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COLUMN

Happytown

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Now that the lunatics have officially taken over the asylum (they're coming to take us away, ha-ha!), a moment of reflection is required to weigh the extremely important distractions we're dealing with this week. Unless you live under a church smock – or have been "living" in a uterus – you, too, have probably felt the vast emptiness of the Republican Party's Akin-breakin'-heart and how it has affected the nation's view of the legitimacy of rape. That particular break in the logic-sphere – you know, the one where shock at sexual criminality prevents pregnancy, as in, like, with ducks – was but one of the nefarious plates twirling atop sharpened sticks as we scurried hesitantly toward the Republican National Convention in Tampa: i.e., the rape conference!

Let's see, what else we've endured: There was the completely unrelated cruel anti-choice picketing of Planned Parenthood of Greater Orlando leader Jenna Tosh's house, the better-buy-some-batteries panic of potential Hurricane Isaac (and the possibility that it could shutter the GOP convention), the inevitable fiscal gay-and-straight erotica tsunami said convention is inspiring and, of course, the latest workday for Gov. Rick Scott, this time shrimping off the west coast of Florida for a photo op that did not involve the suckling of pinky toes. We're in the throes of it, people! The world has lost its head!

You might think that all of that would be enough to satiate our endless desire for pseudo-political drama, but you would be wrong. A relative and required respite came last week in the form of a shakeup in the hotly contested (and brand spankin' new) District 9 U.S. Congressional race. It wasn't such a big deal to see both of the No Party Affiliation candidates with Hispanic last names drop out in a district drawn for Hispanics; NPA candidates are going to have a tough time fighting with big-party money on both sides, and when you have the foghorns of forever hopeful flat-top Todd Long and former Congressman Alan Grayson setting the tone of the contest, it would be fairly easy to get lost in the acrimony. And so it was that with little fanfare Roberto Sanchez issued his withdrawal on Aug. 22, something very few people even knew about until the other NPA candidate, Mike Nieves, decided to make some noise about his exit the very next day. For one, Nieves doesn't fancy himself a Ralph Nader. For two, he's pissed.

"Hearing GOP candidate Todd Long's characterization of illegal immigrants as murderers, rapists and kidnappers left me in total disbelief that someone with such views could possibly be able to represent fairly one of the most diverse congressional districts in our nation," Nieves wrote in a press release, adding that "Mr. Grayson has shown support for the Latino community as a former congressman so I would expect him to continue that in the future. He also has the necessary finances to win. He must now deliver, and I wish him the victory."

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