During Bush's trip -- we're not making this up -- respected German news magazine Der Spiegel reported that during a recent meeting with Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Bush turned to Cardoso and asked, "Do you have blacks too?" Condoleezza Rice jumped in and saved Cardoso from having to answer by explaining quickly to Bush that Brazil is home to more blacks than any country outside Africa. The incident was witnessed by the White House press corps, but remained unreported in the mainstream American media. Guess it's too much to ask for the press, guardians of the public's right to know, to tell US citizens just how ignorant about the rest of the world our court-appointed leader really is.
* The director of the FBI, Robert S. Mueller III, said last week that the terrorist attacks of September 11 could have been prevented if officials in the agency had handled the warnings they had received differently. "But so what?" Mueller continued, getting a bit defensive during questioning. "Shoulda woulda coulda, it's always the same story. Yeah, we could have warned everyone if we'd been competent -- and if a toad had wings he wouldn't bump his ass every time he jumped, either." As of press time, Mueller still held a job.
* Locally, the trial of the alleged Amazing Bearded, Cigarette-smuggling Terrorists droned on. Former drivers for the two Lebanese brothers, Chawki (a nickname picked up in pool halls) and Mohamad Hammoud, say they were cheated by the pair, and then threatened when they tried to quit their jobs as drivers. One woman said a third suspect told her he would blow up the restaurant where she worked if she quit. "Yeah," she explained, "but the stupid thing is, it was his restaurant."
* The Carolina Hurricanes astonished the world of ice hockey by beating the Toronto Maple Leafs to make it to the Stanley Cup finals. "Hot-dam! I ain't believin' this shit," said NC Development Director S.N. "Snuffy" Forbush. "I bet plenty more Yankees'll move down here now, with all that money and weird food. Pretty soon that ole state budget problem'll be high-tailin' it." A couple of seconds later Forbush added, "I tell you what. . ."
* City and county "leaders" finally agreed on a plan for an arena and a long-needed new park uptown. It won't exactly be Central Park or the Luxembourg Gardens, though -- at 8.5 acres, the patch of green won't be big enough for consideration as an actual park in the real world (i.e., outside the Government Center), nor even eligible to compete in the National Parks Awards' Pee Wee division.
Observer Headline of the Week: New FBI Mission: Terrorism