Thursday, March 30, 2006


By Stockton

St. Paul City Office Boots Easter Bunny

Thu Mar 23, 9:31 AM ET ST. PAUL, Minn. - The Easter Bunny has been sent packing at St. Paul City Hall.

A toy rabbit, pastel-colored eggs and a sign with the words "Happy Easter" were removed from the lobby of the City Council offices, because of concerns they might offend non-Christians. A council secretary had put up the decorations. They were not bought with city money.

St. Paul's human rights director, Tyrone Terrill, asked that the decorations be removed, saying they could be offensive to non-Christians.

But City Council member Dave Thune says removing the decorations went too far, and he wonders why they can't celebrate spring with "bunnies and fake grass."

Given the serious nature of this dispute, Smorgasblog convened a Round Table of Experts to discuss the matter. Please welcome Rabbi Benjamin Rosenstein (of the Jewish Religion), City Councilman Dave Thune (of St. Paul) and Cindy Martin (of the Association against Juvenile Diabetes).

SmorgasBlog: Was the placement of the decorations, in the lobby, the significant factor here? Wasn't that promoting religion? In particular, Christianity?

Rabbi Rosenstein: The placement of the decoration did not offend me. What offended me was a clear violation of the 1st Amendment. It's not about offending anyone, it's about the law. And, it's about fake grass. Bunnies per se, are not offensive.

SB: Speaking of fake grass, we once bought a dime bag of oregano.....

Thune: Nonsense. I don't know what kind of Rabbi you are, but you're certainly no Christian. This is secular stuff. It's Spring, who doesn't think about warm, fuzzy Rabbits and fake grass? It's not christian. Some jews even celebrate Easter.

RR: Jews....Easter....

Cindy Martin: I'm more concerned about the signal this sends to kids. Eat all the candy you want, just gorge yourselves and worry about cavities and diabetes later.

Thune: Are you saying Christians are for diabetes and cavities?

RR: Oy

CM: Of course not.

Thune: Were you even born here?

CM: My dentist is Christian, or at least I think so. He hands out chocolate crucifixes every Easter.

SB: Is it crucifixes or crucifixi?

Thune: There you go again. You and all the other secular humanists. Nail a guy to a Cross and you automatically think about Christ. It could be any guy nailed to a cross.You wouldn't mind if it was pagan decorations.

RR: Actually, the Bunny and Egg motif goes back to the Ancient Egyptians. Both items symbolize fertility which was associated with Spring.

SB: Hence the term, fucking like Bunnies?

RR: Exactly!

SB: And the grass?

RR: Usually smoked before sex, to lower inhibitions.

Thune: This is the media's fault!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


By Stockton

Afghans Protest Decision on Christian

KABUL, Afghanistan - Hundreds of people protested in
Afghanistan on Monday against a court's decision to drop a case against a man who converted from Islam to Christianity, while an official said discussions were underway to determine when he would be released.

Officials said the case was dropped Sunday partially because of concerns that Abdul Rahman is mentally unfit to face trial. The move also followed strong pressure from Western governments.

"Clearly," said one Afghani official, "Mr. Rahman is crazy. By converting to Christianity, he has given up all the good holidays. We do not get one Christian holiday off from work. That's a deranged man."

Moderates have also joined in the debate, calling "beheading" cruel and inhuman punishment for a convert. They see lethal injection as far more in line with the western-style Democracy that the Bush administration has been trying to build. "If it's good enough for Texas, it's good enough for Kabul," said one moderate.

Traditionalists call for a good, old-fashioned stoning.

"We've lost the old ways," said Ifn Abzid. "When I was a child, a stoning brought the whole community together. Now, with beheadings, torture, Jihads and the kid's soccer practice, you never have time to get together with your neighbors."

Friday, March 24, 2006


By Stockton

Ancient Sarcophagus Unearthed in Cyprus

NICOSIA, Cyprus - A 2,500-year-old sarcophagus with vivid color illustrations from Homer's epics has been discovered in western Cyprus, archaeologists said Monday.

Construction workers found the limestone sarcophagus last week in a tomb near the village of Kouklia, in the coastal Paphos area. The tomb, which probably belonged to an ancient warrior, had been looted during antiquity.

In addition to the Homeric figures carved into the sarcophagus, archaeologists made another startling discovery.

