A late addition to Santa’s mailbag

One of this year's Christmas wishes is for continued Notre Dame failures in front of Touchdown Jesus and the Irish faithful.

With Santa’s big run fast approaching, I ask the big fella to use his magic in granting a few last-minute sports wishes:

1.) Make college football bowl season what it used to be. Sometimes less really is more. Twenty years ago, there were 18 bowl games. This year, 34, and way too many are uninteresting battles of meaninglessness. The move to a 12-game regular season has created a repugnant glut of 6-6 and 7-5 teams that should be in the weight room instead of getting a vacation. Attendance at some of these garbage games rivals the United Football League, as does their relevance. Let’s see some of these bowls go the way of Enron, so that playing in December and January means something once again.

2.) Assure that Notre Dame football will stay comically bad. Some blowhards — Beano Cook comes to mind — profess college football is better when Notre Dame is good. I disagree. Nothing is more enjoyable than to see the deflated Irish and their holier-than-thou, myopically-entranced, elitist fawners endure losses to the likes of Navy, Connecticut and Syracuse. Notre Dame is like Mickey Rourke’s character in “The Wrestler,” a sad shell of a being that can’t let go of past glory. That’s too damn amusing to see disappear.

3.) Don’t let Indianapolis Colts coach Jim Caldwell be Tony Dungy. I like to think Caldwell is his own man, and won’t follow Dungy’s rest-the-starters path which led to three early playoff exits. I also want to believe Caldwell is just playing possum, and has every intention of going for a perfect season. It’s the only way to go. Anything less is a slap to the players’ face. Immortality is five wins away, so let Peyton Manning try to give the ‘72 Dolphins something else to do with their lives other than root against everybody.

4.) If the Colts do make it to the Super Bowl in Miami, let it pour all game like in 2007. Only Democrats getting a single Republican vote to pass anything is less likely than being selected in the (alleged) random draw for Super Bowl tickets. I couldn’t afford the $3K on the secondary market three years ago, nor will I be able to this time around. So, if the Colts play for their second title, let it dump on the bastards fortunate enough to be there.

5.) Rid us of NFC East prime-time games forever. This season’s 10 night games involving teams from the overrated and overexposed division are enough to last a lifetime. On Monday, I chose to watch “Apocalypse Now” for the 100th time instead of grimacing at Jason Campbell and the Washington puke-fest. Let’s make an effort to spread the love, boys.

6.) Let the Chicago Bears’ freefall continue while keeping Lovie Smith and staff in place. Sorry Bears fans, but after the way Rex Grossman was treated by many mouth-breathers parading as astute fans at Soldier Field, you deserve what you have. Jesus Cutler hasn’t worked out too well, because he is saddled with the same lack of talent and pea-brained coaching Grossman and Kyle Orton were. You need look no further than the neutralization of the Bears’ greatest weapon — Devin Hester on returns — due to the organization’s inability to draft properly as to why there is no future in the Windy City. Enjoy. I am.

7.) Make the NBA as appealing as its Mariah Carey promos on ESPN. While Mariah gets better with age, the NBA is like the 90-year-old rich woman whose yearly facelifts have yanked her hairline to mid-skull. It’s an often hideous entity that I avoid seeing at all costs.

8.) Allow Butler to win the NCAA men’s basketball championship. A spirited Bulldogs run is about the only thing that can pique my interest in a sport crippled by decades of early talent drain to the NBA. The roster turnover has left college hoops with no sustained personality. It simply isn’t captivating, even if it still gives Dick Vitale a dozen orgasms per broadcast.

9.) Please save quality sports (and news) journalism. A good friend of mine recently lost his job as sports editor, not long after his section was named the best in Illinois. Thousands of other jobs are gone and others are being forced into pay cuts and furloughs. Like clean air and water, journalism isn’t going to be truly missed until it’s gone. If you don’t think it’s important, call your local TV station and ask them where 95 percent of their story ideas come from. They pull them from the newspaper every morning. We all know times are tough, but information is a commodity we can’t afford to lose.

