The Range

Mr. Sweeney Goes to Washington?

The state has released the results of Kids Voting Arizona, an effort to inculcate good civic habits in schoolchildren by having them vote on various ballot issues. The 141,000 or so kids pretty much voted the same way as adults, with one notable exception: They narrowly elected perennial candidate Joe Sweeney to Democratic Congressman Raul Grijalva's District 7 seat, giving Sweeney 1,460 votes to Grijalva's 1,437. If that pattern holds, Sweeney just needs to keep running for another decade or so until members of his youth brigade are finally old enough to cast legal ballots. It's safe to assume he's likely to do just that!

The kids also approved Prop 102, which would have allowed universities to retain stock in spin-off companies, as well as Prop 300, which would have increased salaries for state lawmakers. Both proposals were rejected by adult voters on Election Day.

More than 90 percent of the kids opted to vote online rather than use a paper ballot, leading Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell to comment that, "Online voting is the future of elections. These students are leading the way." Yes, right into untraceable fraud. Thanks, but we Luddites will stick with the current paper trail.

Oddly, Sweeney Would Probably Be More Fiscally Responsible Than Borrow-and-Spend Conservatives

Speaking of Congress: Lawmakers were forced to come back to Washington for a lame-duck special session in which they voted to raise the nation's debt ceiling to a record $8.18 trillion. Both Arizona senators, Republicans John McCain and Jon Kyl, voted to increase the nation's credit line, as did Congressman Jim Kolbe; Democratic Congressman Raul Grijalva voted against it. The Arizona breakdown reflected the mostly party-line vote in Congress.

Meanwhile, Sen. Sam Brownback, of Kansas, getting started right away on that moral-values agenda, took time during the special session to hear testimony about the evils of pornography. Associated Press reporter Connie Cass tells us that Brownback heard from Mary Anne Layden who warned that porn affects the brain in the same way as heroin or crack cocaine. Researchers called on Congress to fund porn studies to determine just how awful it is, as well as an anti-porn ad campaign on billboards and buses. A swell idea, especially since we're merely $8.18 trillion in debt--and it fits right in with the GOP's promise of smaller, less intrusive government. Besides, as any marketing expert will tell you, if you tell people not to think about a subject, it won't cross their minds at all.

House Republicans also gave their moral compass a spin by voting to change House rules to protect slimy Rep. Tom DeLay, whose fingerprints are all over a developing political scandal back in his home state of Texas. Under the new rules, a majority leader has to step aside if he convicted, rather than merely indicted. There's honor and dignity for you!

A More Perfect Union

The Range brings you an exclusive report from last Saturday's wedding of Red Meat cartoonist Max Cannon and his extraordinary bride, Virginia Wilson, who never looked more beautiful. The brief ceremony was nestled in the serene foothills of the Rincon Mountains at the Tanque Verde Guest Ranch, best known as the setting for the Nickelodeon TV series Hey Dude!

Cannon's agent, Jennifer Powers-Murphy, called the ceremony "beautiful and very un-Red Meat-like."

Her husband, Sean Murphy, added, "Thank God Sweeney didn't show up."

The happy couple's first dance was a romantic spectacle of twirls and dips to Nan Vernon's smooth cover of "Moon River." Later, during a toast, Cannon's new father-in-law praised Cannon's comic strip during a toast, saying, "I still don't get it."

When The Range approached Cannon later in the evening, he had this to say: "If you people don't quit printing lies about me in The Skinny, I'll rip your lungs out. How'd you get in here, anyway?"

Best wishes to the bride and groom!

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