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Wednesday, October 29, 2003

More glad-handing in Connecticut
The former state president of the Connecticut NAACP was convicted today on federal charges of corruption for bribes he paid to the state treasurer. The treasurer, Paul Silvester, took down himself and a lot of other Republican Party insiders earlier this year when he was collared by federal prosecutors and agreed to testify to an astonishing amount of corruption charges concerning the state's pension fund. This Stamford Advocate story does an outstanding job of laying the whole thing out. Ben Andrews, the former state NAACP president, continued to proclaim his innocence on the courthouse steps after being convicted. But the state's African-American community already understands what Andrews' treachery has cost them. "Every time they mentioned him they mentioned the NAACP. It wasn't good news for us," said James Griffin, current Connecticut NAACP president, following the verdicts.
Lincoln spins in his grave
What is going on with Illinois' Republican Party? And more to the point, how can we get other state GOP parties to collapse in such an ugly manner? Apparently, it simply involves law enforcement and prosecutors doing their jobs. Let's start with Elroy Leach. Our boy Elroy is a former legislator and one of six Republicans ordered to fork over a total of $545,000 after being found guilty of libeling James Meeks, independent, during a state race in 2002. Elroy turned up like dog poop on the heel of a shoe a few days ago as a campaign staffer for Rethug U.S. Senate candidate Jack Ryan. Ryan so far has no decent excuse for employing this dirty trickster. Enjoy his embarrasment here.

Meanwhile, the Chicago Trib is facing a $100 million libel suit filed by another Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, Chirinjeev Kathuria. Kathuria, charitably described by another publication as a "fring candidate" apparently went ape shit when the Trib published a front-page story Sunday that challenged Kathuria's claims of being a successful international business tycoon. Mr. Kathuria will soon find that the Trib wouldn't publish the story until it had been run past a battery of editors and attorneys to make sure it wasn't legally actionable. In the meantime, however, he's a great example of the quality of your average Republican candidate at any level of politics these days. Catch more here. Indian-Americans are understandably not happy about the publicity Mr Kathuria is garnering, but they need not worry. Kathuria is not representative of that community at all. Check out Rediff.com for some perspective from the Indian-American community. Thanks to the eagle-eyed folks at the Doghouse for putting me on the trail here. You guys are fantastic!
Minnesota GOP gophers broke
Minnesota's reputation for good government at the state and local level has been undoubtedly tarnished in recent years thanks to the state's Republican Party. This is the party, after all, that had to vote a plank in its party platform explicitly banning local party treasurers from embezzling (I am not making this up). Gov. Tim Pawlenty has spent this term dodging criminal charges. Now, the Minnesota Republican Party's Chairman, Ron Eibensteiner is on the hook for four misdemeanor counts of aiding and abetting illegal campaign contributions after the state's legislative auditor determined that Eibensteiner violated the law by writing a thank-you letter to a Florida-based insurance company that donated $10,000 to the party during the 2002 election cycle. Eibensteiner's attorney is making the usual noises about his client being pure as the driven snow. Decide for yourself. Thanks to reader Frank S. for the tip on this one!
LaTourette's Syndrome
Hey, it happens -- you run for Congress as a family values Republican, spend a couple of terms in D.C. and find that the family values you support involve ditching your current family and starting a new one. That's what appears to have happened in the case of Ohio Republican Rep. Steve LaTourette. LaTourette's current wife, Susan, went public this week with charges that her spouse was divorcing her in order to marry his long-time lover, a Capitol Hill lobbyist. No sooner had Madame LaTourette outed her philandering husband, than she was frog-marched back into the presence of an AP journalist to reassure the good, Christian folk back in Steve's district that, no, he wasn't a Buckeye version of Newt Gingrich and, no, he wasn't planning on a divorce. LaTourette is up for re-election next year, so expect the marriage to wind up sometime in early 2005. Cheer the libidinous Congressman on here. You can read Susan LaTourette's original outing of her husband here. It doesn't sound like he tried to ease the blow when he told her.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Where's my cape?
I am proud to announce that The Felonious Elephant has joined the League of Liberals, a group of bloggers dedicated to bringing truth, justice and the American way back to this nation, in this blog's case one indicted Republican at a time. You'll find a link to the League of Liberals on the right side of this page. Please visit the league's blog and check out its individual member blogs. I think you'll be pleased with what you find.