10.) Deliver Tiger Woods to my home to complete his offseason rehab. I will gladly put a driving net and putting green in my basement, and serve as an intermediary between Tiger and the local waitresses. All I ask in return is a little tutoring from Tiger so my golf game is slightly better than his was at 2 years old.

Thanks, Santa, and Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

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Only doping — not being a dope — can bring down Tiger

Only if Tiger Woods' biceps prove to be artificially inflated will we see his true sporting legend diminish.

Tiger Woods started the decade by providing the greatest display of golf the world has ever seen. Though he ends it in relative shame, Woods is far from the decimated icon some make him out to be, and he is bound to recover like he has in so many sand bunkers throughout the years.

Woods laid waste to his competition in 2000, claiming three-straight major titles en route to nine PGA Tour victories. Over ten seasons, he wowed us with unthinkable shots and a ferocious will to win. While the family values police insists Woods’ image is forever sullied after cheating on his soon-to-be ex, I can’t as easily condemn a man who lives in a sphere far removed from our own.

I have been associated with the golf world at many levels — as a country club bartender/waiter, player, spectator and reporter. The notion that Woods’ serial fornication will destroy his status within the sport’s community is farcical. While golf is a game enjoyed by those from all walks of life, its high-rolling base is rooted in a realm of insatiable ego, lust and greed. The blue-blood, private club universe is a parallel dimension closer to Sodom and Gomorrah than the domain which common man inhabits. Often in this world, wives are traded like stocks, reality-deficient children are used as bargaining chips, crazed gambling is synonymous with breathing and hard liquor and heavy narcotics are the staples of life.

Except for the racist element which also infects this twisted carnality, Woods has always been beloved for his achievements and showmanship. Now he’s just one of the boys, and when it comes to 90 percent of the golf-viewing public, all will be forgotten when he slips on his next green jacket or hoists another trophy. If anything, his philandering has made his golf accomplishments even more impressive. He isn’t a perfectly calculated robot after all. He’s just a guy with the work ethic of Ted Williams, the big-event fortitude of Muhammad Ali and the sexual appetite of Wilt Chamberlain.

Like religion, I don’t like mixing morality with sports. I don’t care if Woods likes to sleep with women of the service industry or sometimes marry them, just like I don’t care if Randy Moss smokes weed on his day off or if Michael Jordan plays blackjack with enough cash to feed impoverished Detroit for a month. As someone who was once defined by his vices, I get it. The strong-willed cannot be told what to do, and most of the time, no one even tries. Woods is not a social role model. He is a sports entertainer, one plagued by the invincibility syndrome suffered by virtually all male pro athletes.

Woods’ tabloid show of the last few weeks doesn’t concern me, but his association with Canadian performance-enhancing-drug user and peddler Dr. Anthony Galea does. Now facing smuggling charges, Galea treated Woods last winter during his knee surgery recovery. So far there is no evidence linking Woods to any malfeasance but the trash-diggers are lurking, and like his marital failures, any wrongdoing is certain to come out.

I have never considered Woods to be a potential underground juicer. His ripped physique is nothing proper diet and training can’t sculpt, but it has always raised the eyebrows of some silver spoon-fed fellow competitors and physically challenged sportswriters. If we find Woods’ one-of-a-kind power shots were the partial result of pharmaceutical experimentation, then and only then will his professional legacy be tarnished.

In the meantime, Woods is trying to find his way in an altered reality. His wife and kids are gone, and unsubstantiated reports suggest he soon will check into a sex-and-drug rehab facility. Hopefully the establishment has a driving range and putting green, because as winter fades to spring and the azaleas of Augusta National are in full bloom, I expect to see a red-shirted legend doing his thing, and all will seem right with the world.

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Never say never again

Tom Brady had a career night against Indianapolis Sunday, but went home to Gisele with a frown after a finish that will long live in NFL lore.

Of the many elements that make up the Indianapolis Colts as a franchise, one separates them from the pack. They win games that other teams lose.

