Friday, December 29, 2006

Today's Cartoon: Cloned Meat Determined Safe to Eat

Personally, I don't see what all the fuss is about. I mean, if people already eat "Twinkies" and "Cheez Whiz", then honestly, what harm could a little cloned meat do to them? In any case, it certainly couldn't be any worse than what "Taco Bell" already does with the regular stuff ;)

Me, I'd eat cloned meat. Heck, it would be nice to know that the food I was eating was cloned; just so I could have the satisfaction of knowing where it's been. Look, at least laboratories are sterilized; now, you can't say that about other "kitchens" ;) The way I see it, clone meat is like eating leftovers, except it's freshly made every time.

So, now that scientists are able to reproduce livestock in their labs, perhaps they could begin working on method to extract the meat from the animals, without actually harming them. I mean, if they can already grow a human ear on the back of a mouse, then why not a chicken nugget? Or, how about instead of slaughtering a cow, scientists give it a second set of udders for dispensing ground beef. Oh sure, it may sound gross; but then again, so does most of our other methods of producing food. The only exception will be that when a restaurant advertises that it has the "best hamburger in town", it's probably because they've been re-using the same cloned cow over and over again ;)

Well, this is it; my last cartoon of 2006. My first full year of "Beyond the Punchline" is now complete! I want to thank everyone again for taking the time to stop by throughout the year to check out my cartoons and for sharing them in your blogs. Doing a daily current-events based web comic has been an enjoyable experience for me and I can only hope that the sentiment has been the same for you. There have been lots of “news” stories that I've tried to cover during the course of 2006; some have been more serious than others, while others have definitely been less substantial than most. It is my hope now that through the archives, people can begin to look back on the year that was and perhaps get a better sense of the kind of history that is being made for future generations to laugh at.

I hope that you all have a safe and happy New Year. And I hope to see you back here, bright and early in 2007 :)

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Thursday, December 28, 2006

Today's Cartoon: Gerald Ford 1913-2006

To me, Gerald Ford will always be remembered as the amiable klutz on T.V. who was always falling down and knocking stuff over; and bore a striking resemblance to Chevy Chase. In fact, if it weren't for Saturday Night Live re-runs, I'm not sure if anyone under the age of 30 would even know who Gerald Ford was. I mean, he was barely in the White House for two years and spent the majority of that time cleaning up the mess left behind by its previous occupant. In fact, next to pardoning Richard Nixon, I'd say that President Ford is probably best remembered for tumbling down the stairs of Air Force One during a visit to Austria.

The media has dubbed Gerald Ford the "Accidental President", in part because he was the only unelected Commander-in-Chief in American history (unless of course, you're including George W. Bush) but also because he was the one who introduced Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney to the upper echelons of power; meaning that while it's been over 30 years since President Ford left office, the ghosts of his brief Administration continue to haunt the White House to this day.

Perhaps this explains why the current head of state always appears to be falling flat on his face ;)

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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Today's Cartoon: Iraq Court Upholds Saddam Hussein Execution

The way I see it, executing Saddam Hussein will do absolutely nothing to quell Iraq's civil war or legitimize its U.S. backed courts in the eyes of Sunnis. If anything, it seems that it will only serve to accelerate the country's downward spiral in chaos... Especially if the government were to follow through with its original plan to conduct a public hanging (presumably in a soccer stadium).

Despite all the criticism surrounding the trial of Saddam Hussein, it appears that the U.S. backed Iraqi courts cannot bury the former dictator fast enough; which to me seems like a huge waste of time, as he was already buried when they found him in the first place. I mean, if the United States is so determined to put Saddam Hussein back in the ground, then they probably shouldn't have pulled him out of his spider hole to begin with. All that was missing was a tombstone ;)

Well, if and when the execution of Saddam Hussein takes place (within the next month) it is widely speculated that the event will spark greater animosity between Shiite and Sunni Iraqis further fueling their conflict; however, for an administration in desperate need of both a strategy and a reason for staying in Iraq, the further unrest caused by the hanging of the former dictator could provide President Bush with just enough justification to last... at least until he leaves office.

