"Oh thank you, Dick Dynamic, for that live report from the roof of MBNA headquarters in Beachwood. Live team coverage continues as we go to Bonnie Booster, live from Al Lerner's private limo on I-271. Bonnie?"
Zap! We interrupt this syrupy stream of establishment-controlled hype for a News Orifice Mouth special report. We've got Iron Curtain-cutting coverage of the extreme sports stories that never hit the Bucharest airwaves. Our team coverage kicks off with Boris Bicuspid outside Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court.
"Comrades, we have news on Bucharest's designated hate magnet, Art Modell. Sure, you heard the Raven Lunatic told his son to 'get up there, honey' at a Baltimore press con. But maybe you didn't hear that breach-of-contract suit brought against Art by 1995 Browns season ticketholders is back in Judge Ken Callahan's courtroom. Art's got his team of Jones Day lawyers filing motions, but this baby's going to trial. If any of you '95 season-seaters wanna join the fight against the dictatorial NFL Monopoly, the guy to call is plaintiffs' attorney Joshua Cohen at Kohrman Jackson Krantz. Now let's go to Irina Incisor, off somewhere in quest of a nut in a four-wheel-drive SUV. Got that body armor handy, Irina?"
"Nyet, Boris, Albert Belle is not around. Hell, we're more fearful of the insidious methods of the IRS and the FBI. They never charged Belle, but they stormed into his bookie's home here in Sagamore Hills and seized twelve grand in cash, a ton of bank statements, and enough betting records to blanket Red Square. And here's something Joe Stalin would love--the feds snooped into the bookie's bank records, and then they tapped his phone. Turns out he handled 432 calls over New Year's weekend, and the IRS says 83 percent of 'em were gambling-related. Fans, if you're planning to bet the Super Bowl, better do it by carrier pigeon. Let's go to Mikhail Molar, who's at some ritzy affair with a network sports exec. How are the martinis, Mikhail?"
"Irina, we've had much better vodka, even after Gorbachev sent us to Siberia. Comrades, remember that old Marxist fear of religion becoming 'the opiate of the masses?' Well, the American corporate socialists now use team sports as an opiate, but this drug is slowly losing its allure. Yes, the market is splintering, as an NBC Sports veep told a gathering of the Cleveland Advertising Association. So look for more individual sports that lack the emotion-manipulating tug of team rivalries--namely golf, auto racing, and 'extreme sports.' No lie, NBC's airing a biker/skater event called the Gravity Games in October. But the NBC veep's best pitch came when he talked glowingly about 'our NBA partnership.' Yes, network execs will admit they're unabashed 'partners' in hyping these taxpayer-subsidized sports leagues. But comrades, such admissions will never get 'live team coverage.' Back to you, Miroslav."
Hey, more posturing politicos are trying to show they're "tough on drugs." Last week, Brecksville City Council passed a new marijuana law. Northcoast NORML's John Hartman was in the house to testify against it, but the law passed 7-0 anyway. It makes any pot possession a third-degree misdemeanor in Brecksville, punishable by up to sixty days in the hole. This supersedes the Ohio statute, which says anything under 100 grams gets a fine, but no jail time. As with most modern-day laws, its main effect will be more work for lawyers and judges. And maybe more jail-building contracts for political campaign contributors in the future.
Let's move on up to the federal level, where Congress slipped in another wacko chemical warfare project to valiantly fight drugs. The sponsors were Ohio's own Senator Mike DeWine and Florida Rep Bill McCollum, that nerdy Brylcreem head on the Judiciary Committee who looks like he'd plant a stem in your car and then sentence you to thirty years as Mike Tyson's cellmate. Anyway, the bill from these two Repubs authorized $23 million for the feds to develop a killer fungus. It's a soilborne "mycoherbicide" that aims to selectively kill marijuana, poppy, and coca plants, like some biohazard smart bomb.
Senator DeWine hails it as a "silver bullet" in the drug war. Hmm, the DEA budget is $17 billion, and we're getting a magic bullet for only $23 million? Sounds like another good government deal. But don't look for this taxpayer-funded fungus in a field near you. Hell, we won't risk trying it in our own country. The goal is to surreptitiously spread it in South America, which could bring some exotic new mutations to the tropical rainforest. The CIA should love this project. And hey, the Bolivians are sure to love having a foreign government sneak in and spread a fungus throughout their land. If terrorists start blowing up planes all over South America, you'll know it all began with a silver bullet.
Roll Them Bones
Yo, one mo' member of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony is on trial. Back in '97, the Grammy-winning Clevo rap group's Flesh-N-Bone and Wish Bone were in court on disorderly conduct charges. Now Bizzy Bone (a.k.a. Bryon McCane) is facing assault charges in Franklin County Municipal Court. It all started at the Hair Experts Barber School in Columbo, where the plaintiff works. He says Bizzy and his bodyguards came in and roughed him up last September, and now his back's a-hurtin'. Hmm, Mouth can't help wonder when some cat claims a back injury. Or, to quote Bizzy's attorney, "This guy's trying to find a payday." Well, in today's litigious world, it's worth a roll of the dice.
Merge and Purge
We've got encouraging political news to report! Mouth must burp up a salute to new Guv Bob Taft, who's taking one small step to downsize state government. Yep, he's merging the Bureau of Employment Services, which has 2,300 employees, and the Department of Human Services, which has 1,500. This merger should eliminate about 600 full-time, sit-on-your-ass state jobs. State Senator Bob Gardner of Lake County co-chaired the committee that recommended this move, so he merits a salutary belch, too. Now, if they'd just wipe out that Rule 52 liquor control law, we could probably eliminate a few hundred stripjoint "inspector" jobs in Battleship Betty's Pastie Patrol.