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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016


Family Matters

Which candidate for New York's U.S. Senate seat is having a spot of bother these days with a semi-estranged spouse caught up in a sexually-tinged media imbroglio?

Why, Rudy Giuliani, of course! (Who did you think it was - Hillary Clinton?) Rudy's rowdy better half, Donna Hanover, is joining the cast of "The Vagina Monologues" next month, The Associated Press reports. The off-Broadway hit, written by Hillary pal and political supporter Eve Ensler, features no-holds-barred commentary from women on orgasms, sexual fantasies, pelvic exams and other family fare not normally associated with the grim-faced, Right-thinking Republican mayor.

Hanover, who - unlike that liberal-lesbian-communist- anarchist-overthrower of all things right and decent, Hillary - kept her maiden name after marriage, is an actress and TV host who is best-known for her appearance in the porn king bio-film, "The People vs. Larry Flynt." Giuliani is best-known recently for publicly vilifying a black man who'd been shot down by police in cold blood. He is also famous for his censorious opposition to "smutty" and "offensive" art.

The mercurial mayor and the vagina monologist have been on the unofficial outs for some time. However, since Giuliani has not been subjected to five years of sex-obsessed, massively-funded federal investigation into his private life, as has his senatorial opponent, details of the couple's contretemps have been a bit sketchy. However, it has been noted that the pro-family paterfamilias has recently stopped wearing his wedding ring. When asked about his newly naked finger, Giuliani replied with a terse, "No comment." Oh, if only those walls could talk.

Next month, perhaps?

Boy Zone

You might not have heard, but there was a bit of brouhaha in America this week over the custody of a little Cuban boy named Elian Gonzalez.

The case has certainly provided lovers of prime political hypocrisy food to feed upon. The chief dish was the delicious spectacle of right-wing family worshippers contorting themselves into Kama Sutra-like positions in an attempt to find some way to criticize the Clinton administration for following one of their own most deeply-held precepts: children belong with their parents.

But you've got to give them credit: for a bunch of bottom-heavy, spreading-middle anal retentives, they proved pretty limber. (Must be all that golf.) By mid-week, the hard-Right's house organ, The Wall Street Journal, had worked itself into a state of near-orgasmic indignation, spurting out conspiracy theories about - we kid you not - Castro blackmailing Clinton with secret tapes of White House sex, forcing him to do the dictator's nefarious bidding. Summing up, the Journal delivered itself of a phrase that will surely live on as a perfect encapsulation of the modern mainstream media ethos: "Is it irresponsible to speculate? It is irresponsible not to."

House Majority Whip (and leading impeachinista) Tom Delay immediately announced a Congressional investigation into Clinton's "sickening" display of family values. George W. Bush managed to step off the putting green long enough to add his indignation at the wanton enforcement of paternal rights.

As Slate magazine noted, this is the same George W. Bush whose father's platform declared, in 1992, "Republicans trust parents and believe that they, not courts and lawyers, know what is best for their children."

Pride of place, however, should probably go to our old friend Newt Gingrich, the ethically challenged, highly adulterous former Speaker of the House. From his new sinecure as - what else? - TV commentator, Gingrich surveyed the complex tangle of moral, legal, political and diplomatic issues at stake in the case, and came up with this sage judgment: The government should not have ordered the raid when it did because, "This is a time for Easter egg hunts. This is a time for the Easter Bunny."

No, Newt, not the Easter Bunny - the March Hare. For we are definitely on the other side of the looking glass these days.

Blood Money

You're in the dock, charged with murder. The trial is over. The jury is out.

Your fate is in their hands - 12 good folk and true, weighing your case with the Solomonic wisdom and dread gravity that attends these awesome rituals of public justice. After hours of careful, soul-searching deliberation, the jury foreman stands and makes a solemn declaration:

"Heads or tails?"

That's the way it went down in Louisville, Kentucky, this week, when a jury decided to leave the murder case of Phillip Givens in the lap of the gods, AP reports.

Givens, 28, was on trial for the shooting death of his girlfriend, Monica Briggs. The jury puzzled and puzzled till their puzzlers were sore - for nine whole hours, over two days - but they just couldn't come to any conclusion. Finally, they decided, what the heck - we'll flip for it. "Because we all agreed to it, we thought it was legal," said jury foreman David Melton, with a positively Gingrichian grasp of legal complexities.

It was bad luck for Givens: the coin said murder, and that's the verdict the jury returned. But before Judge Kenneth Conliffe could consign Givens to life in the hoosegow, one of the jurors let slip about the flip to a court employee, who told another judge, who finally alerted Conliffe about the jury's recourse to numismatic jurisprudence. Conliffe was forced to declare a mistrial. Givens will face another jury - presumably one with empty pockets - at a new trial in September.