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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Today's Cartoon: James Brown 1933-2006

Maybe it's just me, but Christmas often seems to coincide with the passing of a major cultural icon. In the past it has marked the loss of such legends as Dean Martin and Charlie Chaplin; while this year it includes the sad departure of "The Godfather of Soul" James Brown.

While this is certainly a sad occasion for fans of the late singer, probably no one is more upset about this than Jesus himself. After all, Christmas is supposed to be about him; yet every year, somebody else seems to steal the spotlight away from him ;)

James Brown was definitely a larger than life character, probably best known for his string of hits (both musical and spousal). His unique singing style and energetic stage presence has influenced a wide variety of popular artists and given form to numerous genres, ranging from disco to rap. Dubbed "The hardest working man in show business", Brown's music career spanned six decades and included over 50 albums and 100 chart topping hits.

But to me, he will also be remembered for having some of the best interviews and police mug shots in the industry ;)

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Monday, December 25, 2006

Today's Cartoon: United Nations Imposes Sanctions on Iran

It's a good thing that Iran is a Muslim nation; otherwise, Iranians would probably be in an uproar over the fact that the U.N. Security Council just voted unanimously to cancel Christmas in their country (for the foreseeable future). Of course, that's not to say that they are not already upset; it's just that receiving trade sanctions for Christmas is probably the worst gift any country could receive, whether they celebrate the holiday or not.

So, now that Iran is not longer allowed to import nuclear material and technology, the question is... what will Santa do with his gifts for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? Well, instead of dumping enriched uranium over the side of his sleigh, or feeding it to Rudolph to make his nose shine brighter, I think Santa should give it to "naughty" kids, as a substitute for coal. I mean, what better way to prompt children to behave, than by threatening them with harmful, radioactive yellow cake in their stocking.

Then again, if the child is REALLY bad and gets enough stockings full of the stuff, he or she could possibly build a nuclear bomb and end up holding the world (and Santa Claus) for ransom. Heck, it worked for Kim Jong-Il ;)

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Friday, December 22, 2006

Today's Cartoon: Rosie O'Donnell vs. Donald Trump

The public feud between Rosie O'Donnell and Donald Trump has gotten extremely ugly (extremely fast); of course, if you've listened to any of Trump's comments about the situation, he'd have you believe that a spat with O'Donnell was already "ugly" by default.

If fact, witnessing two of New York's most "outspoken" celebrities slug it out on virtually every television channel, is kind of like watching one of those Japanese monster movies where you not sure which creature to root for, so instead you just sit back and marvel at the mayhem they create.

Lately, it seems that both Trump and O'Donnell are experiencing difficulties playing nice with other celebrities. In a way, they both remind me of those kids at school who were always getting into trouble and had to sit next to the teacher during class, to stop them from attacking the other children; however in this case, they're all grown up and filthy rich. Ironically, instead of being rewarded for "good behavior" with a gold sticker at the end of the day, these “problem celebrities” are celebrated for disrupting the class, with as little "class" as possible ;)

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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Today's Cartoon: President Bush Plans to Increase Size of Military

President Bush's desire to increase the size of the U.S. military in order to meet his "objectives" in the Middle East, kind of reminds me of a frustrated toddler; trying to force a square peg into a round hole. It doesn't matter how much force is used, nothing will succeed if the strategy is fundamentally flawed.

Sadly, it appears that the need for the United States to increase its defenses is less a result of the "radicals" and "extremists" plotting in the Middle East; as it is their "enablers", bumbling around in Washington. It seems to me that the Bush Administration has become its worse enemy, by undermining its objectives through its own stubborn hubris, which has now practically rendered them as scattered and disorganized as "Al Qaeda" (and every bit as popular).

