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Simultaneous 'Countdown' of the top news stories exclusively  at

Lawmakers and exterminators — Only in America.  Tonight, at public forums across Wisconsin, residents are saying whether or not they're in favor of exterminating stray cats by shooting them.  While also tonight, in public venues in Washington, two of the nation's top Republicans are being , saying that the man who made his fortune as an exterminator, has strayed too far from ethical conduct.  We begin with the brutal truth of over-population and going for the gun. (No, that would be the political story, not the thing about cats).  Minority Leader DeLay criticized both by his fellow arch-conservative, Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, and the much more moderate Republican, Congressman Chris Shays. Santorum thinks DeLay has broken no law but needs to defend himself in detail.  Shays says he thinks DeLay should resign as Minority Leader but adds he isn't calling for him to do it.  This is all about the latest ethics charges against the Sugar Land bug killer.  That he put his wife and daughter on the payroll of his own political action committee and that some of his foreign junkets were indirectly funded by foreign lobbyists in violation of House rules.  DeLay says he's a victim of the liberal media...Authorities there didn't know who the guy was, why he was standing like that, what was in the suitcases — they only knew that he looked like "the cat" had just dragged him in, and they didn't like it.  The unidentified suspect was standing next to the fountain, a suitcase at either side of him, his arms outstretched, looking somewhere between suspicious and statue-like.  They called to him, but he wouldn't answer.  So they came and got him — and detonated his Samsonite.  Law enforcement officials say he is well known to the Secret Service, seen several times outside the White House.  He is described as a Chinese national with mental problems and complaints about his immigration status….Fortunately, no such actions are contemplated to deal with the cat over-population problem in Wisconsin.  The . Stray cats.  Over two million stray cats.  If passed, a new law would allow people to hunt the kitties, thereby exterminating them.

Cars — are going through the roof.  Or, more accurately, they are burning through your wallet.  But, Trilby Lundberg, oddly-named maven of the pump, says this may be the worst it gets, "unless crude oil prices show another upsurge."  (Geez, that never happens).  The Lundberg Survey of more than 7,000 gas stations nation-wide found that the average price of a gallon of gas is up nearly 19 cents.  That puts it at $2.32 per gallon.

  • Regular: $2:29
  • Midgrade: $2.38
  • Premium:  $2.48

Car-pool anyone?

Jackson trial — Two words for you: head licking.  At the courthouse in Santa Maria, California, the .  It's your entertainment and tax dollars in action, day 511 of the Michael Jackson Investigations.  A former Jackson publicist kicked off the day's proceedings, surprising prosecutors by saying he didn't remember seeing the entertainer lick the head of his 1993 accuser during a trans-Atlantic flight  The surprise?  The ex-publicist, Bob Jones, apparently described that incident in his forthcoming "tell-all" book — something he later acknowledged.  But the most unsettling testimony of the day came from the mother of the boy in the 1993 case.  She testified today that she initially refused to let her son sleep in the same room and bed as Jackson.  Then the pop star came to her sobbing and begging. "Don't you trust me?" he allegedly told her, "We're a family."

Royal honeymooners — It has been jokingly suggested on more than one occasion that given how fascinated we are with the British Royal Family — its members should quit that sceptered isle and move to Brooklyn. Saturday's television ratings are in.  Their future king's wedding finished third behind a soap opera wedding and a horse race.  Well — let's not get too carried away by the ratings — people watch Bill O'Reilly, for God's sake.  You know what they say, 800 billion flies can't be wrong.  Speaking of which, there's Charles.  Reportedly he so spooked his second bride to be, that Camilla almost left him at the church on Saturday.