Indiana Pacers legend Reggie Miller taught me a long time ago to never leave a game before it’s over. Many Hoosiers received the same lesson in the mid-1990s, but it didn’t stop some from walking out of Lucas Oil Stadium or clicking off their TV Sunday night when New England seemed to have the Colts’ number. Like for those who didn’t see some of Miller’s jaw-dropping heroics live due to lost hope, that proved to be a big mistake.

From my seat in Section 531, personal optimism was at rock bottom when New England led Indianapolis 31-14 with 14:18 remaining. Tom Brady had shredded the Colts’ junior-varsity secondary all night while his line kept Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis off his back. Randy Moss looked like he’d come out of a time warp that’d transported him to his historic rookie season of 1998. Meanwhile, Peyton Manning had two of his ugliest interceptions of the decade, and rookie wideouts Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie had hands that appeared to have made contact with Medusa.

And yet, the Colts triumphed, like so many other games they had no business winning during their current, unparalleled run. The ego- and testicular-driven decision by Bill Belichick to go for it on fourth down-and-2 at the Patriots’ 28-yard line got much of the credit, but Indianapolis had to claw back to get there and still had to finish the job. The ending was a microcosm of the team’s play during its NFL record six — soon to be seven — consecutive 12-win seasons.

“I think the one thing it says about our team is that there is no quit in these guys,” Colts center Jeff Saturday said after the 35-34 miracle. “Guys are going to keep fighting no matter what it looks like and what the circumstances show. We just kept telling each other on the sideline, ‘Just one more. One more stop on defense, one more touchdown on offense. Let’s see if we can get back in this thing and make a run.’”

Indianapolis’ extraordinary ability to win games it shouldn’t has been on display the past three weeks. San Francisco and Houston both had their chances to topple the Colts, but couldn’t do it. Sunday’s contest proved again that they can play badly and beat anybody. But Garcon, who redeemed himself with a fourth-quarter score, exhibited the attitude the Colts have after any victory.

“It makes you feel good, but it lets you know you’re not as good as you think you are,” Garcon said. “You have a lot of work to do. You have to go back to the fundamentals, go back to the basics and get back to the grind.”

If Indianapolis moves to 10-0 with a win over Baltimore this week, talk of a perfect season will ratchet up significantly … everywhere but in the Colts’ locker room, that is. The team’s veteran core that was around for the 13-0 start in 2005 will admit the pressure got to them. That season, like too many others, ended with a one-and-done in the playoffs.

Like New England, the Colts are a victim of their own success in that any season without a Super Bowl victory is now considered — by fans and the team itself — a failure. Both have learned that a great or even undefeated regular season is meaningless without the Lombardi Trophy. That level of excellence spawned the decade’s only great rivalry, one on par with any of the past.

“It’s amazing when it comes down to it,” Freeney said of the annual tug-of-war. “I don’t even remember when it wasn’t coming down to the fourth quarter. Maybe one time. These games (have a) playoff atmosphere. Huge games. Everybody wants to win.”

Indianapolis and New England seem destined for a January rematch. With a 5-1 mark against the Patriots since ‘05 and having just beaten them with a lackluster effort, the Colts should feel pretty good if it occurs. Assuming it does happen, you can bet seats will stay filled and TVs will remain on until the game clock reads all zeros.

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Hope shaken, but far from broken

obamagrant

While Barack Obama’s progress has been deliberate, the aspiration for a better day remains.

One year ago this week, most of us celebrated the beginning of the end of one of the most revolting eras in United States history. Even in the depths of economic despair, with the election of Barack Obama, we optimistically looked beyond the often shameful years of George W. Bush and toward a future filled with promise.

Perhaps we were naïve to trust so fully in Obama’s salesmanship of hope, as it is possible he bit off more than he could chew. Or maybe we’ve just witnessed the exposure of the narrow-minded ideologies and antiquated bureaucratic mechanisms which are there to stymie true progress. Either way, since Obama took over in January, betterment has been slow in two critical, intertwined areas:

The (Shady) Economy: The disaster which has devastated millions of lives across the country wasn’t just caused by Bush. Though the disintegration was relatively quick, the deregulatory and trickle-down stupidity of Ronald Reagan was an arrogance-based cancer that festered for nearly three decades before consuming its host. The economy became little more than an evil casino for Armani-wearing, degenerate gamblers who used human beings as playing chips.

