After last issue's disastrous foray into wannabe relevant punditry, The Stranger this week returns to its comfort zone, meaning rambling incoherence from CHARLES MUDEDE. The latest topic to be viewed through the merlot-stained refractions of his wine glass: the murder charges brought against University of Washington exchange student Amanda Knox, a story that has already been sensationalized a thousand times over by the corrupt Italian press. But not even Il Manifesto can match the outright moonbattery that Mr. Mudede brings to the subject. Just why The Stranger's editors would trust their most lubricated "writer" with such a sensitive story—and furthermore, why they would pony up to send him to Italy in order to "research" it—is a matter for mental-health professionals to explore and The Stranger's accountants to squawk about. As for those of us tasked with reading the disastrous piece, well, if the investment in sending Mr. Mudede abroad was made for our benefit, then visions of a pile of money going up in smoke come racing to mind.

Those who have suffered this paper's foolishness for years will recall that Mr. Mudede has yet to meet a theory he hasn't pounded into Marxist numbskullery. True to form, he evidently spent most of his time in Italy simply walking the streets with "the people," presumably scribbling down a few meager notes on stained cocktail napkins as he made his way from bar stool to bar stool. The resulting article reads like a trip through Mudede's beleaguered gray matter—intoxicated, incoherent, and all misfiring synapses. Note to Stranger editors: Next time, just mail a tape recorder to a random address in Italy. You'll get better notes.

Also in this issue we find The Stranger's news squad attempting to educate the paper's readers on the hows and whys of caucusing—in other words, fools meet errand. Yes, there's been much bluster about the so-called "youth vote" this year, and it may indeed prove influential in this election (though I'm not holding my breath), but there's a rather large canyon residing between thoughtful, intelligent college students and The Stranger's readership. Or, perhaps, there's a rather tall fence topped with razor wire and patrolled by corrections officers that stands between these two groups. In any case, the invasion of caucuses by packs of recent parolees and feral drunks is not exactly what the founding fathers—-or the youth-vote promoters—-had in mind.

Speaking of feral drunks, this week also contains another edition of Food Fight, wherein The Stranger's editors cobble together a "special" food section in order to boost bottom lines in the advertising department. In this edition the subject is "Food We Love," or some such inane puffery, and Bon Appétit it most definitely is not. Still, the food section has long been this paper's most solid effort (note: bar set a mere millimeter off the ground), so an expanded section—especially when it takes real estate from the usual pornography and verbal onanism—is something to be quite thankful for. recommended