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about Asia Buzz  |  more Asia Buzz

Asia Buzz: Hold the Front Page
Comedians are having a field day over the U.S. election
By ANTHONY SPAETH

November 27, 2000
Web posted at 11:30 a.m. Hong Kong time, 10:30 p.m. EDT


Let's be totally up front. No humor columnist anywhere in the world can concentrate on anything but the U.S. election, which, in case you've been underwater in Australia, will now be decided by call-in votes to the Jerry Springer Show. So let's drop any pretense of writing, and let the jokes rip.

 INTERACTIVE  
Ticked off at Asia Buzz? Turned on? Talk back to TIME
 
Poor Dick Cheney. Apparently he was doing perfectly fine until he saw a poll reporting that no one could remember if George W. Bush had a running mate -- and then it was ER time. Imagine DYING before you got BEATEN for the U.S. VICE- presidency. That would call for a redefinition of the term "major league loser."

     ASIA BUZZ

Culture on Demand: Giving Thanks
To Starbucks and sex
- Friday, November 24, 2000

Letter from Japan: Murky Politics
Expect to hear more about Japan's involvement with "Peruvian" Alberto Fujimori
- Friday, November 24, 2000

Asia Buzz: Sex in the Lion City
Digital technology poses problems for countries like Singapore
- Thursday, November 23, 2000

Asia Buzz: Traffic Jam
A crash on the information superhighway sends telcos scrambling
- Tuesday, November 21, 2000

Asia Buzz: The Week That Wasn't
A stunned world awaits the U.S. election result
- Monday, November 20, 2000

Culture on Demand: Trust, Lies and Audiotape
The truth is out there. And a new device will help you find it
- Friday, November 17, 2000

   ASIAWEEK
Intelligence
The story behind today's news from the editors of Asiaweek

I'm mystified over the choice of Jim Baker as Bush's electoral point man. If I'm not mistaken, George Bush Sr. promised in one of the 1992 presidential debates to appoint Baker as a domestic policy czar, after which voters abandoned him en masse. Baker actually ran Bush's 1992 campaign, one of the worst in living memory. What has he been doing since, aside from sharpening his teeth?

Meanwhile, Al Gore is trying so hard to be presidential that he's sleeping in the Lincoln bedroom in nothing but a red tie. His hatchet man is Warren Christopher, which gives a peek into why so many people hate Democrats. (In the biggest crisis in your career, would you turn to an alumnus of the Jimmy Carter presidency?) The Gore camp was cheered by an analysis printed by many publications positing that the candidate who gracefully conceded defeat would be in a good position to win in 2004 -- until someone pointed out that newspapermen have a wicked sense of irony. "Gore in 2004," oh yeah!

But you have to admit that Gore has poise, even if he reminds you of the high school junior who, upon losing the student council presidency, refuses to admit he ever really wanted it. Bush, in his public appearances, looks half-twitchy, half-pissy. Which makes it difficult to imagine him negotiating, say, a Middle East peace at Camp David. ("Come on Yasser, all I hear from you is Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Jerusalem!") If this guy becomes President, they're going to have to put a childproof cap on the nuclear launch button.

Come to think of it, electing Bush, a former sports-team owner as President of the U.S. isn't such a good idea. Although it would be fun if, midterm, he traded his celebrity foreign policy adviser, Condoleezza Rice, for Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala. What do close friends call Condoleezza, anyway? Bush is renowned for the nicknames he bestows on his inner circle, and I imagine it will take an entire transition team to find a non-offensive one for someone named Condoleezza. Most five-year-olds, however, could whip up an interesting limerick about her.

In non-U.S. news, Alberto Fujimori's surprise takeover of the Japanese government was stalled by a provincial Japanese appeals court, which ruled that controversial ballots in Yamaguchi Prefecture would have to be counted by chopsticks. Deposed Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, after fleeing to Lima, said he'd soon pass a supplementary budget of eight gazillion yen for Peru. The Japanese Economic Planning Agency fled with Mori, and the Nikkei soared.

And on the chad joke front: the African nation formerly known as Chad changed its name last week to the People's Republic of Perforation. The United Nations Population Control Agency sold the domain name Pregnant.Chad.com to a porn dealer, but the South Dakota Supreme Court shut the site down after it posted a photo of Al Gore wearing nothing but a red tie, which it deemed "major league obscene." (Jim Baker squawked that the courts were again intervening in the political process.) And Actor Chad Everett applied in a Los Angeles court last week to change his name back to Charles, after failing to secure the name Rupert. The Rhode Island Supreme Court, meanwhile, which had been weirdly silent since Election Day, ruled than any mention of dimpled chads in the workplace constituted "major league" sexual harassment.

Hold the front page.

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