No one but the criminals responsible were happy about the bailouts, but in the end, they saved us from chaos on a Revelation-like scale. Experts claim the recession is over, a declaration the over 15 million Americans out of work and their families would tell them to stick where the sun don’t shine. Many jobs are never coming back, so it likely is up to our government to create the infrastructure-improving and Green-based work needed to rebuild the country structurally and economically a la FDR’s New Deal 76 years ago. Not even the Republicans dedicated only to Obama’s failure could disagree with putting Americans back to work … right?

Meanwhile, little has been done to change the culture of unscrupulous greed on Wall Street. Taxpayer money has put the betting parlor back in business while no tangible regulation or dissolving of derivatives speculation has taken place. It appears no Nuremberg-style trials of accountability will happen, as beneficiaries of the greatest swindle we’ll ever see walk free today.

The (Misguided) War on Terror: In the movie Swordfish, John Travolta’s character said in regard to terrorism, “Our job is to make (it) so horrific that it becomes unthinkable to attack Americans.” In the days and weeks after Sept. 11, 2001, the majority of Americans probably would’ve agreed to the nuclear annihilation of all enemies — the only way to kill our way out of the conflict we were pulled into.

Who knows what the world would be like now if the Bush administration didn’t senselessly take us into Iraq, where we’ve been mired in the “you broke it, you fix it” phase for a half-decade. The $12 billion-a-month price tag helped bury us at home, and an incalculable number of lives here and there have been ruined. Along with the mercenary contractors we’ve made rich, our selfless armed forces are still there, and the 16-month pullout date set by Obama will come and go next May.

Al-Qaeda’s assassination of Afghanistan Northern Alliance leader Ahmad Shah Massoud two days before 9/11 was genius, especially considering our payoffs to and dependence on warlords didn’t deliver Osama bin Laden in late-‘01. When bin Laden escaped Tora Bora, Bush chose to focus on Iraq while wasting billions on a Pakistani regime that used the cash to prop up its own failing economy. Obama recently agreed to triple U.S. aid to Pakistan, and while controversial drone attacks have been effective, one can only wonder where that money will go. Obama also has to answer two dubious questions — is Afghanistan savable, and is winning definable? Lessons of the past tell us, “No,” and the decisions made in the near future could impact the country and the planet for the rest of the century.

That isn’t all Obama has on his plate. The health care debate rages on as millions of lives hang in the balance. Our schools are a mess with pathetic dropout rates, students being ill-prepared for an evolving world and college costs soaring out of control. The Nixon-created war on drugs has been a wasteful failure of epic proportions, while flooding our prisons with non-violent offenders and decimating the black community. Gays are still treated like third-class citizens and are denied the rights all deserve. And we are still slaves to foreign oil as our environment suffers.

As Americans we expect immediate results, and even as an Obama supporter, my patience has waned. Unfortunately for Obama, he has the curse of being the middle child of history. He didn’t create the problems that plague us, and he won’t solve them all in four or eight years. All he can do is try his best, accomplish as much as possible despite blind partisan rebellion and shape a path to lead us out of the abyss.

That said, Obama’s rate of production must increase. I hope he has the sleepless nights shared by those whose lives are teetering on the edge of ruin. I still believe in the hope he preached and the aspiration for a new day in America, but the clock is ticking.

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With (alleged) reality TV, there are nothing but losers

The twisted tale of the Heene family is one intertwined with the equally perverted parallel universe known as reality television.

The twisted tale of the Heene family is one intertwined with the equally perverted parallel universe known as reality television.

Like millions of Americans, last Thursday I was transfixed on a Mylar flying saucer — supposedly carrying a 6-year-old boy — whipping around the clear Colorado sky. As the scene unfolded, I pictured a quivering, urine and vomit-soaked urchin rolling around the hull like Yahtzee dice. It seemed the craft was destined to hit the ground like a giant silver stone or to turn the kid into human Jiffy Pop by getting tangled in some power lines.

