There’s an old Monty Python sketch which consists entirely of someone dispassionately summarising the events in the episode so far – “then a man dressed as a penguin jumped in the ocean, after which two old women discussed Sartre …

In that spirit, here’s what happened today:

John McCain appeared at a biker rally in South Dakota, having previously visited a nuclear power station – the Enrico Fermi complex – whose 1966 near meltdown was the inspiration for The China Syndrome. At the Sturgis rally, he rambled in a fairly free-form way – about gas at four dollars a “box” among other things – before offering up his wife for the beauty contest, an event which is much as you’d expect — unless you were John McCain — any biker beauty contest to be, involving bikinis and bananas, though thankfully, no red rose event.

Journalist Ron Suskind began stumping for his book The Way of the World out Thursday, which suggests that the Bush administration actually physically fabricated the letter “found” in Iraq suggesting that Mohamed Atta had contact with the Iraqi government prior to 9-11. The item ran about ninth on the newslist.

Paris Hilton aired an ad replying to John McCain, or that “white haired old guy” as she called him, in which she proposed a mixed solution to the gas crisis involving selective offshore drilling and subsidies to Detroit for hybrids, which was no less sensible than any of the other ideas going round.

Iraq was reported to be heading towards a $14bn surplus off a total $50bn budget, while the US continues to fund 90% of infrastructure projects in the country. Iraq’s surplus is largely due to extra revenue from increased gas prices.

A reporter from Cedar Rapids Iowa asked Barack Obama what he would do if he found out, on coming into office, that the government had suppressed knowledge of aliens. Obama said it would depend whether they were Republican aliens or Democratic aliens.

Shadowing a story in The Onion last year, in which hurricanes were being given surnames, the latest tropical storm was announced in the coastal papers as “T.S.Edouard to make landfall today”.

Total economic growth in the US for the first six months was assessed as 0.7% on a CPI rate of 5%, suggesting effective stagnation.

De facto fourth emergency service Mary Kate Olsen refused to express a sense of loss or sadness on the death of Heath Ledger without first consulting her attorney.

The man who killed, beheaded, disemboweled, and souvenired and ate parts of a fellow traveller on a Canadian bus made no comment during his arraignment other than “please kill me”. He is believed to be covering the 2008 Us presidential race.

Peter Fray

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