Editor’s note: Michael Ackley’s columns are satire and parody based on current events and thus mix fact with fiction. He assumes informed readers will be able to tell which is which.

“You Americans have nothing to fear from a theocracy in Iraq,” the mullah told us. “Although we revere our Sharia law, we are an educated, modern people, ready to take our place in the 21st century.

“Now, if you’ll excuse me, a bunch of us are going to go out in the street, bounce up and down in religious ecstasy and cut our heads with swords.”

No sword, but getting the ax were a couple of Southwest Airlines pilots charged with flying naked. Where is due process here? The FAA has no regulation about flying in the buff, and nobody says safety was compromised. And, please, no double entendres about that little room where pilots work.

Speaking of double entendres: It was not reported that media mogul Ted Turner was cracking wise, but he did declare last week, “It’s not how big you are, it’s how good you are that really counts.” Turns out he was smarting from the ratings drubbing his Cable News Network took from the Fox News Network when it came to war coverage. “The media is too concentrated – too few people own too much,” Turner said. This from the man whose corporate merger with AOL-Time Warner created the world’s biggest media conglomerate. Grammatical note: “Media” is plural, Ted.

“Was it born, or was it unborn?” asked Mavra Stark of the murdered Laci Petersen’s unborn son, Conner. “If it was unborn, then I can’t see charging [husband Scott Peterson] with a double-murder. If this is murder, well, then any time a late-term fetus is aborted, they could call it murder.”

The head of the National Organization for Women’s Morris County, N.J., chapter, thrusting her foot further down her throat, added that Conner was “wanted and expected and [Laci] had a name for him, but if he wasn’t born, he wasn’t born. It sets a kind of precedent.”

Our understanding is that NOW doesn’t wish to put Stark to the sword for her ill-timed honesty, but is considering that other quaint Iraqi custom of amputating the tongue.

Fox was the media’s head cheerleader during the war, without doubt, and thus the target of NBC’s Ashleigh Banfield, who noted, “We didn’t see what happened when Marines fired M-16s. We didn’t see what happened after mortars landed, only the puff of smoke. There were horrors that were completely left out of this war. So was this journalism? Or was this coverage?”

TV coverage was sanitary, but not just on Fox. CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS – they all kept things pretty bloodless. If you wanted images of carnage, you had to go to the print media. In fairness, the television did provide us plenty of images of looters and would-be looters, though somehow they missed France’s Jacques Chirac, who was caught trying to sneak out of a Baghdad palace with an armload of reconstruction contracts.

Whither Berkeley? Tom Bates, mayor of “the Athens of the West,” fulfilled a campaign promise by spending a night on the streets last week, apparently wishing to share the pain of the homeless.

It is unclear exactly what he intended to accomplish, unless it was to get an early morning start on trashing University of California student newspapers, as he did during his mayoral campaign.

As a symbolic gesture, the mayor’s night out might have been more effective had he (1) not been photographed in his warm jacket and hat, sipping from a cup clearly bearing the label of one of those expensive coffee salons, (2) not had a sleeping bag that looked both clean and cozy, and (3) not explained to the cop who awakened him at 3 a.m. that he had permission to sleep on city property.

However, he was able to report that it gets cold outside at night and that the ground was hard.

Personally, we’d have preferred to see him with Jacques Chirac, jumping up and down and cutting their heads with swords.

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