Then, all at once, my mind was put at ease. All it took was a simple revelation — that the boy’s family had appeared on one of the prototype vehicles of United States television idiocy … Wife Swap. After that, I figured little Falcon was safe and sound, merely a pawn of fame-hungry parental parasites. Sure enough, within a few days we learned it was a sham, concocted by a disturbed dad that craves celebrity like Rush Limbaugh covets OxyContin.

Reality television. It ranks right up there with the Bush administration, faulty weapons-of-mass destruction intelligence reports, financial derivatives, Glenn Beck and Ghostbusters II as the most embarrassing American products of my lifetime. The whole Balloon Boy saga confirmed what I’d suspected for a decade — that reality TV is cerebellum-corrosive and can cause a complete disconnect with actuality.

In its current incarnation, reality TV can be traced to The Real World, which was dropped upon the world like an intelligence-decimating atomic bomb in 1992. The series, which inexplicably still exists, accomplished two things — the creation of a genre and the assurance that MTV was for no one older than 20 years of age.

While I’ll give some food, self-improvement and entertainment shows a pass, since Survivor was unveiled in 2000, network and cable programming have been polluted by some of the most horrifying man-made creations since New Coke. Along with the aforementioned spouse-switching presentation that introduced the world to weatherman-turned-lunatic Richard Heene, we have been bestowed the nauseating likes of Mr. Personality (hosted by Monica Lewinsky), The Littlest Groom, Farmer Wants a Wife, Married by America and far too many more to list. Each season brings numerous brain-dead entities, some of which stick due to America’s apparent lust for voyeuristic nonsense.

The irony about reality TV is just how real it isn’t. First, these shows are not populated by everyday folks. They are filled with wannabe/failed actors salivating for stardom, and virtually all inflate situational reactions to increase on-camera time. Second, the environments in which most shows take place couldn’t be more unrealistic. Third, footage often is manipulated and shaped according to producers’ visions, or re-shot entirely if results aren’t satisfactory. Fourth, all shows — despite blue-in-the-face denials — are scripted, some more than others.

Despite all of this, the freak display rolls on. The desire for boob-tube nobility can possess dolts like Heene and his wife in a way that makes Beck’s feeble-minded antics seem sensible. Consider what the Heenes ignored during their scheme, most notably the logistical and financial impact on local and national authorities and the future welfare of their children. None of it mattered compared to the intoxicating allure of having their own show.

Though dramatic, the Heene clan’s example is not all that extraordinary. Somewhere this very minute, inspired sociopaths are formulating their own reality show ideas, perhaps as demented as marrying a sibling or even Karl Rove. Still, there is hope. Although the format’s poison now pumps through the American bloodstream, we have overcome heinous programming cycles before. Remember, it wasn’t all that long ago that Hee-Haw and other gruesome variety shows plagued the airwaves.

I don’t believe in any god, but I might convert if it meant an end to the mental bondage known as reality TV. Wait, that gives me a good idea for a show …

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NFL reject a byproduct of Bubba

BFFs? Not exactly, but William Jefferson Clinton helped create the El Rushbo dissed by the NFL.

BFFs? Not exactly, but William Jefferson Clinton helped create the El Rushbo dissed by the NFL.

 

Sometimes I wonder what the world would be like if Bill Clinton had never been President of the United States. Would 9/11 not have happened if another American leader was more proactive against Al-Qaeda in the 1990s? Would U.S. manufacturing be its old gloried self if Clinton weren’t there to usher in the disastrous North American Free Trade Agreement? Would gay rights — including open military service — have advanced at greater than a snail’s pace if Clinton wasn’t proving his prolific heterosexuality in the Oval Office?

Lately I’ve wondered about another possibility — if Clinton was never elected, would Rush Limbaugh have ascended to the callous, deceitful, fear-mongering, fundamentalist sheep-herding, ignorance-perpetuating deity he is today?

