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Don't trust the mainstream, corporate-controlled dailies (or Sam Donaldson for that matter) to give you the real skinny on the presidential election? There's a great new Web site that offers a compilation of alternative weeklies and news magazines from across the country that will give you all the news, investigative reports, analysis and features to keep you apprised of the campaigns.

The site, at www.Alternativevote.com, includes coverage from three alternative newsweeklies in Al Gore's home state of Tennessee and two in the George W. Bush-land of Texas. It also offers great links to the official candidate Web sites, as well as access to stories about key races, major and third party candidates and voter information, registration and participation sites.

The site also has some entertaining parodies of the oh, so serious presidential candidates, as well as an Orrin Hatch site that is, sadly, not a parody at all.

Another great stop is a Web site sponsored by New City Network of Chicago, which gives you instant access to alternative weeklies all over the country. If you're thinking about visiting San Francisco, check out the Bay Guardian for cool stuff to do. Homesick for Houston? Go straight to the New Times Houston Press to find out the lowdown on your hometown. And if you're on the road and homesick for the Independent, just scroll down to Colorado Springs and there we are. You get the picture. Check it out at www.newcity.com. It sure beats having to read another dramatic non-story about Columbine or JonBenet.

Just when you thought it was safe to settle down over a nice juicy burger and fries, those pesky and ever-vigilant vegheads from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sneak up on you and say, "Thou Shalt Not Kill."

In recent months, the Norfolk, Va.-based group of animal huggers has grabbed plenty of attention with its publicity stunts. One of the more memorable was a string of billboards that PETA rented out West that showed a curvy woman wearing a red, white and blue bikini, waving a fistful of sausages around and warning that cattlemen couldn't come to her party because eating meat causes impotency. (That one was rejected by the Colorado Springs billboard folks as being too racy. And it wasn't exactly accurate, either. Scientists say impotency hits vegans, too.)

But PETA's latest offering should make Christian-conscious Colorado Springs feel right at home -- sort of. Over the Christmas holiday, the group rented a billboard at Interstate 25 just north of the Fountain exit suggesting that Jesus was a vegetarian and warning of the dangers of eating His Creation.

The billboard, which featured a picture of a "Lamb of God," was chosen not just for the Christian angle, but because Colorado is America's largest sheep-producing state. PETA claims a million sheep a year are slaughtered in Colorado, and they often live their lives in misery and disease.

"Today's factory farms and slaughterhouses are insults to God's creation," said PETA spokesman Bruce Friedrich. "They're the most violent and merciless places on Earth. Christians should extend the message that 'God is love' to animals -- by not eating them."

On the billboard, PETA also asserted that Jesus was no carnivore, and invited people to visit its Web site (www.JesusVeg.com) to learn more. According to PETA, "Some biblical scholars believe that Jesus was a member of a Jewish religious sect called the Essenes that followed a vegetarian diet and rejected animal sacrifices."

A little ditty making its way around the Internet asks people to guess what "company" has "a little more than 500 employees" whose members exhibit the following characteristics:

29 have been accused of spousal abuse

7 have been arrested for fraud

19 have been accused of writing bad checks

117 have bankrupted at least two businesses

3 have been arrested for assault

71 cannot get a credit card due to bad credit

14 have been arrested for shoplifting

21 are current defendants in lawsuits

In 1998 alone, 84 were stopped for drunk driving

The "company" in question? The United States Congress. Unfortunately, the Internet piece inaccurately claims there are 535 members of the club (there are actually 432 Congressmen and women). But perhaps the tally was also meant to include the 100 members of the U.S. Senate, plus a few more for good measure. At any rate, we're sure none of those ne'er-do-wells comes from Colorado.

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