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Headlines We Will Never See:

May 1, 2002


The old Twilight Zone television show was excellent in demonstrating how absurd situations can turn into reality, or appear so. In a recent conversation I was having with our RightTurns.com editor, John Sidline, I remarked to him that after hearing the news that day I felt I was in a conservative Twilight Zone. There is the absurdity of liberals/socialists/leftists demanding that Shimon Peres turn in his Nobel Peace Prize, while they conveniently do not ask the same of Arafat. The fact that this absurdity receives regular air, print, and screen time seems very unreal to me. That started me thinking of other absurdities we conservatives face on a regular basis. To demonstrate some of these absurdities, I am creating Headlines We Will Never See.

Prudhoe Oil Field Destroying North Slope Ecosystem

We will never see this for one simple fact: The exploration and development of the North Slope oil fields (Prudhoe Bay, Kuparak, etc.) have been done with both enormous economic and environmental success. (Full disclosure: I worked for the predecessor of BP America, one of the two operators of the Prudhoe Bay field, in the mid 1980's. So my observations are first hand.) Great expense was taken to raise all buildings above the permafrost. Pipelines were re-routed and kinked to allow unfettered caribou herd movement. All this was done with great success. The caribou herds have grown over three times the size they were when drilling first began. The North Slope ecosystem is as well off now as it was in 1965 before the major oil discoveries. Hearing all the chest pounding of the liberal Democrat and Republican senators after the vote to prevent drilling in the ANWR, we conservatives would think that the North Slope has been destroyed by big oil! But, of course, it has not. To increase the absurdity of the liberal angst about ANWR, today's drilling and pipeline technology is many times improved over what was used in the very successful North Slope development.

Armed Southern Fundamentalist Christian Militia Storm Grand Mosque in Mecca and Hold Muslim Clerics and Children Hostages

This headline reveals two key absurdities.
1. Swap the words Christian and Muslim and replace Grand Mosque with Church of the Nativity and you swing from absurdity to reality. The reality headline has not been seen anywhere. The European nations and the American press have effectively ignored this atrocity. If the above headline were true, the outrage would be deafening. The calls for retribution and a jihad would bring Muslim peoples to the streets throughout the world. In the real world, I have not found evidence of any Christian rioting or crusades being planned to re-take the Church of the Nativity. (The reasons for this disparity of reaction bear some analysis... but not today.)

2. About a year ago, I read a wonderful Wall Street Journal analysis of why more movies are not made about the truly monumental courage of American men and women during the American Revolution. The author's conclusions appear absurd in the context of what we normally see in the American media, but actually represent reality. He stated that the reason Hollywood shuns the Revolution in movies is because the Revolution represents success from the one group of Americans the Hollywood elite despises the most: white males with guns! This leads me into the second absurdity in the above headline. I expect a movie to come out of Hollywood using the plot of the headline. It would provide Hollywood several opportunities to bash many of those they hate: Americans with guns ("Armed"), southerners, fundamentalist Christians, and militia. In turn, it would allow Hollywood to present as victims the religious group the American media believes to be victims right now: Muslims.

Retired/Defeated Congressman (fill in the blank) moves back to home district

This headline should be the headline of reality, not absurdity. Our elected officials campaign heavily that they are one of us. That they grew up in the district and know what faces its citizens. That they are rooted to the very pulse of what is going on in the district. But have you ever noticed, that once they are defeated or they retire, that they are gone. Does George McGovern live in South Dakota? Nope. Does Tom Foley live in Washington state? Nope. Jim Sasser, former Tennessee senator, would campaign by painting himself as a life long Tennessean. His accent on the campaign trail would get thick and ya'll - ish. Once he was defeated, we never saw him again. First, he became a professor at Harvard, then ambassador to China for BC. Well, BC has been out of office for 16 months and we still haven't seen Jim. Al Gore disappeared the day he became Vice President. He and BC barely won Tennessee in 1996 and lost it completely in 2000. After his defeat, Al established his residence at his wife's family home in Virginia. Jim and Al could not elected to anything in Tennessee anymore. Heck, we cannot even remember what they look like! So I propose, in addition to asking our candidates sign a No New Taxes pledge, we ask them to pledge to come home after defeat or retirement and live with all the laws they burdened us with while in office.

Teenage Children of New York Times Editorial Staff Volunteer for Palestinian Suicide Squads

In the 1930's, many American liberals and socialists formed the Abraham Lincoln Brigade to fight against the fascist forces during the Spanish Civil War. Today the NYT editorial position is that the Palestinians suicide bombings are a legitimate way for them to battle the superior armed forces of the Israeli army. Note the absurdity of the point: It is OK for the teen-age children of other people to blow themselves up for a cause. If it such a noble cause why don't they convince their own children to participate. I have the perfect name for the volunteers - the Benedict Arnold Brigade. On the flip side of the equation, I bet that there is not one son or daughter of a New York Times editorial writer or executive that is a member of the US military.

These are my Headlines We Will Never See for this time. If any of our readers have some they would like to recommend for the next round, email me with the suggested headline. I will give full credit to those that I use. One exception: I already have a list of several more that I have created so if your suggestion is on that list, you will not receive credit.

These are my Headlines We Will Never See for this time. If any of our readers have some they would like to recommend for the next round, email me with the suggested headline. I will give full credit to those that I use. One exception: I already have a list of several more that I have created so if your suggestion is on that list, you will not receive credit.


Sam T. Harper graduated cum laude from Vanderbilt University.  Following a tour in the US Navy and a stint as Operations Manager at Roadway Express, he earned his MBA from Stanford University Graduate School of Business.  He was a contributor to “In Search of Excellence,” the best selling business book of all time.  Sam was also Manager, Economic Planning & Analysis at Sohio Petroleum, Partner and Chief Financial Officer at investment-banking firm Bridgemere Capital, and Chief Operating Officer of the Institute for Contemporary Studies, a San Francisco Bay Area-based think tank and international publishing firm that specializes in self-governing and entrepreneurial public policy.  Sam was a chairman of the San Francisco Republican party and the GOP co-host of California Political Review on KALW-FM in San Francisco.  Sam is currently the co-owner of the Tennessee based Institute for Local Effectiveness Training, LLC – a management consulting, training, and coaching firm.