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Originally published Sunday, April 6, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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The Wrap | Ron Judd

Saving the world, one annoyance at a time

You've got to hand it to Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels. No, seriously — you've got to. "It" being your money, which Nickels believes...

Seattle Times staff columnist

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You've got to hand it to Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels.

No, seriously — you've got to. "It" being your money, which Nickels believes you should continue to part with until you become a happy green team player.

Hizzoner, justifiably concerned about the environment, seems to have a whole raft of ideas on how to fix it — all through negative reinforcement.

In Seattle, you don't get rewarded for recycling: You get fined if you don't. Incentives for using your own grocery bag? Nope, but a proposed per-bag fee if you fail to BYO. And so on.

Look: Ditching plastic bags is a good thing. But why is it that city government (motto: "Think Global, Tax Local") seems intent on saving the world by slowly annoying it to death?

More table scraps:

This Week's Survey: Eighty-one percent of Americans now believe the nation is on the wrong track. The other 19 percent are driving the train.

Cabinet Post Update: Sen. Barack Obama, D-Teeth, vowed to give Nobel Prize winner Al Gore a Cabinet position in his alleged administration. It's Gore's destiny. He'll lead the nation's War on Styrofoam.

Maybe Try eBay: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Gaunt, says she's changed her mind about Democratic Party election superdelegates — they're now free to "vote their conscience." The surprise statement sent hundreds of Democratic lawmakers and party hacks scurrying to acquire one.

It's a Little Embarrassing to Ask, But: Did anyone else watch that Lifetime Movie Network extended soap opera last week about former King County Sheriff Dave Reichert nailing Green River killer Gary L. Ridgway after only 19 years of crack detective work? Did anyone else feel the need to be hosed off afterward? Just asking.

New Airline Feature: Pay-Per-Screw: Air Canada has unveiled a new "travel-assistance" program, which, for an additional $25 to $35 per ticket, promises to help travelers find other arrangements in the event of flight delays or other events "beyond the airline's control." That's right: The airline is charging you extra to do what it somehow failed to do, at a very high price, in the first place.

Seriously: It's pure, evil genius. Airlines finally have figured out a way to profit on the one thing they specialize in: gross incompetence.

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Big Bad Bear Bust: KING-TV led its Thursday 11 p.m. newscast with a live report, by Marauding Deadly Animal Correspondent Jim "Parka Boy" Forman, about a killer bear lurking in a Puyallup city park. Forman proceeded to show exclusive video that KING's Flash Action Satellite HD Mobile Strike Force news team had captured of the menacing bruin — a hapless yearling black-bear cub that probably weighs in around 25 pounds, dripping wet. For the love of God, lock up the kids and stay tuned for more details.

They Give and Give and Give: Oil-company CEOs told Congress that competition and high production costs justify the industry's astronomical profits and massive tax breaks. Sounds reasonable to us. Is there a way we can send cash donations directly to Exxon Mobil to help it through this difficult time?

Bag Limit — Unknown: Scientists have discovered a new fish species described as pink-and-tan-striped with a flat face, frowning mouth and armlike fin appendages. Ichthyologists say it's likely a member of the Courtney Love genus.

And Finally: Former Sonic "Downtown" Freddie Brown and some partners unveiled plans for a new Seattle multipurpose arena: It's a state-of-the-art $1 billion facility shaped like a bust of NBA Commissioner David Stern, and all monies collected within it flow directly through a funnel in the floorboards and into a large vacuum pipe connected directly to NBA headquarters in New York. Stern denounced the facility as woefully inadequate.

Ron Judd's columns appear in Sunday's

A section and Thursday's Northwest Weekend section. Email: rjudd@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

About The Wrap | Ron Judd
"The Wrap" appears on Sundays, highlighting the absurd and providing the punch line to the week's news headlines.

NEW - 7:37 PM
Ron Judd: Wrap gifts with the planet in mind

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