Like fellow white panic-driver Glenn Beck, Limbaugh was spawned by the lowest form of airwaves communication — Top 40 radio. A college dropout, Limbaugh assumed the alter ego Jeff Christie to put on his version of the windbag antics that have long made that realm of entertainment as intellectually stimulating as an episode of Temptation Island.

In the mid-80s, Limbaugh replaced right-wing psychopath Morton Downey Jr. — whose TV show will live forever in broadcast infamy — as a talk personality in Sacramento. Within four years he moved his circus to New York for nationwide syndication, and while his adoration rose steadily, it wasn’t until Clinton’s election in 1992 and the eight subsequent years of daily belligerence that resulted in his total idolization. Limbaugh became more empowered with each nonsensical conspiracy theory and Clinton screw-up and assumed the role of Defender of the Faith during George W. Bush’s reign.

This week, Limbaugh’s ego took a hit when he was told his money was no good by a group — which wooed him — trying to purchase the lowly St. Louis Rams. The pack’s leader, St. Louis Blues chairman Dave Checketts, allegedly told Limbaugh the NFL had okayed his involvement.  But when NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay spoke out against Limbaugh, he was kicked to the curb.

Limbaugh’s banishment opened a soapbox window for the beady-eyed opportunist, and some of his combative responses bellowed to his Caucasian-only head-nodders deserve individual dissection.

First, Limbaugh labeled NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith an “Obama-ite,” and said the body’s goal is to “intimidate the owners, frighten the owners, and say, ‘We’re running this league now, gang, not you.’”

Here, the anti-union fanatic Limbaugh attempts to draw a corollary between the fictional African-American Socialist power-grab in America (which he preaches daily) and frightening black takeover of the country’s favorite league. By design, everything Limbaugh does is meant to rile up white folks whether it’s politics, pigskin or anything in between.

Limbaugh also accused the media of the same fact-twisting he’s guilty of every day and said, “The hatred that exists in this is found in the sportswriter community, it’s found in the news business, it’s found in the race hustler business.”

While I can’t speak for any purported race hustlers, Limbaugh is correct in that there is a widespread dislike held throughout the majority of American media — a distaste of the type of modern-day Conservative tunnel vision championed in the White House for the eight years prior to Obama. There is a liberal bias in most news organizations because most journalists are educated, come from liberal arts-based schools, aren’t chained to archaic thought processes and were subjected to the ill effects of the Bush administration every day at work for nearly a decade. It is also an industry that has been crippled by corporate ownership’s slavery to stockholders as the importance of information was superseded by unrealistic profit motive.

In all of this, Limbaugh has dismissed the real reason he was spurned by the NFL, as though there is no public record of his racist rants over the years. Whether it was his Great Black Hope comments regarding Donovan McNabb, his promotion of the “Barack the Magic Negro” parody or basically 90 percent of his content over the past year, Limbaugh sees nothing wrong with it because the cash keeps rolling in. Crackers eat it up, and the long line of willing advertisers helps fill Limbaugh’s pockets with over $30 million each year.

Make no mistake, Limbaugh is a shameless self-promoter who will spin his defeat into victory with his loyal followers. It has to irk him that he was turned down by the rich, white NFL establishment that reportedly gives 70 percent of its political contributions to Republicans. But, that will just give him more ammunition on days where he can’t find anything bad to say or make up about Obama.

Although his voice is like a corkscrew plunged into the temple, Limbaugh is here to stay. Though perhaps temporarily humbled, he will promote the cause of loaded, white, power-hungry vampires until he drops dead, only to be revived by the bite of Rupert Murdoch. And like the gifts of Hillary and intriguing ideas for cigar placement, the gratitude for creating this beast goes to Clinton, whom without, today’s Limbaugh wouldn’t exist.

Thanks for nothing, Bubba.

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South Carolina — The Land That Time Forgot

Rep. Joe Wilson is just one South Carolina bureaucrat disgracing a state that can’t pull itself out of the 1800s.

Rep. Joe Wilson is just one South Carolina bureaucrat disgracing a state that can’t pull itself out of the 1800s.