"It was quite something," said Tabir Pstoulis. "We're not sure what it is and it might take years to fully understand it's significance."

Pstoulis refers to what was found in the lower right corner of the sarcophagus:

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An enlarged view of the enigma:

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A team of American archaeologists have been dispatched to aid in deciphering what, according to Pstoulis, "may very well be a whole new hieroglyphic system."

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


By Stockton

Humans are responsible for the worst spate of extinctions since the dinosaurs and must make unprecedented extra efforts to reach a goal of slowing losses by 2010, a U.N. report said on Monday.

Habitats ranging from coral reefs to tropical rainforests face mounting threats, the Secretariat of the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity said in the report, issued at the start of a March 20-31 U.N. meeting in Curitiba, Brazil.

"In effect, we are currently responsible for the sixth major extinction event in the history of earth, and the greatest since the dinosaurs disappeared, 65 million years ago," said the 92-page Global Biodiversity Outlook 2 report.

The report not only concluded that humans were responsible for the sixth major extinction event in history, investigators were also able to pin-point the human most responsible.

Meet Frank Portelli.

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Mr. Frank Portelli

Frank Portelli is an accountant living in the Columbus, Ohio area.

"When the U.N. people showed up at my door, I was shocked," said a devastated Portelli. "I had no idea. Really. I try and be a good citizen, I've never been arrested. I don't even smoke. I mean, sometimes I don't recycle, but most of the time I do."

In order to avoid a U.N. resolution condemning him, Portelli has reached an agreement with the United Nations that includes random inspections.

"I even bike to work now," said Portelli, "even though it's an hour commute by car."

In an unguarded moment, Portelli admitted that he would not mind if his neighbor's dog, a German Shepherd named Nero, became extinct. "I hate that fucking dog!"

Monday, March 20, 2006


Australia Starts Cleanup After Big Cyclone

By MERAIAH FOLEY, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 1 minute ago
CAIRNS, Australia - Metal roofs littered streets, wooden houses lay in splinters and banana plantations were stripped bare after the most powerful cyclone to hit Australia in three decades lashed the country's eastern coast Monday.
Amazingly, the storm caused no reported fatalities, and only 30 people suffered minor injuries. But the damage from Cyclone Larry, a Category 5 storm with winds up to 180 mph, was expected to run into the hundreds of millions of dollars.
Hardest hit was Innisfail, a farming city of 8,500 people 60 miles south of the tourist city of Cairns in northeastern Queensland state. By Tuesday the storm was well inland and downgraded to a severe low pressure system.
"It looks like an atomic bomb hit the place," Innisfail mayor Neil Clarke told Australian television. "It is severe damage. This is more than a local disaster, this is a national disaster."

In related news, the mayor of Salzburg, Heinz Schaden called on Austrian authorities for aid to assist in returning U.S. FEMA officials to the United States. "They came," the Mayor commented without an interpreter, "to assist us in our clean-up efforts after the hurricane. I told them, when I saw them, that we had no storm, but they insisted on giving me bottled water and a debit card with five thousand US dollars on the balance. Then they picked up our garbage, which angered our sanitation engineers."

The Remains of Salzburg After the Devastating Cyclone

Michael Chertoff, head of the US Department of Homeland Security, insisted that his department and the Federal Emergency Management Agency had reacted correctly to the crisis in Australia. "It is that agency's duty to respond to an emergency, quickly and efficiently, and that's what they did - but we, and they, need the cooperation of the local populace to get their job done."

The Austrian ambassador to the United States met with President Bush earlier today. The President commented afterwards that he and the Ambassador had "a good, frank talk," about the U.S. efforts. "I told em'," said the President, "that we had assets to deploy. . . good assets, and people are just going to give their all out there because we're all descenders from England."


With the start of "Operation deja vu" the Bush Administration has announced an "End to the end of Major Operations in Iraq."

Operation deja vu began last week. It's principle objective is to rid Northern Iraq of insurgents and to "tidy-up" the area to increase property values.

Despite the operation, the Bush Administration does not believe Iraq has plunged into civil war.

"It's not a civil war, definitely not," said a Bush spokesperson. "It's more like rival factions fighting to determine who will rule the country."

