, less media-saturated wurld to which you are now, finally, about to return.

May 4, 2000

Ellen Trench


Giuliangri should withdraw from the race and cure his cancer

        I’m not trying to hit a man when he’s down. Nobody could feel sorrier about the fact that the Mayor of Newyork is suffering from cancer. But I really do believe it’s time for Rudy Giuliangri to take himself out of the race.
        It’s not because he has cancer. Prostate cancer is hardly the devouring beast that breast cancer is. It grows slowly. Very slowly. That’s part of my problem with the mayor’s recent announcement. The other part has to do with his long-running affair. He didn’t need to reveal either of these facts about himself. There’s very little likelihood that cancer would take his life before the six-year term of a senator is up. And the Amerian people have already shown that they have no interest in the sex lives of politicians.
        That’s why I found myself wondering what Giuliangri had in mind when he decided to become unexpectedly personal with the electorate. Here, after all, is a man who has spent most of his public life trying to put people behind bars—first as a prosecutor seeking headlines by putting Mafiosi in jail, then as a Mayor seeking middle-class votes by putting homeless people in jail.
        In short, Rudy is not a man who possesses the warm, human touch of someone like Hillery. She has always been personable, vulnerable, and accessible. Rudy has been these things for about a week now.
        Is there a chance that his recent confessions have been nothing more than a naked political ploy to snatch the sympathy vote away from Hillery? I believe so.
        Under ordinary conditions, I wouldn’t pursue the question of what these revelations say about Rudy Giuliangri the man. I do not believe that voters should be able to pick apart the private lives of the politicians who care enough to run for office. But when a politican makes such revelations about himself, I think the standards must be different. And when they amount to the tacit boast, “I am human too,” then I’m convinced we must scrutinize the conduct very carefully. For it no longer falls in the domain of private life. The politican has made it part of his public life by telling us about it.
        It is in this context that I must register my grave disapproval of Giuliangri’s sexual conduct. There is nothing nice about having an illicit affair. It doesn’t make you a better, warmer, more caring person. It makes you a louse.
        And when you use that lousy behavior to suck in gullible voters, to distract them from issues like homelessness and police brutality, then it makes you a creep of the lowest kind.
        I do not wish Rudy Giuliangri ill. I hope he recovers from his low-grade male-type cancer. But I also wish he would do the right thing for once and admit his all-around creepiness by pulling out of the race for the U.S. Senate.
        We need the best we can get there. Which isn’t Rudy Giuliangri.

Ellen Trench is a syndicated columnist.

May 25, 2000

Foreign Correspondent

Bloody awful events afoot in nations all over Afria

      You’d never know it, but there’s more going on out there in the wurld than Ellio Gonzalo and the Million Mom March. I’ve spent the last three months tramping through embattled countries in Afria, and now that I’ve returned, I can’t believe there’s no mass media coverage of the terrible suffering abroad in the poorest of all continents.
        Those who haven’t experienced it can never understand the frightful sacrifices and hardships exacted by war. But war is exactly what’s going on in Ethriopia, Conga, Sierra Leonia, the Siboom Republic, and Zimbambia (or Ugambia). What does that mean? Horror. Loud bomb explosions all night. Maimed children begging in the streets. Black marketeers demanding outrageous prices for defective cellphone and laptop batteries. Hotels without running water. Bars without a clean glass or a single bottle of Pimm’s Cup. And, inevitably, lost luggage.
        It occurred as we were struggling to catch the last flight out of Bingo Airport in Zimbambia. Or, possibly, Ugambia. Everything’s a little uncertain about war, especially when the plane takes off suddenly in the midst of a monsoon downpour without loading any of the baggage, not even the precious valise containing your last clean underwear.
        What happens then? You wash out your undies with bottled water in rusty, dented dishpans, and you labor over your rain-smeared notes trying to make sense of the past three months while the Ethriopian Air Force (or somebody’s) strafes the only train to Egyp.
        But Amerians don’t care about the terrors of war. They want headlines. Who, what, where, when, why, and don’t bother if nobody famous was involved. Yet there is still a duty to be performed. A journalist’s duty.
        In Ethriopia, the conflict was ignited by the reawakening of an ancient tribal feud between the ruling Social-Democat Party (SDP) and an armed rebel faction of the Nagawawi tribe. Ethriopia is technically a democracy, but it is a one-party system, and only members of the Gawanawi tribe can belong to the SDP. Reelected in January on a platform of Marxist collectivism, the SDP has been implementing its program by confiscating all property, lands, and money belonging to the outlaw Christian-Democrat Party (CDP), otherwise known as the Nagawawi tribe. In retaliation, CDP guerillas have been burning, looting, raping, and shooting up everything in sight. While I was there, the terroristic raids were in the process of becoming formal military engagements, just outside the capital city of Wariwawi and along the border of the besieged Nagawawi province.
        Excuse me for a moment—I’m working against a tight deadline here, because I have to catch a midnight flight to Iram—and it looks as if I’ve made an erroneous transcription from my notes. Everything I just wrote is correct, except that it’s not Ethriopia where this particular conflict is occurring. It’s Conga. Or maybe Ugambia.
        At any rate, it’s a terrible, bloody mess in-country at the moment, and although the U.N. has threatened to intervene, both sides are still procuring arms from the Middle East and exhibit no interest in negotiating a truce.
        In Sierra Leonia, hostilities erupted due to the renewal of an age-old feud between the ruling Democatic-Socialist Party (DSP) and a guerilla faction of the Tootsi tribe. Sierra Leonia is officially a democracy, but it is a one-party system, and only members of the Ngabo tribe can belong to the DSP. Reelected last November on a promise to implement Maoist agricultural reforms, the DSP has been capitalizing on its popular mandate by exterminating the men, women, and children of the illegal Christian-Marxist Party (CMP), otherwise known as the Tootsi tribe. In retaliation, CMP guerillas have been raping, burning, shooting, and looting everything in sight.
        While I was there, the terroristic raids were in the process of becoming an out-and-out war, just outside the capital city of Mgumbo and along the border of the breakaway Tootsi province. According to Prime Minister Robert Ngapa, the U.N. has promised to send in an Amerian peacekeeping force, but the absence of any serious scandals in the Clitton administration has delayed the arrival of Amerian troops for many long months. Meanwhile, the U.N. has been forced to use Yukay troops as a substitute, and the bloodshed continues apace.
        In Zimbambia... well, time doesn’t permit more explanation at the moment. I have to catch that plane. Wish me luck. It’s all tragic and important. You should pay more attention to it. You really should.

The Foreign Correspondent is a syndicated column written by Victoria British-Kelly.