L. Neil Smith's
Number 357, March 5, 2006

Hurricane Duty

More Hits from the Conventional Wisdom Mailbag
by Jonathan David Morris

Special to TLE

Hi there and welcome to another fine edition of the Conventional Wisdom Mailbag. I'm your host, Conventional Wisdom. You may remember me from such popular misconceptions as "Mariah Carey's career is over," "Saddam has weapons," and "Don't worry, those levees should hold back the water." This week, I'll be answering questions from several of JDM's astute readers. As always, no topic is out of bounds—so, please, feel free to fire away. Ready? On we go.


Dear Conventional Wisdom,
How come Dick Cheney didn't get in trouble for shooting that guy a couple of weeks ago? I shot someone once, and I went to jail. What gives? Is there a double standard in play here? Or is this just another example of the Bush-Cheney White House rising above the law?

Someone Who Shot Someone Once

Dear Someone,
Um, hello? Have you read the Constitution? I have. It says a lot of things in it. But you know what it doesn't say? It doesn't say that a sitting vice president is forbidden from shooting a 78-year-old lawyer named Harry Whittington during a mid-February 2006 quail-hunting trip. So in answer to your question, sir, no, this isn't just another example of Bush-Cheney rising above the law. Because, obviously, what Cheney did wasn't against the law in the first place. If it was, it would be in the Constitution. Stop putting words in our Founding Fathers' mouths.


Dear Conventional Wisdom,
I find it interesting how you're one letter into this mailbag and already defending the establishment at any and all costs. Well, here's one for you: How come the White House is now referring to its domestic spying program as a "terrorist surveillance program"? If that's really what it is, then how come it took six weeks for them to come up with a more appealing name for it? Stick that in your memory hole and smoke it.

George "The Animal" Orwell

Dear Orwell,
What the hell are you talking about? Memory hole? Domestic spying? It's like you're spouting complete and utter nonsense here. If you're on the phone with terrorists, we want to know about it. And if you're on the phone with your Aunt Tillie, who happens to be backpacking through Afghanistan or, say, making a sandwich in her kitchen in Toledo—well, we want to know about that, too. We're in the middle of a war on terror here. The president's terrorist surveillance program has always been just that—a terrorist surveillance program. I don't remember ever referring to it as domestic spying. In fact, I don't even remember ever having this conversation. Where am I? Who am I talking to? What have you done with my shoes?


Dear Conventional Wisdom,
What's your take on this Dubai Ports World deal?

The Question That Everyone's Asking

Dear Question,
I'm glad you asked me that. People seem to think I'll defend the president no matter what he does. But that's simply untrue. Like most of America, I'm irrationally scared of Arabs. And like most of America, I'm irrationally opposed to six major American ports being owned by an Arab company. I mean, what's next? Selling the White House to the Chinese? Or the Washington Monument to the guys who filmed Brokeback Mountain? This is America, damn it. I disagree with the president's stance here for the same reason I disagree with his lax border policies. You see, it's not that I love George W. Bush—it's just that I hate anyone who isn't like me. There's a difference, and I really wish folks would give me credit for that.


Dear Conventional Wisdom,
Settle a bet for me. I think we're on the verge of World War III here, but my buddy says we're actually on the verge of World War IV. How is this possible? Did I just sleep through World War III or something? Tell me my buddy is wrong.

Confused on Sesame Street

Dear Confused,
Your buddy is right when he says a third World War already happened. That was the Cold War, and the only reason we didn't call it a World War at the time was because we weren't sure if we were going to win it yet. However, looking back, we now realize we got the numbering system wrong from the very beginning. What we know as "World War I" was actually the fourth in a series of six World Wars. "World War II" was World War V, and the Cold War was World War VI. That represented the "End of History." And that makes what we're witnessing now—the growing unrest between the West and Islam—the first in a series of three exciting prequels. So you and your buddy are both wrong. This is neither World War III nor World War IV, but rather World War I: The Phantom Menace. Thanks for asking.


Dear Conventional Wisdom,
I'm trying to come up with an emoticon for the Prophet Mohammed, but I can't figure out how to draw the turban. Any ideas?

Dane King, King of the Danes

Dear Dane,
Thanks, but I'll pass @:-)

Jonathan David Morris writes a weekly column on politics, personal freedoms, and pop culture issues. He can be reached at jdm@readjdm.com.



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