;Remember a time when our country wasn't at war? When we ran surpluses instead of deficits? When the biggest scandals involved not multimillion-dollar bribery schemes, but who got a hummer and where? Those were the days, when the Oval Office had a veneer of competence and some interesting stains that would pop up under a black light.

;;Five and a half years after he left office, Bill Clinton stopped into Orlando Monday for a $200-a-plate fund-raiser at the downtown Marriott Hotel. As both Clinton and Mayor Buddy Dyer noted, it was a homecoming of sorts: In December 1991, Florida Democrats gave Clinton his first straw poll victory at a gathering here.

;;The thing about Clinton is not so much what he says, but how he says it. He put every speaker in the room to shame: Dyer, gubernatorial candidate Jim Davis, Congresswoman Corrine Brown (though not as much). Clinton projects an authenticity few can mimic. He spoke without a teleprompter, but only looked at his notes on the podium a few times. His speech was designed to inspire the activists, a room of mostly white politicos and party movers and shakers who pretty much worship the ground he walks on. ("He's a rock star," city commissioner Phil Diamond told Happytown™, clutching a copy of Clinton's autobiography that, to his regret, Clinton hadn't signed.)

;;The speech was, of course, red meat for the carnivorous: The environment. Fiscal responsibility. A sane foreign policy. He also casually tossed a few digs at the current resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue: "It was really hard for them to build a constituency for more arsenic in water. There weren't enough people making money on it."

;;His charm was apparent, if only from the fact that he still got (somewhat tepid) applause in a roomful of Democratic activists when he suggested that leaving Iraq immediately wasn't necessarily prudent. And his speech, contrary to normal Clinton, started on time and stayed under the 40-minute mark. Then he was gone, like a specter from a happier time long past.


;Remember when the;Orlando City Council ignored its own Community Redevelopment Agency advisory board to hand a questionable development contract to one of commissioner Daisy Lynum's friends? (See "Here we go again," April 20.)


;;Well, now the city's skipping that CRA advisory board altogether. At its May 15 meeting, the council upped an already lucrative $3.7 million incentive deal — including a $1 million upfront payment — to a developer who wants to build condos and a Publix in Thornton Park. Why? Because, according to CRA executive director Frank Billingsley, the grocery store was "very close to not happening," as he later told the advisory panel. Billingsley blamed rising construction costs, and the city agreed to drop its $3.7 million incentive cap to help out the developer of the Paramount on Lake Eola. And, because of a "timing" concern, they skipped the CRA advisory board altogether.


;More money to developers and less oversight; sounds like a recipe for success.


;From the Happytown™;gross-out files: Local 6 news reported last month that there's been an outbreak of herpes, HPV and other sexually transmitted diseases in The Villages. (For those of you who are new around here, The Villages is a sprawling retirement community up near Leesburg.) Apparently they've been going at it like porn stars — wrinkly, saggy, liver-spotted porn stars.


;;Add a little Viagra into the mix of golf carts, happy hours and the unlikelihood of pregnancy, and suddenly you've got the clap going big-time. A gynecologist quoted in the Local 6 story said she'd seen more cases of herpes and human papilloma virus in The Villages than she did in Miami.

;;After reading the story, we've decided that The Villages' official slogan — "For the best of your life" — is missing the word "sex." That would move some units. Slate.com got it right in the headline for their May 30 story: "Grandpa, buy a rubber."


;June 9 was;not a happy 23rd birthday for Rafi Fine of the Fine Brothers, the fraternal duo who create and post comedic films on their website www.ravenstake.com. That's the day the Fines (Rafi and brother Benny) complied with a cease-and-desist letter they received May 30 from Hasbro, Inc. by taking their GI Joe: The Epic Saga series off the site.


;;The New York natives shot the film using action figures in Orlando last summer. Hasbro, according to the letter, was "particularly concerned about the association of Hasbro's GI Joe property with your films due to their often inappropriate and offensive nature." (The Fines are partial to racial slurs and questionable sexual content; but who among us isn't?) Twelve of the film's 17 episodes had been released.

;;The site's front page now screams "CEASED and DESISTED" with a link to a page explaining the situation and containing a PDF file of the letter they received from the company.

;;Rafi says he never intended to fight Hasbro in court if the company ever came after them. They went for it because they believe the Internet should not be censored.


;;Fans of the series have contacted the brothers to voice their opposition to Hasbro, and there are bigger sites (with deeper pockets) considering giving the film a new home. Clips from the film that don't contain Hasbro figures are still up.






Who: Animal Rights Foundation of Florida (ARFF)


;;When/Where: 6 p.m. June 6, outside the Kentucky Fried Chicken at 6217 International Drive

;;Scene: Five people, including one guy dressed in a devil costume he may or may not have worn on Halloween 10 years ago (it was 6-6-06, after all) — gathered outside the Colonel's house with signs stating that "KFC tortures chickens," etc. They handed out leaflets describing how KFC kills its chickens and urging people to become vegetarians, or at least stop eating at KFC until it kills its chickens in a more humane fashion. Inside, KFC employees didn't seem concerned with the spectacle; they were too busy helping the long line of customers at the counter.


Our Rating: 4

; [email protected]


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