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Perhaps it’s better
to leave the TV off

Dec 16, 2003 6:13 AM

We’re all going to hell in a haywagon, even with Saddam in chains.

Halliburton embarrasses its former boss’s best friend, The Really Big Boss, by a bookkeeping error or some small oversight that let it wind up with an extra $61 million in profiteering in Iraq. George the Second says he’ll demand they give back if it’s true it was price gouging, as suspected.

If you like 1 to 10 shots, bet against that one. Tricky Dick will come out of the cave and tell George everything was fine and aboveboard, and George will announce once again that these are among the prices you have to pay for liberating Iraquis.

In the Boner of the Week in braindead Washington, the administration, one day after banning France, Germany and Russia from contracts in Iraq (What, and take business from Halliburton! That’ll teach you to send troops when we ask for them.) asks those countries to do us a favor by forgiving Iraqi debt. Then George drags Jim Baker out of mothballs and sends him over to do the begging bit. Nothing like a Commander-in-Chief with big ones and no sense of shame.

Next, expecting the boss of China, Wen Jiabao, for dinner, The Man warns our friends (or former friends) in Taiwan not to rock the boat by seeking independence. This from a president of a country that fought for independence, who sends Americans to die in Iraq and Afghanistan in the name of independence for those who live there. The administration will soon be running out of friends to alienate, and will have the largest rolodex of "former friends" in history. Whenever the current reign of terror in Washington ends, not likely next year, the new president will have to spend the first three years of his first term traveling around the world apologizing to everyone for our stupidity.

In Afghanistan ”” you remember Afghanistan, that’s where we went to catch and punish whatshisname ”” we now have taken to killing kids with mass bombing designed to destroy a warlord, or a guy with suspicious goats, or somebody. Whatever happened to those much-ballyhooed precision bombs, the ones that showed them vaporizing something marked with crosshairs? Or are kids too small for the computers’ crosshairs to see?

Speaking of kids, the Parents Television Council says it counted 534 separate episodes of prime-time violence on the six major broadcast networks during the first two weeks of the November rating sweeps in 2002. We don’t know what took them a year to release the figures, but it must be a misprint. It must have been the first two hours of the sweeps period. We have an idea. If the Federal Communications Commission can’t control this guns and knives and sex stuff because of First Amendment concerns, let Tom Ridge and John Ashcroft handle it under the Patriot Act.

They don’t worry about abridging anyone’s rights, so why not do this in the name of national defense. If we don’t defend ourselves against this smut, the average age expectancy in this country will drop from the seventies to the forties as whole new generations raised on blood and gore start killing one another off, just as they saw on TV in their formative years growing up. Bang, bang, you’re dead.

On television, my worst commercials candidates ”” the Miller Lite everybody-fall-down fiasco and the Chevy Malibu stand-on-an-empty-road-and-wait-for-a-ride disaster ”” are outdistanced by a dirty joke for Levitra, the new rival for Viagra. The product name itself is a dirty joke, a copywriter’s cute play on the word levitation, which means, according to my dictionary, "to rise or float in the air, a supernatural power that overcomes the law of gravity."

In the commercial, a guy past his prime is tossing a football with unerring accuracy, time after time, through a tire hanging from a tree. His wife, seeing this amazing repetitive performance, comes out in the backyard, entwines her arms around his neck, and leads him tenderly back to the house. Keep going, boys. Cut to Scene II. Everybody else is doing it these days on TV, why not you?