Another Fourth on the North Fork.  Time to pick the new Strawberry Queen, shine the fire trucks, put out the collection jar for the un-insured and beat up the bald guy from out of town.

I think it's only game to allow my critics their say on my home page.

This editorial is re-printed in my local penny-saver...

[Regarding] gonzo "journalist" - and I use that term lightly - Greg Palast.

Mr. Palast, as you may recall, is the former summer resident who reached The New York Times' non-fiction best-seller list with not one but two books, "The Best Democracy Money Can Buy" and "Armed Madhouse," which was published earlier this year.

And I quote (from "Armed Madhouse"):

- '[The North Fork], if you look at a map, is situated at the ass end of nowhere.  We are known hereabouts for our Strawberry Festival and fire truck parade.  According to the census, this tiny place is made up almost entirely of inbred farmers, real estate speculators and volunteer firemen.'

- 'At one end of town is the 'Brand Names Outlet Mall' and the waterslide park.  At the other end, there's a ferry-boat that takes those who feel lucky to the Mashantucket Pequot tribe's casino in Connecticut.  And in between, there's Main Street, where we hold the Strawberry Festival.'

- 'The [Festival] is a quaint and annoying white-folks' ritual, an opportunity for backstabbing, petty infighting and all-American small-mindedness.  But that's another story altogether.'

In the same chapter with these sweet nothings, Mr. Palast goes tooth and nail after "Mayor Josh" … for his 2005 Homeland Security alert at Orient Point, and I regret to report that I agree with him that Josh went a little overboard on that one.  [Palast's note to readers:  Mayor Josh had SUVs mounted with machine guns to prevent a sea-borne invasion by Al Qaeda.]

But considering just about everything else [Palast] has to say about the North Fork, I have this question for Greg Palast:  What's keeping you here, punk?"

Answer:  I feel safe from Al Qaeda.

To hear the screechingly funny comedian Greg Proops reading the chapter "Terror in Tiny Town" from Armed Madhouse, or to read the book excerpt go to:

Greg Palast is the author of Armed Madhouse:  from Baghdad to New Orleans - Sordid Secrets and Strange Tales of a White House Gone Wild.