Death Trap

Illustration by Bob AulThe Environmental News Service reports that a brown pelican was found dead by workers at the San Onofre nuclear power plant on Feb. 22—the same day a coalition of environmental groups released "Licensed to Kill," a study that shows the nuclear industry and federal regulators are allowing endangered aquatic animals and birds to perish rather than safeguarding them. At issue is the method by which seawater—and sea life—is sucked in to cool nuclear reactors. San Onofre is among 59 of 103 nuke plants in the U.S. that the enviros frown on for using a "once-through cooling system" that pulverizes marine creatures. An official with Southern California Edison, which runs San Onofre, defended the power company in a 1997 Sacramento Bee story, saying it wasn't like animals were intentionally being killed. "If we could not ever see another one," said senior research scientist Kevin Herbinson, "we'd be more than happy." As the brown pelican's death shows, he may be getting his wish soon enough.

IT TAKES A VILLAGE IDIOT Nancy Reagan so abhors George Dubya Bush that she's taken to calling him "the village idiot," according to an item in Cindy Adams' gossip column in the Feb. 20 New York Post. The Ice Queen apparently didn't even vote for Shrubby due to resentment over what she considered his father's failure as vice president to adequately kiss Ronald Reagan's wrinkled old ass. Who knew Nancy Reagan wasn't all bad?

WHO'LL SKIPPER THE GIPPER? Nan will take time away from her busy schedule of trashing Dubya and changing her hubby's Huggies to travel to a Newport News, Virginia, shipyard on March 4 to christen the USS Reagan. The Navy's nuclear-powered aircraft carrier is made out of 47,000 tons of steel, features a 4.5-acre flight deck and houses 6,000 sailors. Its mission? To slaughter innocent Central Americans, secretly ferry arms to Iran and triple the national debt. Meanwhile, the tub's only design flaw comes on the high seas, when it forgets where the hell it was going.

THE ULTIMATE BEHEMOTH DaimlerChrysler apparently believes if you can't beat the competition, flatten it. According to a Feb. 21 New York Times story, the uberautomaker is rolling out a four-wheel-drive vehicle that, at nine feet seven inches tall is three feet taller than the tallest sport utility vehicle (SUV), at seven feet six inches wide is three and a half inches wider than General Motors' Hummer, at 20 feet long is a foot longer than the Ford Excursion (the longest SUV currently out there), and at 12,500 pounds is twice as heavy as a Chevy Suburban. The Unimog—which Saturday Night Live's Jimmy Fallon translated as meaning "one mog"—will have an $84,000 sticker price and get 10 miles to the gallon of sweet-smelling diesel fuel. They'll be so huge that they'll avoid the pesky federal standards for safety, air pollution and fuel economy that apply to all other cars on the road. We ain't even venturing south of the 55 freeway once these monsters hit the market.

PINKITENTIARY Harking back to the Fullerton police chief who wanted to name the street gangbangers hung out at "Pansy Circle," the sheriff of Davidson County, North Carolina, has painted his jail bright pink and adorned walls with pictures of crying teddy bears to make inmates feel like "sissies," Reuters reported on Feb. 22. A bit of a self-promoter, with his own website and prime-time TV show, Sheriff Gerald K. Hege hosted one episode of Inside Cell Block F in which a female inmate called rehab "a waste of money." Replied Hege: "Do you know you just caused half a million liberals to jump off a bridge?" Aiiiiieeeee!!!!!


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