Monday, October 27, 2003

Gay-bashers caught soliciting kids
There's nothing creepier than a gay-bashing holy roller who gets caught with his hands in the cookie jar (hey, notice I didn't use the "pants down" metaphor! You people owe me!). That's why I am thrilled to bring you this edition of Pervs on Parade! We start in Florida, where there are plenty of Republicans hooked on the crack cocaine of the spirit known as evangelical fundamentalist Protestantism. Hewart Lee Bennett, assistant youth minister at West Palm Beach's First Seventh-Day Adventist Church, was arrested on charges of soliciting minors for sex over the Internet. Bennett was actually arrested for suspicious behavior in a North Lauderdale subdivision. Bennett claimed he was trolling...er, cruising....er, patrolling the area so he could talk to teenage street hustlers and try to turn them away from homosexuality. Yeah, right. Hewart's busy day is chronicled here. The Broward Sheriff's Office is asking members of the public who think Bennett may have had contact with their children to call investigators. You can read more here and here.

Meanwhile, in West Chester, Pennsylvania, a well-known gay-baiting minister faces a trial on charges of soliciting a minor for sex. Rev. Stephen White, aka "Brother Stephen" aka "I think it's the fourth guy from the left. Could you get him to step forward?", was arrested this past spring for offering a 14 year-old boy $20 for a blow job. Brother Stephen has been hovering around the periphery of the University of Pennsylvania for a number of years, but every fundie student group on campus is now trying to distance itself from its ties to the alleged pedophile. You'll have a good chuckle at this one.

