Commentary: Joe Bob's Week in Review

By JOE BOB BRIGGS  |  Nov. 21, 2002 at 12:08 PM
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Roy Moore, chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, was ordered to remove his 5,280-pound monument to the Ten Commandments from the state courthouse by a federal judge who said, "Thou shalt not be silly."

"Les Miserables" will close after 17 years on Broadway. The story apparently seems less novel now that we're once again putting people in prison for stealing bread.

Hothead Texas Tech basketball Coach Bobby Knight sued Indiana University, claiming he was fired without cause two years ago and that the firing cost him $2 million in income from TV, radio, a basketball camp, a shoe contract and other endorsements. Settlement talks broke down after university President Myles Brand refused Knight's offer to drop all claims if he could just put Brand in a headlock, twist his ear and give him a wedgie.

Michael Jackson dangled his baby off a fifth-floor hotel balcony in Berlin. The incident will be included in the baby's memoirs, to be released in 2054.

The Nebraska legislature voted to keep Old Sparky, making Nebraska the only remaining state to use the electric chair for executions. There's just something about that crackling sizzle that's timeless.

Nine days after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Fox News Channel chairman Roger Ailes sent "an important-looking confidential communication" to President Bush, telling him he needed to convince America he was taking "the harshest measures possible" against terrorism or else the public would desert him, according to a new book by Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward. Ailes denies giving political advice to Bush, but the issue is moot: Fox News Channel gives advice to EVERYBODY.

In March, the Bush administration gave in to the demands of Washington state farmers and allowed water to be diverted from Klamath Lake for irrigation, even though Indian tribes and fishermen claimed it was a violation of environmental laws. In September, 30,000 salmon flopped onto the shores of the Klamath River, bloated and rotting, because the river had become too shallow and slow-moving. Federal officials denied that the two events were related, saying they heard the fish were planning on dying anyway once they got upstream.

Mel Gibson is directing "The Passion," the story of the last 12 hours of Jesus' earthly life, in Matera, Italy, and having all actors speak in ancient Aramaic (even the Romans?). Gibson says he doesn't think subtitles will be needed when the movie is released, but if you don't trust him, better start those Berlitz Aramaic classes NOW.

Three-hundred forensic pathologists met in Shreveport, La., for their annual convention, which features the Cadaver Open golf tournament and 2.5 K Rigor Run. After all that fun during the daytime, they gather in the hotel lounges at night and share a few stiff ones.

Ted Turner banned "Speedy Gonzalez" cartoons from his television networks, saying they portray negative Hispanic stereotypes. Excuse us, but since Speedy is fast, smart and enterprising, is Ted saying that a slow, lazy and dumb cartoon Hispanic would be more desirable? Besides, Speedy always outsmarts and eludes the morally reprehensible Sylvester, who has no supporters at all, not even among animal rights groups.

Astronomers at Johns Hopkins University revised their opinion that the universe is a light turquoise green color. Because of a computer code error, they say, that was a mistaken I.D., and the universe is actually a beige shade, which they have christened Cosmic Latte. Would you like to leave room for Milky Way?

The body of Tony Wayne Smith was found wrapped in clear plastic and attached to a stop sign at an intersection in Wayne County, N.C. Sheriff's deputies said they do NOT suspect foul play. He simply went to a party the night before and got bagged.

Pearson Prentice Hall withdrew its popular 1,000-page American history textbook, "Out of Many," from consideration by the state of Texas as an advanced placement text, because conservative groups objected to two paragraphs explaining that prostitution was common in 19th-century cattle towns. Hey, we've all seen "Gunsmoke." Miss Kitty wasn't a hooker. Wipe that grin off your face, Marshal Dillon.

Sultaana Freeman of Orange County, Fla., wore a chador when she got her driver's license picture taken, so the Department of Motor Vehicles revoked the license, even though her religious beliefs forbid her from showing her face to strangers. She's suing the state and, judging by the enlargement of her pupils, she's steamed.

Todd Warren, a Sunday School teacher at Prairie Oak Community Church in Andover, Minn., questioned a 16-year-old boy about masturbation and homosexuality, then told him to write "What would Jesus do?" on his penis in order to avoid temptation. Nobody is that kinky.

Roscoe Grant Jr., deputy director of the Child Support Enforcement Division of the District of Columbia, is being sued by a family that says he never paid child support for his 20-year-old son. His defense: he didn't know he HAD that particular son. In his line of work, those little rascals are everywhere!

Scenes from our secure republic:

Both terminals at Oakland (Calif.) International Airport were evacuated after an elderly woman without a plane ticket wandered through a security checkpoint exit and into a secured area. After thoroughly checking the woman's walker and asking her to remove her orthopedic support hose, the airport was reopened.

Scenes from domestic life:

Madeline Carmichael of Brooklyn, N.Y., beat to death her 3-year-old daughter, Latanisha, and hid the body in a trunk behind a closet wall for 20 years. It's amazing what you can do with potpourri.

(Joe Bob Briggs writes several columns for UPI. Contact him at or through his Web site, Snail mail: P.O. Box 2002, Dallas, Texas, 75221.)

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