The answer, from Richard Clarke, the president's counterterrorism coordinator, is: "To extort us, to intimidate us, to get us to abandon our foreign policy."
What's the question?
by noon ET Tuesday to e-mail your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday's question (No. 182)--"Reign Delay":
Out of deference to the pope, the state of Missouri postponed something until after he left St. Louis and returned to Rome. What?
"The annual running of the Lutherans."--Robert Consoli
"Hug a Married Minister Day."--Doug Strauss
" 'Margaret Sanger Night' at Hooters."--Danny Spiegel (Andrew Staples had a similar answer.)
"An all-male production of Jesus Christ Superstar."--Beth Sherman
"The execution of triple murderer Darrell Mease, via (in a delicious twist!) crucifixion."--Jack Barth
Click for more responses.
Hypocrisy is the homage vice pays to NBC Standards and Practices. That's what La Rochefoucauld said about the old Letterman show when the generic air crash joke Dave told at the 5:30 p.m. taping turned sour by the 12:30 a.m. broadcast, due to an actual air disaster around 9 p.m.: "But if it was now wrong to mock the charred remains of the dead, surely it was wrong a week ago, and would still be wrong a week hence when Dave resumed airline ridicule. And if it were in fact an honorable joke, then why not tell it any time?"
Another scenario. When the rabbi drops by for dinner on the night of the big pork and lobster banquet, you change the menu--not because there's anything discreditable about eating sea and sty, but as a matter of tact. You're not having it both ways; you're being considerate.
Test case. A condemned man is having his last meal, trayf, on a 747. His seat-mate is a religious personage. The No. 2 engine flames out. You be the captain: What do you announce over the PA? (Express in French in the form of a maxim.)
Justice Delayed Is Justice Divine Answer
The rapid pace of religious life has outdistanced News Quiz. When the question was posted, Missouri's governor had just said he'd wait to kill Darrell Mease until the pope left the room, postponing the execution, originally set for Jan. 27 as part of the papal welcoming ceremony (or perhaps not; I've misplaced my program), until Feb. 10.
After prolonged pontifical exposure, Gov. Carnahan commuted Mease's sentence to life imprisonment. The governor assured disappointed supporters that he will execute other people: "I continue to support capital punishment, but after careful consideration of [the pope's] direct and personal appeal and because of a deep and abiding respect for the pontiff and all that he represents, I decided last night to grant his request."
Missouri has executed 33 people since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976; only three states have killed more. Under Missouri law, a death sentence may be commuted if someone really famous speaks up for the condemned. (Or perhaps not, I've misplaced my copy of the penal code.)
A day after the pope's departure, Missouri put another man to death.
First Minute Shopping Extra
This Valentine's Day, rather than the too familiar tokens of love--flowers, candy, betrayal, recriminations--why not order your gift from Country Supply Inc. Some lovely items from its mail-order catalog:
- COWBOY MAGIC. Instantly breaks down dirt and unwanted matter without damaging hair. $7.98--I believe that was the title and plot summary of Sam Shepard's first play. And all the rest of them. Except for the part about "without damaging."
- MUCK MASTER. $6.25--If it's half the Valentine's Day it could be, you'd better have one. Or two.
- STUD CHAIN. 20" training chain has a 1" wide swivel eye. $2.50--First step in the training: Stop swiveling that eye, buster.
- THE ULTIMATE CORDURA PAD. On the bottom is a quarter inch layer of our orthopedic "Absorb-Felt" for its ability to hold up to four times its weight in moisture. $36.95--His colleagues say after a hard day's caucusing Daniel Patrick Moynihan has the same ability.
- CHICAGO SCREWS. Keep a package in your trailer, your barn, and a spare package in the house. $1.39--For that special single entendre someone.
- Various saddles are available, including PRAIRIE ROPER, THE RAMBLER, GOLDEN PLEASURE, and COUNTRY PLEASURE. $289-$569--I believe "Country Pleasure" was Justice Rehnquist's CB handle, back when he was a long-haul trucker.
- CABLE TRAINING NOSEBAND WITH HEADSTALL. This effective device is designed to apply pressure to the ... poll and nose. $6.50--I say if it's that much hassle, you can do without HBO.
- PROFESSIONAL NIPPERS. ($16.80) PROFESSIONAL CLINCHER ($27.90)--Call me square, but I think paying for nipping and clinching degrades everyone involved.
- LEATHER BREEDING HOBBLE. This professional hobble is designed for the serious breeder. Fully adjustable and comes with panic snaps and pulley system. $84.95--And you'd be nuts to mess around with a pulley system without the panic snaps.
- BIG RED APPLE. Cuts down on stall boredom, cribbing, weaving, and chewing. $12.90--You order that leather breeding hobble, you can forget about stall boredom.
Race Results: What We Know About Missouri
1. Show Me State
4. The arch
5. Harry Truman
For Your Listening Enjoyment
Randy Cohen Week begins at 3 p.m. ET today at the online site of the humor magazine McSweeney's, featuring stories from Diary of a Flying Man, a collection published by Knopf and currently sold only by street vendors.
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