The President also celebrated the 3rd Anniversary of the overthrow of the Iraqi dictatorship with an address. The President did not use the term 'War' and instead referred to the Iraq invasion as "This thing of ours."

The Vice-President also discussed "This thing of ours" on the Sunday talk shows.

On Sunday, Vice President Dick Cheney did not express any regret for predicting in the days before the invasion that U.S. troops would be greeted as liberators or his assessment 10 months ago that the insurgency was in its "last throes." On the contrary, he said the optimistic statements "were basically accurate, reflect reality."

After the interview, the Vice-President was seen chasing a white rabbit. The rabbit held a pocket-watch and was heard to repeatedly say, "I'm late, I'm late..."

In other news, Vice-President Cheney downplayed rumors of a major shake-up in the administration. Washington insiders have even put the Vice-President on the list of administration officials that may be gone by the end of the year.

Sources close to Smorgasblog have learned that Vice-President Cheney may very well be gone next year, but not without a job. According to an anonymous source, Vice-President Cheney may be moving to academia, to become the new head of Slytherin House at Hogwarts.

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The Vice-President is known to be close to Lucias Malfoy, a prominent Hogwart's graduate. Malfoy is lobbying to get the VP the prestigious position. In addition to heading Slytherin House, Cheney will teach, "How to invade a Middle-Eastern country on $12 million a day."

Friday, March 17, 2006


By Stockton

SALEM, Va. - A high school student Tuesday recited 8,784 digits of Pi — the non-repeating and non-terminating decimal — likely placing him among the top Pi-reciters in the world.

Gaurav Rajav, 15, had hoped to recite 10,790 digits and set a new record in the United States and North America. But he remembered enough to potentially place third in national and North American Pi recitation and 12th in the world.

Rajav says that the Pi-Recitation was just a warm-up for his next challenge: an attempt to recite each and every reason the Bush Administration used for the Iraq War.

Vietnam War Deserter Arrested 38 Years On

Julian Borger in WashingtonTuesday March 14, 2006

A man was being held in a US military prison yesterday for deserting from the marines 38 years ago after being caught on the American-Canadian border amid a new drive to track down Vietnam-era deserters.

The new drive was implemented when a drive to track down Vietnam-era men that used family connections to get into National Guard Units was scrapped.

Thursday, March 16, 2006


By Tweed

Evidence for Universe Expansion Found
By MATT CRENSON, AP National Writer

Physicists announced Thursday that they now have the smoking gun that shows the universe went through extremely rapid expansion in the moments after the big bang, growing from the size of a marble to a volume larger than all of observable space in less than a trillion-trillionth of a second. The discovery — which involves an analysis of variations in the brightness of microwave radiation — is the first direct evidence to support the two-decade-old theory that the universe went through what is called inflation.

Reaction was mixed around the country.

Members of the Bush cabinet and Republican leaders quickly went on the offensive on hearing the news blaming the universe inflation on the tax and spend policies of liberal Democratic administrations and congresses. "Why is it that the country and the universe have suffered from crippling inflation?" Ohio Congressman Bob "Freedom Fries" Ney rhetorically asked a press gathering. "I'll tell you why - its those greedy liberals who think they know how best to spend your money and how big the government and universe should be!"

Decrying the enlargement of existence as not a part of God's plan, Pat Robertson warned the people of the world that unless we did something about the inflation of the universe, God would exact revenge on the earth, by making our sun explode in about 5 billion years.

Word on the street was more speculative.

"That makes sense," remarked Tony Abruzzio, a cigarette store clerk in Yonkers, NY, "cause in Men in Black, that cat had a universe around it neck on a chain, and that thing couldn't a'bin more than a marble, but I don't remember it inflatin or nothin - weird."

"I wonder if that's the same thing that happened to my wife's ass?" was the reaction of David Gersten, a construction worker in Chicago, IL.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


By Stockton

In observance of the Catholic Church's most holy day, Bishops have waived the "no meat on Friday" rule for this coming Friday. The occasion? Saint Patrick's Day. After an exhaustive survey, the Bishops determined that corned beef absorbs alcohol faster than any other man-cured product.

The rule banning alter boys on Friday's has not been waived.


By Stockton

If you thought only professional and would-be professional athletes took "performance enhancing" drugs, think again. Now, the scandal has spread to our household pets.

