When it hasn't been raining, it's been hot as Hades in the center of The Gator Nation this week. As the dog days of summer sprint onward at break-neck speed, we at the Department of Darts and Laurels would like to advise our loyal readers to stay hydrated and keep cool. Heat stroke shouldn't be taken lightly and neither should this week's blazing edition of …
Darts & Laurels
First up, we send a have-you-no-decency-sir? DART to St. Cloud, Fla., businessman Mike Meehan, for using advertising billboards in the Orlando area to reopen and pour salt on the slowly healing wounds inflicted on Sept. 11. In a shameless attempt to politicize the murder of 3,000 fellow Americans, Meehan's billboards read "Please Don't Vote for a Democrat," alongside an image of the World Trade Center burning after the insidious and cowardly terrorist attacks of that unspeakably heart-wrenching September day. Over the years, we have developed an immunity to polarizing and despicable political statements, but this level of poisonous rhetoric goes far beyond the pale. Meehan's crass and low-class advertising stunt lends new meaning to the term "bodily orifice." The magnitude of Meehan's gall is quite simply revolting.
As members of a journalistic enterprise, we would be the first to recognize anyone's right to free speech, even if that speech is odious in nature. But our constitutional rights to speech do not extend to obscenity, and Meehan's political pabulum is nothing short of obscene in our view. He should have the decency to remove his hate speech immediately.
It's almost impossible for anyone to stoop to Meehan's level of depravity, but our next contestant comes pretty damn close. For our next dose of opprobrium, we chuck a here's-more-proof-that-right-wing-radio-and-whack-jobs-go-hand-in-hand DART to conservative talk show miscreant Michael Savage for his unhinged verbal assault on autistic children and their families. Here is what the deranged and morally vacuous Savage had to say about autism: "In 99 percent of the cases, it's a brat who hasn't been told to cut the act out."
Savage has refused to apologize for his vicious and unfounded remarks, instead making the laughable claim that his goal was to "boldly awaken" America to the hoax of autism. Rather than railing against autistic children and the loving families who care for them, perhaps the author of such great works of fiction as "Liberalism Is a Mental Disorder" ought to check himself into a sanitarium before his vitriolic rants induce an apoplectic episode.
Now to the heroes.
As we at the Department of Darts and Laurels sat pensively in our dilapidated, but cozy, headquarters, racking our brains trying to come up with another award-winning installment of your favorite end-of-the-week lampoon-apalooza, we reached a startling, existential, crisis-inducing epiphany: The Orange and Blue Party is actually doing something in Student Senate. It is, therefore, with great pride that we offer a way-to-speak-truth-to-power LAUREL to the Orange and Blue Party senators for filing a motion to impeach Student Body Treasurer Paul Drayton for his failure to carry out the duties of his office. You may recall that Drayton decided that landing a prestigious internship in New York City was more important than his SG obligations here in Gainesville.
This is apparently the first time in SG history that articles of impeachment have been presented against an SG official. While we have no delusions about the passage of this measure - Drayton is a member of the Gator Party, which controls the Senate with an iron fist - we thank the opposition party for their efforts at holding our elected student leaders accountable.
Last but not least, we offer a how-bout-those-Florida-community-colleges? LAUREL to the administrations, faculties and students at Florida's community colleges for producing the most associate degrees in the country for the sixth consecutive year. How's that for a dynasty?
We view this as further evidence that Florida's community colleges must retain their unique and integral role in our state's education system. That is, they should not be transformed from stellar two-year colleges into mediocre four-year institutions, as Gov. Crist's Florida College System threatens to accomplish.