Since 9/11, President Bush's short struggle against "radicals and extremists" has blazed a path directly towards his "long struggle", which seemingly requires the expansion of his military in accordance with the expansion of the enemy that he creates along the way. In a way, it's like watching someone trying to fight fire with fire, only to end up burning down his whole village.

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Today's Cartoon: Miss USA Tara Conner Keeps Crown, Enters Rehab

Let this be a lesson to all you young girls out there, who view Miss America as a "role model"... Everyone make mistakes and deserves a second chance. And as long as you remain pretty and profitable, you'll be sure to get one... or many ;)

The way I see it, Donald Trump's decision not to "fire" Tara Conner as Miss America was no more an act of compassion as it was a golden opportunity for him to cash in on her notoriety, as a way to increase interest in his slumping beauty pageant.

I mean, up until a couple of days ago, most people didn't even know who Tara Conner was; but after hearing the juicy details of her "scandalous behavior", she has instantly become the most popular Miss America ever (even if it was for all the wrong reasons). After all, this is the same country that decided to make Paris Hilton a "star". So, in a way, Trump is actually punishing Miss America by keeping her on the job, instead of releasing her from her contract and allowing her to shift the media focus away from his beauty pageant and onto the pages of Playboy or Penthouse, where she would definitely be making a lot more money.

In other words, if there is anyone who is going to profit from Miss Conner's "exposure", it's certain to be Donald Trump.

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Today's Cartoon: Robert Gates Becomes New U.S. Defense Secretary

Hmm... When Robert Gates said that "failure in Iraq" would amount to a "calamity" which would haunt the United States for decades, do you suppose he was referring to their ill-fated search for Saddam’s WMD's? Because if you ask me, it was THAT failure in Iraq that directly led to the calamity, which is already going to haunt the United States for decades to come.

To be honest, I actually have to agree with Gates when he says that America "simply cannot afford to fail in the Middle East", which is why I can't understand his desire to remain in Iraq; when the justification for them being there ending up going out of style faster than eight-ball jackets at a Pearl Jam concert. Then again, perhaps he just figures that because all the other failures in Iraq preceded him as Secretary of Defense, he gets to start out with a clean slate as well.

Look, if the inevitable is being delayed over a simple matter of semantics, then instead of calling it "cut and running" the Bush Administration may want to refer to it as "cutting their losses" instead. I mean, if the White House is successfully able to remove itself from a no-win situation, then shouldn't that be considered a victory in itself? ...Well I'm pretty sure FOX News would think so ;)

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Monday, December 18, 2006

Today's Cartoon: Time Magazine's Person of the Year is... ME!

I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm totally going to milk this for all it's worth :) I mean, it's not everyday that you get recognized as a "historical figure", on par with the likes of Martin Luther King, Mahatma Ghandi and of course Adolf Hitler; and seeing that I haven't won anything since I was sperm, my ego could definitely use the boost ;)

Wow! Who knew that when I started this daily web comic a year ago, that by the end of 2006, my success would have snowballed to such epic proportions?! And while I still feel slighted over losing out to George Clooney for the title of "Sexiest Man Alive" (yet again!) it's nice to know that at least my "body of work" is finally getting the recognition it deserves ;)

But to me, by far the best part about being named Time Magazine's "Person of the Year" is not the fact that my contributions to the "information superhighway" have been formally recognized as something more significant than mere round-a-bouts and skidmarks; it's that this distinction is going to look really cool on my resume!

So, on behalf of the millions of "You", with whom I share this great honour with; allow me to be the first to say... In your face Rumsfeld! :)

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Friday, December 15, 2006

Today's Cartoon: Enquiry Dismisses Princess Diana Conspiracy Theories

It seems to me that it wouldn't really matter what the British authorities were to conclude in their inquiry into the 1997 car crash which claimed the life of Princess Diana, the mind's of "conspiracy theorists" are already made up. And unless the report generally agrees with their pre-determined belief that there was some sort of cover-up, it just becomes another part of the "conspiracy".

