Thursday, May 06, 2004

NEWSDAY ALERT!!! I'm back in the "Punchlines" column in today's Newsday. Here's the link: Newsday

Friends Finale
After tonight's "Friends" finale, fans are wondering how to fill the void. But this fall, viewers will get plenty of those dim-witted comments and humor the "Joey" character made so popular... not on the new spin-off "Joey," but during the presidential debates.

Detroit ER Promise
A hospital in Detroit is promising emergency room patients they will be seen by a doctor in less than a half hour, and anyone who isn't will get tickets to a Detroit Tigers game. This represents a big change for the medical industry, as people don't usually need a doctor's care until after they've attended a Detroit Tigers game.

Moore-Kutcher Wed?
In Touch magazine says Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher were secretly married at a Kabbalah retreat over the Jewish Passover holiday. But Moore says she didn't really become a Jew to marry Kutcher, she just did it to "punk" him into getting circumcised.

Porn Shutdown
With four actors testing positive for HIV, the three leading adult film studios have been shut down since April. While some worry the industry will lose money, others believe the 2,500 movies those studios released from January through March will probably tide fans over for a while longer.

Bush First Learns of Iraq Casualties, Blasts Rumsfeld
"I authorized a war, but no one told me anyone would die," President fumes

(Washington) President Bush has told Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld he is "not happy" that he learned about American soldiers and other people dying in Iraq only this week after watching the reports on "60 Minutes II"

"I should have been told earlier, especially by my aides who I entrust with reading the newspapers for me," said an angry President Bush at the Oval Office yesterday.

An internal report by the Defense Department determined weeks ago that U.S. troops had indeed been killed beginning with the start of the invasion last March. The Pentagon now says there is even some evidence that a number of American and Iraqi civilians have also been killed in recent months.

A contrite Rumsfeld says he apologized to the president, but insisted he just didn't want to upset the chief executive at such a sensitive time.

"He was having so much fun getting into that flight suit, I just couldn't tell him," Rumsfeld told the news media after his meeting with the president, "I was going to tell him about six weeks ago, but then he was working on those hilarious WMD jokes for the Washington correspondents' dinner and it just didn't seem like the right time," he added.

Rumsfeld also admitted that the Defense Department's long-standing policy of not allowing pictures of American coffins to be taken was meant primarily not to upset the president.

"Even after they finally were published, we just told him they were big coolers filled with goodies sent back home by our troops," Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said, "he bought that for awhile until he happened to catch the truth while watching ABC News last month, I guess we forgot to put that station on the child channel-blocker in his bedroom," he added.

Despite the coordinated effort to keep Mr. Bush uninformed, some journalists were incredulous that the president didn't know people were dying with all the explosions and shooting that even he saw regularly.

"They told me we were using those 'knock-out' bullets and stuff, I saw that once on a really good 'Mission Impossible' episode," the president explained.


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