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Zoflo bogeyman answers beeltejuice Snack

Published on -10/19/2012, 10:17 AM

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I'm getting even worse at names. A couple columns back I misspelled Saul Alinsky's first name as "Sol." Our local preacher set me straight. My misspelling demon should have been exorcised.

But last week, a spirited FHSU associate professor observed that in my previous essay on local candidates I'd misplaced the "l" in Zolfo Springs, Fla. -- misnaming it Zoflo. Dear God, I confess. I have no defense except CRS senility, deadlines and late hours.

Luckily, in his own column, "Dispelling the myth of the bogeyman" the professor showed how an educated man like himself handles orthographic uncertainty about where the 'ell it all goes. He writes "beeltejuice" in paragraph 7 to establish his versatility, double-checks Webster's and smugly writes Beetlejuice in his climactic sentence. Or, maybe he needed a quick beelt to further calm his fibrillating heart my column caused. That could explain it, too.

Whatever the case, neither my misspelling nor his, nor his cobbled mythological metaphor was his real point. He was just bedeviled I hadn't granted equal importance to an ambitious youth with lots of cash, lots of yard signs and meager practical experience -- who is an entirely reasonable candidate for local school board or city council. Either would be a good place to start.

In contrast, Philip Martin of Ellis is eminently qualified by his record in local government, by blue-collar sweat, by business ownership, by advanced educational credentials -- all garnished with quiet common sense and a little healthy humility. We need more people like that in our state legislature, especially in today's Brownbackistan.

It is entirely possible I had unwittingly irritated Beeltejuice before ... I'm trying to think of our professor's actual name. I'm no good at names. Sometimes I just leave them out. Snackaway, maybe.

(I've just phoned a man at the university. He'll get back to me right away. Hold on.)

Well, anyway ... a few months after the Supreme Court had passed Citizens United (January 2010) opening the floodgates to even more corporate money into politics, Snackaway wrote to assert that it was no big deal. Money, he said, didn't affect the way politicians voted.

I emailed the professor to say that was about the silliest thing he'd ever written. After a brief but lively exchange, he pulled rank. I suggested his would be the Piled Higher and Deeper category. Shortly thereafter, he forbade me ever again to darken his email box. Perhaps I offended him. I do not know.

In any case, Snackaway works tirelessly to say he's non-partisan and doesn't "endorse in partisan races." It's an angelic aura he claims.

Excuse me, the phone ... "What? Not Snack ... Rack? Rackaway? Chapman! Thanks." Sorry for the interruption. Now ...

Rackaway has been faculty adviser to the College Republicans at Fort Hays State University for several years according to a reliable source (as well as adviser to the campus Libertarians). It seems only reasonable that his HDN column "The Rundown" credit line should include that information. It doesn't. His political title should also be announced whenever Rackaway moderates political panels or leads public political discussions. There's nothing satanic or even illegal about advising the Campus Republicans, of course; but disclosing that in the public arena is called ethical transparency.

Chapman, in May, donated $100 to Phillip Martin's opponent. That's from the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission, which oversees campaign expenses and contributions. A second required filing by candidates, which will show any additional contributions and expenses, is due at the end of this month. It will also be available from the KGEC. (tinyurl.com/92xwtdw)

Readers will decide for themselves whether Rackaway's monetary contribution had any political motivation -- particularly in red Kansas where winning the Republican primary is often tantamount to winning the general.

They will decide whether in response to my column promoting Martin, Rackaway wanted to promote Martin's opponent. They will decide whether his dissing my typo (while making his own), and calling me "our pal" and "Bogeyman" is tacit evidence of his own partisanship. Rackaway would deny it.

Thus far, our pal Rackaway has made no reported contribution to Philip Martin. To demonstrate his neutrality, Chap could at least come up with a matching hundred bucks for Martin. Otherwise, no halo, Chap. (Ah, politics can be spirited.)

Your pal, the Bogeyman.

Bob Hooper is a fourth-generation western Kansan who writes from his home in Bogue.

celtic@ruraltel.net

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