That being said, even if the police did find evidence which indicated that the crash was not an accident, people can't honestly expect them to suddenly disclose this information after keeping it a secret for nine years. I mean if they did, then they couldn't exactly call it a "cover-up", now could they? ;)

Now, it would appear that debunking "conspiracy theorists" would be just about the easiest thing in the world to do... as long as there was no truth to any of their theories. All the media would have to do is take the time to go down their laundry list of evidence and refute it, point by point; and yet in most cases, all they seem to have time to do is heap mounds of ridicule upon them, before going back to ignoring them again. Even government investigations and police inquiries that are deliberately designed to dispel "conspiracy theories" usually fail to do so, because they tend to ignore the main issue; that being, the public's distrust of those in authority.

In my opinion, the only way to truly debunk a "conspiracy theory” is by allowing the "conspiracy theorists" to assist in the official inquiry. That way, the public is ensured a thorough investigation that either proves or disproves their points and answers all their questions. And the best part about it is that no one can claim of any "cover-up"... That is, unless they're REALLY paranoid. To me, the public's involvement would not be an issue, if authorities were not trying to hide anything from them.

The way I see it, refuting a conspiracy theory with facts may take a few moments; however, disputing one with insults will go on indefinitely.

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Today's Cartoon: Study Reveals Circumcision Cuts AIDS Risk By Half

Personally, I don't know why they even bothered researching this… I mean, it seems fairly obvious to me that a circumcision would radically reduce a man's risk of contracting HIV. In fact, just the mere presence of the knife near the penis, would probably do the trick. Actually, if you ask me, the only thing that's more certain than circumcision in fighting the spread of AIDS would probably be a swift kick to the testicles ;)

You know, at first I wondered why the media was hyping this report; until I remembered who it was that controlled it. That's right... the Jews! And who better to benefit from an AIDS study that encourages all the men in the world to get circumcised, than the Zionists who seek to control it... by spreading the virus in the first place ;)

Seriously though, I'm not the kind of guy to endorse an article which encourages men to run out and mutilate their penises; but if it's either that or risk becoming another public service announcement, then it may not hurt (as much) to give your local rabbi a call.

Who knows, maybe once they've finally found a cure for AIDS, scientists could begin working on a synthetic foreskin, for those of us who still wish to "hold on" to tradition ;)

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Today's Cartoon: Ehud Olmert Accidentally Acknowledges Israel's Nuclear Arsenal

Hey everyone, this cartoon marks my web comic's one year anniversary! It was a year ago today that I decided resurrected my "Beyond the Punchline" series and incorporate it into my blog as a daily critique of the most popular "news" stories of the day.

While I never know for sure what the next day's news is going to be, every weekday for the last year (263 cartoons and counting), I've tried my best to create the best work that I can. And although I don't know if doing a daily web comic based on current events is actually making me (or anyone else for that matter) a better informed person or even a better artist, I must say that I really enjoy the creative process that goes into it, nonetheless.

So, thanks again to everyone who continues to take the time out of their day to stop by and check out my cartoons; and especially to those who are actually reading the blog as well and leaving me comments and/or linking to my work. It's all greatly appreciated :)

Early in the new year it is my plan to publish a print edition of "Beyond the Punchline" in the form of a 2006 retrospective, which will include cartoons on all the biggest news stories or the year. However in the meantime, be sure to check out my latest comic book "American Soil: Terror is on the March", which is available now at Lulu.com :)

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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Today's Cartoon: Kofi Annan Criticizes Bush Admin in Farewell Speech

Kofi Annan's farewell speech as Secretary-General of the United Nations was a thinly veiled criticism of the Bush Administration's foreign policy. How thin was it? Well, if his remarks were a burka, there would only be enough fabric for him to cover his own rear end ;)

As the Bush-Bashing Bandwagon makes another stop at the United Nations, it seems that dignitaries are beginning to use the misdeeds and incompetences of the Bush Administration as a convenient cover for their own faults, as they attempt a graceful exit from the public eye. And while Annan's concerns are certainly not without merit, they are also the product of his own failure as Secretary-General.

