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Inside the system

November 15, 2002 | Page 4

Milking an ad for all its worth

THE FAMOUS "Got milk?" advertising campaign just hit a new low. Last month, the California Milk Processor Board--struggling to stabilize declining and flat milk sales in the nation's leading dairy state--offered 24 small California towns the chance to win some cash, free school computers and a library expansion or new playground.

With one small catch. The winning town would have to change its name to "Got Milk?" Jeff Manning, the milk board's director, said all he wants is to "pick up a newly printed California map and run my finger down a road and see Got Milk? California."

The only town to briefly consider the idea was the Central Valley town of Biggs, which has 1,793 residents. But many in Biggs--which is an hour's drive north of Sacramento--believe becoming Got Milk? Calif. will make them a laughingstock. "We'll get made fun of all the time," said high school student Laura Rodriguez. "Where you from? We're from Got Milk? They'll say, 'Here come the cows.'"

It wouldn't be the first time a town changed its name for profit. In 2000, Halfway, Ore., renamed itself for one year to Half.com to promote an e-commerce Internet startup. "There's a couple of signs that say, 'Welcome to Half.com, America's first Internet city,'" said Steve Backstrom of the Hells Canyon Journal. "Other than a couple of film crews and journalists that came in, I wouldn't say we saw a boost in tourism from that."

--Associated Press, November 1, 2002

Tapped for an odd phone bill

AN INTELLIGENCE-gathering operation in Germany went spectacularly wrong when bills for phone tapping were sent to the people who were being bugged.

About 50 people received demands for payment in their mobile phone invoices. But when they called a mysterious number listed on their bills, it turned out to be the number of a recording device used by the intelligence service.

German federal police last week sent an urgent warning to all regional police forces, who are checking records to see who received the bills and whether they were aware of the eavesdropping.

--The Telegraph, November 2, 2002

Heard it through the grapevine

"WE EXPECT Saddam to disarm. This time we mean it."
--George W. Bush

"IN THE four scant pages of 'Inauguration Day, January 2001,' Mr. Franzen describes riding from Harlem to Washington with a group of demonstrators from the International Socialist Organization and marching to the Supreme Court building in the rain. On the way home, he concludes: 'Few pleasures compare with that of riding on a bus after dark, hours behind schedule, with people you violently agree with.'"
--Janet Maslin, in the New York Times, reviewing Jonathan Franzen's new book, How to Be Alone

"IT'S BEEN raining, so she needs to sweep the porch."
--George W. Bush, explaining why First Lady Laura Bush wasn't in town for a recent visit by China's President Jiang Zemin

"NO."
--Laura Bush, on whether she appreciated her husband's remark

"I HATE Saddam Hussein. I don't hate a lot of people. I don't hate easily, but I think he's--as I say, his word is no good, and he's a brute…I have nothing but hatred in my heart for him. But he's got a lot of problems, but immortality isn't one of them."
--George Bush Sr.

"WHAT BUSH intends to do with Iraq is unconstitutional, immoral and illegal. I hate Bush. I despise him and his entire administration--not only because of its international policy, but also the national."
--Actress Jessica Lange

"AN IMPRESSIVE achievement."
--British Prime Minister Tony Blair on the storming of a Moscow theater to end a hostage crisis that killed more than 100 people

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