Wednesday, March 15, 2006

An Altman retrospective

Political observers try to predict next Altman gaffe
Below: Altman, with new hat
Breast-feeding legislation seems likely source, agree experts

B & P News - Columbia

As the onset of the next legislative session nears, experts from around the state have been focusing their energy on predicting the next gaffe by Representative John Graham Altman (R-Charleston). Most observers agree that the next blunder will somehow pertain to the public breast-feeding bill.

“Oh, definitely, the breast-feeding bill – he’ll find a way to put the shoestore in his mouth with that one,” said USC political science professor Bobby Blugranitte. “I wouldn’t be surprised if the words ‘tig ol’ bitties’ find their way into the legislative record this session.”

Other political scientists from around the state agree that the debate over public breast-feeding legislation will be -- like the domestic violence hearings -- a fertile chance for an Altman faux pas.

“John Graham will definitely oblige us with an off-color comment,” said Hoyt Butter, political scientist at Furman University. “I could see him referring a question to ‘Representative Emerson,’ and then when asked ‘Who’s that?’ saying, ‘Emerson big boobies, lady,’ or something to that effect.”

Still, the exact nature of the next Altman gaffe remains uncertain, even to the most astute political spectators.

“My initial instinct was that Altman would reference the widespread 'Got Milk?' ads, but then I realized that may be too subtle,” said Francis Marion University’s Pete E. Rivers. “I wouldn’t be surprised if he tries to refer the bill to the ‘Titty Committee’, a play on the grammar school classic ‘Itty-bitty Titty Committee.’”

Rep. Altman was unavailable for comment, because he was at a Charleston Spencer’s Gifts retailer purchasing a hat.

Cromer's P-Nuts files lawsuit against state GOP
L-R: Historic Cromer's slogan, Rep. Altman, Sen. Fair
Company accuses party of deliberately luring worse nuts into capital city

B & P News - Columbia

Attorneys for Cromer's P-Nuts, Inc. today filed a lawsuit against the South Carolina Republican Party for "collusion to undercut the Cromer's company in worst-nuttiness."

"Cromer's has operated under the slogan 'Guaranteed Worst in Town' for decades," said Cromer's president Claude "Peanut" Flanders. "Now the Republicans are luring in worse nuts to Columbia from all over the state. It's insidious."

Only two Republican legislators, Rep. John Graham Altman of Charleston and Sen. Mike Fair of Greenville, were mentioned by name in the suit. But some insiders speculate that more prominent GOP politicians will be included in the prosecution's case.

"Finding nuts in the Republican Party is like finding a mullet at the Barnyard Flea Market" said state Democratic Party Director Lachlan Macintosh as he thumbed through his notebook of state-specific one-liners for the press. "It's like finding a pig under Governor Sanford's arm. Wait, no -- it's like finding calabash shrimp at Murrell's Inlet."

GOP Chairman Katon Dawson, consulting his own file of press-ready zingers, said he expects the case to get "thrown out like a boiled peanut shell at Williams-Brice Stadium" and the lawsuit "has about as much merit as Piggie Park has kosher food."

Senator Fair took exception to being named in the lawsuit.

"If fighting 'evil'-ution and trying to get the Ten Commandments posted in our rest areas makes someone a nut," said Fair, "then feed my ass to an elephant."

Representative Altman agreed, adding "Cromer's aren't very bright, are they?"

Primordial Primer: the terms you need to know about the origins of man
Below: Ascent of man from Homo Idioticus (or "Alt Man") to Homo Pious Piedmontus

Today the Education Oversight Committee’s subcommittee on academic standards will listen to testimony from scientists hand-picked by Senator Mike Fair, to determine whether our science standards regarding evolution should be revised. It’s a complicated topic - it would take one decades to attain Fair’s nuanced understanding of evolutionary biology and education standards – but here are ten terms you should know if you want to keep up with what is probably the most important issue in our state, except for every other issue in our state.

Charles Darwin – A 19th Century naturalist so far ahead of his time scientifically that he patented a magnetic ornament of a fish with legs, to adhere to automobile bumpers, long before the automobile was even invented.

Genesis – Creationists believe this first book of the Bible to have a scientifically correct description of the origin of Man. Scientists argue that there is only one man whose origin in Genesis is systematically verifiable: Phil Collins.

Homo erectus – A species of hominid that lived between 1.8 million and 300,000 years ago, eventually dying off out of embarrassment for its name.

Intelligent Design – The theory that Man is too physically complex and beautiful a creature to have evolved without some divine or extra-terrestrial guidance. Disproved in 12,000 B.C. with the discovery of the scrotum.

Linnaean classification – This is what it’s called when scientists say Homo sapiens instead of “man.” Linnaean classifications are used to provide scientists with common nomenclature because they are the same everywhere. The lone exception to this rule is the Roadrunner, who is alternately called Speedipus rex, Velocitus delectibus, and Tastyus supersonicus.

Mammals – The class of animals that share characteristics such as hair/fur and mammary glands, as in the original draft of the public breastfeeding bill: “Be it enacted that breastfeeding mothers ain’t nothing but mammals, so as to provide that they may do it like they do on the Discovery Channel.”

Peking Man – A Homo erectus discovered in China in the 1930’s. Also, the reason that South Carolina is 48th in the nation in unemployment. See, there’s this book called the Flat World or something, and it says people in McCormick County are in direct competition with people in Shanghai and New Delhi and blah blah blah, etc etc…

Scopes Monkey Trial – In 1925, a young biology teacher named John Scopes taught evolution, contrary to a Tennessee statute passed by religious fundamentalists. The trial was immortalized in the classic film, Footloose, starring Kevin Bacon.

Social Darwinism – the type of Darwinism right-wingers don’t have a problem with.

Vestigial -- Any structures that have been greatly reduced in size and function over evolutionary time, to the extent that they now appear to have little or no current function. Famous examples are the Tyrannosaurus Rex’s arms, the ostrich’s wings, and John Graham Altman’s brain.

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