Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Block Me, Amadeus

The career of Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher reminds me of the Catholic Lives of the Saints I used to read when I was a small boy. An ordained minister, Fletcher has valiantly risked opprobrium, scorn, unpopularity--not to mention mauling by vicious liberal lions--all to serve the Holy Cause of the Right Wing and Wallet.

Although his 28% approval rating doesn't really hold a candle to the beatific beauty currently in the lead, Fletcher has tried everything he can to pursue the path to martyrdom and lower his popularity to saintly levels. Yesterday's New York Times offered a hagiographic summary of his various attempts to bring the spirit of the Inquisition to the Kentucky executive branch.

Running neck-to-neck with the Bush administration for the number of political appointees who have been indicted, Fletcher topped it off by getting indicted himself.
The charges against Mr. Fletcher -- conspiracy, official misconduct and political discrimination -- were brought on May 11. The 14 other members of his administration who have been indicted are charged with a total of 23 felonies and 60 misdemeanors for, among other things, criminal conspiracy and evidence tampering.
His goal: to rid the state government of anyone who might be a God-hating Democrat.
The governor is permitted to fill 4,000 political jobs. But the attorney general says Mr. Fletcher sought to fill many of the state's 32,000 merit-based jobs with political allies. . . . Featuring a list of Civil Service workers to be fired or exiled because of party affiliation, the documents revealed the existence of 12 officials who called themselves the Disciples and who pursued with religious zeal a systematic plan to clean house of Democrats.
The epistles of the Disciples displayed a missionary zeal:
"No one on earth faced more adversity than the Apostles -- we should not think we are any different," said one e-mail message between two coordinators of the plan, known as the Governor's Personnel Initiative.

Harassed by a veritable Pontius Pilate (State Attorney General Gregory D. Stumbo), Fletcher and his holy Disciples handled the impending indictments with the professionalism and valor expected of his office:

Throughout, the two sides fought every step of the way. In a 48-hour standoff on May 13, 2005, armed guards for the transportation cabinet blocked another set of armed guards from the attorney general's office from entering a transportation building to seize records.
And Fletcher rewarded his Disciples with something more valuable than canonization:
On Aug. 29 [2005], after the first nine of his administration officials were indicted, Mr. Fletcher issued a blanket pardon covering these officials and anyone else other than himself who might be indicted.
Recently, at a pivotal moment, one of the leading Apostles turned Judas:
Fletcher is also a co-star in the side ring, which features an undignified spat with his lieutenant governor, Steve Pence, who also was the Justice Cabinet secretary. Pence was also Fletcher's 2007 running mate but suddenly filed for divorce from the ticket. Fletcher then demanded Pence resign as lieutenant governor. But Pence refused, so Fletcher did what he could and fired him from Justice.
One of the most virulent critics of this paragon of Democracy is a young heathen named Mark Nickolas, who runs a blog named The Bluegrass Report and who received honorable mention in the New York Times article. In an apparent attempt to protect the Disciples and the unchurched state employees who might be influenced by online heresies, Fletcher's administration today reinstated the Index Librorum Prohibitorum and banned selected blogs and news outlets, including such pagan sites as Wonkette and TPMMuckraker.

One of the disciples of the Disciples, a Mark Routledge, explained that the new dogma was instituted by his Commonwealth Office of Technology, which "had made a decision to block state employees from viewing the entire category of blogs." When asked why only certain blogs were affected, Routledge responded, according to TPMMuckraker, that "their internet filtering service Webwatcher is to blame for that, not the governor's office." Unconfirmed rumors suggest that Webwatcher used to go under the sobriquet of The Holy Spirit.

(Note to Routledge: Block me! Block me!!)

As for the real St. Ernest, it somehow seems weirdly appropriate that he was tortured to death in Mecca.