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Mississippi candidate has white-sheet problem
Haley Barbour, the Jack Valenti of radical right-wing Republicanism, is looking like the next governor of his home state of Mississippi. Polling shows that he leads incumbent Democrat Ronnie Musgrove going into the final stretch of the campaign. But Haley has a little problem that could -- and should -- render him radioactive as far as electoral office is concerned. That's because Barbour buddies around with the Mississippi Council of Conservative Citizens. That won't mean much to non-Southerners, but if you're older than the age of 40 and grew up in the Deep South, you know that the CCCs that sprouted throughout the region were simply the public face of the Ku Klux Klan. No politician in his right mind would want to be associated with these bigots -- and that includes national Republicans! Former GOP National Committee Chair Jim Nicholson demanded that his fellow party members cut their ties with the CCC because "it appears that this group does hold racist views." Read about Haley's ties to the boys in white sheets and hoods here. The corporate-dominated national media has done absolutely nothing to unmask Barbour, much like it had to be pushed by blogs like this one to report on Sen. Trent Lott's racist views and alliances.
Hey, national media -- what about Sam Katz?
The corporate-dominated media have had a frenzy fest over the discovery of FBI bugging equipment in the office of Philadelphia Mayor John Street, much of it tinged with barely-concealed accusations that Street is a crook (what, in Philly? I'm shocked, shocked!). Street's Republican opponent in the Philadelphia mayor's race, Sam Katz, has gotten little attention from the media, other than the occasional five-second sound bite where Katz suggests the FBI had damned good reasons for bugging Street. Sam Katz, however, may have his own public relations nightmare to deal with come this Monday. That's when a Delaware judge will release a large amount of material dealing with a civil suit against Katz by three former business partners who claim Katz swindeled them. The only reason these documents are seeing the light of day is because the Philadelphia Inquirer sued to get them released. Otherwise, you probably wouldn't have heard a peep from a national media whose prime objective seems to be to promote Republican ideology and politicians. Read this fascinating story here.
Thuggie radio talker under investigation for kiddie play
Deep in the heart of Texas, Republican blowhard Jon Matthews has spent the past decade and a half spewing the usual bile and lies of the radical right wing by way of his daily talk show on KSEV. Jon's off the air at the moment, however, because he is under investigation by police in the Houston suburb of Sugar Land for charges of indecency with a child. Everyone concerned is tight-lipped about the charges against Matthews, but you can tell by reading this story by KTRK, ABC's Houston affiliate, that some folks are already gloating about Matthews' comeuppance. You can also catch this terse story in the Houston Chronicle.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Blowback dirties Jersey Rethugs
We take you now to the idyllic suburbia of Franklin, New Jersey, where Democratic Mayor Michael J. Kafton has been sand-bagged by an anonymous flyer circulated around town that purported to show that Kafton has a criminal record in North Carolina. Copies of the arrest record were mailed out anonymously to voters around town. The brainiacs behind the smear campaign didn't count on a couple of things. First, they didn't realize that local law enforcement could quickly and authoritatively confirm that the Michael J. Kafton arrested in North Carolina is not the Michael J. Kafton who is mayor of Franklin, New Jersey. Second, one of the conspirators paid for the arrest record through a company in the West Indies, a company that encodes the credit card number and driver's license number of the customer in the report. It turned out that the credit card and driver's license belonged to one Melvyn Schubert, the Republican challenging Kafton in the mayor's race. This is without a doubt one of the most hilarious paybacks in recent American political history. Have fun watching the cockroaches scramble when the lights are turned on.
No time for cripples
Look out, world! Virginia Commonwealth Attorney General Jerry W. Kilgore has places to go and higher offices to hold and God help anyone who gets in his way. Particularly if they're disabled. Kilgore, a Republican, gave Gov. Mark R. Warner and Lt. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, both Democrats, the finger recently after the governor and lieutenant governor pleaded with Kilgore to intervene in a pending case before the U.S. Supreme Court that could broaden the scope of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Now, please keep in mind that this law was the centerpiece of George H.W. Bush's presidency, something he wanted passed into law and fought for. Bush deserves credit because the ADA must be considered one of the most important advances in civil rights since 1964. But is Kilgore concerned about protecting the legacy of a Republican president? Nooooo. He's more concerned that the expanded interpretation of the ADA will give rise to more frivolous torts. Let's hope the hundreds of thousands of Virginia voters who are disabled or have a close family member or friend who is disabled will kick Jerry Kilgore's hateful ass out of office next year, preferably with a huge prosthetic foot. Stew about it here.
Love's choking embrace
Indiana -- one of those states you drive through as quickly as possible en route to more civilized destinations. Indianans love the Republican Party. That may help explain why I have to do extensive on-line research to confirm that Republican pols who commit crimes in Indiana are, indeed, Republicans. One of Indiana's more charming customs, you see, involves not identifying the political affiliation of Republican officials in the newspaper stories concerning the crimes they commit. Yeah, me and Indiana got history. Which is why I am delighted to offer up the scalp of Dennis Redick, Mayor of Noblesville, Indiana. Dennis is having trouble with his campaign for re-election, specifically an arrest for domestic assault in June when Hizzoner got caught strangling his girlfriend on the hood of a limousine following a Jimmy Buffett concert at Indianapolis's Verizon Wireless Music Center. The girlfriend now swears up and down that nothing happened, a defense mitigated by the fact that Dennis did his "Fatal Attraction" send-up in front of a bunch of people, some of them empowered by the State of Indiana to enforce state and local law. Since June, Redick has been shadowed by domestic violence activists. Read about it here and please note that the state's largest paper of record can't seem to fit the word "Republican" into this particular story.
How shall I offend thee? Let me count the ways
The unsubtle logic behind the White House's nomination of Janice Rogers Brown to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia goes like this: Brown is African-American and female; D.C. voters won't oppose her for those demographic reasons; Brown can then be nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court in a second Bush term to hang out long-term with Fat Tony and the Idolaters. What the Bushies didn't factor into their thinking was the fact that Janice Rogers Brown is undeniably, bull-goose looney. Very assertively bull-goose looney. Scary looney. Rogers Brown has publicly labeled 1937 as the "triumph of our socialist revolution." The rest of us remember 1937 as the year that the New Deal began bringing the nation back from the brink of financial insolvency and crushing unemployment. Anyone who confuses Franklin Delano Roosevelt with Robespierre is obviously playing with a short deck of cards. The Dems in the U.S. Senate are trying to kill Rogers Brown's candidacy. Let's hope they succeed. Meet the immodest Judge Rogers Brown here. More here and here.

