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Citizens of South Florida, forget high crime rates and snarled traffic and start worrying about a really serious issue: the "harassment and exploitation of lobsters."

The Animal Rights Foundation of Florida, steamed about lobsters being tormented at various Broward and Palm Beach bars and restaurants, is escalating its campaign against a "game" called Lobster Zone. In the game a player pays several dollars, then presses buttons to maneuver a mechanical claw down into a tank of live lobsters. If the claw picks up a lobster, the restaurant cooks it for the player. (Actually, Undercurrents correspondents report the lobsters win much of the time. It'd be much more fun if humans who lose the game had to stick their hands into a tank of unsheathed lobster claws.)

None of this is funny to the Animal Rights Foundation, which plans a protest demonstration Saturday, December 6, at a Lobster Zone restaurant in downtown Fort Lauderdale.

"Keep the pressure on!" cries the Foundation.
And as the water boils, melt the butter.

Mayor Frank Veltri is Undercurrents civil libertarian of the month. Veltri last appeared here when he threatened to deny a permit to make a movie in Plantation if it contained anything related to sex. That item included a sentence linking Veltri's name to another movie, Dumb and Dumber.

Last week New Times received a call from Plantation City Hall ordering our circulation department to stop leaving papers inside City Hall, Plantation Library, Plantation Central Park, and Plantation Community Center. Because about fifteen other newspapers are distributed inside those locations, New Times, feelings hurt, asked why it was being targeted.

The answer from Plantation City Hall: King Veltri, having decided New Times is not to his taste, ordered it banished from the kingdom.

To appease the mayor, New Times is considering adding to its restaurant reviews a new feature, "Best Early Bird Specials in Plantation," or, in the spirit of the holidays, presenting him a gift copy of The Last Hurrah.

At the Sun-Sentinel Co., embarrassed executives are rumored to be trembling over another budding internal scandal. Last month sexual harassment allegations forced out Stephen Wissink, publisher of the weekly magazine formerly known as XS. But this time it's really serious: Corporate money may be missing.

The company announced last week it was closing Exito!, its Spanish-language weekly in Miami-Dade County. The story on the front page of the Sun-Sentinel business section omitted a minor detail, however: The closing announcement followed discovery that as much as several hundred thousand dollars of Exito! money couldn't be accounted for. If XS was known for wild parties, Exito! was known for plush offices and lavish spending. In Chicago the Tribune Co., the Sun-Sentinel's parent, dispatched a special auditing team to trace where the money went. Exit Exito!

This may not help some publishing careers considering that inside the Tribune Co. the only thing worse than being called a liberal is losing money.

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