"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 21 October 1999. Updated every WEEKDAY.
Hit & Run CC



In another giant leap backward

for the game of the ages,

Kasparov vs. the World has been

stalemated amid complaints and


recriminations. The original

plan for the tournament (which,

to be fair, has so far worked

well enough to reach its 61st

move) had the sourpuss chess

champion taking on a voting bloc

of 6,000 to 10,000 netizens

under the guidance of a handful

of teenage coaches. The

controversy surrounding this

game centers on an unspecified

"email glitch" in which the most

popular and imposingly named

coach, Irina Krush, was

prevented from posting a crucial

Move 58. Having been stymied

several times this season by the

doofus who administers our

online NFL pool, we sympathize.

But really, what were the chess

masters expecting? Any game

where you sacrifice more than a

dozen foot soldiers while

protecting a fat, talentless,

slow-moving king is probably not

a good candidate for direct

democracy in the first place.



In what has become as

predictable a Washington

tradition as the annual birth of

the beautiful pink cherry

blossoms, the announcement of

the list of Kennedy Center

honorees, and the refusal of the

White House to release President

Clinton's possibly scabies-laden

medical records, the US Senate

on Tuesday killed off the effort

by saintly do-gooder Senator

Russell Feingold (D-Wisconsin)

and loose-cannon maverick

presidential hopeful Senator

John McCain (R-Arizona) to try

to inject a modicum of bleach

into the nation's cesspool of

campaign financing. This year,

like every year, the hit was

contracted by Majority Leader

Trent Lott (R-Mississippi) and

performed by the soft-

money-molesting Senator

Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky).

But as the McCain and Feingold

effort keeps creeping closer and

closer to the heralded 60

cloture votes needed to cut off

any filibuster, the Democratic

leadership — no enemies of

the unregulated, limitless party

cash called "soft money"

themselves — is throwing a

couple of wrenches into the

works as well. Of course,

McConnell and Lott et al. oppose

campaign finance reform because

it will take away the right to

free speech from gambling

magnates like Steve Wynn and

other rich-boy check-cutters. A

cynic might observe that Lott

and the boys aren't as concerned

about free speech when it comes

to burning flags. Nor was the

First Amendment on their minds

on Monday night, for that

matter, when Lott didn't let

McCain or Feingold speak on the

floor of the Senate. While a

cynic might make a snide remark

and roll his eyes, we'll just

come out and say that anyone who

votes or worked against

McCain-Feingold is a slimy

crook. And possibly a pedophile.



You may not know it, but the

biggest news story in the United

States right now has nothing to

do with campaign finance reform

or Gulf War chemicals or

Hurricane Irene. It's South

Carolina's war on Harry Potter.

Surprised to find that a UK

education involves anything

other than homoerotic Head Boy

competitions and delicious

bare-ass spankings, a local

school board is investigating

whether the Harry Potter books'

focus on magic and witchcraft

represents a sub rosa attempt to

sneak Satan into Palmetto State

schools. The incident has given

UK papers another opportunity to

engage in the favorite pastime

of Britain and its overseas

possessions: mooning about how

backward and intolerant

Americans are. But while the

tabloids have been working hard

to breathe life into the story,

they might want to question

whether American fundamentalists

are really as intolerant toward

British doodlers as advertised.

After all, nobody complained

when C. S. Lewis' Narnia books

sneaked stealth Popish

propaganda into the heart of

American Christendom. And we

fear Fleet Street has missed the

real story entirely. The main

objection among the Bible

Belchers is that Hogwarts School

for Witchcraft and Wizardry

doesn't accept school vouchers.



Going on the discredited

principle that any mention of

the word wrestling will

immediately result in comedy,

nobody has missed a chance to

point out the simultaneous IPOs

of the World Wrestling

Federation and Martha Stewart

Living Omnimedia Inc. We're not

biting. We don't imagine

Stewart's cadre of cowering

yespersons will ever produce a

viable gubernatorial candidate

(and while we're on the topic,

let's just point out that if you

objected to a single statement

The Body made in his notorious

Playboy interview, you don't

deserve to live in this great

nation), but so far the DIY

decorating conglomerate is doing

better than the scandal-plagued

league of showboats. Martha

Stewart shares nearly doubled in

the first day of trading, while

WWF shares ascended a mere 50

percent. But we've got a hunch

both organizations are sprucing

up the wrong market. In the age

of mass customization, you have

to focus on a more specialized

demographic than either home

improvers or pituitary cases.

We'll let you know when the

Young Foot Lovers Adoration

Society takes its inspired

portal to the markets.

courtesy of theSucksters