While the Bush Administration has made no secret of its contempt's for the United Nations, from it's designation of John Bolton as U.S. Ambassador to it's unapologetic use of it's veto to defeat resolutions which are not solely in line with its own national interests; decorum should not have prevented Kofi Annan from delivering his "final statement" a heck of a lot sooner and far more often.

Of course, the United Nations can only function if all of its permanent members want it to; otherwise, it becomes as useless as a "Study Group" on Iraq. But that shouldn't stop it from at least reaching a consensus as to why it's not working. I mean, it's not as though they're able to do anything else.

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Monday, December 11, 2006

Today's Cartoon: Infamous Dictator Augusto Pinochet Passes Away

If there is anything positive to be taken from the passing of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, it's the fact that suspected human rights violators seem to live extremely long lives, which means that the courts will have plenty of opportunities to put them on trial. Yet unfortunately, most of these individuals are so difficult to convict that not only does it explain the need for all those opportunities... but also the fact that they end up living extremely long lives.

While Pinochet accepted "political responsibility" for everything that happened during his 18 years in power, including the disappearance of at least 3000 Chileans and the siphoning of $27 million to secret offshore bank accounts; to me, there really didn't seem to be any reason for it, considering that there were no political "consequences" for him to accept as a result. I mean, it's not as though the guy was still in office. Instead, it would seem that "legal" responsibility was the more appropriate term, which was most likely why Pinochet decided to go with "political" in the first place.

Although Augusto Pinochet may have ultimately escaped criminal prosecution in life, I'd imagine that if there is such a thing as purgatory, it would probably include a gavel, instead of a pitchfork.

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Friday, December 08, 2006

Today's Cartoon: Dick Cheney's Lesbian Daughter Pregnant

If the fact that Mary Cheney is pregnant with her lesbian partner's baby is creating an uproar among the Republican base, I'm pretty sure that all would be forgiven if she decided to name the child "Jesus" ;)

While it has always been opposed to the issue of same-sex parents in the past; right now, the Bush Administration is probably very much in favor of it, if for no other reason than it gets people to shut up about Iraq, for a little while. In fact, I hear that if all goes well, the White House is next going to recruit the Log Cabin Republicans to try to impregnate Condoleezza Rice.

It seems that Conservatives that oppose Mary Cheney's pregnancy see it as an assault on "traditional family values"; however, in order for that to be accurate, the Cheney's would first need to fit their definition of a "traditional family", which because of their openly gay daughter, they do not. Therefore, because they already exist outside the conservative realm of "normal", whatever the Cheney's do really shouldn't be considered an assault on "traditional families"... unless of course, it somehow involves quail hunting with Dick ;)

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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Today's Cartoon: Iraq Study Group Releases Report

If George W. Bush was not happy with the grim assessment made by the "Iraq Study Group" in their much-anticipated report, imagine how upset he's going to be in 10 years, when ninth graders are drawing the same conclusions in their much-anticipated mid-term history reports.

In what can only be described as the "worst mistake in U.S. history", the American war in Iraq has seemingly gone from a "lost cause" to a "fool's errand", in about the same amount of time it took Pamela Anderson's latest marriage to fall apart. And while, at least in Pam's case, there is still plenty of international interest in helping her, George W. Bush can't even touch a foreign dignitary without giving them the heebie-jeebies ;)

Well, if there is anything positive to be said about the findings of the "Iraq Study Group", it's that although its assessment may be bleak, at least there was an honest attempt to put politics aside and reach a bipartisan consensus, which ultimately lead to those negative views on Iraq. In reference to openness and transparency in government, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis once famously stated that "sunlight is the best disinfectant"; and with the situation in Washington and Baghdad being as toxic as it has been for so long, this may in fact be the long awaited first steps towards healing... or at least it may delay amputation for a little while longer.