Saturday, October 18, 2003

Rethug Senator bullies bank staff
New Hampshire Republican Judd Gregg thanked the staffers at the McLean, Va., branch of Wachovia Bank for their help in saving his wife from two kidnappers by calling the branch manager, demanding the money the two criminals stole via a check they forced his wife, Kathleen, to write and demanding that Wachovia call "me back with an intellectual answer." He then slammed the phone down on branch manager Parisa Davoudian. Gregg's bullying was enough to get Wachovia to pay him $4,000 stolen via the check. Normally, banks are not held liable for such losses. "Why would we have known this guy was a robber?" an unidentified Wachovia employee told the Washington Post. We're very grateful that Kathleen Gregg is still alive and unharmed, especially given the fact that her kidnappers told her they were going to kill her after they finished their little expedition to Wachovia. But her husband is an obnoxious, bullying prick and a complete disgrace to the entire state of New Hampshire. Catch the "e-steamed" senator's attack on Wachovia here.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

The Fall of a Lonely Idol
The Rethugs have, predictably, circled the wagons around Rush Limbaugh, demanding that, dammit, we show some compassion for the radio propagandist. For those of us who aren't Republican ideologues, compassion for Rush is something that will take a good while to develop. In fact, it may be conditional depending on how contrite Rush is when he returns to the airwaves. Evan Thomas's excellent cover story in this week's Newsweek paints a portrait of a Limbaugh whose off-air life is one of isolation and loneliness. Thomas even points out that Rush is still in legal hot water because Florida prosecutors go after drug users as well as drug dealers. The Limbaugh story also highlights an interesting trend, having moved quickly off the front page of most newspapers and onto the op-ed page. Dan Thompson of Capitol Hill Blue has one of the better post-mortems on Limbaugh's downfall and how it showcases the Republican Party's preferred addictive substance -- moral hypocrisy.

Friday, October 10, 2003

Dave's not here, man!
U.S. Attorney General Dimmesdale claimed a major scalp today when 65 year-old comedian Tommy Chong reported to prison in Bakersfield, California, today to serve a nine-month sentence for conspiring to sell drug paraphernalia over the Internet. Is it reasonable to force an elderly man to serve time in prison for selling bongs? The Assistant U.S. Attorney who prosecuted Chong gave away the likely reason for why the Man went after Chong. Mary Haughton argued in court that Chong had "trivialized" law enforcement in his films. Tommy Chong is pulling prison time for exercising his First Amendment rights? That makes him, oh, I don't know...a political prisoner! This will piss you off.
Bush drug czar declares war on kids
The director of the Bush Administration's Office of Drug Control Policy stunned a meeting of six New England governors Wednesday by proposing drug testing for school students. After not being gang-tackled, sedated and immediately committed to an insane asylum, John Walters explained that cracking down on younger school students makes for good public policy at a time when street prices for heroin have hit record lows in the region, which also has the highest number of children ages 12 and older who are struggling with drug addiction. Wesley Knapp, superintendent of the Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union, probably spoke for most of his colleagues when he raved about Walters' idea: "I don't believe it's reasonable to randomly test kids." You can laugh and feel horrified all at the same time by reading this.
Talent on loan from Perdue Pharmaceutical
Rush Limbaugh has confirmed what many of us have suspected for some time now. Limbaugh admitted on his syndicated radio program today that he is addicted to "prescription painkillers" and will enter rehab immediately -- for his third round of trying to kick his habit. Limbaugh's frank admittance of his drug problem means two things. First, he must be facing some kind of criminal charges to make such a public admission. Doing rehab will count as a mitigating factor at sentencing. Second, millions of Republican dittoheads have been following the ravings of a synthetic heroin addict for at least five years. Let slip the Schadenfreude, citizens! Limbaugh's looming criminal problems probably won't be fully known for some time, but there are already some signs of what they might be. Read this and this.

