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Foot-in-mouth epidemic 

It's been an interesting week here in Colorado, with plenty of sex and football and flag-waving and history repeating itself.

Let's first consider the words of former state legislator Joyce Lawrence, who was appointed along with Peggy Lamm to co-chair an independent investigation into the football sex scandal at the University of Colorado involving allegations that recruits have been enticed with parties that included alcohol, drugs and rape.

Within hours of her appointment, Lawrence, a Republican from Pueblo, offered up this blame-the-victim bombshell to Denver News 4 television reporter Rick Sallinger: "The question I have for the ladies in this is why they are going to parties like this and drinking or taking drugs and putting themselves in a very threatening or serious position," Lawrence said.

Good God. We thought this kind of blather was thoroughly dissected and discarded as trash last year when Brig. Gen. Silvanus Taco Gilbert, then-commandant of cadets at the Air Force Academy, responded to a female cadet's report of rape by a male cadet at a party this way: "If I walk down a dark alley with hundred-dollar bills hanging out of my pockets, it doesn't justify my being attacked or robbed, but I certainly increased the risk by doing what I did."

The Air Force Academy's rape scandal stretched on for months and resulted in, among other outcomes, Gilbert's transfer to somewhere where we likely won't be hearing from him again anytime soon.

But apparently not so for Lawrence, who this week rejected demands to step down as co-chair of the investigating commission, in part because of her unfortunate choice of words. She offered up that old excuse -- that her comment had been taken out of context, and an editorial in Tuesday's Rocky Mountain News says it as well as we could:

"There is no context in which a person just appointed to such a position who possesses any understanding of the impartial image she must project would say such a thing," the Rocky noted.

"The fact Lawrence could be so unguarded after accepting such a delicate post is difficult to square with any hope that she will not stumble again as the investigation gains momentum. The Lamm/Lawrence panel was not set up to investigate the prudence, common sense or partying habits of the 'ladies' at CU. Didn't someone tell Lawrence before she signed on?"

In other developments, this week state Sen. Ed Jones -- a poster child for affirmative action -- announced that he plans to introduce a bill to outlaw affirmative action in Colorado. On Tuesday, the city's daily newspaper reported that Jones -- the only black Republican and one of two black men in the state Senate -- has refused to meet with local African-American leaders to explain or justify his stance. "I don't want to go there and let them beat up on me," was Jones' excuse to the Gazette.

Rather than meeting with local black leaders, Jones was instead busy promoting an upcoming anti-affirmative action bake sale in Boulder, where cookies will have different pricetags depending on your race. For example, whites and Asians will donate $1 per cookie, Hispanics will pay 50 cents and blacks a mere quarter.

Let's hope Jones loads up on the sugary treats, because he sure won't be going down in history as, say, a Thurgood Marshall, the civil rights hero who fought tirelessly to eradicate racial segregation and was the first African-American to be named to the United States Supreme Court.

Which brings us to this week's joke of a Colorado Springs City Council meeting, which actually started off with a pleasing tribute to Marshall, who was memorialized last year on a U.S. Postal Service stamp. As Mayor Lionel Rivera noted: "[Marshall's] the kind of leader who in the '50s set the stage for Martin Luther King Jr. "

Incredibly, the mayor, along with a majority of our city council members, then proceeded to kill a health insurance plan designed to benefit city employees whose families do not fit the mold as dictated by the local ministry Focus on the Family.

Joining Focus executive Tom Minnery in attendance inside the council chambers on Tuesday was Will Perkins, the folksy car salesman, failed former mayoral candidate and face of the anti-gay Amendment 2, the 1992 Colorado Springs-born law that was struck down by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional.

In a bizarre touch, at the meeting Perkins supplied miniature American flags to people who opposed the city's extended healthcare benefits plan. Apparently that stance makes them patriotic.

Yup, they sure don't make 'em like Thurgood Marshall anymore.

-- degette@csindy.com

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