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Follow the money 

Two weeks ago in this space I promised to donate 50 percent of the $800 George W. Bush so kindly sent me (for having two kids) to the worthy cause of ridding America of George W. Bush. The deal was this: I would leave it up to readers to decide where best to apply the money, so long as the cash was put to work de-Bushing America.

Since then I got a couple e-mails praising the idea and a couple more telling me to shove the money up my ass (which I've decided against because it's hard to access and wouldn't really advance the cause). What I haven't received are any good, solid suggestions as to where the money should go. So I did a little research and compiled a short list of worthy causes. I'm still open to suggestions (other than those involving body cavities), but here's what I've come up with so far: This site, founded by the guy who made a fortune on flying-toaster screensavers, has become the Internet rallying point for progressives and now claims 1.4 million members on its mailing list. Money it collects through donations helps pay for great TV ads calling Bush a "misleader" (I prefer "lying son of a bitch," which is probably why I never made it in copywriting); and calling attention to Tom DeLay's shameful Republican gerrymandering in Texas, among other things. Donations to are not tax deductible because they are trying -- very diligently -- to influence public policy.

Howard Dean: Speaking of, Dean is the man who made the site famous, and visa versa, by winning a straw poll of Democratic hopefuls there. His mouth runs too fast, he's got a temper, and if Wesley Clark -- a retired Army general and former NATO commander -- gets in the fray, he's in trouble. But for now anyone with the rocks to characterize the Bush administration as a bunch of "radical, right-wing wacko(s)" has my ear. And maybe my (and Dubya's) financial support. While the name implies hippies posting socialist poetry, this is in fact a rock-solid, indispensable site. It's a compendium of news reports from credible organizations around the world that will help you fill in where the American media leave off. Spend a couple days on this site and you'll be amazed at what doesn't show up in the media you frequent. File this entry under the heading "The more you know about Bush, the more you want him gone."

National Coalition for Sexual Freedom: While not working directly to oust Bush, the NCSF is battling Attorney General John Ashcroft's puritanical obscenity crackdown (see Nitke v. Ashcroft). Plus giving right-wing money to a group that counts the Lesbian Sex Mafia among its members has a contrarian appeal.

Those are the recipients I'm pondering. Send along your ideas. Just make sure they will in some way help rid us of Dubya; I'm pretty sure that's why he sent me the money in the first place.

Tooting our horn Dept.

Speaking of wackos, watch them scamper about now that Mayor Buddy Dyer reached around, discovered his spine and pushed through a living-wage ordinance. (Neil Boortz, a self-described libertarian talk-show host on WDBO-AM, 580, called Dyer a fascist.)

Sadly, Dyer didn't find enough of his spine to actually enact a living wage that you can live on, and there's no provision for cost-of-living increases, and the whole thing is meaningless anyway because city workers (and most contractors, one would hope) already make more than $8.50 an hour. Nonetheless, it's a step in the correct (not right) direction and we should applaud the effort. Orlando now has officially taken a stand against discrimination based on sexual preference and decreed that people should be paid a fair price for their labor. In light of this progressive streak, Slug officially recommends that we change Orlando's motto from "The City Beautiful" to "The Berkeley of Florida."

By the way, Orlando Weekly first called for a living wage in July 2001.

Here it comes

In about two weeks the Sentinel, along with every other "important" newspaper in the country, will be choc-a-block with stories marking the second anniversary of Sept. 11. There will be front-page reports about a nervous nation girding itself against the possibility of attacks commemorating the attacks; there will be localized stories quoting the likes of Buddy Dyer and Orange County sheriff Kevin Beary, both of whom will tell us they are doing all they can and that we should remain vigilant but not scared; there will be columns lamenting the dead, praising the wars, praising the Lord, and wondering about the future; there will be a story on the somber proceedings at Ground Zero, along with a sidebar about how that pricey real estate is already bouncing back.

All of which is tolerable, to a degree. What will throw this columnist over the edge will be the mawkish editorial cartoon -- I'm seeing WTC victims holdings hands and gazing down from heaven -- sure to be a part of the Sentinel's package. This is, after all, the paper that drew the Columbia winging its way to the Promised Land the day after it blew up.

Might be a good time to go on vacation.

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