In an experiment with teenage hamsters given anabolic steroids, scientists found that the animals continued to chase and bite their brethren for days during withdrawal from the muscle-building hormones.

"You don't understand the pressure," said Nibbles, a teenage hamster. "My family isn't wealthy and I need a scholarship if I want to make something of myself."

Nibbles used steroids in order to gain an edge in the "Wheel" finals. "You try going around and around and around and around in that damn thing," said a frustrated and ornary Nibbles. "It's my dad! He pushes me. He wants me to be a winner and he's already pissed-off that I ate my brother and sister."

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What does the future hold for Nibbles?

Monday, March 13, 2006


By Stockton

Have you seen this article?

How about this one?

And I just remembered this one.


By Editors

A day without political polling is like a day without a colonoscopy! - Stockton.

So much polling lately, on Iraq, on Bush, on Barry Bonds. What neophytes fail to understand is that one must look behind the numbers, or up the skirt of the numbers, to get a truly accurate picture of America's mood.

It's not enough to say that 40% of Americans believe that our first "CEO President" is a competent manager. Competence means different things to different people. What is telling is that those same 40% also believe that Eight-Track tapes are "making a comeback."

Did you know that nearly 60% of Americans believe that Iraq will have their own Civil War? Of course you did. But, did you also know that more than half of that 60% believe the South will win this time?

Did you know that 37% of Americans approve of Bush's job performance? Probably. That's not news. What you probably missed is the fact that, by definition, half of America is of below-average intelligence. What does that mean? Nearly 13% of people with a below-average intelligence now think Bush is doing a poor job. That's a significant amount of his supporters and probably the constituency that put him over the top in both 2000 and 2004. In short, the stupid are abandoning the President. George W. Bush cannot afford to lose his base, but it looks like that is happening.

Friday, March 10, 2006


By Stockton

It may be the most ambiguous scene ever filmed. It is assuredly one of the most ambiguous scenes ever filmed.

A mother stands at the window of a Colorado cabin/boarding house and watches her young son play in the snow.* We see the interior of the home. A disheveled man, the father, is present, as is the figure of Thatcher, dressed like an exile from a Dickens movie.The father does not understand why his son can't stay and be raised in Colorado. The mother (Agnes Moorehead of Bewitched fame) proceeds to sign her child away to Thatcher and his Chicago bank, who will now be the child's guardian. You see, the mother has inherited a gold mine and does not wants her son raised in Colorado.

Thatcher is anxious to leave. The mother tells him she's had the child's trunk packed for a week. She doesn't cry. Perhaps she chokes-up. It's difficult to say.

When Charles is told about Chicago and Thatcher, he attacks the banker. The father is about to punish the boy when the mother tells us that she doesn't want the father to raise the boy.The boy will be raised far away, where the father can't get at him.

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Charles Foster Kane is sent to Chicago to be raised, educated and to be far away from his abusive father. It's all clean and neat. Except....

Except when you watch the scene, there's a nagging doubt. Is the mother selling her son?

Something is wrong. She has had his trunk packed for a week when most mother's would put off such a trying task. She is cold, this Mrs. Kane. We wonder why she doesn't go with Charles. She is certainly wealthy enough to set-up home anywhere (she was left the gold mine, not her husband)Why isn't that possible? No one ever says.

The "abusive" father is far less threatening than the wife's cryptic comments suggest. He's clearly the weaker partner in this marriage and meekly succumbs when castigated by Mrs. Kane. His threat to punish Charles for attacking Thatcher is not outrageous, not for 1865 Colorado nor for audiences in 1941. He calls his son "Charlie", a far more endearing name than the cold "Charles" used by the mother in her icy tones. Mr. Kane wants "Charlie" to stay. He wants to raise "Charlie" while it is the mother's decision to exile "Charles" from the family.

Mrs. Kane packed the boy's trunk early: because she wanted to complete a painful task? Because it simply needed to be done? She doesn't cry but almost does. She doesn't say she'll go with him, even though the boy asks if she'll be traveling with him. She doesn't say there will be visits. We know there will be none.

The boy has been orphaned by one quick signature. He becomes Charles Foster Kane, who will later destroy every relationship he ever has. This is the key moment in one of the greatest movies ever produced.

