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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016


Brought to Book

If Acting Prez Vlad "Nuke 'Em If They Can't Take a Joke" Putin is really serious about fighting crime, he ought to head on over to Pinellas County, Florida, and see how them good old boys do things down there.

Perhaps imbued with the martial spirit of the state's right-wing "tough love" governor, Jeb "Little Dur-Hey" Bush, the Pinellas lawdogs have been jailing perpetrators of that most heinous of crimes against humanity:

Overdue library books.

Last week, a pregnant mother of two small children spent a day in stir after being charged with not answering a court summons for "failing to return overdue library materials," The Associated Press reports. The dastardly scofflaw, Beverly Goodman, 24, said she'd never received a notice from either the library or the courts, but her whining cut no ice with the seasoned pros of the Pinellas force.

Of course, they showed true Christian compassion towards Goodman, who is seven months pregnant: They let her send her other kids off to school before they hauled her to the hoosegow. There she sat and stewed while detectives cased her place to find the two missing children's books, "War and Peas" and "Light in the Attic."

Goldman, who says she doesn't even remember checking out the items, was finally released after her friends got together the cash to pay her bail and the library fines. But the pregnant perp was not the first Pinellasian to be canned for library offenses: Just a week before, stalwart officers jailed the notorious Jeremy Christian Soder, 19, wanted for $80 in late charges for overdue books.

In line with the new spirit of Bushy "compassionate conservatism," however, it is expected that prosecutors will not ask for the death penalty in either case. Ten to 25 at hard labor should be enough.

House Cleaning

This just in: Presidential hopeful George W. "Dur-Hey" Bush pledges to the American people that all the women in his Cabinet will be toilet-trained!

Speaking during last week's debate in Iowa, Bush boldly declared: "The administration I'll bring is a group of men and women who are focused on what's best for America, honest men and women, decent men and women, women who will see service to our country as a great privilege and who will not stain the house."

The men, obviously, will be allowed to leave a spot here and there from time to time.

Amorous Combat

"Cupid is no longer an archer; his glory shall be ours, for we are the only love-gods." - Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing.

Two would-be canners of prime hot tomatoes are facing off in an LA courtroom in a titanic struggle to prove which one has the best trixie-plucking techniques.

Ross Jeffries, author of "How to Get the Women You Desire Into Bed" (presumably without them bumping into each other), is suing his fellow "sexpert," Don Steele, who penned the classic (and euphoniously titled), "How to Date Young Women for Men Over 35," The Observer reports.

It seems that Steele, 60, has taken exception to his one-time protege's "speed seduction" technique, based on what Jeffries, 41, calls "neuro-linguistic programming." And how does this remarkable application of oral science work? Easy, says Jeffries: The man on the make simply uses "key words" that slide beneath the mental radar of his intended vixen to plant hidden suggestive meanings. For example, he would use a phrase like "below me" in conversation to subtly convey a command to ... oh, you can figure it out.

For some reason, Steele believes this kind of thing is "a load of nonsense," and last year he launched a campaign of flaming private e-mails and public appearances pronouncing anathema on Jeffries and all his works. For his part, Jeffries - who conducts seduction seminars for $3,000 a head (as it were) and promises, "you don't get laid, I don't get paid" - says Steele is just jealous of his commercial empire, and is suing his mentor for slander and interference with his business.

A trial date has been set for - yes, you guessed it - Feb. 14, Valentine's Day.

Infant Morality

Meanwhile, another Republican Party candidate, hard-right Christian (sic) Gary Bauer - whose main and much-repeated claim to fame is that he "once worked in the Reagan White House" as a factotum of some sort - was pushing his "family values" agenda last week by getting some financial value from a famous Iowa family.

He was selling tickets to see the McCaughey septuplets.

Yes, in a scene reminiscent of that movie classic, "The Elephant Man," Bauer was hawking gawking rights for the little wonders of nature - the world's first surviving set of septuplets - at only $250 a pop, AP reports. All the proceeds go to a good cause, of course: Bauer's campaign chest.

Bauer, a firebreathing anti-abortionist who believes the family is the sacred foundation of American civilization, is hoping his sideshow exploitation of the 2-year-olds will jumpstart his no-hope, who-cares, dead-in-the-water campaign in the upcoming Iowa party caucus. But his spokesman says Brother Bauer is not, repeat not exploiting the children for political purposes and financial gain.

"The McCaughey family just embodies the family values that Gary has talked about all across the state of Iowa," said Tim Goeglein. Obviously, the frantic gobbling of fertility drugs will be a centerpiece of Bauer's "family values" administration. (Let's hope all those babies don't "stain the house!")

Next up: Bauer offers to eat the head off a live chicken "to demonstrate my commitment to agricultural reform."

Tube Raider

British firm PA New Media has created Ananova, the "world's first virtual newscaster," the BBC announced this week. Ananova has been given a "full range of human characteristics" based on "the personality most people wanted to read the news."

By the looks of the promo picture, it turns out that most people want Laura Croft to read the news. Ananova has been programmed as a big-eyed (among other things) "single 28-year-old girl-about-town" who's, like, really into "Oasis, The Simpsons, Man United and Mozart," the Internet company says.

Mistah Murrow, he dead.