Happytown 

The week where everything imaginable regarding Jesus and contraception and women got spun on a Catherine wheel, Tampa took our gay bait and the Orlando Magic proved that sports and politics are best mixed with big money. We're all stars now.

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In a perfect world – one that was designed specifically in deference to our inexhaustible appetite for the macabre – the recent developments about religious freedom (disguised as news) and just how far it reaches into America’s ladyparts would make for really dark comedy. In pounding storms of dismembered fetuses and Santorum smudges and Plan B pills, some kind of protagonist – we’ll call her Mary, because her dress is torn and her makeup not quite up to par – would be strapped onto a Catherine wheelas shirtless, chest-pounding men spun around her in various states of overwrought bravado waiting for her to breathe her last terrified breath as they alternately chanted things like “penis” and “power” in canonic sequence. There would be pyrotechnic explosions for no obvious reason – other than the fact that explosions are necessary things in life, and the sooner we figure that out, the fewer Xanaxwe’ll need – and the pervasive irony that more than 50 percent of the nation’s population is female, so why the fuck are we torturing them? “No worries,” a barely clothed Marco Rubio-type would stare into the camera lens and say. “They are here for our entertainment.”

But this is not a perfect world or a film set; this is America kicking half of itself in the crotch while using Catholicism as an excuse. If you thought the Komen for the Cure scandal of a few weeks ago was bad, then you probably ought to pull your head out of the righteous sand and take notice of the predictable fallout in its wake. The current assault on women is only beginning. It wasn’t supposed to work out like this!

Let’s have a quick roundup of this week’s indecencies, shall we? On Thursday, Florida stuck its tipinto a seven-state lawsuit against the federal government that challenges President Barack Obama’s modified mandate requiring insurance companies to cover contraceptives. You’ll recall that religious institutions didn’t want to be forced to offer common-sense prevention methods under the umbrella of their war-strewn mythology, so Obama passed it off on the insurance companies. In standard, love-thy-neighbor parlance, the newly Catholic conservative base still objected to something they couldn’t understand and raised a stink in the form of a lawsuit.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi – presumably a woman – glommed onto the flowing robes of misogynist misanthropy, issuing this statement, according to the Tampa Bay Times: “Government has no business forcing religious institutions and individuals to violate their sincerely held beliefs. This lawsuit is about protecting religious liberty and the rights of conscience, our most basic freedoms as Americans.”

Heard that one before? Of course you have. It’s the new political fortune cookie that doesn’t apply to mosques or anyone else not wearing a crucifix necklace while they lose their virginity. The suit is just the latest in a series of firing-squad attacks coming from every Republican direction: There was Rubio’s U.S. Senate bill filed a couple of weeks ago saying basically the same thing wrapped in a First Amendment-shaped condom; State Rep. Scott Plakon, R-Longwood, volleyed to sneak an amendment into another anti-choice bill preventing health insurers from covering women’s reproductive health; last Wednesday, the Florida Senate one-upped a House attempt to apply a 24-hour waiting period to abortion procedures (among other things) by attaching a “fetal pain” provision to its “we hate abortion” bill; On Feb. 23, a Senate attempt to remove the $2 million in state funding for lying crisis pregnancy centers that lie was expectedly felled. To top it off, it looks like school prayer is about to be legal thanks to state Sen. Gary “Which party?” Siplin, D-Orlando, and Charles “Chastity” Van Zant,R-Keystone Heights, who fell to their anointed knees in unison. Looks like Jesus is back in the form of “values voters” political hubris. In a perfect world, this movie would be over by now.

Believe it or not, another wedge also peeked its way into the news blotter last week, and this time with some fairly positive results. We spent a lot of time – and not so much ink – last week watching to see how Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs would land on the domestic-partnership registry issue. To our own delight (and some minor suspicion), Jacobs seems to have adjusted her worldview just wide enough to allow that county residents will in fact be permitted to register as domestic partners in the near future, likely using Orlando’s already proven system. But – and this is a big “but” – her concession came with the caveat that she wants religious institutions to be allowed to opt out of recognizing it, because, you know, this is our big Republican movie! Considering that just about every funeral home, private school or hospital can call itself “religious” these days, that presents a mighty large loophole through which to recite meaningless scripture.

Regardless, the city of Tampa appears to have noticed our private gay uprising. On Feb. 23, Tampa City Councilwoman Yvonne Capin proposed a domestic-partnership registry based directly on Orlando’s new gay baby. Progress!

And just in case you thought wewere too busy bleeding our hearts dry for our own cinematic enjoyment to cover sports in any meaningful way – shoe riot! – we got your sports here. Notwithstanding whatever happened on the court over the weekend, it’s worth noting that President Obama’s $30,000-a-plate NBA All-Star tapas dinner in Isleworth reportedly raised $2.1 millionfor the Democrat’s reelection campaign. Watchdog website OpenSecrets.org points out that, though much of that money didn’t come directly from NBA officials or players, the tall guys and those who pay them do wield significant political influence. Players, owners and executives have contributed $2.6 million to federal candidates and the adjacent political “committees” since 2009, with 61 percent of that going to Democrats! Basketball is our new favorite sport!

It should, however, be noted that among the big boys of NBA, the Orlando Magic is the most politically involved franchise; not surprisingly, the money hasn’t really been going to the liberals at all. The Magic folks have contributed $308,000 to campaigns since 2009, with 77 percent of that going to Republicans. Why? Because $230,000 of that came from Amway founder/Magic owner Rich DeVos (and his wife) and that gay-hating pro-lifer isn’t about to budge from his comfortable skybox of hate. Nope, not when our own Democrat, Mayor Buddy Dyer, bent over backwards – like $480 million worth of backwards – to buy the Amway Center for him. In this brave new conservative world, biting the hand that feeds you is like kicking the womenwho made you. It just makes sense.

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