Lower Potato Tariffs!

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The Couch Potato Man will now do his bit for free trade.

As a bruised "fast track" warily circles the House, looking for a few good votes, it's time to get bullish on the global economy. Namely, what's Gephardt and the Big Labor boys so nettled about? The good ol' U S of A didn't get to be the economic butt-kicker it undeniably is today by keeping to itself. A McDonald's on every street corner, a pair of blue jeans on every butt. And a little tangle of American silicon on everybody's desk. Take the 80s (please). Bushido was all the rage, Detroit was in the tank the Japanese were better at everything, and the American century was over. Take Gung Ho, a culture-clash Ron Howard heart-warmer starring a young Batman (Keaton) and an older Long Duk Dong (Gedde Watanabe). And Norm. And globally, a happy ending (hey, the Nikkei's in the toilet).

In the wake of China honch Jiang Zemin's visit, people are beginning to realize that the wily/cherubic Jiang managed to go a whole week without saying anything at all. But at least no one tried to kill him a la the deadpan Airplane spawn The Naked Gun, which I mention here simply because it's really, really funny. It's Reggie, man!

A movie not quite as funny, but still worth 90 minutes of your life, is slightly more topical: Hot Shots, Part Deux. Like a "fast track" rally, it's full of ex-presidents, and snuck in among the groaners is a classic swordfight between a near-bionic Lloyd Bridges (as the current CIC) and the returning villain de la semana . . . mustachioed mad chemist Saddam Hussein. The best laughs in life are cheap.