The And now some fresh pickings from the political grapevine:
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What's an accidental gunshot among friends? Georgia Congressman Bob Barr's campaign has acknowledged that an antique .38 caliber pistol accidentally discharged during a reception in his honor. The bullet hit a glass door, which was the only casualty in the incident. Georgia lobbyist Bruce Widener says that when he handed Barr the loaded weapon, "One of us hit the trigger." He says he isn't sure who was the trigger man. Barr, locked in a tight Republican primary with fellow incumbent John Linder, has tried to capitalize on his endorsement by the National Rifle Association. But Linder also sees a political dividend in the shooting. He says, “The first time you hear this, it's funny. But it's not funny. The guy's a loose cannon. I've been around guns a lot. I just don't pick up other people's guns." Barr says Linder is taking "political cheap shots" and "should be careful about sending the wrong message to our young people that these types of accidents are in any way funny to him." Linder countered with a fusillade of his own, musing that Bill Clinton must be responsible for discharging the gun by putting former impeachment manager Barr under "emotional distress."
Mayor in Limbo
Washington, D.C.'s Mayor Tony Williams is a man without a ballot right now. The D.C. Board of Elections has voided the petitions submitted to place Williams on an upcoming Democratic primary ballot — and is actually exploring the possibility of a criminal investigation into the matter. And late today a panel of federal judges agreed with the decision to kick Williams off the ballot. But not every jurisdiction is so finicky about candidates. Dennis Horgan, a columnist for the Hartford Courant, recently decided to illustrate the ease of running for office by offering his name in a gubernatorial primary. "I sauntered into the secretary of state's office and became a candidate in two minutes flat. All I had to do was demonstrate that I'm alive, sign a paper and suddenly I'm on the Sept. 10 Democratic primary ballot." A registrar of voters is not amused, since Horgan's run will cost taxpayers at least $1.6 million. Says the unnamed bureaucrat: "I think he's just testing the law, and that's a damned expensive joke. He ought to be fired."
Waiting for an Apology
And finally a California man who says he put a curse on the Livermore sewer system now says he will remove the curse — if the city apologizes to him. Adam Nordwall, whose American Indian name is Fortunate Eagle, says he cast his spell in the early 1970s after officials mistreated a totem pole he had donated for the city's protection. When officials installed the pole, they cut several feet off the bottom. Nordwall demanded they repair the piece. City fathers refused. He cursed the sewer system. One week later, sewers backed up — and the system has been befouled ever since. The city restored the pole in 1995, but Nordwall says he will lift the curse only if the city holds an official ceremony to say it's sorry for dissing him. Livermore Mayor Marshall Kamena is all for the nostra culpa, saying, "I'd rather not mess with something I don't understand" — which, I suppose, is how most of us feel about wayward sewer systems.