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Enter Salacious Headline Here

Just when we were starting to hold out hope that this unprecedentedly crazy presidential election race couldn’t possibly get any crazier, we came across the only slightly surprising news that Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton “is a secret sex freak who paid fixers to set up illicit romps with both men AND women.” That juicy tidbit and its atrocious capitalization comes from the supermarket tabloid The National Enquirer, which last figured in the presidential race with the revelation that former Republican presidential candidate Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s father was in on the assassination of President John Kennedy, and is thus far the only national publication to endorse the publisher’s good friend and Republican nominee Donald Trump, so you can take it for whatever you figure it be worth, but there’s no denying it adds yet another level of craziness to the election.
Trump’s more die-hard supporters will rightly note that The National Enquirer’s past scoops about former Democratic contender and liberal darling Sen. Gary Hart’s fling on a yacht inconveniently christened “Monkey Business” and vice-presidential nominee and liberal darling Sen. John Edward’s love child that he tried to pin on a paid fall guy both proved entirely correct, and apparently it also saw Brad Pitt’s divorce from Angelina Jolie coming months before the fact, and at this point we wouldn’t put anything past anyone named Clinton, so in such a crazy election years as this maybe there’s something to it. The National Enquirer has also been known to get things wrong, though, including that costly libel about America’s beloved Carol Burnett being an obnoxious drunk and that more recent ridiculousness about Cruz’s dad and the Kennedy assassination, so the paper provides more through documentation our high standards of non-partisan journalism force us admit that at least one member of the Clinton family might not be a secret sex freak.
Normally we wouldn’t know what’s on the front page of The National Enquirer until we found ourselves in the check-out line at the local supermarket, but in this case we got the scoop on The National Enquirer’s scoop by checking in on the formerly reliable Drudge Report. The Drudge Report is a widely-read internet site that mostly features the latest headlines from other media, and its most die-hard supporters still fondly recall that it broke the story of former President Bill Clinton’s tawdry affair with a much-younger intern, and how it astutely linked to mainstream news stories with the leads that were buried deep within those mainstream news stories, and once upon a time it was the home page that popped up when we logged on to the internet. At some point in this crazy election it kept linking us to the loudly pro-Trump “Infowars” web site and its crazy conspiracy theories about the terror attacks of 2001 being an inside job and the school shooting in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, being a staged event, and what with our computer rushing to “Infowars” rather than the increasingly unreliable “Instapundit” site every time we typed “in” into our search engine we decided to make the endearingly old-fashioned conservative NeverTrump National Review site our home page.
In such a crazy election year as this one has to make such reassessments of previously reliable sources. If the stodgily principled National Review or the equally stalwart old-fashioned and conservative Weekly Standards asserts that Hillary Clinton is indeed a secret sex fiend who paid fixers to set up illicit sex romps we’ll gleefully believe it, and if the most mainstream liberal press is reluctantly forced to admit it as it did in the case of Hart and Edwards we’ll more or less gratefully take it as an undeniable fact, we promise that this publication will be heartened to pile on as well, because we truly do loathe those darned Clintons, and we did so even way back when the Drudge Report was debunking its more current claims that the male Clinton fathered a mulatto love-child and Trump was singing their praises and contributing to the campaigns and inviting them to his third wedding.
By this point in this crazy election year we don’t have any faith in anyone who has any good thing to say about either of these awful presidential nominees, even though all of them will eventually be proved right to whatever extent they spoke the worse of the other.

— Bud Norman

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Meanwhile, In the Rest of the News

We woke up fully resolved to write about something other than radical Islamic terrorism or Donald Trump, but the day’s news hasn’t been at all cooperative. A thorough reading of our vast and eclectic news sources yielded little mention of anything else, not even any of the collegiate craziness that has lately provided us a bemusing diversion, and except for a pleasant stroll with the folks through the impressive “Illuminations” Christmas display at our city’s nearby botanical garden there was, as usual, nothing worth mentioning in our personal life, so we are left with nothing but a few stray comments about the filler items we encountered.
There was a double satisfaction in reading that former President Jimmy Carter’s cancer treatment is coming along well. Although we found little to like in Carter’s presidency, or his post-presidency, we’re not the sorts of internet trolls who wish ill on our political adversaries. The good news of his apparent recovery is even further sweetened by the fact it’s due to medicines and medical techniques invented in Israel, a very fine nation that Carter has described as an “apartheid state” and has urged sanctions against and has never been a friend to. None of the reporters at Carter’s press conference were impolite enough to note the irony, but we would have relished the opportunity to ask if he would have preferred a Palestinian procedure.
All well-informed citizens these days are regular readers of the indispensable Drudge Report, which has lately been breathlessly linking to the numerous stories about that pornographic film actor who’s been accused of rape by at least three of his female co-stars, which has some prurient interest. We’re not au courant on the current skin flick scene, and are admittedly unfamiliar with the work of James Deen, who is clearly intended to be confused with the broodingly handsome James Dean of an earlier and more innocent era of American cinema, but apparently his on-screen persona was that of the “boy next door,” and so far as we can tell that makes the allegations against him all the more shocking. Somehow we are not all shocked that a porn star, even the one next door, might turn out to be a sleaze, and as we’re not the sort to wish ill on any victims he might prove to have preyed on we will instead offer the advice they seek other employment opportunities.
 There was some good news from Venezuela, of all places, where the opposition to socialist President Nicolas Maduro won a Congressional majority, even if Maduro was promising ahead of the results that “the revolution will continue.” The revolution has quite literally reduced the population to knife-fighting over the last scraps of toilet paper in that unfortunate country, and it seems likely to get even uglier, but there’s now hope for some satisfactory resolution and in any case the American press will be preoccupied with damning Trump and helping out whichever socialist the Democrats might nominate.
Of course there were also the elections in France, where the frankly nationalist National Front party was the big winner, but that’s all about radical Islamic terrorism and leads inevitably to a discussion of Donald Trump, and we’re still fully resolved not write about any of that. If by any chance you’re in the Riverside neighborhood of Wichita during this holiday season we highly recommend a leisurely stroll through Botanica’s “Illuminations,” and invite you to drop by afterwards, as we’re just a few blocks away, but otherwise we have nothing to offer but hope for a better news cycle today.

