Less than a year after Oprah Winfrey opened her Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa, an employee of the school has been charged with assaulting and sexually abusing students. Always on the campaign defense, the public-relations team for Barack Obama, who was also endorsed by Oprah earlier this year, is expected to announce that Obama’s humanitarian approach to Iran won’t turn it into a bordello of sexual abuse.

Distancing yourself from Oprah

Rating 2 out of 10

Hate speech setback

Rev. Fred Phelps, best known for his hate-mongering “God hates fags” campaign, lost an $11 million lawsuit last week, charging him with disrupting the funeral of an American Marine. While the specific question of whether “God hates fags” was not addressed, the jury’s consensus was that God probably hates people who claim that “God hates fags” more. The question of whether same-sex hate breeds more hate was also left open.

Rating 5 out of 10

Big Ten, big business

According to a recent study, $177 million will be generated this year by the University of Michigan and Michigan State University’s football games, which trumps the $56 million brought in by the Super Bowl. The report didn’t specify how much of that $177 million will go toward improving the convenience of rich alumni and how much will go to discriminating against the disabled.

Rating 6 out of 10

Written out of the script

Hollywood writers from the Writer Guild of America began a strike Monday after more than three months of negotiations failed. In response to the strike, TV executives assured viewers that there is nothing to fear: Primetime dramas about hot doctors who have complex love octagons practically write themselves. If that doesn’t work, there are always more “Law & Order” reruns.

Rating 4 out of 10

Musharraf mania

Declaring a state of emergency, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf held onto his power with an iron fist this weekend, suspending the constitution, firing the chief justice and imprisoning more than 500 protesters. Despite all the change, one thing continued: aid from the Bush administration. Obviously, this oppressive, military dictatorship was one of the good ones.

Rating 7 out of 10

Step into the twilight zone

Adding to his status as the butt of most jokes, in response to a specific question about UFOs in last Tuesday’s debate, Dennis Kucinich admitted to a UFO sighting onto his already unwavering support of any that has the word “alien” in it. At this point, Kucinich’s Twilight Zone couldn’t be much worse than believing that Darwin was a liar, global warming is a myth and the same day, Sept. 11, 2001, is going to repeat itself over and over again.

Rating 4 out of 10

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