In 1860, the United States of America was ripped apart when South Carolina seceded from the Union. Now, 149 years later, I am calling for the Palmetto State to part ways once again, so that its population might be saved from its own leadership.

For a state that finally pulled the Confederate flag from its statehouse just nine years ago, 2009 will go down as one of the more disgraceful years in its often pathetically checkered history. South Carolina’s succession that started the Civil War came in opposition to Republican president Abraham Lincoln, but now it is that party within the state — at all levels — which is a laughingstock and seeks to undermine the country’s best interests.

The tragic comedy begins with Governor Mark Sanford. Despite his state’s dramatic economic woes, Sanford said in March he wanted no part of federal stimulus money. He ended up taking it only when the South Carolina Supreme Court forced his hand.

That pitiful, politicized saga was nothing compared to the soap opera that aired in June, when Sanford vanished on a supposed Appalachian Trail expedition. Busted by a reporter when returning from a fornication jaunt to Argentina, the good Governor came clean about his “soul mate” mistress and misuse of public funds. Though impeachment may become a reality, Sanford — a member of The Family, a Washington Christian/political cult — has made it clear he will only relinquish power when they pull it from his cold, (brain)dead fingers.

Sanford’s actions are funnily amusing compared to the recent, seemingly seditious activities of South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint, who recently visited the coup-empowered Honduran government that isn’t recognized by the United States. The trip was originally nixed by Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry, but then surprisingly okayed by GOP leader Mitch McConnell. DeMint — whose journey was paid for by taxpayers — praised the new regime that kicked an elected president out of the country, suspended civil liberties in a violent crackdown and shut down TV stations that broadcasted the opposition’s views.

Rep. Joe Wilson’s now-infamous “You lie!” conniption during President Barack Obama’s health care reform speech provided another stellar example of South Carolina’s intellectually bankrupt governance. The factually-challenged Wilson’s false contention was that Obama’s plan would give illegal aliens free treatment. It wasn’t surprising coming from the chronically uninformed Wilson, who once on national television frantically dismissed that the U.S. under Ronald Reagan gave chemical weapons components to Saddam Hussein (sorry Reagan worshipers, it happened).

Lastly, the rant of Rusty DePass — former chairman of South Carolina’s state elections commission and top GOP zealot — also is indicative of the state’s historically ignorant ruling class. In June, when told of a gorilla’s escape from the Columbia zoo, DePass said it was one of Michelle Obama’s ancestors, and thus probably harmless. Since DePass no doubt doesn’t believe in evolution, his comment could only be construed as the kind of blue-blood racism that pumps through many Southern Republicans’ black hearts. Or, maybe DePass himself is one of the missing links between modern man and his simian past.

On the South Carolina Republican Party Web site, the headline reads, “It’s a new day in South Carolina. Join us.” Judging by the party’s brass, there is nothing modernistic happening there, where for far too many it will always be 1860. Reconstruction and desegregation only fueled everlasting resentment in the knuckle-dragging, white-supremacist hierarchy once piloted by Strom Thurmond — a monstrous, hypocritical bigot that held office until he was 100-years-old.

There is only one clear-cut resolution to South Carolina’s leadership quandary — secession. As I propose it, the subsequent U.S. military response only would be geared toward removing incompetent Sons of the Confederacy from governing office. Any public uprisings would be stifled by using the same sonic cannons deployed for use against G-20 protesters in Pittsburgh. Because they apparently are incapable of electing reasonable, intelligent human beings, all registered South Carolina Republicans will be required to visit the state capitol and pay $20 each to flog — with a Rebel flag soaked in moonshine — the bare buttocks of vanquished, hate-mongering politicians placed in stocks. The over $20 million raised will pay for legitimate textbooks and Internet facilities for the state’s youth, so that perhaps the Redeemer ideology that has plagued inhabitants’ minds for a century and a half can finally be swept away. If these measures do not suffice, South Carolina will be dissolved and turned into a national park, with affordable golf and leisure options available year-round.

Seize the day, South Carolina. The 21st century awaits you.

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