The final chapter in the Battle of the Miss North Carolinas was decided by a stroke of the pen wielded by Federal District Judge James C. Fox of Wilmington. Rebekah Revels, she of the phantom nude photos, gave up her title and can't compete. If she wants to pursue her claim that Miss America officials pressured her into resigning, then only a jury trial can decide those issues. Misty Clymer, the runner-up who snatched the crown and won't be giving it back, celebrated with an extra calorie.
Credit card companies started using scenic Hallmark greeting cards to ask people who are behind on their bills to call and work out a payment plan. Discover Card's version features a gurgling brook and a hand-written note inside, with a message about how "life often takes sudden turns" and how Discover UNDERSTANDS your "unexpected detours." As the greeting-card debt-collection plan expands, the companies will presumably be sending get-well cards, birthday cards, and those popular cartoon joke cards. On the outside they'll say "Hey! We're All Deadbeats From Time To Time!" Inside, they say "Your Turn!"
"Spirit Bear," the only known black bear that is actually white, was saved from hunting when the Alaska Board of Game declared a ban on the killing of any black bear that's white. Darker-furred black bears were expected to file a discrimination lawsuit.
The East Turkestan Islamic Movement, an organization that idolizes the United States and holds it up as a model as they seek independence for the Uighur people of western China, was labeled a terrorist group by the Bush administration in an attempt to bring China into the coalition against Saddam Hussein. The result is that China now has the international sanction it wanted to wipe out the Uighurs. Western scholars say the East Turkestan Islamic Movement has never been tied to al Qaida, never taken money from extremists, and never even been once mentioned by Osama bin Laden in any of his speeches. We just don't like that darn NAME.
The Chicago Police Department has routinely interrogated witnesses for up to 24 hours in small locked rooms without lawyers present, according to a ruling by Federal District Judge Milton I. Shadur. Hey, they got the idea from TV.
Undercover investigators in New York seized 25,000 counterfeit Viagra pills -- estimated street value $100,000 -- after a 17-month sting in which bootleggers claimed they were able to deliver 2.5 million pills per month. The fake pills, which use the same active ingredient as real Viagra, are made in China, Hong Kong, India, Nevada and Colorado, and are considered dangerous because they've been known to produce unregulated and uncontrollable stiff side effects.
The morning after a party at the Sigma Phi Epsilon house at Wake Forest University, a 200-pound pig was found passed out in a park -- drunk, dehydrated, missing its tail, and burned by heat lamps. The Sigma Phi brothers also did $827 worth of property damage, a figure which doesn't include the reduced slaughterhouse value of scorched pork.
The president of Honduras formally denied an Internet site's claims that the Swan Islands off the Honduran coast were being sold as a medieval-themed fantasy resort. The islands were owned by the United States from 1863 to 1971 and contained fertilizer factories that mined the local bird droppings. The Internet promoters offering "The Ultimate Fantasy Resort" said nothing about the ready supply of bird doo-doo and were undeterred by President Ricardo Maduro's declaration that the islands belonged to the government of Honduras, were not for sale, and would not be developed for tourism. "We have proposed a joint venture," said Felipe Danzilo, the promoters' lawyer, "in which the Honduran government would give us a multi-year concession for the islands and we in return would put up millions of dollars in investment." Danzilo appears to be LIVING on Fantasy Island.
(Joe Bob Briggs writes several columns for UPI. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or through his Web site, joebobbriggs.com. Snail mail: P.O. Box 2002, Dallas, Texas 75221.)