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Just Shoot Me

It's October and that means Stop Sign season is over in rural America. We are officially in the brief window where rifle hunters cease their

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It's October and that means Stop Sign season is over in rural America. We are officially in the brief window where rifle hunters cease their age-old assault on traffic signs and train their rifles on real live animals. But hunters won't be the only ones throwing out decoys. The Oregon State Police said that it will be back in the field over the coming weeks with a decoy designed to trap law breaking hunters.
A release from the State Police said it is rolling out its Wildlife Enforcement Decoy this week. While the release was short on details, the ruse usually consists of a rather lifelike deer decoy placed on or near a roadway and presented to hunters after shooting hours have closed.

Here's the best part. Over the past two seasons, OSP conducted roughly 500 decoy operations. On the roughly 1,300 occasions that motorists "observed" the faux fawn, police recorded "interactions between the violator and the wildlife decoy...resulting in 317 citations and arrests."

Got to love the cop speak.

But we're guessing those violations didn't amount to illegal petting and feeding of wildlife.

So let's get this straight. Roughly one in six people in rural Oregon that drive down a road shoot at anything that looks like a deer regardless of regulations, shooting hours or actual confirmation that what they are shooting at is, in fact, a real deer.

Makes you rethink that whole let's go dress like deer and run around in La Pine gag that you were thinking of submitting to MTV's Jackass, huh?

Shape Up or Ship Out

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File this under "It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time."

When the U.S. Navy built a new barracks at its base on Coronado Island near San Diego, the layout - four L-shaped buildings with their ends pointing toward each other in the middle - appeared perfectly unobjectionable.

It wasn't until the age of high-resolution satellite photos and Google Earth that people noticed something peculiar about it: From the air, the barracks form a huge swastika.

As soon as the resemblance to the hated Nazi symbol was spotted, urban legends started springing up about why the barracks were built in that shape. One was that German prisoners of war working on the barracks had played a prank on their American captors. Another was that the Navy did it to confuse attacking Japanese planes.

Both theories were wrong, of course - the barracks weren't built until the late 1960s, long after the end of WWII. And the Navy says the shape was just an accident.

It will cost $600,000 to fix that accident. The Navy announced last week that it's appropriating that amount to change the layout.

"The Navy came to realize that this is a symbol that thousands of people died to defeat, and it was inappropriate to have that shape on a military base," said Morris Casuto, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, which negotiated with the Navy for nine months to get it to agree to the modifications.

The Mouths That Roared

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The most entertaining development on the current U.S. political scene isn't the presidential race or the latest photos of Barack Obama in his swim trunks - it's the impending smackdown between Harry Reid, 68, U.S. Senate majority leader, and Rush Limbaugh, 56, heavyweight bloviating champion of the American right wing.

The back story: Last week on his radio show, Rush referred to U.S. troops who have spoken out against the Iraq war as "phony soldiers." On Monday, Reid took the Senate floor to tear Rush a new one.

"During his show last Wednesday, Rush Limbaugh was engaged in one of his typical rants," Reid said. "This rant was unremarkable and indistinguishable from his usual drivel, which has been steadily losing listeners for years - until he crossed that line by calling our men and women in uniform who oppose the war in Iraq 'phony soldiers.' This comment was so beyond the pale of decency that it cannot be left alone."

Limbaugh wasn't going to take that lying down.

"He's gotta be a nut," Limbaugh said of Reid. "I cannot believe that they are actually going this far with this."

Then Limbaugh flung down the gauntlet: "You want to come on this program and call me unpatriotic, come on this program and call me unpatriotic. You want to call me a liar, you want to tell me that I did not say what I said, you come on this program and you tell me to my face that I said what I did not say. Stop hiding behind your special protections as a senator ..."

As we went to press there was no word as to whether Reid would accept the challenge, but Upfront is hoping he will. Even though he'd be spotting Limbaugh eight years and probably about a hundred pounds, we'd give him a slight edge on the basis of superior speed and footwork.

No More Sons (or Daughters) of Bushes?

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You can relax a little, America - Jenna Bush will not be running for president. At least that's what Gee Dubya's 25-year-old daughter said Monday when she appeared on MSNBC's "TODAY" show.

"I've ruled it out," Bush told host Ann Curry. "Never. I'm not political in that way."

Jenna - usually identified as "the blond one" of the Bush twins - built a reputation as a party animal in the early years of her father's presidency, getting busted a couple of times for buying drinks with a fake ID. But she says she's ready to settle down with her husband-to-be, Henry Hager, the son of a prominent Virginia Republican family, and devote her life to serious pursuits.

"I hope to continue writing," she told Curry. "I hope to continue teaching. I hope to work with kids any way possible."

Jenna's on a 25-city tour to flog her new book, Ana's Story: A Journey of Hope, about an HIV-infected teenage girl she met while working as a volunteer for UNICEF in Latin America.

She said her father has read the book and "was really proud. He's traveled all over the world, too, and he knows kids face these problems."

How true, especially in the country of Africa.


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