"Baghdad Betty" is the name given to the woman whose radio broadcasts from the Iraqi capital are supposed to demoralize U.S forces stationed in the Middle East. A typical Betty tirade: "Why are you Americans here? Don't you know you will die in the desert. While you are here, your wives and girlfriends are dating American movie stars. Movie stars like Tom Selleck, Paul Newman, and Bart Simpson."
The Army has rejected an offer to send Boxing Illustrated to the troops because Saudis consider the magazine's photos of shirtless men pornographic. I guess a subscription to Juggs is completely out of the question.
Speaking of Saudi Arabia, the government there turned a religious rule prohibiting women from driving into a secular restriction following a mass demonstration by women drivers. The Saudi interior minister said, "Women's driving of cars contradicts the sound Islamic attitude of the Saudi citizen, who is jealous about his sacred ideals." In related moves, the Saudis banned laying hats on beds because it brings bad luck, milking cows after sunset because it makes them go dry, and whistling in the house because it "summons the little evil ones."
The autobiography of the Bushes' pet dog, Millie, is handily outselling Ronald Reagan's autobiography. Ever protective of her man, we imagine Nancy Reagan complained, "That bitch just had better marketing."
In Daytona Beach, Florida, James and Mary Seay are now on a government child-abuse registry. An anonymous caller told welfare workers that the Seays lock their child, Princess, in the bathroom when they are away. There's just one catch: Princess is a raccoon. The Seays explained the facts to the state Health and Rehabilitative Services investigator who visited them, and they even showed Princess to him. But the HRS still ordered the Seays to come in for child-abuse counseling and placed them on the registry. They had to; it's Florida law. What a state! Raccoons are children, and the law is a ass.
Also in Florida, Jack Thompson, the anti-obscenity zealot who engineered the campaign against The 2 Live Crew, is now going after Madonna. Thompson is all hot and bothered by her new video "Justify My Love." He told the Los Angeles Times, "Madonna better fasten her seatbelt because she's going to get a spanking and not the kind she likes." Oooh, kinky!
The family of Cynthia Barrientos has filed a product-liability suit against Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Barrientos died in 1986 from injuries received when a Panasonic television (manufactured by Matsushita) exploded. At the time of the accident, Barrientos was in the home of neighbors who were arguing. During the argument, one of the neighbors threw a bottle of cologne that hit the TV, breaking the picture tube and spilling ethyl alcohol into the tube. The alcohol was ignited by the electricity in the tube. The suit alleges that the TV was defectively designed and unreasonably dangerous. Matsushita claims that this set of circumstances was "bizarre" and couldn't reasonably be anticipated. At the very least, however, they should have attached a sticker that read, "Warning: If you get into a fight with your spouse, break the picture tube, and pour alcohol into it, you might blow up your neighbor."
At his annual Christmas party, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D–Mass.) always likes to dress up as a person in the news. This past Christmas, Kennedy donned hair extensions, gold earrings, and tights and came as half of Milli Vanilli. (I didn't make this up.) Ted Kennedy in tights? If that doesn't put you in the holiday mood, nothing will. Maybe this year, Ted should lay off the egg nog.
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "Brickbats".