Friday, January 12, 2007

The Lightning Round:
We Are Driven

Nary two weeks have elapsed, but already we have a strong candidate for the biggest non-story of 2007: the public feud between Rosie and Trump. All of us here at The Lightning Round are going out of our way to ignore this waste of precious attention span. We invite you now to divert your brain cells to these stories instead:

SCRAP YARD. From our hometown papers comes relief for the casual mechanic. Pima County, Arizona is loosening its junk-car rules to allow people with rides needing repair to keep them around provided they screen it off from the neighbors. Out of sight or out of lawn.

From the Arizona Daily Star:
The ordinance doesn't distinguish between vehicles that are awaiting repairs and vehicles that are just trash.

County officials said such distinctions aren't enforceable.

"One man's junk is another man's treasure," said Greg Hitt, Pima County's principal planner. "To the inspector, it could be junk, but to the owner, it could be a parts car with a lot of value."
We suggest putting the new ordinance to the ultimate test by turning a 1973 Opel into a birdbath.

RIDING IN CARS WITH SMOKES. Bangor, Maine doesn't want you puffing in cars when children are around. Violators face a $50 fine under a new ordinance.

From the AP:
People who smoke with children present in the confined space of a car or truck might as well be deliberately trying to kill those children, said City Councilor Patricia Blanchette, who is a smoker.

"Let's step up to the plate and lead; our children are worth the fight," she said.
So are adults, many of whom are tired of cracking the window. And let's remember the driver distraction caused by digging out a Pall Mall and lighting up. Cancer or crashes -- one is going to get you.

THAT STINKS. The Big Apple was rotten to the core earlier this week, when an obnoxious odor fouled the city air. We'll take Manhattan, but pass the Renuzit. The New York Post followed its nose to a stinking swamp in New Jersey.

From the Post:
The odor, which sparked fears of terrorism, had people jamming 911 and Con Ed lines from Battery Park to Inwood from river to river.

"It was really, really bad, so bad it gave me a headache," said Kate Browne, who lives in the West Village.

Alfred Stewart, 47, who lives in Chelsea, agreed.

"That smell was stinking. It smelled, like, toxic," he said. "If you stayed in it and held it enough, you probably would have gotten dizzy from it."
Those living in Tucson near I-10 and Prince -- downwind from Pima County's premier sewage plant -- tell us, "Heh, you ain't smelled nuttin!"

SUPER SIZE ME! Our fast-food nation made the burger bigger. Now British researchers are beefing up the cow with clone farming. But the main attraction isn't meat, it's milk -- 70 pints a day.

From the London Daily Mail:
Lord Melchett, policy chief of the [British] Soil Association, said: "I cannot think of anything more likely to destroy the public's confidence in British food.

"High-yielding Holstein cows are already one of the biggest welfare concerns in farming because of the huge strain of producing vast quantities of milk. Government figures show that a third of dairy cows are killed after just one lactation because their bodies cannot cope with any more."
Researchers say bigger cows can handle more milk production. We at your Lightning Round wonder how bigger cows can even walk if they're turned into bovine milk trucks.

CONGRESSIONAL OVERSIGHT. Now that Congress is back in session, Democrats are passing several pieces of major legislation in the first 100 hours -- a minimum wage hike and ethics reform among other things. Republicans are getting into the game. Sen. Arlen Specter wants to know why former congressman Bob Barr ended up in the Sacha Baron Cohen movie Borat. Barr says he was suckered.

From the AP:
Cohen pretends he's a reporter from Kazakhstan in the film and meets with Barr. He gives the former congressman a slice of homemade cheese and after Barr eats it, Cohen tells him that the milk came from his wife.

Barr said he didn't sue over the film because he didn't want to draw more attention to the movie.

Specter told Barr "it was a most extraordinary movie" adding "the interview with you was about the only part of the movie worth seeing."
I share your sentiments, Senator.

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