Medical plan confusion: In an inexplicable turn, Florida seniors who were attempting to decide on which new Medicare prescription plan to choose, wound up selecting Pat Buchanan. Economy humming along: Treasury Secretary John W. Snow informed Congress that the country’s debt ceiling should be raised from its current level of $8,184,000,000,000. While Snow admitted that some people might think that $8 trillion sounds like a lot, he just thinks of it as only $8,000 billion. Elsewhere, Jane D’oh, a California single mother of three who cannot get any more credit after going into debt due to an inability to pay her children’s medical bills, was refused bankruptcy. George Clooney blames Democrats for Iraqi quagmire: Blames Republicans for “Ocean’s 12.” Valley Idol can’t lose for trying: Katharine McPhee, Sherman Oaks’ gorgeous and talented entry in this year’s “American Idol” show, displayed her brimming confidence this past week by humming “The Monster Mash” while chewing on a peanut butter and cream cheese sandwich. Judge Simon Cowell called her performance “daring and quite tasty, and I hate peanut butter.” The teary-eyed Paula Abdul said McPhee’s ability to get a sound out with the peanut butter stuck to the roof of her mouth reminded her of herself when she was “young, talented and eating peanut butter.” But the most enamored was Judge Randy Jackson, who said “Dawg!” Milosevic bites the big one: The countries of Who Gives a Damn and He Deserved Much Worse go into mourning. No mutton chops in Iraq … yet: Acknowledging that Iraq has had an awful lot of sectarian violence, but cannot be considered to be in the midst of a civil war, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was unable to explain the difference between sectarian violence and civil war. Still, the whimsical secretary said whatever it ended up being, it would not resemble our Civil War. “There’s absolutely no abolitionists,” declared Rumsfeld. “And if you can show me evidence of either the Merrimac or Monitor, I’ll eat my folksiness.” No butts south of Ventura: The nation’s toughest cigarette law went into effect Friday in Calabasas. If you’re caught smoking tobacco in a nonsmoking area, it’s death by lethal injection. If you smoke in a smoking area, you’ll still die. Just slower and more painfully. Wallace retires from “60 Minutes”: The legendary 87-year-old investigative reporter said he wanted to spend more time with his family, catching them ripping off the paper boy. Playing sorry: After his apology to a Valley resident for an insensitive joke, “The Tonight Show” host Jay Leno spent the rest of the day calling to apologize to President Bush, Dick Cheney, Bill Clinton and Howard Dean, as well as all the comedians who have seen him do actual funny material in clubs. Neverland Nevermore: Michael Jackson’s home and playland to children of all ages as long as they were boys under 12 was closed down this past week due to delinquent workers’ compensation payments. A Jackson spokesperson said it was all just a misunderstanding and that Michael would soon be reopening the estate under the new name of “Never Tell on the Owner Land.” Target, where presidential advisers shoplift: Former Bush adviser Claude Allen was caught in what most Bush administration crime experts call penny ante misconduct. “With no redistricting to gain congressional seats, payoffs from military contractors or just plain getting pre-war intelligence dead wrong,” explained political historian Les Teryear, “there’s absolutely no chance this guy’s ever gonna end up with a Medal of Honor.” Chef quits South Park: Isaac Hayes, the throaty soul singer-turned-voice behind Chef on Comedy Central’s “South Park,” has quit the show, citing the show’s incessant ridicule of religion. “South Park” had taken on Christianity, Judaism, Islam and others during its 10-year run with nary a peep from Hayes, but it wasn’t until the show made fun of Scientology that Hayes walked. “Mr. Hayes hadn’t actually watched the show until last week,” explained Scientologist attorneys who showed up at my door while I was writing this column. “If you have some time, would you mind taking this personality test?” they added. Steve Young is author of “Great Failures of the Extremely Successful.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE‘Mame,’ ‘Hello, Dolly!’ composer Jerry Herman dies at 88160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!