Actual news*

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Coach Mark Mangino, who led the KU football team to a 12-1 record and an Orange Bowl victory last year, signed a contract extension last week that will pay him $2.3 million a year through 2012-an increase of $800,000 from his previous deal. *:The massive pay increase was yet another example of how and unlicensed T-shirts have brought the University of Kansas to the brink of economic ruin.



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Barack Obama (left) top U.S. military commander in Iraq, David Petraeus, (center) and Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., ride in a helicopter over Baghdad.

Barack Obama made his first overseas trip as a presumptive presidential nominee this week, making stops in Iraq and Afghanistan before touring Europe. Obama met with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who last week endorsed Obama's Iraq withdrawal plan to the consternation of the Bush administration. Meanwhile, John McCain faced renewed scrutiny over a joke he told in 1986 involving a gorilla and rape. *:Obama's security detail was on high alert for his international tour, repeatedly forced to intercept hurled panties being lobbed at Obama by world dignitaries. Afghan President Hamid Karzai was later heard lamenting that "backstage passes are, like, impossible to get." Back home, John McCain dismissed the criticism of his ape-rape joke, saying the dustup reminded him of the one involving a Mexican dwarf, five gooks, and a rubber hose. McCain's handlers quickly sedated the senator with a tranquilizer gun and wheeled him back to his crate before he could finish.


The Bush administration and the Iraqi government tentatively agreed last week to develop what the White House is calling a "general time horizon" for the withdrawal of U.S. troops. The administration was quick to point out that this "general time horizon" is not a "timetable" or "an arbitrary date," terminology that Republicans have used to attack Barack Obama and Democrats. *:White House spokesperson Dana Perino stressed that this plan was not "troop withdrawal," but instead "victory relocation"; that it was not "a repudiation by the Iraqi people" but "a polite jawboning"; nor was it "an acknowledgement that this monstrous policy in Iraq, which has left thousands dead, has utterly failed" but, in fact, "a pony."


AP photo

Former Vice President Al Gore speaks about energy and the future at Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C.


Al Gore delivered a major speech on energy policy last week, challenging the United States to become completely free of carbon fuels in 10 years. Gore likened the 10-year timeframe to John F. Kennedy's call to send a man to the moon. *:Also drawing a parallel with JFK, a consortium of OPEC nations and coal-fired power plant owners invited Gore to participate in a motorcade through Dealy Plaza in Dallas.


Focus was drawn back to Afghanistan last week when nine U.S. soldiers were killed in an attack by regrouped militants and Taliban. It was the deadliest strike since the conflict began in 2001. A steady upsurge in violence has made Afghanistan more dangerous than Iraq in recent months, with this year already on pace to be the bloodiest in the history of the Afghan occupation. *:Many soldiers in the region call Afghanistan "the forgotten war," but have forgiven the American media for completely ignoring it since, I mean, c'mon-Madonna's banging A-Rod.


AP photo

Movie-goers line up to purchase tickets to the new Batman movie "The Dark Knight."


"The Dark Knight," director Christopher Nolan's latest entry in the Batman franchise, had the biggest opening in box office history when it raked in over $155 million this past weekend. "The Dark Knight" bested "Spider-Man 3," the previous record holder at $151 million. *:Many analysts attribute the record breaking office to positiveword of mouth, the late Heath Ledger's award worthy performance as the Joker, and the fact that "Spider Man 3" was the cinematic equivalent of having someone punch you in the throat while they're pissing in your popcorn.


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