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Gender Benders: A new baby in Bend, truth squads and taking the Helms 

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Oh Baby!

This week's Upfront column must begin with congratulations to Thomas Beatie, the 34-year-old Bendite who gave birth to a girl last Sunday. Born a woman, Mrs./Mr. Beatie underwent "gender realignment" surgery (nip, tuck, pull, OWW!) and is legally recognized as a man. Reported to have delivered the child via traditional method (don't ask), Mrs./Mr. Beatie can be thanked for putting Bend on the map - And distracting the rest of the world from our fair, gender-neutral city's many problems, like hyper-inflated housing prices, pathetic governance and overall apathy. Anonymous sources close to City Hall say that in order to overshadow the remaining year's many issues - local transit based solely on imported oil, the continued housing slump and a general malaise among voters - the Mayor and City Council plan to impregnate a salmon with the sperm of a cougar, creating a monster fish that can't find its way home yet eats everything in its path, much like a Bend developer.

Defining Patriotism

Swift Boating without a paddle, the GOP and Democrats ignored our failing economy, the Taliban retaking Afghanistan and growing international cries for a climate treaty to engage in a useless debate over patriotism last week. While Obama (who was once criticized for not wearing a flag pin on his lapel) said that patriotism shouldn't be used as a "political sword" by any candidate, McCain's campaign announced the creation of the "Truth Squad" to defend his record of service. Meanwhile, retired General Wesley Clark said of McCain's time in Vietnam: "Well, I don't think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president." Asked to grant a quote about service and patriotism, President George W. Bush, who served a few months in the Texas Air National Guard before disappearing into a fog of cocaine and floozies, offered, "Karl? Where's Karl? Rove! Turd Blossom? Who's got that fake letter we faxed to Dan Rather? Oh, wait! Is this thing on? Turn that off! You're either with us or against us! 9-11! Osama! Did I say that? I meant Iran..."

Speaking of the Antichrist

So your blog is updated and you've run out of porn sites to view, why not wash your hands and Google something fascinating: "Obama Antichrist." Yep, that's right, the first (presumptive) African-American nominee for president of the United States is also the Antichrist! This guy is just so tricky: As if being named Barack Hussein Obama isn't clue enough, the Senator from Illinois has fooled us into not realizing he's the demon-seed of Satan! According to the ever-accurate website, the Devil-child carries "a charm of an Indian Monkey God" everywhere he goes and there may be a secret symbol in the "Obama seal" used at campaign events in the past. According to kind, compassionate Evangelical leaders (who hate gays but, like former leader Ted Haggard - who was outed by his gay lover - can be "fully cured" and is now "100% heterosexual") it isn't that Obama is black or liberal or intellectual that bothers them, it's the 666 someone once saw on his skin and how he spews green goo during speeches that truly unnerves them. If not for that, they'd totally vote for him.

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Who Said Jesse Helms?

Speaking of compassionate racists, Jesse Helms, former Senator from North Carolina, died on July 4th at the age of 86 A true patriot until the end, Helms became known as "Senator No" for refusing to allow votes on AIDS funding and other unimportant issues, but was an ardent supporter of big tobacco and Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. Starting his political career as an aid in the 1950s, Helms is credited with writing the following attack ad: "White people, wake up before it is too late. Do you want Negroes working beside you, your wife and your daughters, in your mills and factories?" Fighting (against, not for) civil rights for decades, Helms once declared "If you want to call me a bigot, fine." Thankfully, Helms was welcomed and lauded by Ronald Reagan Republicans, AIDS deniers and homophobes included, until God looked down, saw the hypocrisy, and gave Helms prostrate cancer, followed by dementia. Last seen hugging and kissing a black man, Helms is gone but won't be forgotten, by the KKK at least.

Bozos Unite

Let's all drink to the death of a clown... Larry Harmon, credited with turning the character Bozo the Clown into a franchise, died on July 3rd, at the age of 83. Defying basic logic, and the safety of small children, Harmon trained over 200 clowns to play Bozo in local markets, spreading the fear of old men with painted faces across the nation. Asked to offer a quote about the nation's loss, President George W. Bush burst into tears, grasped Laura for stability, wiped his wet cheeks with a no-bid contract, then invaded Switzerland, saying that, "Bozo would have wanted this..."

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