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9/18/2008

Columns > Happytown

HAPPYTOWN

 

What’s the best shoe for a pig wearing lipstick? A wedge!

Despite America’s Favorite Hockey Mom revving up the fundies, Florida may not be ready to pray away the gay just yet.

The latest Quinnipiac University poll of Florida voters indicates that only 55 percent of the 1,427 voters questioned support the superfluous Amendment 2, the so-called marriage amendment. That’s down from 58 percent in June, and even further from the required 60 percent to make Florida more hateful.

Also, a place we’ve never heard of before in Palm Beach County, the Village of Tequesta, last week agreed to alter its employment contracts to include domestic partners in its “immediate family” clauses.

But the real kicker came last week when a Monroe County circuit court judge – that’s the Keys, Hemingway – declared that Florida’s ban on gay adoption might just be “unconstitutional.” The ruling allowed a gay Key West foster parent to adopt a 13-year-old boy with special needs who he’d been looking after since placed with him by the Department of Children and Families way back in 2001.

While the decision doesn’t directly reverse the state ban (which we share only with Mississippi, y’all), it could be the first step in chipping away at it; however, previous similar rulings have failed in the process. Yay, gay!

Speaking of Her Majesty Queen Sarah Palin, did you hear what she said about community organizers? The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now did, and they are none too freakin’ pleased.

ACORN is doing a little lashing out of its own on behalf of those who help the urban poor in, say, Chicago’s South Side. “The fact that they marginalize our success in empowering low- and moderate-income people to improve their communities further illustrates their lack of touch with ordinary people,” said Orlando ACORN leader Paul Griffin in an angry presser. Over the last decade ACORN has funneled $15 billion into struggling communities, helping more than 30 million people. We’re not that good at math, but that’s more than 6,000, the population of Wasilla, right?

Republican slurs aren’t all that’s on ACORN’s mind these days; nefarious Republican tactics are, too. In Franklin County, Ohio, GOP chair Doug Priesse is attempting to challenge the rights of foreclosure victims to vote, because they’ll probably vote for Obama. Macomb County, Mich., GOP chair James Carabelli is pulling the same thing.

“ACORN members are outraged that once again the Republican Party is planning to use dirty tricks, this time targeting foreclosure victims to suppress votes,” ACORN president Maude Hurd said in a press release. “The GOP and the predatory lenders who created the foreclosure crisis have set up shop together to steal our homes and our votes.”

Do not mess with community organizers.

From the crazy Christians desk comes a Miami Herald interview with Dennis Baxley in which the fundamentalist funeral home director, former state legislator and now executive director of the Christian Coalition of Florida incorrectly pronounced Barack Obama all Muslim and stuff: “He’s pretty scary to us. I think his Muslim roots and training – while they try to minimize it – it’s there. That concerns me particularly in the period of history we are living in, when there’s an active movement by radical Muslims to occupy us.”

This isn’t the first time Baxley, who was once praised by the Florida Baptist Witness – a publication we read religiously (ha!) – as a “man on a mission,” has embarrassed this state. As a legislator from Ocala, Baxley bravely took on liberal professors who wanted to teach, um, facts. To wit, as he said in 2005: “Some professors say, ‘Evolution is a fact. I don’t want to hear about intelligent design, and if you don’t like it, there’s the door.’?” He thought that should be a legally actionable offense.

Then in 2007, Baxley proposed a law that would require doctors to report any pregnant teenager under age 15 to the authorities, which would automatically trigger a criminal statutory rape investigation. The idea being that preggers teens wouldn’t seek doctors’ help – or get abortions – because they wouldn’t want to get their boyfriends in trouble.

Stay classy, Dennis.

Orange County Commissioner Mildred Fernandez is pissed at Barack Obama for calling Sarah Palin a pig, even though he didn’t. She told us so in a press release John McCain’s campaign blasted far and wide: “This latest remark follows a string of snide, demeaning comments from the Obama campaign. This line of attack is disgraceful and should be offensive to every American women, regardless of her political views.”

We must have missed Fernandez’s press release condemning “Dumped My First Wife for a Babe” McCain for using the same phrase publicly on Oct. 11, 2007, and on Feb. 1, or when McCain’s daughter said her old man uses that phrase all the time. We also missed her damning McCain for laughing when Hillary Clinton was called a “bitch” in November. Come to think of it, we also heard zilch from Fernandez when McCain called Clinton’s then-teenage daughter “ugly” and joked that her father was Janet Reno, or that really funny joke he reportedly told about a woman being raped by a gorilla and liking it.

Surely our e-mail is malfunctioning. This couldn’t just be phony outrage dreamed up by a deceptive, disgraceful presidential campaign, could it, Mildred?

Oh look, another magazine survey has confirmed that Orlando is a great place for a family vacation, but kind of sucks when it comes to culture.

Travel + Leisure magazine’s annual “America’s Favorite Cities 2008,” out this month, ranks 25 popular U.S. cities in more than 40 categories. It wasn’t very kind to us.

Our southern neighbor, Miami, got the top spot for having the most attractive people; Orlando ranked No. 22 in that category. (Time to get rid of the mullets and belly rings, Orlando; America is starting to notice.) The stylishness of our residents is dead last, because fanny packs and Hawaiian shirts were never cool. And we’re kind of stupid, too; we ranked 22nd out of 25 cities in that one, but maybe that’s just a bounce from the whole Casey Anthony debacle?

The city ranked No. 24 in noteworthy neighborhoods, and dead last on the awesomeness of its city skyline, according to people who live here. (Tourists rated our historical sites and monuments as our worst features, probably because we don’t have any.) Hold your head up, though, O-Town: We are the seventh-best place to travel for Thanksgiving. Score!

We probably shouldn’t mention that we came in last in categories comparing us to other cities for art galleries, local boutiques, ethnic food and cheap eats, and museums and galleries. We also did none too well as a cultural getaway, were panned for our bar scene, don’t have enough coffee bars or farmers markets, and our specialty food markets and classical music scene suck.

Yeah, but we’ve got a nice fountain.

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