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The Columbia Star
Columbia, South Carolina
August 21, 2003     The Columbia Star
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August 21, 2003

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2 -- AUG UST 21 . 2003 THE COLUMBIA Corp0000t[on Columbia, SC W. Miller Publisher How 00texlo0 CALL COPS OBi 5CPA A ward Whining C ol00r00t /00'ke 30-Something spea 1...2...3...Now what? I've been a parent now for almost six years. I don't consider myself an expert, and I know I've only scratched the surface of this thing I like to call the great par- enting experiment, but in my few years as a parent, I've learned some interesting little tidbits. For example, other than the remote control, the wipie is the greatest invention of the 20th century. Never has such a simple idea proved so valuable in a life sur- rounded by children, spins', mud fights, and runny noses. I've also learned that no Dia- per Genie on earth can withstand the daily pounding an infant's colon can dish out. It's a wonderful thought that a magic trash can can somehow whisk away the smell of a soiled diaper, but unless that trash can actually has a genie in it who can take those things outside, that pungent roma isn't going anywhere. Along with the knowledge that wipies are from heaven and Diaper Genies are actually a cruel hoax, I've learned that most par- ents are blessed with at least one super power. Granted, this super power isn't enough to get us in a pair of blue tights and a cape. It typically only works on our own children, and I doubt it is interest- ing enough to fill up the pages of a comic book, but it is power nonetheless, and I am fascinated by it. I have no idea how it origi- nated or why it works, but I sure am glad parents have been hon- ored with the gift. The power I speak of is the great parent bluff. Without ever touching a deck of cards or playing a hand of poker, most parents are bestowed this gift. Bluffing is a potent weapon and an essential tool in the parenting world. Thank goodness our children were born so gullible and trusting, otherwise this earth would be more upside down than it already is. The great parent bluff can work in many ways, but here are some of the more timeless and uni- versal ones. Counting When I have trouble getting my children to brush their teeth, or clean their room, or just give me a few minutes of peace in the bath- room, I just start counting, "1...2...," and for some reason, before I ever get to three, they scatter like little, cute cockroaches when a light comes on. What do they think I would I do if they ever let me get to three? I've never real- ly threatened them with anything. It should probably bother me a lit- tle more that I don't really know what I would do if I ever did get to J three, but why ruin a good thing with more worry? Pulling the ear over Since young ones were thrown in the back of horse drawn buggies, parents have used this one. "If you two don't stop hitting each other, I'm going to pull this car over right now." What if kids realized we had absolutely no intention of actually ever pulling the car over? The mere threat seems to do it for now. For some reason, they think if we pulled over, their entire little worlds would come crashing down as opposed to what really would hap- pen. We would be sitting on the side of the road wondering what to do next. I can see it now; a bunch of minivans parked on the side of the road loaded with bewildered par- ents looking at each other saying, "What do we do now?" and a bunch of kids saying, "Hey, this isn't so bad -- take this!" WA-POW! And the hitting would resume. Mike Don't make me c pe: It's not like I hockey mask but for some the thought kids' room to of the moment dren. As long as tance and out of kitchen or the freely bounce from throwing toys over the place. come in first hand madness seems to immediate halt. I don't have to their room to back flips on their 1 if the threat stops Olympics not going to again, I'm not sure when I entered the don't have to know Hopefully find out what we get to three or do on the side of the 1 I'm going to use got it. After all, help we can get. President lies about Where's the nearest plug? Shocking ! With her broad-brimmed hat and dark shades she's "dressed for success." But this is no business or profes- sional lady. This gal is a certified hoodlum. Actually, she's a would-be robber, to be specific. Today she's on a shop- ping trip for her weapon and has definite ideas as she checks out the store's hardware. So many to choose from. After some dithering she makes a selection. The clerk gives the customary warning about "dangerous," and she responds with an all-knowing nod. Here she is, armed and ready, walking into the