— Bud Norman

It’s News to Us

Maybe it’s just a post-Thanksgiving, pre-Christmas lull, but there didn’t seem to be any big news on Monday. There were more embarrassing revelations about Obamacare, and the stock market took a downturn on disappointing holiday sales figures as the economy limps along, and the nation’s foreign policy appears in disarray from the Senkaku Islands to the Iranian centrifuges, but nothing that dominated the day’s discussions.
Fortunately for the hard-core news junkie, there’s always a fix available at The Drudge Report. The widely-derided and far more widely-read website is remarkably astute in highlighting the most important stories of the day, and when there aren’t any it always finds fascinating filler. It’s most recent top headline concerned the latest Obamacare debacle, this time about the lack of security on the Healthcare.gov site where people are expected to reveal their Social Security numbers and dates of birth and most intimate health problems, but such outrages are now so commonplace that the real fascination lie further down page. Other Obamacare-related headlines had to do with citizens calling the cops on the beleaguered law’s door-to-door salesman, the Internal Revenue Service auditing a cancer patient who spoke out after losing his coverage, and a deliciously Drudge kind of stories about the prostitutes at a Nevada brothel calling the law “a blessing.”
There were more stories about the death of the star of the “Fast and Furious” movies in a car crash, an irresistibly ironic tale that Drudge has been following with rapt attention, but we haven’t seen any of the movies and have no reaction beyond the requisite condolences to the actor’s friends and family, assuming he has any. He was a fine fellow, for all we know, but the pictures indicate that he had that slightly-unshaven look we find so irritating and we doubt his pictures lived up to standards of the old Roger Corman “Fast and Furious” with the slick white convertible Jaguar.
We are fond of some of Bob Dylan’s music, however, and were therefore interested to see that the erstwhile Voice of His Generation is being charged with “fomenting hate” in France as the result of a year-old interview with Rolling Stone magazine in which he likened the Croats’ treatment of the Serbs with the Nazis’ treatment of their various enemies. Aside from the surprise of learning that Rolling Stone is still in publication, and that Dylan was simultaneously accepting the French government’s prestigious Legion d’Honneur, which is only bestowed on the likes of Jerry Lewis, the story also provided the satisfaction of knowing that ol’ Bob can still provoke the occasional contretemps. In the same interview that led to the charges he apparently griped that a significant numbers of his countrymen are pining for a return to slavery, but such absurd anti-Americanism isn’t likely stir French indignation or any controversy here.
The Drudge Report has an admirable willingness to report on racial controversies that the rest of the media would prefer to ignore, and Monday’s edition had headlines about the director of “The Butler” confessing his anger toward white people and another Jewish victim of the “knockout game” that has become popular among black youths.
News of the weird is another Drudge specialty, and his latest offerings include a lawsuit demanding “legal personhood” be bestowed upon a chimpanzee, mold and mildew being found on some samples of marijuana, and the state of Wisconsin’s recent problems with public sex on a nude beach. All seem intriguingly bizarre at first glance, but none are exceptional by contemporary standards. At a time when progressives are eager to deny personhood to any people who join together as a corporation it is not surprising to hear they would grant the honor to a chimpanzee. With the legalization of marijuana a growing trend it is inevitable that the authorities will find ample reason to regulate to an extent that pot-heads will soon yearn for the days when weed was illegal and out of reach of the authorities. Wisconsin’s worries about public sex on nude beaches have a prurient interest, but we expect it will all be solved by the onset of a Wisconsin winter.
These occasional absences of big news are a prime opportunity to present big ideas, but we’re fresh out of those at the moment and easily distracted by filler.

— Bud Norman