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Jewish World Review July 25, 2002 / 16 Menachem-Av, 5762

Michael Kelly

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Consumer Reports

Mike's first annual Nice Column | The other day a fellow suggested that some people regard this column as not nice -- given to ad hominem insults and uncharitable impulses and that sort of thing.

Well, it stung, of course, and after brooding on it, I have decided to mend my ways, at least once a year. Here, then, the first annual Mike's Nice Column.

Lizzie Grubman, I read in the New York tabs the other day that you are now expressing heartfelt remorse as you approach trial for that sad mishap last summer in which you allegedly plowed your Daddy's big old SUV into all those people (although, as you allegedly and no doubt rightly pointed out, some of them were trash anyway). Ms. Grubman, I have suggested that you were less than a fully conscientious and caring person. I can see now that this was wrong, and that any debt you may or may not owe society has been more than paid by your own suffering. Here's hoping you walk, Ms. Grubman -- or better, drive. Take my car, it's an Escalante.

Allen Iverson, I have written unkindly about you, too, suggesting that you were a dangerous thug. Mr. Iverson, you are a fine man and a role model to our nation's youth, and you have every right to allegedly threaten people with guns if you need to find out where your wife is. Or for any reason at all, sir.

I see that WorldCom has just won (so far) the bankruptcy sweeps, its $107 billion Chapter 11 filing easily eclipsing the $50 billion collapse of Enron, whose bankruptcy last December held the title of largest in U.S. history for only seven months. I'd like to take this opportunity to extend the hand of friendship to Bernard J. Ebbers of WorldCom, Kenneth L. Lay of Enron, and all the good senior management folks at Global Crossing, Qwest, Adelphia Communications, Arthur Andersen, and AOL Time Warner. When I wrote that our captains of industry were "the greediest bunch of no-talent morons the world has seen since the Harding administration," I was talking through my hat. You guys are awesome. You made a few mistakes -- but, look, am I so perfect? On behalf of our nation's investors, pensioners, widows and orphans, and also on behalf of your many, many thousands of grateful former employees, I would like to thank you all for your years of hard slogging as stewards of our great corporations. You deserve every penny you got your sticky mitts on, and I, for one, am happy to be left holding the bag. I would invest my little all with you again, if I still had a little all.

My fellow Americans, I have repeatedly suggested that when the poet said that nature pleased in all her prospects and only man was vile, he was talking about you. I have criticized your habits, appearances, manners and tastes. Let me recant. You are lovely in every way. You are paragons of style and grace. Your popular culture daily reaches new heights in refinement, and I don't just mean cable, but the networks too. And there is nothing more aesthetically gratifying than a 17-year-old skinny boy with multiple tattoos and piercings and no shirt and his pants around mid-bottom, except for a 50-year-old fat man with a three-day-beard and a ponytail and no shirt and his pants around mid-bottom.

John Walker Lindh, your father says that you are "a really good kid," who "loves America." Right-o, all is forgiven; sorry. John Henry Williams, don't listen to the critics. There is nothing shabby about freezing your dad and selling off his DNA.

Simple filial piety, in my opinion.

Mr. Disgraced and Impeached Former President -- there I go again; I mean, simply and respectfully, Mr. President -- I got a fundraising letter from you last week in which you said that you were proud of what you had done for the country. Let me second that. Proud is exactly the word that comes to mind when I think of you. Also, honest, sincere, selfless, modest, mature and classy. Especially classy.

Finally, Jack, you were quite right to dump the 10 gallons of bird seed on the driveway and to say, "That's okay, Daddy, you can clean it up." Tom, on reflection, I agree that you should stay up as late as you want every single night. Both of you are entirely correct in your theory that ice cream sandwiches are the ideal breakfast food, and so it shall be from now on.

By G-d, I feel good!

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Michael Kelly is the editor of National Journal. Send your comments to him by clicking here.

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