Sunday, September 28, 2003

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Newt knockoffs?

The 10 Democratic presidential candidates mud-wrestled in Manhattan Thursday night and the biggest question seemed to be whether frontrunner Howard Dean reminds anybody of New Gingrich. In that crowd, such a resemblance is considered an insult.

Gingrich, the feisty Republican former speaker of House, authored the conservative "Contract with America" in the mid 1990s that has been a foundation of Republican thinking ever since. During the Democrats' debate at Pace University, Rep. Richard Gephardt, D-Missouri, accused Dean of supporting Gingrich's efforts to cut billions out of Medicare.

According to the New York Times, Dean turned red in the face and angrily retorted, "Nobody up here deserves to be compared to Newt Gingrich."

We agree. We knew Newt Gingrich. And Howard Dean is no Newt Gingrich.

Bingo bonanza

One little Ohio law has produced a revenue jackpot for the state. Last year, to curb charity Bingo scams, the state closed down storefront bingo parlors and forced legitimate charities to pay application fees of $200 to $5,000 if they want to run legal games. Previously the fees were $100.

When the law changed, there were complaints that many charities wouldn't be able to afford the fees. Well, somebody is surely willing to pay to play. Last year Bingo application fees totaled $100,000. This year the number jumped to $5.2 million.

"We never imagined there were that many people out there who wanted to gamble," said state Rep. Jon Husted, R-Kettering, sponsor of the law.

What a shock! Ohioans only spend $557 million annually on instant Bingo tear-off tickets.

Sticks and stones

If you like your political discourse loud, shrill and insulting, this was your week.

Wednesday's gubernatorial debate among five top candidates had all the slapstick absurdity we've come to expect from the California recall election. In the spotlight: A feud between GOP front-runner Schwarzenegger and conservative-turned-progressive gadfly Arianna Huffington.

Huffington was being her obnoxious self - egging Schwarzenegger with such lines as, "Let's see who can talk louder in a foreign accent, all right?"

Said he: "I have a perfect part for you in Terminator 4."

The Huffington campaign later claimed he was referring to a scene in Terminator 3 where his character pushes a female robot's head into a toilet. But Arnold told Fox's Sean Hannity he meant it as a compliment, because "in Terminator we always had powerful women.... If she takes it the wrong way, it's not my fault."

But Alf is neutral

Schwarzenegger picked up some important endorsements this week, notably from recall founder Rep. Darrell Issa, former GOP rival Bill Simon Jr., the state's Republican County Chairmen's Association - and space alien T'rel, representing the extraterrestrial lobby.

Weekly World News reports that Arnold met with T'rel secretly in L.A., after which the alien proclaimed, "Arnold is a perfect specimen of humanity - mentally and physically superior to the average Earthman."

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