There are other moments in Citizen Kane, many actually, that combine to make the film a classic in every sense of the word. I'll be discussing those scenes, the film and it's enigmatic director and star periodically.

If you enjoy movies, I hope you enjoy these posts.

*If you do not listen closely, it's easily missed. As young Charles Kane throws snowballs he shouts, "the Union forever!" The character is obviously referencing the Civil War. The writers, on the other hand, were probably enjoying a dig at corporate America.

Thursday, March 09, 2006


By Stockton

Just take a left at Immaculate Conception Boulevard.

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NAPLES, Florida (AP) -- If Domino's Pizza founder Thomas S. Monaghan has his way, a new town being built in Florida will be governed according to strict Roman Catholic principles, with no place to get an abortion, pornography or birth control

The pizza magnate is bankrolling the project with at least $250 million and calls it "God's will."

Civil libertarians say the plan is unconstitutional and are threatening to sue.
The town of Ave Maria is being constructed around Ave Maria University, the first Catholic university to be built in the United States in about 40 years. Both are set to open next year about 25 miles east of Naples in southwestern Florida.

The town and the university, developed in partnership with the Barron Collier Co., an agricultural and real estate business, will be set on 5,000 acres with a European-inspired town center, a massive church and what planners call the largest crucifix in the nation, at nearly 65 feet tall. Monaghan envisions 11,000 homes and 20,000 residents.

During a speech last year at a Catholic men's gathering in Boston, Monaghan said that in his community, stores will not sell pornographic magazines, pharmacies will not carry condoms or birth control pills, and cable television will have no X-rated channels.

Monaghan guarantees that any Sacrament will be delivered in under 30 minutes or it's free, along with a free order of Crazy Wafers.

In other news, it's nice to see that in some parts of this country it's still the America I love.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


By the Editors

Yes, the rumors are true. Stockton and Tweed have decided to return in this critical time because we are desperately needed.

We're going to try something a bit different with Smorgasblog. In addition to our passion for the irreverent, we'll be trying our hand at a wide-range of topics, including cultural issues, religion, books, entertainment and origami. Hence the name, Smorgasblog.*

Please bare with us as we get our get our feet wet again in this crazy world of blogging.

* Smorgasblog is Swedish for "a wide-range of topics, including cultural issues, religion, books, entertainment and origami."


By Stockton

President Bush's Nielsen Ratings have plummeted since the release of "Katrina - Uncensored." In the aftermath of the devastating hurricane, Bush insisted that the Federal Government had no notice of the dangers posed to the New Orleans levees.

A recently issued video seems to show that Bush was warned of the impending disaster - or does it? Context is everything.

According to sources close to the West Wing, President Bush was not really listening to the briefing. "He does that a lot," said Scott McClellan, Bush's Press Secretary. "It's not that he's disengaged, it's just that he has a lot on his mind." McClellan was quick to point out, "There's a big difference between lying - which is the partisan take around here - and not caring. Clearly, the President is not a liar."

One junior FEMA official paints are more disturbing picture.

"I'm sitting there and just happen to be near the President. Someone's going on and on and on about the impending catastrophe and the President, he's nodding, looking really serious. I thought to myself, this is a man that gets it. Then he turns to a lowly FEMA guy. The President looks at me and says, 'One, two, three, four, I declare a thumb war!' He beat me two out of three times."

Sunday, March 05, 2006


By Tweed

I just finished a very entertaining book called "The Island at the Center of the World," by Russell Shorto. It's about New Netherland, the Dutch colony that spanned from modern-day Connecticut to Delaware. But primarily, the book is about what is now New York City and the Hudson Valley. The central thesis of the book is that New Netherland's contribution to the history of New York and the United States has been overlooked. The author finds in the early Dutch colony some of the basic principles that are hallmarks of Americanism - religious toleration, free trade and a citizenry that demands respect for its rights. Also, cole slaw.

Finishing the book, I am brimming with pride, for. . . yes. . . believe it or not, Tweed is Dutch (and I have the wooden shoes to prove it).

Well, not quite. My (real) name is Dutch, but I'm not really sure how much Dutch blood runs through my veins.

