The news of the world and the news of the weird are getting more and more similar. It shouldn’t be much longer before we can combine both into single news stories, much like the following:
President Obama signed into law a sweeping expansion of federal financial regulation at a White House ceremony yesterday, before being briefly interrupted by the sight of a parasailing donkey flying high over the capital.
“Because of this law, the American people will never again be asked to foot the bill for Wall Street’s mistakes,” Obama said before signing the legislation. “There will be no more taxpayer-funded… Hey — is that a donkey?”
Sure enough, it was. Promoters from a Russian beach resort had attached the donkey to a speedboat in the Potomac River, then flew him high above Washington for about 45 minutes. Witnesses were horrified as the frightened donkey brayed in panic. And they weren’t too happy about how little the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act will do to prevent banks from becoming too big to fail.
“We’ve done virtually nothing to prevent another big corporate bailout one or two years down the road,” said liberal commentator Allen McGrath. “The American people are much like that donkey — up in the air, helpless, and not too bright.”
The president defended the limited scope of the reform, noting that Republican opposition made more wide-ranging action politically impossible.
“These reforms represent the strongest consumer financial protections in history,” Obama said. “And no high-flying asses — I’m looking at you, Mitch McConnell and John Boehner — are going to keep this much-needed action from being implemented.”
The president added, “I can’t believe that’s a parasailing donkey I’m seeing right next to the Washington Monument. Incredible.”
The temporary cap keeping oil from flowing unchecked into gulf waters off the coast of Louisiana held its ground for a sixth day Wednesday, despite the arrest of a man charged with smuggling 18 rare apes under his clothing.
While at one end of the Gulf of Mexico, BP and the Coast Guard continued efforts to permanently seal the leaking well, in Mexico City Roberto Cabrera was busy explaining to authorities how the tiny titi monkeys had made it into his girdle.
“This is absolutely unprecedented,” Cabrera told customs police after his plane landed at the airport. “What are the odds that a deepwater drilling platform would explode, and that I’d have these monkeys in my Spanx, all in the same year?”
Mexican authorities were unmoved by the man’s claim that both events were symbolic of a world tumbling into chaos.
“The oil companies definitely showed neglect in their safety procedures, but at least there were some efforts at avoiding an environmental catastrophe,” said Mexico’s minister of internal affairs Alberto Lopez. “This guy had to have intentionally put those monkeys in his pants. It’s just not credible that they got there by accident.”
Troubled celebrities had good days and bad days this week.
In Los Angeles, Sandra Bullock successfully obtained a restraining order against a man accused of stalking her since 2003. But half a continent away, the Porky Pig mascot at Six Flags Great America was viciously attacked by two men.
Bullock took legal action when Thomas Weldon, a recently released psychiatric patient, showed up near her home in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The Oscar-winning actress was not harmed in that incident, which is more than can be said for the 24-year-old woman wearing the mascot costume.
Two off-duty employees from the park took a photo with Porky on Monday afternoon, and then punched the mascot in the head 10 to 15 times.
“That’s exactly the kind of thing I’m afraid of happening to me,” Bullock said when told of the Illinois incident. “There are a lot of crazy people out there.”
The Porky attackers told police they were inspired by the actress’s performance in “The Blind Side,” where her character adopts a troubled teenage boy who vaguely resembled the classic Looney Tunes character. But authorities weren’t buying it.
“These men had a grudge against a fellow employee, and viciously assaulted her in broad daylight,” said police spokesman William Perkins. “Th-Th-Th-Th-Th-That’s all there is to it.”
Fox News TV star Glenn Beck announced last weekend that he was suffering from macular dystrophy and could go blind within the year. But it won’t be soon enough to spare him the ugly scenes playing out before the Boulder City Council.
Leaders in the Colorado municipality recently heard a presentation from a citizen who stepped up to the microphone dressed only in his boxer shorts. The council will vote on new decorum rules in September that would ban undressing during meetings.
Beck began to cry Saturday during a speech in Salt Lake City on his “American Revival” tour, sobbing that “I know what my wife looks like, I know what my children look like, I know what color looks like, but I love to read.” He said his doctors told him the eye disorder could rob him of his ability to see. But he may have failed to consider the positive side of being sightless.
Boulder had already passed a law barring people from showing their genitals in public, but declined to outlaw topless females, despite complaints about a woman who gardens in a thong and gloves.
“Gardening — that involves a lot of squatting, doesn’t it?” Beck asked. “Yeesh. That’s not the America that I know and love.”
The Vatican is facing a firestorm of criticism following its decision to categorize sex abuse by priests as an offense equivalent to the ordination of women.
Msgr. Charles Scicluna, the Vatican’s internal prosecutor, down-played the edict that defined both charges as “grave delicts,” a church crime that also included pedophilia, heresy, apostasy and schism.
“Attempted ordination of women is grave, but sexual abuse and pornography are more grave,” Scicluna said. “Believe me, you don’t want to know what we consider even gravier than these.”
Left unclear is how the Catholic Church would deal with two recent cases in the U.S. In Utah, a man is accused of violating a protective order because he allegedly sent letters to his estranged wife’s cat. And in New York, the famous Times Square street musician known as “The Naked Cowboy” is suing a fellow performer who bills herself as “The Naked Cowgirl.”
Donald Wuerl, the archbishop of Washington, issued a statement saying the church “through its long and constant teaching holds that ordination has been, from the beginning, reserved to men, a fact which cannot be changed despite changing times.”
Observers speculate that by not specifically mentioning correspondence with household pets and litigation involving nearly nude, guitar-strumming cowpokes, the Vatican was leaving open the possibility these things were okay.
“The church needs to be more flexible to deal with the modern world,” said Christian Weisner, spokesman for a liberal Catholic reform movement. “The next thing you know, they’ll be condemning that Pennsylvania dog trapped in a hot car who honked the horn to alert his owner because the dog made too much noise. Jesus.”