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We thought the event Dec. 12 at Room 3-Nine was going to be a crisp-collared, Patrick Bateman, coke & choke affair. After all, it was cleverly billed as Obamarama, which invoked the added bonus of Bananarama jokes, and was being put on by the Young Lawyers for Obama, who surely know a few Huey Lewis songs and own a few mirrored coffee tables. And, duh, Barack Obama just admitted that he’s done the drugs a time or two, inhalation included. We got a contact high just thinking about the whole thing.

Unfortunately, the whole thing was a big disappointment. About 10 people lined the lonely bar, most huddled into their own groups, and only one group seemed to be concerned with anything remotely close to politics. We knew this because one person in said group was wearing an Obama button. We eavesdropped for a few minutes and were able to pick up a couple of key words: “ozone” (what?) and “the drug issue.” We were bored. Which is how the whole Obama campaign really makes us feel when we’re sober and Oprah’s not involved.

Wonk newsflash! Reportedly, the new absentee ballots for the Jan. 29 primary are in, and there’s some muted controversy!

At the Dec. 5 meeting of the Orange County Canvassing Board, said ballots were unveiled in their new format: ovals to the left of the candidates’ left-justified names, instead of broken arrows to the right waiting to be connected. But the kicker – beyond any kind of “the election’s gonna be left-leaning” jokes – is that the ovals are very faint; possibly so faint that your Aunt Bertha out at Sunnyside might not be able to make them out. Senior Deputy Supervisor of Elections Lonn Fluke – who zinged us with a bit about the size of the four-page ballots by saying, “You know, about the size of your paper!” before we zinged her about her last name as it applies to her job – tells us that they have to be faint so as not to count as votes in the county’s new, expensive optical-scanning machines. She also clarified that while the intention is to go oval by November, there will still be broken arrows (and touch screens, which are not admissible after June) at the January poll sites. One of the reasons for the new optical scanners is that the old ones can’t read “gel pens.” Who knew?

And it’s on. On Dec. 13, our homegrown homophobes over at the Liberty Counsel announced that, nearly three years after commencing their effort, they finally obtained the required 611,009 signatures needed to place the Florida Marriage Protection Amendment on the November 2008 ballot. You know, the one that would forever ban gay marriage in the state of Florida, despite the fact that gay marriage is already illegal in the state of Florida.

Says pleased-with-self Liberty Counsel chairman Mat Staver: “This is an historic day and the next big step to permanently protecting marriage as the union of one man and one woman. In November, Floridians will have the opportunity to protect marriage so that it will never be destroyed by the stroke of a judge’s pen. Protecting marriage is the best investment we can make in the lives of children and the future of Florida.”

Way more than educating them or anything, huh, Mat?

Thanks to another constitutional amendment that passed in 2006, the folks who would enshrine discrimination in the constitution need 60 percent of the vote, not a simple majority, to win.

This week’s report by Jeffrey C. Billman and Billy Manes.

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