Motel Six office demanding cash. The desk clerk knows the moment he sees her that she's serious because of the resolution in her voice. "Gimme the money and nobody gets hurt," says she, both hands firmly grasping her weapon, ?Believe me.,! will use this thing if I have to." The clerk has a quizzical look on his face. "Hello? Anybody there?" the cl-: .ays, pointing at the woman's weapon. She's carrying a chain saw -- an electric chain saw -- the kind that needs to be plugged in. The woman is startled when the clerk reaches under the counter and comes up with a plastic thingie aiming it directly at her face. "Drop that chain saw or I'll hit you with 9,000 dead- ly volts from this stun gun," the clerk yells. The woman is confused even a little petrified. "That's a lot of volts -- 9,000," she .st be thinking. "Okay, okay, I give," she says dropping the chain saw. Later, in court, the judge is amused the woman actually believed the motel clerk's TV remote was a high voltage stun gun. After entering a plea of guilty to attempted armed robbery, the lady bandit tells the judge she really would- n't have hurt anyone. "I don't know nothin about tools," she tells the court. To avoid an outright laugh, the judge avoids eye contact with the woman. He raps the gavel and gives her seven years. It is regarded as beyond the pale to suggest that a president of the US would lie or otherwise play politics to win support for a war. Even President Bush's biggest critics in the Democratic Party shrink from using the L-word when they talk about the famous 16 words or the president's other unequivocal prewar claims about Saddam Hussein's weapons. These ......... critics prefer to talk about "exaggerations" or %ntelli- gence lapses." ' Why is this so? "No president would stand up before the American people and boldly lie, if for no other reason than that he would fear getting caught." That's what many peopl are think- rag. But where have they been? Have they not heard that American presidents have lied or behaved politi- cally with regard to war before? Have they never heard the names McKinley, Wilson, Roosevelt (the sec- ond), Truman, Johnson, and Bush (the first)? In 1898, President William McKinley took the US to war against Spain after an explosion of uncer- tain origin on the USS Maine in Havana Harbor. (Apparently it was a boiler mishap.) In 1917, President Woodrow vrtlson, aRer prom- ising to keep America out of the European war, claimed the German kaiser had launched unprovoked attacks on the US, although VCilson had given naval escorts to arms-laden American merchant ships headed to England through the kaiser's declared subma- rine zone. In 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt, who had also promised to keep America out of foreign wars, told the nation that Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor was unprovoked, although his administration had been striving arduously to get Japan or Germany to the first shot." In 1950, President Harry Truman, without a declaration of war, sent troops to Korea to combat the "communist threat"-- although just before North Korea invaded South Korea, Truman's secretary of state said the peninsula was out- side America's defense perimeter. Truman changed his mind when he realized the Republicans would claim he "lost Korea"  in other words, for political reasons. In 1991, Prident George H.W. Bush went to war against Iraq after claim- ing that Saddam Hussein's forces, having occupied Kuwait, were poised to invade Saudi Arabia. Bush refused to declassify the satellite photos that alleged- - ly demonstrated his claim, the but former government intel- ligence officials analyzing commercial satellite pictures could find no massing of troops. Then there was millio President Lyndon Johnson. Not exactly a paragon of honesty in his long political career, Johnson secured a be blank check for US interven- tion in Vietnam in 1964 on the pretext that the North Vietnamese had conducted a n unprovoked attack against US destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin. Iraq z In fact, on August 2, 1964, North Vietnamese PT boats tried, unsuccessfully, to torpedo an American ship that had been gathering that t intelligence to support South Vietnam's attacks in the the north. But the August 4 attacks that Johnson told the of the American people about in a late-night televised address never took place. Before Johnson made his speech he had been informed by the top man on little  the scene that what seemed like attacks were the result of "freak weather effects on radar and overeager sonar- men." Capt. John J. Herrick had cabled the Pentagon that there were "no actual visual sightings" of North Vietnamese warships. The American people did not learn that truth until Li