It also gives George W. Bush something else to put in his presidential library, right next to "My Pet Goat" ;)

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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Today's Cartoon: Robert Gates Admits U.S. Not Winning Iraq War

So, by simply admitting that the United States was "not winning" the war in Iraq during his confirmation hearing, Robert Gates is applauded for his "candor" and "forthrightness" and automatically wins the approval of the Senate committee, to become the next U.S. Secretary of Defense.

Talk about being at the right place at the right time. I mean, if the sole criterion for becoming the head of America's Department of Defense is the uncanny ability to state the obvious when asked; then on that basis, practically any American would have been qualified for the position... Well, except for Donald Rumsfeld, of course ;)

But to me, the best part about the gig appears to be the fact that Gates doesn't actually need to have any new ideas (especially concerning Iraq), but merely the willingness to listen to those who do. In fact, it seems that all that is really being asked of him, is that he WANT the job, after Rumsfeld's disastrous tenure as Secretary of Defense made Flight 77 the SECOND worse thing to ever hit the Pentagon.

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Today's Cartoon: John Bolton Resigns, Hugo Chavez Re-elected

If George W. Bush was already reluctant to let go of his trusted, hand picked Ambassador to the United Nations, then I can only imagine how much more difficult that decision must have been, when on the very same day, anti-U.S. leader Hugo Chavez was re-elected for (at least) another six year term as President of Venezuela.

Now, while many have interpreted the results of the election as a huge victory for Chavez's socialist revolution, I tend to see it less as a "landslide", and more of a "skid mark" in the shorts of American Imperialism ;)

You see, while it may be embarrassing and uncomfortable for the Bush Administration to strut about, preaching the benefits of "free market capitalism" to the world, knowing that there's a "pooin' a brewin" down south; a "skid mark" can easily be forgotten, as long as President Bush doesn't draw any attention to it and is able keep the rest of the world distracted from the stink by creating a stench someplace else.

Of course, if all else fails he could always just blame it on one of his dogs... or Cheney ;)

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Monday, December 04, 2006

Today's Cartoon: Rumsfeld Memo Calls For Major Adjustments in Iraq

Hmm... I wonder if Rumsfeld wrote his not-so-classified memo to the White House knowing full well that he was about to resign, or if it was because of his call for "major adjustments" in Iraq that he actually got fired instead.

You know, it's no secret that the U.S. strategy in Iraq is not working, which why it's so ridiculous to me that Donald Rumsfeld had to write a "secret" memo, to state the obvious to those who should have already been the first to know!

Now, I'm not the type to kick someone when they're down (unless they're chewing on my ankles) but it seems to me that Rumsfeld may have become so delusional as Secretary of Defense that not only did he try to keep reality a "secret" from the American people, but now it appears he also tried to hide it from himself as well. I mean, how else can you explain someone who stubbornly denies what the world has been telling him for years, only to finally acknowledge it in a classified note to the few people who are just as "hopelessly optimistic" as he is?

Well, at least he didn't call Iraq a "civil war"... Because I'm pretty sure that at this point, even he knows that that's no "secret" any more.

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Friday, December 01, 2006

Today's Cartoon: Litvinenko Radiation Investigation Grounds British Aircraft

You know, for something that is supposed to be a rare radioactive element, British authorities sure seem to be finding a lot of it; especially on British Airways planes, which makes me wonder if this is somehow connected with the Litvinenko case, or if the airline food is really THAT bad ;)

Experts have attributed the growing list of contaminated locations around London to the possibility that the polonium-210 may have been spread through people's bodily fluids. If that's the case, then "exposure" to radiation may not be the only thing that the British public needs to be worried about.

All I can say is that it's a good thing British health officials are on top of the situation and taking all the necessary measures to ensure public's safety, because if radiation contamination can spread as easily as fecal matter through a crowded pub, then London is definitely one of the worst places in the world for it to happen.

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