Thursday, October 09, 2003

Meanwhile, the band played on
The bugging of Philadelphia Mayor John F. Street's office by the FBI has been a hot story all day today. But check out this story from today's Philadelphia News. It seems Street's Republican opponent, Sam Katz, may have some legal problems of his own brewing. Three of his former business partners have accused Katz and an associate of embezzling $290,000 from a joint venture. The partners sued Katz in Delaware last year. His associate, Mark Robins, pled guilty to forgery and theft in the case last week.
Another guy who wants to run gummint like a bidness
Rick Torres is asking the voters of Bridgeport, Connecticut, to make him mayor of their fine city in next month's municipal elections. Torres, however, is now dodging and weaving his less-than-sterling past. Seems the would-be mayor has been arrested for hanging paper (that's passing a bad check) and failure to appear in court to prove that his car was properly registered. He also has a personal bankruptcy on his record and lost rental property in town because the place was generating a lot of work for local police. Check out Torres here and here. Bet he still gets elected.
If it's not love, then it's the bomb, the bomb, the bomb...
Latent hostility is a commonplace of Republican psychology. They're afraid of anything and anyone who doesn't look exactly like them or think exactly like them. The fundamentalist Christian Rethugs are the worst, their inbred sense of spiritual superiority impervious to any hint of humility. Case in point is the Rev. Pat Robertson. You're undoubtedly familiar with Robertson's occasional tendency to pray for disaster to strike the U.S. in order to bring its citizens to the Lord. These outbursts are always followed by public apologies from Robertson who, best as I can tell, is only apologizing for actually saying what he really thinks on national television. Well, chalk up another threat of violence from the man who claims to speak for the Prince of Peace. This time, Robertson wants to see a nuclear weapon dropped on the State Department.

My theory is that Robertson's animus toward State has less to do with protecting Christianity in the U.S. than it does protecting the central African dictators and rebel groups that do a brisk business with Robertson in what's known as "conflict diamonds." State has been onto Robertson's ties to some of the most blood-curdling thugs in the world. He doesn't need to drop a bomb on anyone. He already has a tide of blood flowing from his hands. Read more about Robertson's sleazy business connections with African despots here, here and here.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

How does one "act Mexican"?
"If you are going to act like Mexicans, you will be treated like Mexicans." No, it's not a Noel Coward quote, but it was spoken by a coward nonetheless. It was part of a threat leveled at Texas state senator Leticia Van de Putte (D-San Antonio) and other Texas Senate Dems by a Republican colleague. Van de Putte won't disclose the name of the racist swine who slurred Latinos while threatening the Democratic Senate Caucus if they dared to interfere with the GOP's plans to gerrymander the state's Congressional districts. Two of Van de Putte's fellow Dems claim that, while they were there with her when the Republican senator made his "Mexican" statement, they don't remember hearing it. This is a pathetic story of Republican racism and Democratic spinelessness. No wonder the GOP feels free to loot the entire nation. Get in touch with your inner Mexican here. You'll find he or she is a much nicer person and better citizen than some gutter-trawling white trash redneck Republican pol.
Caligula's wife has bimbo eruption of her own
And in today's "you can't make this shit up" category, we have Maryland's First Lady, Kendel Ehrlich expressing a desire to shoot Britney Spears (Hint to Mrs. Ehrlich: If your goal is to do serious damage to La Spears, a head shot is probably not a good choice. No vital organs there). Now, I nicknamed Ehrlich's husband "Caligula on the Chesapeake" for his high-handed, arrogant disdain for his constituents. Had I known of Mrs. Ehrlich's homicidal impulses at that time, I obviously would have taken the MacBeth route. By the way, she made her Britney death wish at...wait for it...wait for it...a domestic violence prevention conference! Hahahahahaha!!! Oh, God, I think I just coughed up my spleen. While I'm getting my internal organs back in place, you can check out Kendel Ehrlich's disturbing blood lust.

