Friday, November 3, 2006

The Lightning Round:
Take A Good Look

Sen. John Kerry learned about botched jokes this week, reminding us of the failsafe guideline for pols and punchlines: better to make yourself the butt. Since nobody at The Lightning Round headquarters is running on Tuesday, we'll grant ourselves an exemption. And now, let's get to the news...

HERE'S LOOKING AT YOU. Researchers say elephants recognize themselves in a mirror.

From ArsTechnica:
The [study's] authors discuss how this self-awareness has been proposed to be a necessary ingredient of empathy: without the ability to recognize needs specific to a "self," animals can't recognize similar needs in others.
Are they talking about elephants or the Republican party?

THAT'S THE WAY THE BALL BOUNCES. The NBA's new synthetic basketball does indeed bounce differently, according to a University of Texas study that confirms what many players suspected. Maverick Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban funded the research. The NBA isn't asking for changes. Neither is Cuban.
"Nothing," he told The Associated Press in an e-mail. "Just try to support the commissioner and the league to the fullest of my ability with the data."
Something that could've been done without a study, we observe.

GIMME AN "F," GIMME AN "E," GIMME A "D," GIMME AN "S!" The federal government is demanding several school districts in New York state place cheerleaders at girls' sporting events. This comes after a parent complained.

How can the goverment stick its fingers in this? It's called Title IX.

We note football cheerleeders are not affected by this order because boys' football doesn't have a girls' counterpart... yet.

LEGALLY ARMED. An Illinois man is under arrest in connection with an explosion at Salt Lake City's main library last month that blew out a window and forced evacuations.

From the AP:
Thomas Zajac's fingerprint was on remnants of a rocket igniter found at the scene, according to court documents unsealed Monday. Zajac, 53, is charged with possessing an unregistered destructive device... Authorities said an igniter available at hobby shops was used, along with galvanized pipe, a 9-volt battery and a 60-minute kitchen timer.
"Unregistered Destructive Device" -- Hey, don't forget to do the paperwork on that hand grenade before you hit the streets with it!

GIVING BACK TO THE COMMUNITY. Sheriff H. Franklin Cassell of Henry County, Virginia and 12 of his employees -- past and present -- are accused of selling guns and drugs seized from criminals back to citizens.

From the AP:
The region's textile and furniture industries have been in decline and its unemployment rate is higher than the state average. The area is best known for the Martinsville Speedway, where NASCAR races are run twice a year.
Running cars, running drugs, running guns -- not what we at The Lightning Round would consider a model community trademark.
Cassell... was quoted by investigators as saying the only way to acquire wealth is to be "a little crooked and not get caught."
State law says Sheriff Cassell's salary ranged somewhere between $85,500 to $93,500. He also owns a trucking company. How did "crooked" even enter his mind?

YOU CAN'T DO THAT ON TELEVISION. The general manager of TV stations WVII and WFVX in Bangor, Maine has banned all global warming stories.

According to The New York Times, Michael Palmer said when “Bar Harbor is underwater, then we can do global warming stories.”

Dr. James Hansen of Columbia University and NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies gives the response I would give:
“If you wait until Bar Harbor is underwater, it’s too late,” Dr. Hansen said. “It won’t be just Bar Harbor that is underwater, but many places around the globe including parts of Florida, Bangladesh and the Nile Delta.”
And maybe then, they'll put the nightside reporter on it.

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