U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez sure does love our troops. He loves them so much, he thinks they should stay in Iraq forever and never come home, not even for vacation, because they’re tough. And to suggest otherwise is insulting.

Vacation? Vacation is for terrorists.

Martinez is not only our war-loving, Bush-suckling Florida senator; he’s also head of the Republican National Committee, which makes him a Very Important Person in the world of politics. He speaks for the entire GOP. And in supporting a filibuster – when Democrats filibustered a Republican bill, wasn’t that called “obstructionism”? – of the Webb amendment to require that troops spend as much time at home as they do dodging bullets in George Bush’s neocon dreamland, Martinez lectured us thusly: “I think we would demean their service if we were to say to them that there had to be a parity between the time in service out of the country and the time at home.”

Yes, Mel, time spent with friends, family and others who aren’t trying to blow your limbs off with an IED is very demeaning indeed.

And then Martinez voted for the GOP’s resolution to sympathize with the fact that the troops are over there forever. Of course that resolution is non-binding and essentially a worthless piece of paper, but let no one question that Mel supports the troops. And hates vacations.

Speaking of local Republicans, did you hear that Jack Abramoff BFF U.S. Rep. Tom Feeney made the list as one of the 22 most corrupt people in Congress? It’s a return appearance, too; he also made the 2006 list! Awesome, right?

On Sept. 18, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a left-leaning group, released its third annual report on corruption inside the Capital, and there Feeney was, right alongside Louisiana Rep. William “$90,000 stashed in the freezer” Jefferson and Alaska Sen. Ted “Build me a house, please” Stevens.

Feeney’s sin, CREW says, is his too-close ties to lobbyists and special interests. First up is Feeney’s 2003 Scotland trip with Abramoff – we’re not over that yet? – followed by a 2003 South Korea trip that apparently violated House travel rules. Then came a trip to West Palm Beach in which CREW alleges that Feeney accepted more reimbursed expenses than he should have. And the FBI might be investigating him too.

All of this would be great news for Democrats, were they not challenging Feeney with a dingbat like Clint Curtis, who would get his ass kicked in November even if Feeney were caught in a cave playing bridge with Osama bin Laden. That’s the beauty of redistricting.

Speaking of local Republicans, have you ever wanted to work in Congress? Well, you’re in luck. Brooksville Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, the same Einstein who suggested we dig up American soldiers’ bodies in France and ship them back to the states because the Frenchies hate America, is hiring a legislative assistant.

Job requirements: Have a soul that can easily be put up for sale and the desire to be a high-powered lobbyist someday; thrill to the idea of tax cuts and endless war; and be up on your Rachael Ray. That last bit, according to www.rollcall.com, is based on Brown-Waite’s requirement that applicants “know how to cook a delicious bass and submit recipes attesting to that ability.”

Get cooking, kids!

Tired of the spate of secular film festivals invading Orlando promoting peace (see page 49), South Asians (see page 64) and other non-Christian themes? Take heart, brothers and sisters, the Greater Orlando Christian Film Festival is coming Oct. 18-25.

And festival organizers need Christians to help pray for this sinful, wicked city of ours, as well as the festival itself. If you read this column regularly, you qualify.

Go to www.greaterorlandochristianfilmfestival.com and sign up. Other not-so-glamorous (and far more difficult-sounding) volunteer ops include working as a counselor or usher. And while you’re praying, perhaps you could put in a word to encourage the projector to break during the showing of Veggie Tales: Gideon Tuba Warrior. Just a thought.

We’ll never lose our dog, because we ate him in 2005. But for those suffering the anguish of canine or feline self-liberation, Orange County has opted to go all digital on the lost dog/cat cardboard sign by launching a web forum – www.ocfl.net/petforum – that allows the recently pet-less to air their desperate pleas for reconnection to the entire world.

Their unintentionally hilarious press release (“‘Have you seen my dog?’ asks a little girl while holding a picture of her chocolate lab as alligator tears start to fill her eyes ….” Alligator tears? Do they mean crocodile tears? And aren’t those, like, fake?) boasts 200 registered users kvelling or kvetching over 120 lost or found pets. We read through a few and felt a little like voyeurs with blocked Craigslist accounts, but it appears to be working; at least, it’s exposing just how much people who post on forums care about other people’s pets. Our favorite is the person missing their “chiwawa.” Can you possibly love a Chihuahua if you can’t even spell it?

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