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May 18 - June 1, 2005 Issue #75
 Jesus Considers "Nuke-ular" Option
SURRENDER MONKEYS
Liberal Strategy in Culture Wars: Play Dead

by Allan Uthman
WHEN ANIMALS ATTACK!
Serious Risk of Bullshit
by Matt Taibbi
The BEAST PAGE 3
Promotional Celebrity Relationship
El Legend de Tom Delay
by Matt Taibbi
FROM OIL TO OZ
by Matt Higgins
ONE OF THESE DAYS
by William Rivers Pitt
CITGO DOESN'T SUCK
Buy gas at Citgo.
No, really...
LETTERS FROM LYNNDIE
 
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From Oil to Oz      by Matt Higgins

by Matt Higgins
The girl whispered to her dog.

"Pardon?" the Scarecrow said.

"Oh, I was just saying that I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore."

"How can you tell?"

"Oh, Scarecrow… so many questions. I overheard a dwarf telling someone about the beginning of the world millions of years ago."

"Oh…"

"You brainless twit! Everyone knows the world was created 6,000 years ago! It’s in the Bible."

"Yeah."

"Let’s not talk, ‘kay scarecrow?"

The two continued along their shiny path of golden bricks. The girl’s sparkling ruby slippers clacked as she walked, reminding her of the dress she wore to the inauguration; the one that appeared in all the papers and on TV. Meanwhile the scarecrow ruminated on his closest brush with fire. It had been many years ago, but the thought still made him tremble. He had to run all the way to Alabama to escape. That had been smart, he thought, for not having a brain.

"What… was… that," the girl said suddenly.

"What?"

"That! Listen!"

They both strained at a faint sounding coming from an undisclosed location. "Oil… can."

"Oh my God," Scarecrow said. "It’s fire!"

"Damnit, scarecrow! Get back here. Fire can’t talk."

"Oh…"

They approached slowly and there near a stand of trees stood a Tin Man. He didn’t look good. He had a grayish complexion and seemed stiff, hardly moving.

"I need my medicine," the Tin Man said through a clenched jaw. "Over there… get it."

The girl handed it to him. "Thank you," he said. "I have a bad heart."

"I thought you said something about an oil can."

"Heh! I must have been talking to myself."

"We’re on our way to the Emerald City," the girl said. "Would you like to come along?"

"What’s that, some kind of night club?"

"I don’t think so. The Great and Powerful Oz lives there. You know, the man at the controls behind the curtain. He’s going to give the scarecrow a brain, and he’s going to get me back to Kansas. I cannot stand another minute in this place. All this business about people coming from apes and whatnot. Hmph! Next thing you know they’ll be warning us about the danger from flying monkeys screaming down from the heavens and snatching us up."

The Tin Man was deep in thought. "Curtain… controls… Oz," he asked finally. "You mean Rove? I wonder if he can help with my heart."

The pair became a trio and they continued along the golden bricks. The Scarecrow skipped along. The Tin Man copped a peek down the girl’s shirt, but the dog growled at him. Soon a shadowy figure approached from the other direction. "It looks like a lion," the girl said. The Tin Man readied his axe.

"Mr. President," the Lion said as it jogged toward them. Gasping for air, the Lion said: "Mis…ter… Pres… i… dent… Please… a question for the Wall Street Journal."

"Sure," said the Scarecrow.

"Heh!" The Tin Man leaned close to the girl. "Don’t worry; they’re all cowards."

 

The Lion adopted a sort of official sounding voice and asked, "So am I reading correctly that the energy bill would not have had an effect on today's high gasoline?"

"Repeat after me," the Tin Man said, putting his mouth to the Scarecrow’s ear and whispering.

Scarecrow: "Well, it would have 10 years ago. That's exactly what I've been saying to the American people — 10 years ago if we'd had an energy strategy, we would be able to diversify away from foreign dependence. And — but we haven't done that. And now we find ourselves in the fix we're in. It's taken us a while to get there, and it's going to take us a while to get out. Hopefully, additional crude oil on the market from countries with some spare capacity will help relieve the price for the American consumers."