Thursday, October 02, 2003

GOP state chair's hypocrisy comes back to haunt
Patricia Morgan, chair of the Rhode Island Republican Party, took a legal header this week, tripped up by her own hypocrisy. Morgan has been bitching for months about Democratic state Rep. Rene Menard's attempts, through a fellow state representative, to withhold the name of a local Dem politician in a Woonsocket police report. Morgan has publically called Menard's actions "corrupt" and "flagrant abuse." She'll need some new phraseology to describe her own behavior, namely leaning on a West Warwick prosecutor to ease up on his prosecution of her son, Brian Mulligan. Morgan was so two-faced that she had spent the last few months demanding that the state legislature pass an "anti-manipulation" statute to stop politicians from interferring in the affairs of other elected and appointed public officials. William Lynch, head of the state Democratic Party, probably hit the nail on the head: "How can you in good conscience stand up and rant and rail and call for a grand jury investigation when you are doing something just as bad or worse?" Smoke that one over here.
Hang 'em high
Traitor-gate spreads to the departments of Defense and State. More here. And for those of you who think this is inside-the-Beltway grab-ass, read this. Someone has to be held accountable.
Austrian octopus apologizes, kind of
Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Austrian body-builder and action movie star who has been anointed California's next governor by the corporate-dominated national media, apologized today at some kind of weird-ass press conference for his past behavior toward women. A story in today's L.A. Times carried accounts by six different women who say Governor Ego-Monkey (thank you, Gary Trudeau!) groped them. Ahh-nuld blamed the "rowdy movie sets" he worked on for leading him astray, something every Republican flack and pundit immediately began parroting -- a slight variation of the Henry Hyde "youthful indiscretion" defense. Now, the way the media has borne Ahh-nuld aloft like a Roman emperor so far during the recall campaign, it remains to be seen whether they'll actually subject him to investigative reporting. But California's female voters might just grab Der Oktoputz by the balls and jerk real hard next Tuesday. Here's the low-down.
Pig Boy sizzles on the grill
Rush Limbaugh, the id of the Republican Party, has more important things to worry about than giving up his ESPN pro football gig. The New York Daily News reported this morning that Limbaugh is under investigation by Florida authorities for illegal drug purchases, including oxycontin and hydrocodone. Limbaugh's maid went to police after years of what she claimed was constant pressure from the loudmouth to buy his shit. The maid reportedly wore a wire the last two times she delivered the goodies (the reporting on the story so far doesn't make it clear whether she was wearing the wire for police). Limbaugh was buying so much, the maid claims, that he was receiving slightly less than 100 tablets or capsules per day. That's what is known in the law enforcement bidness as "sale weight," an amount clearly too large for Limbaugh's sole consumption. The legal penalties for a conviction on that amount are substantially higher than simple possession. Revel in Rush's criminal problems. There's more here and here.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Judgezilla
New York Republican Dora Irizarry has been nominated for a federal judgeship on the Eastern District bench, but she's encountering resistance from the American Bar Association. The ABA's take on Irizarry is that she's temperamentally unfit to serve as a federal judge. People subjected to her reign of black-robed terror say Irizarry is rude, combative and demeaning. Sounds like the perfect Republican judicial candidate to me, but I digress. Irizarry is getting the big thumbs' up from Democratic U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (not the first time he's signed off on a dodgy GOP appointment) and Gov. George Pataki. Judge for yourself here.
Rocky Mountain Heil
May as well give Colorado a trifecta today. The state's Republican political establishment is all goo-goo eyes for right-wing douchebag David Horowitz, whose self-aggrandizing egomania is currently focused on badgering someone, anyone, to take him seriously by adopting his draconic "Academic Bill of Rights" which, in true Stalinist fashion, would promote anything but in any university or college stupid enough to enact it. Horowitz's schtick is that our universities are over-run with raving Commies who rule supreme and keep raving right-wingers from speaking their minds. First of all, Horowitz is always glad to inflame any local event by staging stupid propaganda stunts. Second, he somehow seems to think that the English Department is always the source of leftist evil, thus depriving the Bolshies in, say, the Electrical Engineering Department their fair share of props. Third, Horowitz carefully avoids the Economics Department and Business School and the Political Science Department, all of which are pretty much loaded for bear with right-wing cranks at every university in the U.S. these days. Nevertheless, the Colorado GOP seems enamored of Horowitz's really bad idea (things which he has consistently drummed up for over thirty years as a propagandist first for the Black Panthers and now the White Dumbasses). See here what your kid will be exposed to at UC Boulder if Horowitz and his Republican admirers get their way.
Voucher voodoo storms Colorado
If you don't have kids or you do have kids and don't have the money to send them to private school, then you can't be blamed entirely if you've fallen for the Republican bait-and-switch con known as school vouchers. Using their rallying cry of "choice" (which should always be translated as "we're ready to rape you now"), the GOP has been agitating at all levels for decades now to funnel public tax monies to private schools. Their argument runs that public schools ought to be able to compete for students with private schools, so the magic of the free market can work its will and all kids will magically receive outstanding educations. Those areas of the United States that have actually tried vouchers systems, including my home state of North Carolina, have seen them fester in the sun like an unembalmed corpse. Voucher supporters inevitably boil down to a few very recognizable interest groups: rich Republicans who want you and me to help subsidize their kids' exorbitant private school educations; Religious Right Rethugs who don't want their children exposed to black people or modern science (especially evolution); Roman Catholics who ought to know better; and radical black nationalists who want to teach an Afro-centric curriculum that will ensure their charges can't get into college and will always blame the white devils for it.

