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Rumsfeld, Ridge Come to Blows Over TSA

WASHINGTON DC -- Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld had to be physically restrained from assaulting Tom Ridge, who was attending his very first full cabinet meeting with President George W. Bush last week as the newly confirmed Secretary of Homeland Security. Rumsfeld, a former Naval Aviator, threw a vicious right hook that nearly found its mark on the former Army Infantry Staff Sergeant's jaw in an angry reaction to Ridge's steadfast insistence that Transportation Security Agency Security Screeners be posted at all military airfields.

"The TSA plan is simply an exercise in extreme bureaucratic absurdity and stupidity. Do you understand that these screeners are confiscating rifles, pistols, ammunition and bayonets from soldiers that we are trying to deploy to the Persian Gulf?" said Rumsfeld later that day in answer to a reporter's question at a Pentagon briefing. "Frankly, I had higher expectations for my colleague than this kind of naked power grab."

"The Transportation Security Administration protects the Nation's transportation systems to ensure freedom of movement for people and commerce," said Norman Mineta, Secretary of Transportation, whose white oxford shirt was stained with coffee spilled during the altercation. "We are coordinating our activities with Secretary Ridge to insure that our skies are completely safe from the kind of threat that we saw on September 11. Those efforts include a strict zero tolerance policy on weapons carried aboard aircraft operating in the National Airspace System."

"It took my squad over six hours to get through the metal detector when we boarded the C-17 at Charleston," said Marine Lieutenant Hack Winters, upon landing at Ali Salem air base in Kuwait. "We all had to lie about packing our own bags and strangers giving us things to carry on board. And now what are we supposed to do without weapons? Throw sand at the Republican Guard?"

Bomber crews at Whaanker Air Force Base located across the river from Mudcat Falls have been overheard grumbling that their scramble times have gone from less than five minutes to over an hour in getting their B-1Bs airborne due to the heightened security measures.

Political observers point to the impromptu Secretarial boxing match as evidence of deep rifts within the Bush Administration over the looming showdown with Saddam Hussein, a charge that White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer strongly denied.

"This President believes in an open and unfettered exchange of opinions and viewpoints to insure that in the end our government pursues the policies that will serve our Nation and its citizens in the best manner possible," said Fleischer at a press briefing. "Neither the President nor I have knowledge of any personal animosity between members of his Cabinet."

Vegas odds makers have the hard hitting Rumsfeld as a -210 favorite over Ridge, who is listed at +180. The over/under has been posted at over 9.5 rounds +145 and under -185.

2003 MFTHPPPGT




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