Monday, February 12, 2007
KANSAS CITY BARBEQUE
A series of explosions ripped through a chemical distribution facility near downtown Kansas City, Mo., last week. The fire destroyed the building, sending a massive column of smoke into the sky that was visible for at least 30 miles. The blaze at the Chemcentral facility resulted from barrels of petroleum-based chemicals accidentally igniting. The blaze was so intense firefighters could only wait for it to burn out, and the billowing smoke rained mysterious, sticky debris upon many parts of the K.C. metro area. No one was seriously injured and the neighborhood surrounding the plant has been deemed safe and reopened. *:Local investigators have deemed the explosion an accident, although federal agents are urging a closer look. "Let's not be too hasty," said one Bush administration official. "We could still find some way to tie this to Iran."
EQUAL OPPORTUNITY GAY BASHING
The Kansas Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee held hearings last week on Senate Bill 163, which would prohibit discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations based on sexual orientation. State law prohibits discrimination based on race, religion, color, sex, disability, family status and national origin or ancestry, but currently does not address sexual orientation. The new bill is similar to an ordinance that already exists in Lawrence. Committee members heard testimony from Kansans who have lost jobs due to their orientation and had no legal recourse, but no action was taken on the bill. State Representative Janice Halls of Hutchinson was the only committee member who openly objected to the bill, saying that it would force religious employers to hire homosexuals. Halls also said gay people shouldn't be protected from discrimination because, unlike black people, they make a decision to be a minority. "Those of a different sexual orientation are not visible in our society unless they choose to be," she said. *:A new bill that would protect homophobes and bigots from discrimination has been introduced in the Kansas legislature. Said one of the bills sponsors, "Those with a blinding hatred and irrational fear of gay people can't help it:they're born stupid."
TRIMSPA FOR MAGGOTS
Playboy playmate and reality TV star Anna Nicole Smith (real name Vickie Lynn Marshall) died at the age of 39 last week. She was found unconscious in bed by her personal nurse while staying at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Seminole, Fla., and pronounced dead shortly thereafter. Broward County officials are still awaiting the results of an autopsy to determine the cause. Smith's death comes just five months after the birth of her daughter, Dannielynn, and the death of her 20-year-old son, Daniel, who died three days after the birth of his sister from a lethal mixture of prescription medications. There are now three men claiming to be the father of Dannielynn, including Zsa Zsa Gabor's husband. Dannielynn now might inherit the fortune of billionaire J. Howard Marshall, to whom Smith, then 26, was married for 13 months before Marshall died at the age of 90. The final decision on that inheritance, as well as the paternity of Dannielynn, will be determined by the courts. Smith, who started her career as a topless dancer in Texas, became Playmate of the Year in 1993 and was the star of her own reality TV show in 2002. Both in that show and in numerous public appearances, Smith was frequently suspected of being under the influence of pills or other intoxicants. *:Doctors saw no need to preserve Smith's body, as there are already so many chemicals in her system that she's been clinically embalmed since 1997.
THE THIN DIAPER OF SANITY HAS SPRUNG A LEAK
Astronaut Lisa Nowak was arrested last week and charged with the attempted murder of a woman she believed to be her rival for the affections of a fellow astronaut. Police say Captain Nowak drove 900 miles to Florida from Texas, wearing a diaper so she would not have to stop for rest breaks. In Orlando, disguised with a wig and trench coat, she confronted her rival in a parking lot and attacked her with pepper spray. Nowak also had with her a BB gun, a steel mallet, a knife, pepper spray, four feet of rubber tubing, latex gloves and garbage bags. *:Following the arrest, Nowak requested a wet wipe because she had, in her words, "made a Challenger explosion in my nappy."
FLYING PENIS ENVY
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi accused the Pentagon of leaking what she described as an unfounded story that she wanted a bigger plane than the one used by her Republican predecessor, Dennis Hastert of Illinois. Republicans had been circulating an e-mail entitled "Pelosi's Power Trip" that said "Nonstop Nancy seeks flight of fancy." The House sergeant at arms, who is responsible for the security of House members, said he is the one who requested the plane for Pelosi. He said the California Democract has farther to fly than Hastert did and for security reasons the Speaker must fly non-stop, requiring a larger fuel load and hence a larger plane. *:Republicans took some comfort in the fact that Hastert's breasts were still larger than Pelosi's.
IN OTHER UPPITY WOMEN NEWS:
Harvard University on Sunday named historian Drew Gilpin Faust as its first female president, ending a lengthy and secretive search to find a successor to Lawrence Summers, the former president who came under fire for publicly speculating that women might be genetically predisposed to be bad at math and science. The seven-member Harvard Corporation elected the 59-year-old Faust, a noted scholar of the American South and dean of Harvard's Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, as the university's 28th president. *:In much the same way that presidential hopeful Barack Obama is considered by some in the African American community as not being "black enough" because his mother was white and his father was a Kenyan, Faust is considered by some in the female academic world as not being "woman enough" because her father was not a woman.