Coloradoans are just waking up to the fact that they've been had by Republicans on the voucher thing. A school voucher test program got rammed through the state's legislature last spring thanks to Colorado Republican businessman Alex Cranberg. Cranberg spent a lot of his own money lobbying for the new law, which he pitched as a measure designed to help low-achieving students struggling in the state's public schools. Now, Cranberg has suggested that Colorado include what the Denver Post calls "exclusive private schools" (here in the South, that means no blacks, Hispanics or anyone who isn't white and extremely wealthy) among the member institutions allowed to accept voucher students. The state committee charged with overseeing the voucher experiment is at each other's throats now and Coloradoans, as this Denver Post story suggests, are starting to realize that ugly feeling of being hosed by the Republican Party. Have fun, folks!
Honorable Judge Yahweh, Colorado District Court
Jefferson County, Colorado, country treasurer Mark Paschall is a man filled with the Spirit. And there's every reason to suspect that the Holy Ghost would love to pry Paschall's clutching fingers from the hem of its ectoplasmic, yet elegantly-tailored, gown. Paschall, you see, is God's judicial clerk in Jefferson County. At his own expense, the Republican religious nut has printed pamphlets that he hands out to potential jurors at the county courthouse, pamphlets that instruct the jurors that they are answerable to God alone and if that means disobeying the human justice system, such as it is in Jefferson County, then they have a duty to do so. Now, we have to give Paschall credit for not wasting taxpayer money; he prints the pamphlets at his own expense. But you do have to wonder who else in the judicial system in Jefferson County thinks following God's will is a great idea, especially given God's track record of making what appear on the surface to be often arbitrary, cruel, inhumane rulings in the Bible. Regardless, Mark Paschall deserves recognition for his seemingly total lack of comprehension of what belongs to Caesar and what belongs to God. Feel Paschall's ultra-right, er, righteousness here and here. No word yet on whether God will seek an injuction against Paschall for taking his name in vain.

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