The Tweeds are thick in Hudson River valley - particularly in Ulster and Greene Counties, but also in the Albany area and Westchester. Tweeds have served in the US military as far back as the battle of Saratoga - and Tweeds served the colonies earlier as well.

So is this why I am proud?


My grandmother is a Horton - a Brit. The Hortons set foot on Long Island is 1686 (or 1683), and have prospered ever since. The Hortons have done well in America, and have attained positions of stature in society.

But it's not my Horton ancestry that makes me proud.

My other grandmother is a Borelli, second generation Italian. What is more American than being Italian? Not much. Italian food and culture, particularly in New York, is rich and thriving. And me and Italian food are inseparable.

So what could be more American than my Dutch/English/Italian ancestry?

How about my grandfather - a Benson. His people, Vermonters, were sod-busters and tried their hand in the Dakotas with government assistance under the Homestead Act. On that side, I've got Scandanavian, Native American, central European and a Smorgasblog of other races and nationalities.

In short, my blood is teeming with the huddled, unwanted masses of the world.

Could make a man proud - particularly because I have yet to find a speck of Irish blood in my line.

But it doesn't.

My ancestry is of interest to me, but it doesn't make me feel any better than anyone else - except Stockton, who's composed of that awful mixture - Anglo/Italian.

I am proud because I have taken the opportunity created for me by my ancestors and all the others who have come before me and created something for myself. I am proud of my own accomplishments (including the ability to work collaboratively with Stockton, a man of dubious breeding). We owe it, those of us whose families stretch back hundreds or thousands of years on this Continent as well as those who arrived yesterday, to excel.

New York state has the best motto of any state because it is of limitless application: Excelsior - ever upward.

Friday, March 03, 2006


By Stockton

The deal to turn over management responsibilities for six major U.S. ports to the Dubia-based company DP World has run into another snag. The deal already faces stiff opposition by both parties in Congress. However, that may not be the major snag for the Bush Administration and the United Arab Emirate Company.

Now, several well-known "port experts" are criticizing the deal, intimating that despite the President's resolve, the deal will likely collapse.

One expert, who wishes to remain anonymous, has more than thirty years experience in managing eastern-seaboard ports.

"DP World comes to me for finance and security," said the expert. "They offer me 50% of the profits. They even say that the Tartaglia Family will guareentee my investment. But I must say no. It doesn't matter to me what a man does for a living but this port deal is a dangerous business. But, since my interests don't conflict with DP World's, I wished them well."

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Port Expert wishes DP World success

Another port expert had a less congenial response to the deal.

"Who the fuck is DP World," said the expert, upon hearing of the deal. "I don't give a fuck if the President signed off on this! No fucking towel-head is stepping foot into any port unless they get the OK from me."

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DP World may not be welcome in every port

The White House could not be reached for comment.

Thursday, March 02, 2006


By Tweed

Ever notice what happens when some rube becomes famous, thrown into the spotlight and made the center of pop culture?

They show their true colors: they indulge every fantasy every adolescent girl from the heartland has; they wear trashy clothes; show-off their T&A; and generally act like idiots. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

How about when some cultist makes it big. He's out there letting it all hang out - and gives cults a bad name.

Which is pretty much what the Muslem world has done since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Up until Osama bin Laden and all those evildoers actually succeeded in striking US soil with a terrorist attacks, Islam has been on the red carpet. But, not unlike Tom Cruise after his recent public displays of Scientologyisms, the Islamic world has behaved like an idiot.

Unknown Egyptian Protesting Image of the Prophet

Remember when Nick whatshisface and Jessica Simpson decided to video their wedding and life for the audience? Or when Tom Cruise nearly attacked Oprah when professing his . . . something on her show?

How different is that, really, from Muslims burning a Danish flag to protest a cartoon?

Scientologists Protesting Travolta's "Battlefield Earth"

I think the western world would do well to keep in mind that the Muslim world is fairly new to this whole "modern world" and "civilization" thing. These are people who live and die by their passionate religious faith, much in the same way Britney Spears lives and dies by glitter make-up. They are new to this thing of ours. They do not have civil society. They have not seen the benfits of tolerance, of a distinction between public and private society, or of a bit of humility. For them their religious society is all there is.

State Department Educational Skit

So, the next time there are riots in Iran because of some off-hand slight of the prophet, just remember Nick and Jessica.

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