The Scarecrow smiled. "How was that?"

"Great," said the Lion. "I just needed something. My editors… you know."

"Hey," said the girl. "Maybe you’d like to join us. We’re going to the Emerald City. I’m going to ask the Great and Powerful Oz to send me home to Kansas. The Scarecrow’s gonna get a brain, and the Tin Man a new heart. You could get, uh…"

"What?"

"I don’t know. Wouldn’t you like to do a good story…"

"Yeah, sure. These yellow bricks, for instance. Looks like misappropriation of federal transportation funds to me. I’ll follow them to the end – see where they lead."

The four continued along the yellow brick road together. The Scarecrow borrowed the Lion’s newspaper, unfolded it and began to read aloud: During the first three months of 2005, Exxon Mobil Corp., ChevronTexaco Corp., Royal Dutch/Shell Group, and BP Group have together earned $23.8 billion.

A thin smile spread across the Tin Man’s gray lips.

"It says here," began the Scarecrow, "that Ahmad Chalabi, convicted embezzler in Jordan, and once and future favorite son of the Pentagon…"

"Says?" asked the girl. "Says… a newspaper doesn’t ‘Say’ anything. It can’t speak, can it? Well, can it, Scarecrow?"

"Reads," the Lion offered.

"Oh…" Scarecrow continued. "It says here, ‘The Iraqi dissident in exile cooked the WMD intelligence, then fell out of favor temporarily when he was accused of the same things as Saddam Hussein, namely seizing Iraqi national assets, and presiding over thugs who kidnapped, tortured and robbed. He was also accused of counterfeiting and providing classified intelligence to the Iranians. Now he’s back in American good graces, and was recently named interim oil minister over the second largest reserves in the world, after Saudi Arabia.’"

The girl sighed and shook her head. The Tin Man seethed silently.

"Don’t be so hard on him," said the Lion. "It’s okay," he continued, patting the Scarecrow on the back. "You’re doing great!"

"Where’s that other story…" the Tin Man said, looking over the Scarecrow’s shoulder. "Aha!" He began reading: "‘We understand consumers are concerned about gasoline prices,’ David Fogarty, spokesman for the Western States Petroleum Association told the AP for a story on April 30, ‘but those are largely a function of the marketplace.’"

Then the Tin Man added: "The Chinese are sick of riding bicycles, and the Indians aren’t content to walk half-naked along the Ganges anymore."

"Yeah," said the Scarecrow, "and it says here: ‘Rising energy prices are beginning to cut into consumer and business confidence, not to mention spending power,’ said David Huether, chief economist at the National Association of Manufacturers, whose members are big energy users."

"Damnit, Scarecrow," the Tin Man said, whipping out a Zippo lighter and setting the newspaper aflame. "Don’t ever say anything like that out loud again. My heart can’t take that kind of abuse." He looked nervously at the Lion, who had been taking notes perfunctorily while the tape rolled on his recorder.

Scarecrow shrieked and tossed the burning paper in the air. "Help," he yelled as he stumbled and fell.

The Tin Man held the burning lighter over his prone body. "See this? This is what you get when you mess up. Got it, Bubba?!"

"Yesssss," Scarecrow wailed. "Please! Please!"

"Look, Scarecrow," the girl said, trying to insert herself as the voice of reason. "Everyone has a part to play: know your part."

"OK… OK…" he said sobbing, but not really comprehending. "Please… No fire!"

The Lion finally looked up from his notes. "I can’t deal with this," he said. "These antics are crude and barbaric, and I’m not going to get anywhere with you people. I’m going on ahead. There’s something fishy about this road. I mean, yellow bricks? C’mon! I smell a transportation finance scheme. Somebody got paid off."

The other three waved as the Lion rounded a bend out of sight. "Good luck," someone called.

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