etc 

“Pledge Allegiance to God or Country?”

“Should the military draft be reinstated?”

To vote “Yes” check the first box. To vote “No” check the second box.

The above are typical examples of the faxes sent to the Indy offices—and who knows where all else—on a more or less weekly basis by the British Columbia-based Right 2 Vote Ltd., “The North American people’s polling company.” Sound decidedly leftist? Sound sensationalist and inflammatory? That’s just how it’s supposed to sound.

While the company has been accused of forwarding a leftist agenda by some media outlets, Right 2 Vote’s main claim to fame is that the company is just another scam artist. In our ever-expanding coverage of scams both local and abroad, this one may top the crafty list. The idea is to get people so worked up that they don’t read the fine print—“calls to these numbers cost $3.95 per minute, a small price for greater democracy…calls take approx. two minutes in standard mode”—and spend $8 to fax back a questionnaire that’s never forwarded, as promised, to those who might do something with the information.

The most recent fax received by the Indy is titled “BABYSITTER KILLS INFANT WITH COUGH SYRUP!” (Now what’s inflammatory about that?) The faxee is supposed to decide, based on a few subjective bullet points (the babysitter “has publicly apologized for her actions, saying she deeply regrets what happened, but never knew that cough medicine should not be given to infants.”), if the Florida sitter deserves eight years in jail, and votes are supposedly sent to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Attorney General. The problem with the whole operation—besides the high price the company charges for democracy—is that the poll results may never be delivered.

Polk County Sheriff’s Office public information officer Michal Shanley reports that her office hasn’t received any votes, but that may be beside the point.

“If they are saying that they are sending us responses, then that would questionable,” says Shanley. “They shouldn’t send those responses to our agency, because we weren’t the investigating agency.”

It’s the local police department, not the sheriff’s office, that’s handling the case. Sounds like democracy is as ineffective as it is expensive. But what do you expect when you vote for anything in Florida.

May we suggest to the Canadians a Montana-centric poll question? How about something along the lines of:

• Gov. Judy Martz has squirmed her way free of scandal after scandal.

• She’s seen her approval rating dip below 20 percent.

• She’s put her foot in her mouth so often her diet consists mostly of Odor-Eaters.

Should Gov. Judy Martz be impeached?

To vote “Yes” check the first box. To vote “No” check the second box. Then fax it to Helena, and hold your breath.

•••

While not exactly in our neck of the woods, some sad news has made it over the passes from Spokane to Missoula. Connye Miller, founding editor and co-publisher of The Local Planet Weekly—one of Spokane’s two alternative newspapers—passed away on Sunday, June 15. Local Planet started operations in February 2000, and after only four editions, Miller and current editor Matt Spaur bought the paper and married. In a heartfelt obituary for his late wife in last week’s paper, Spaur wrote:

“She stood 5’4” and weighed 120 pounds, but she’d look anyone in the eye out of compassion or contention. She’d defend any belief she thought was right, no matter how lopsided the odds…She trusted me with her money and our paper, even though I’d never owned a business or taken a single journalism class. With her cats and her garden and her health and all things, she trusted me.”

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