Monday, September 15, 2008
SMOKING POLL TAX
Governor Kathleen Sebelius announced last week she would again ask the Kansas Legislature to approve a package of health care reforms to help cover the uninsured that includes a 50-cent increase in the cigarette tax. The proposal has previously been rejected by the legislature for fear that it might hurt local retailers. *:The Kansas Legislature offered a counter proposal, named "The Smooth Flavor of Compassion Act," in which the tobacco industry will be subsidized for handing out cigarettes to sick children.
The Gaslight Tavern announced this week it will be closing its doors for good. The north Lawrence bar and venue is planning its final shows for September/October. (For info on the farewell events check: lawrence.com/gaslight) *:The Gaslight will be bulldozed to make way for a giant pneumatic tube that will literally suck money from Lawrence directly into the Legends and Power and Light districts.
FINGER IN THE IKE
Hurricane Ike, the first hurricane to directly hit a major U.S. city since Katrina, left a path of destruction through Houston over the weekend. Many parts of Galveston are under water and millions are still without power throughout Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana. *:Thanks to the startling obesity rate in Texas, most of those caught in the flooding were able to use their man breasts and cankles as naturally buoyant flotation devices.
ELECTIONEERING BOOGALOO: ONGOING COVERAGE
Sarah Palin last week gave her first major interview since becoming John McCain's running mate. Among some of the notable moments from her conversation with ABC's Charlie Gibson, Palin says she has foreign policy experience since Russia is visible from Alaska, revealed she isn't familiar with President Bush's foreign policy, and she repeated the claim that she opposed the infamous "Bridge to Nowhere" despite clear evidence she supported it. *:Gibson's interview spanned many topics, with questions ranging from "Is this a joke?" to "Are you f*cking kidding me?", and wrapped up with a lightening round of "Seriously? No, really, this is:I mean, you can't be:seriously? Seriously?"
Electronic Arts released the eagerly anticipated "Spore" last week, the latest video game creation from "Sims" mastermind Will Wright. The ambitious game allows players to control the evolution of a sentient species, from single-cell organism to galactic civilization. (Find our review at lawrence.com/spore) *:The game comes with an alternate "Palin Mode," where-instead of relying on evolution and science as game play elements-you populate your world via failed abstinence only policies and then destroy it by instigating a nuclear war with Russia in order to hasten Armageddon.
A sex tape featuring a normal sized woman and Vern Troyer, the diminutive actor best known as Mini Me from the "Austin Powers" films, was released last week. *:Before they invariably gouge their own eyes out, those who have seen the tape say it resembles a child's birth in reverse.
JUICE PART DEUCE
The robbery trial of OJ Simpson began in Las Vegas this week. The former football star, who was famously acquitted of murdering his ex-wife and her friend in 1995, is now accused of armed robbery and could face life in prison. *:The trial has inspired a VH1 nostalgia special, "I Love the '90s: Hey, Remember When Unimportant Sensationalist Bullshit Dominated the News?"
In what has become known as the "Sex for Oil" scandal, the US Interior Department's Inspector General released a scathing report last week detailing widespread debauchery and corruption within the Minerals Management Service, the federal agency responsible for handling offshore oil and gas leases. The report found that federal employees were sleeping with oil industry representatives, receiving inappropriate gifts from them, selling sex toys to other employees on the side, and that the program director was frequently abusing cocaine and crystal meth. *:The sex for oil arrangement is all part of the Bush Administration's strategy to "drill here, drill now, drill anything with an orifice."
The Dow Jones plummeted 500 points on Monday amid the stunning collapse of both Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and Merrill Lynch & Co. The bankruptcy and takeover of these two financial giants worsened jitters amongst investors already nervous about an economic recession, prompting the worst single-day loss of the stock market since the September 11th terrorist attacks of 2001. *:Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke tried his best to put a positive spin on the economic uncertainty. "Hey, you can't spell 'recession' without 'recess,'" said a pale and sweating Bernanke. "And who doesn't like recess? Am I right or am I right? Hello? Heh heh-is this thing on?" In related news, Phil Gramm still thinks you're a pussy. Â»