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Don Corrigan


Lots Of Election Ironies In The Show-Me State


December 05, 2012
Columnists like to imagine they have readers. No imagining necessary after I've written about the Wash U. students protesting an oil pipeline or about state Rep. Stacey Newman taking a stand on lax gun laws.

Feedback on columns about guns, contraception, puppy mills, student protests is predictable. It was a bit more surprising how much response came after a column about "butt chugging" a few months back.

Chugging cold beer is a regrettable practice under any circumstance. Chugging alcohol by administering it into rectums through rubber tubes is a whole 'nother kettle of fish. This practice made national headlines after a Pi Kappa Alpha party at the University of Tennessee (UT) got out of hand and a fellow at the fraternity ended up in the hospital.

Several local fraternity members chided me for "piling on," although my column congratulated frats at WashU and SLU for not emulating the beer in the rear by UT's Pi Kappa Alpha. Some fraternity members, however, sent me to a website with a UT press conference "exonerating" the boys of Pi Kappa Alpha (PIKE).

I watched the press conference in which attorney Daniel McGehee denies that any frat member had an alcohol enema using the Greek boys' ample supply of Franzia Sunset Blush wine. I did not find the PIKE lawyer's denials very convincing.

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Also, McGehee and the brothers' alibi that the drinking involved was a "Tour de Franzia Party" – and not some sordid butt-chugging event – doesn't quite wash either. But in any case, whether it's cheap boxed wine or a case of bottles of the King of Beers, that party did not go well.

The intent of my column was to go after proposed state legislation called "guns on campus." My point was that proponents of conceal and carry for college students ought to think twice in light of the antics of fraternity brothers. Guns and alcohol don't mix, whether the imbibing involves butt chugging or a "Tour de Franzia."

Maybe we need more "sin taxes" on liquor. Maybe we need more sin taxes on drinking paraphernalia, such as beer bongs, alcohol shot guns, butt-chugging tubes, Russian Roulette drinking pistols, drunk glitter koozies, beer pong tables and more.



Passing Sin Taxes

One thing is for sure, in Missouri it's easier to pass laws to pack heat, than to pass sin taxes. A classic example is the defeat of the Prop B measure to raise taxes on cigarettes. This is the third such measure to be defeated. Be proud: No state in the U.S. is nicer to tobacco than Missouri.

One of the ironies of Prop B is that it was opposed by Missouri Right To Life. This seems strange because tobacco causes agony, illness and death for thousands of Missourians – its annual health care costs mount to $2 billion annually, according to the American Cancer Society.

Pro-life spokespersons said their opposition was based on the fear that receipts from cigarette taxes might go to stem cell research. Their opposition might leave medical researchers and doctors, who work with embryonic stem cells for life-saving cures, scratching their heads.

Of course, there were so many ironies in the Nov. 6 election. How about the FOX News watchers who had their bottles of champagne ready to uncork for a Mitt Romney victory party. FOX Cable had predictions of a 322-electoral vote landslide for Romney, but the tally was totally reversed in favor of Barack Obama when the dust settled.

Sour grapes, post-election analysis said Romney lost because there are more "moochers" and "takers" now in America. Then why did Romney win the moocher states? All but one of the states he won get more tax money from Washington than they give. In contrast, Obama carried 17 of 18 states that give more to Washington in tax money than they receive back.

At the state level, there's again that irony of Missouri Right To Life and the Missouri Family Network being on the side of big tobacco. How can such a stand be pro-life? The American Cancer Society estimated that the cigarette tax hike would prompt 33,000 adult smokers to quit, and 40,000 kids never to start.

Another election irony at the state level was the passage of Proposition E to forbid Missouri to participate in setting up insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The measure, promoted by conservative state's rights advocates, effectively surrenders the health care insurance exchange to the dictates of the feds.

So, what sense does any of this make? It's enough to make me go the Web and order myself a beer bong. Forget the alcohol enema tubing, though. Keep that paraphernalia for the fraters in the bond.

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