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By PAT NASON, United Press International   |   Aug. 8, 2002 at 1:25 AM   |   Comments

MIKE'S LATEST TANTRUM?

A spokesman for Mike Tyson is playing down a report that the former heavyweight boxing champ threw a show-stopping tantrum last month at a ritzy hotel in Santa Monica, Calif.

The Santa Monica Daily Press reported that Tyson lost his cool on July 22 when he was hungry and his bodyguards didn't move fast enough to get him to dinner. The New York Daily News reported that Tyson grabbed a knife from a kitchen counter and started waving it at one of his bodyguards at Shutters on the Beach.

Santa Monica police confirmed that they responded to a report of narcotics activity in a "celebrity room" at the hotel, but "resolved" the matter without arresting anyone after speaking with hotel managers. Police did not say whether the celebrity in question was Tyson.

Police said they responded to a call about a man with a knife, but took no action because the principals were gone by the time they arrived.

The News quoted Tyson spokesman Jeff Wald as saying that he had not spoken with Tyson himself, but "as far as I know from his lawyers, this isn't true." Wald told the paper that Tyson is "a target for everyone out there ... it seems like another bullsh-t thing around Tyson."


ANNA NICOLE HITS THE BIG TIME

"The Anna Nicole Show" got off to a big start when it premiered Sunday night on E! Entertainment Television, drawing 4.1 million viewers -- more than seven times the size of the entertainment channel's typical audience in the Sunday 10 p.m. timeslot.

Smith, the former Playboy centerfold and Guess? Jeans model has not been such a hit with critics, however. Still, the critics have been kinder to Smith than they have been to E! -- which has been criticized for subjecting her to public ridicule by featuring her in the so-called reality show.

Having the sixth-most-watched show on cable last week might help the criticism go down a little easier in the executive suites at E!


CAMPAIGN SPENDING LAW HEADED FOR SUPREME COURT

Lawyers involved in a landmark campaign spending ruling in Vermont said they expect the U.S. Supreme Court to have the last word on the matter.

A federal appeals court has ruled that Vermont may legally limit the amount of money that political candidates can spend, even if their campaigns are funded entirely by private contributions. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals court ruled 2-1 to uphold a 1997 Vermont law restricting spending by candidates for governor to $300,000. The law also limits spending in campaigns for other state offices.

Circuit Judge Chester J. Straub said the limits "safeguard Vermont's democratic process from the corrupting influence of excessive and unbridled fund-raising."

John Bonifaz, a lawyer with the National Voting Rights Institute in Boston, told USA Today the ruling was "an enormous victory for democracy."

The Vermont Republican Party and the Vermont Right to Life Committee challenged the law. James Bopp, an attorney for the two groups, said he would appeal the court's ruling.

"This is one of the most dramatic examples of judicial activism in recent history where the heart of the First Amendment, which protects the right to engage in political speech, has now been deprived by a court," said Bopp.


BUT DID IT TEACH HIM A LESSON?

In Lajitas, Texas, the talk is all about what happened to Mayor Clay Henry III -- who was elected mayor in 2000 but didn't make news again until this summer, when one of the town folk allegedly castrated him.

Officials say the mayor is doing fine now, and Jim Bob Hargrove faces trial in connection with the assault. The charge would be animal cruelty -- since Henry is a goat.

Yep, in Lajitas they have a modern tradition of electing goats as mayor. It's okay, because the office is strictly ceremonial.

Henry and his immediate predecessors -- Clay Henry I and Clay Henry Jr. -- are best known for their ability to drink all the free beer the town can provide them. Actually, that's where the trouble allegedly started.

According to ABC News, Hargrove set upon Clay III in a fit of jealousy, because the animal was drinking beer on a Sunday --when local blue laws prevented the sale of alcohol to Hargrove and other humans.

Eyewitnesses told police Hargrove muttered: "You know I ought to go castrate that goat."

Brewster County Sheriff Ronny Dodson said the goat was found the next morning missing the family jewels. Local ranchers sutured the wounds and Henry made a full recovery.

He is expected to serve out the remainder of his term.

© 2002 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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