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Birdbrained logic

April 5, 2002 | Page 4

THE U.S. Navy recently tried to prove its love for birds. Environmental groups and bird-watcher Ralph Frew filed a lawsuit claiming that the Navy's bombing and shelling exercises on the tiny Pacific island of Farallon de Medinilla was creating an environmental disaster and killing the native bird population.

The Navy said that it had to keep using the island because it was the only available practice range in the Pacific. And officials insisted that dropping bombs on the island is actually good--for both birds and bird-watchers!

According to Navy lawyers, using the island as a live-fire range keeps people from getting on the island and harming the wildlife. Of course, they had no comment about the birds that end up blasted to bits.

Then, the Navy claimed that by decimating the bird population, they were actually helping Frew get more enjoyment from his hobby. "In some respects, bird-watchers get more enjoyment spotting a rare bird than they do spotting a common one," said a Navy lawyer.

So, according to the Navy, the more birds the Navy kills, the more enjoyment Frew will get from seeing the ones that are left alive.

--Washington Post, March 29, 2002

Just say "no" to this Republican

SARASOTA, FLA. resident Chris Hill was recently named one of the country's top 500 businessmen of the year by the National Republican Congressional Committee. That meant that he was also in the running for the GOP committee's top honor, "Republican of the Year."

That is, until the party found out that Hill is facing up to 20 years in federal prison for distributing drug paraphernalia. Hill's business apparently included manufacturing the kind of pipes commonly used for smoking marijuana.

When Iowa prosecutors raided several stores and found Hill's pipes, they charged him with the maximum, under the same "tough on drug" laws that Republicans seem so fond of--as long as it's poor Black or Latino teenagers who get caught.

Some might see Hill's arrest as "poetic justice," but Hill can't seem to see the humor. "I'm embarrassed that my government has put me in this position: they've lumped me in with some liberal longhaired dopers," he told reporters. "That's not the kind of crowd I run with."

--News-Journal wire service, March 2, 2002

Heard it through the grapevine

"MAYBE HE was thinking about the Oscars the next night, but U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard (R-Colo.), speaking at the Arapahoe County Republican Party's Lincoln Day dinner Saturday night, repeatedly referred to the Afghan town of Mazar-e-Sharif as 'Omar Sharif.'"
--Rocky Mountain News columnist Penny Parker

"IT IS much easier and hipper for me to be on the barricades with a handkerchief over my nose--it looks better on the resumé of a rock 'n roll star. But I can do better by just getting into the White House and talking to a man who I believe listens, wants to listen, on these subjects."
--Bono, on his recent meeting with George W. Bush to discuss poverty

"WANT A ride?"
--99-year-old Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.) to a female congressional staffer as he pointed to his lap and rolled down the hall in a wheelchair

"THOSE WERE the days, when men were men. None of this Fifth Amendment stuff for us. We went to jail."
--Washington lobbyist Tom Korologos, fondly recalling the days of the Nixon administration

"IT COVERS a football field. It can turn an apple orchard into apple sauce--or people into hamburger."
--Kevin Kavanaugh, a defense analyst with the Federation of American Scientists, on the impact of U.S. cluster bombs

"THE POST-September 11 world has caused a certain kind of woman to re-evaluate what she is looking for in a man…She has seen the valiant efforts of rescue workers and remarked to herself that men like Donald Rumsfeld make big, impactive decisions in the time it would take any of her exes to order lunch."
--New York Times fashion reporter Ginia Bellafante

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