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Off Limits

Enquiring minds want to know: What was Senator-elect Wayne Allard doing in the National Enquirer, sandwiched between Oprah's latest woes and sure-fire diet tips? Well, he wasn't joining in the Demi Moore lesbian love triangle touted on the cover of the November 26 issue, that's for sure. No, the Colorado Republican waited until page 18 to make his sedate appearance, in a story detailing how the Fund for Animals had honored the Enquirer for its "tireless efforts to outlaw the cruel and senseless 'sport' of bear wrestling." That's bear, not bare.

"The Enquirer has provided a great public service in exposing this horrible mistreatment of bears," is how the Enquirer quoted Allard praising the Enquirer.

And how did Allard come to salute a publication better known for celebrity slobber than for public service? Since his boss has been the only veterinarian in Congress, explains spokesman Sean Conway, Allard often gets animal-issue referrals from Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. In this case, though, a constituent sent Allard a December 1995 Enquirer story about Terrible Ted, a wrestling bear used as a punching bag by bar drunks, and the then-representative was so moved that he dashed off a note to the Enquirer reporter. When the Fund for Animals decided to give the tabloid its "1996 Purr-Sistence Award," Allard was only too happy to make his congratulations more concrete, sending a salutatory letter read at the October 25 awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Allard wasn't there, however: He was too busy wrestling an entirely different animal--Democrat Tom Strickland, whom he bested in the November 5 election. (California congressman Robert Dornan, who told the Enquirer he would introduce legislation in the 105th Congress to outlaw the "revolting practice" of bear wrestling, didn't fare as well--he lost in a recount.)

As far as Conway knows--neither he nor Allard are subscribers--this was Allard's first appearance in the Enquirer. But it won't be his last. Next up: an expose on a federal program that spends more than $5 million annually sending wealthy Americans to Zimbabwe to hunt elephants--a topic right up Allard's alley, since it touches on "endangered species, budgets, lots of things," Conway says. The Enquirer hasn't been on his regular media contact list, he admits, but that could change soon. "I'm waiting for 'Spaceship Lands in Loveland to Visit Senator-elect," Conway adds.

Black helicopters are already hovering over Allard's old district, now represented by ultra-conservative Bob Schaefer.

A chip off the old blockhead: The January issue of Swing, "The Magazine about Life in Your Twenties," lists the country's thirty most powerful people under thirty--and Heather Lamm, 26, makes the cut, as the "It Girl" of entitlement reform. "Admittedly it's not a sexy issue, like the environment or civil rights," she says. "But these programs consume 50 percent of the budget and have the capacity to bankrupt this country."

Daddy Dick Lamm, who once made headlines with his speech reminding us that we all have a "duty to die" and get out of the way for younger generations, rates just a parenthetical aside in the plug, as the former Colorado governor and "political maverick" who "analyzed government spending at the dinner table." But Wayne Allard's predecessor, outgoing senator Hank Brown, gets an entire quote. "She's quite simply one of the most brilliant young people I've ever met," he says of Heather.

But then, how else would he describe the daughter of the man he's just joined at the University of Denver's Center for Public Policy?

Big house on the prairie: Faced with a mounting shortage of beds, the Colorado Department of Corrections recently got the okay to transfer 500 more inmates to out-of-state jails. But hundreds already shipped to Texas are still complaining of a lack of programs and work assignments--which might explain how one Colorado emigre named Matt came to be featured on the TNT cable network's Saturday-night double feature. The show, hosted by B-movie connoisseur Joe Bob Briggs, offers a segment called "Jail Break," during which Joe Bob (formerly a highbrow movie critic named John Bloom) reads letters from prisoners. Writing from the Karnes County Correctional Center in Karnes City, Texas, Matt praised Briggs as "the most annoying piece of white trash" on the airwaves--and one of the few diversions available to prisoners crammed into 24-man pods. The 500 Colorado prisoners stuck at KCCC were facing a situation as horrifying as any low-budget creature feature, Briggs noted. "Just think--you could commit a crime in Denver and end up in Karnes City. Now, that's scary.

 
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