Is Noriega Comfortable?

As our nation appears irrevocably committed to war, and as our economy sinks into its worst state since the Depression, I know all of us are thinking just one thing ...

Is Noriega Comfortable?

As a matter of fact, he is. The much-maligned former significant other of the CIA is waiting for justice in a three-room condo (excuse me, I mean prison cell), with a color television, VCR, two phones, a personal computer, a fax machine, and a paper shredder. He orders out for the foods of his choice, enjoys two newspapers each day, and is attended regularly by on-call physicians, lawyers, and a hair stylist.

One pictures the former dictator/drug lord in his own barber chair, angrily waving off a pizza delivery man ("I said I wanted DOUBLE MEAT!") as a nearby federal agent takes the pins out of the day's dry cleaning.

And the only real news to come out of his trial was the court censuring of CNN's wiretap tapes of Noriega with his lawyers. Well, we have our own tapes ...

Attorney: "Now, we've got to settle on the proper defense for ..."

Noriega: "WHERE'S MY REMOTE CONTROL?!"

Attorney: "If we can just focus for a moment on the prosecution's ..."

Noriega: "NOT NOW, IT'S ALMOST TIME FOR JEOPARDY. SAY, HAS ANYBODY SEEN THE COLOR SWATCHES FROM THE CARPET PLACE? WE'VE GOT TO GET MY ORDER IN BY THIS WEEKEND!"

Attorney: "They're over there, under the recliner. Now if we could try and ..."

Noriega: "FINE, NO PROBLEM. OH GOOD, IT'S THE GUY FROM THE DELI. COME ON IN. JUST PUT IT DOWN ON THE COUNTER. WATCH THE VASE! SAY, I WANTED PROVOLONE, NOT MOZZARELLA ... AND IS THIS VEAL FRESH?"

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