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Off Limits

The verdict's in: Judging by the pace of its first day, during which only six prospective jurors were called, the Oklahoma City bombing trial has about 2,057 days to go (which also happens to be the number of credentialed journalists in town). But no matter how long the trial continues, it will be tough to top the very first juror's show-stopping response to a question about which TV station he turns to. "I watch anything but Channel 7," he told the court.

Real life. Real slow.

The bus stops here: For Regional Transportation District boardmembers, charity apparently begins at home. Two weeks ago a majority of the board approved RTD fare hikes averaging 19 percent--but they also voted to fund their own upcoming transportation junkets to Portland and San Diego. And that's not all: The budget for televising RTD meetings--the only show guaranteed to make Asteroids look exciting--was bumped from $50,000 up to $100,000.

But boardmembers' generosity did not extend to chairman Ben Klein's request that RTD offer benefits to domestic partners of salaried staffers. The proposal lost by one vote. "I think that RTD is going backwards on this," Klein says, pointing to a similar policy that the Coors Brewing Company adopted last year. "Frankly, I think it's in violation of our civil-rights statutes."

Klein was vice chairman of a legislative committee that cleaned up Colorado's criminal code over two decades ago, removing sodomy statutes and references to "unlawful carnal copulation." Remembers Klein, "Those were wrong statutes to have, and we got rid of them."

Klein, who plans to bring up the issue again, blames boardmembers worried about the upcoming tax-hike election for the loss. "I'm not worried about any election," says Klein. "I think it's wrong to withhold those benefits." No wonder he's the only state politician officially certified sane--as he had to be in order to get back his license to practice law.

Meanwhile, the Rocky Mountain News has given gay couples something to celebrate. Initially the paper had declined to publish announcements from same-sex couples on its Sunday "Celebrations" page, designed, according to the News, to let readers "spread the good news" about everything from "weddings and engagements to anniversaries and births"--for a fee, of course. But after reviewing the policy, the News agreed to print "Celebrations" from same-sex couples, so long as they use euphemisms like "commitment" rather than "marriage."

Unfortunately, there apparently hasn't been enough celebrating by gays or straights for the paper to print "Celebrations" the last two Sundays.

Straight shooting: Clifford May, associate editor of the News and arguably the possessor of the longest resume in town, is leaving the paper to become the director of communications for the Republican National Committee, a move that prompted one newsroom wag to note, "What's the difference?"

May's new boss and the RNC's surprise chair is a Coloradan who won the post in an upset. "I'm excited that Jim Nicholson has offered me this opportunity to help him tell the true story of the Republican movement," May says. "I know it's a good news story, a story about fighting for freedom and opportunity for all Americans."

Even the Cherry Creek Republican Women, who continue to push the free-speech envelope. Three years ago, during their stint on the Channel 6 pledge drive, the group had such a good time that one volunteer was promised a $100 donation if she would take off her clothes and tap dance nude (she declined); another was offered a left testicle as a pledge.

The fellow should have tuned in again March 15, when the fun-loving group was back to promote the "Smegfest" portion of this year's Channel 6 fundraiser. The evening featured a showing of Red Dwarf, the British comedy series that frequently uses the insult "smeg." Which, as most people know, is short for "smegma," which, as they also know, is the sort of thing usually discussed in high-school health classes, not on public television. Nevertheless, the Cherry Creek women gamely touted such donation prizes as Smeg Ups and Smeg-Out videotapes. Perhaps they could do so because they didn't know what they were pitching. "I had no idea," said KRMA development director Trudy Fowler when told what smegma is. "None of us did." Isn't there a dictionary at the station? Ours defines smegma as a "cheeselike, foul-smelling, sebaceous secretion that accumulates under the foreskin or around the clitoris."

Try saying that during a pledge drive.

 
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