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Jewish World Review April 11, 2002 / 30 Nisan, 5762

Art Buchwald

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Consumer Reports

It's Cherry Blossom Time | It is now the most beautiful time of the year in Washington. It is cherry blossom time. In past years, tourists from all over the world came to look at the blossoms. But this year it's different, because now the cherry blossoms are looking at us. As part of homeland security, video cameras have been placed in the trees and monuments around the Tidal Basin.

There is now a FBI Cherry Blossom SWAT team whose sole job it is to monitor tourists who go in and out of the Tidal Basin.

The team is located in the cellar of the J. Edgar Hoover building, where they man the TV screens 24 hours a day.

Let's see where it all leads. Two of the agents are studying the screens.

"Buck, I think I've got someone standing under the Weeping Higan tree by the Lincoln Memorial."

"Which one?"

"The guy in the red jersey with the New York Yankees baseball cap. He's taking a picture of his wife and two kids, who are eating saltwater taffy."

"I see them now. What makes you think they could be terrorists?"

"Why would someone be taking pictures of the cherry blossoms unless he had a subversive reason? I'm going to do a visual recognition on him."

The agent went to his computer. He put the tourist's picture on the screen and the computer started spitting out information. The agent read, "He's Brad Ellicott, a lawyer who lives in Greenwich with his wife and two children. He went to Harvard, she to Wellesley. Ellicott is a rock-ribbed Republican and gave $100 to Bush in the last election. He has no known connection to any terrorist organizations except the ACLU. Well, we have nothing there."

The other agent says, "Look over there at the Capitol. You see the demonstrator with the sign protesting the high cost of prescription drugs?"

"The guy looks 70 years old. He's shouting that drug companies are sticking it to the people who need the drugs the most."

"He sounds like an agitator to me. Let's do a profile on him. My gosh, listen to this. He studied psychology at Berkeley, was a member of the Socialist Party, voted for Adlai Stevenson, and subscribed to the Nation magazine. He spent a year in Europe where he hung out with Ernest Hemingway and Jean Paul Sartre. He was always a troublemaker."

The first agent said, "We better find out what he's really up to." He pushed the Homeland Security button and a SWAT team came roaring out of the basement, their sirens blaring.

As the agents watched on the TV monitor, the SWAT team tore down the protestor's sign and body-searched him. Then the lieutenant called the FBI at Cherry Blossom Headquarters and said, "We found nothing except an unfilled prescription for $200 worth of arthritis pills.

Comment on JWR contributor Art Buchwald's column by clicking here.

04/08/02: The Young Audience
03/31/02: Safe Deposit for Sale
03/26/02: Au Revoir to Soft Money
03/21/02: Andersen Defense Fund?
03/19/02: Celebrity kickers
03/15/02: A Mickey Mouse solution
03/13/02: Shadow government in the sandbox
03/07/02: The Way It Is
03/05/02: Not telling the truth
03/01/02: Book flogging
02/27/02: The players are mad

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