Romney, Ralphy and Redheads 

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The juggernaut that is Mitt Romney’s campaign for governor of Massachusetts has hit a chuckhole and possibly bent a rim following challenges to his residency near Beantown. It’s a small, technical hang-up, according to the Romney trenches, that the governor has to be a resident of the state.

Hang-up, indeed. If Hillary Rodham Clinton can be a senator from New York—when we’ve known all along that she’s been down in Arkansas doing shady land deals, then why should Mitt not be governor of Massachusetts just because he’s been out here in Utah for the last three years claiming residency for property tax purposes? Nope, it just doesn’t seem fair.

The problem stems from those darned property tax laws in Summit County and Park City. Second-home owners pay property taxes at a rate twice that of primary residents. For Mitt’s $10-million mansion in Deer Valley, it added up to a pile of cash. So he changed his primary residency from Boston to Deer Valley. What’s the big deal?

The big deal, apparently, is that Democrats in Massachusetts don’t think they can stop the popular Olympic savior on the pertinent issues of the day—you know, security, taxes and good looks. They have to nitpick with these allegations that he hasn’t lived in the state for three years. Picky, picky, picky.

• Speaking of radioactivity, nuclear waste is on everybody’s mind. Attorney General John Ashcroft just announced the arrest of a man allegedly affiliated with Al Qaida who was planning to explode a “dirty” nuclear device. And then, of course, we have the debate over what to do with spent nuclear fuel rods and whether they could be used for such things.

Nuclear is not popular in Nevada right now, where a proposal to store the nation’s nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain is meeting opposition. Maybe that’s why Nevada authorities gave the thumbs-down to a state license plate design featuring a mushroom cloud. It would be tantamount to Utah issuing a special plate to memorialize the Mountain Meadows Massacre. It could offend certain sensibilities, if you know what we mean.

• Here’s something from our “Ralph Nader”-file: You remember Ralph—he’s the consumer advocate and leader of the Green Party who hasn’t been heard from since his candidacy gave George W. Bush the White House. Nader is now asking the National Basketball Association to review Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Sacramento Kings.

Nader says there’s something fishy in that the Lakers got 27 foul shots in the fourth quarter while Kobe Bryant elbowed Mike Bibby in the final seconds of the game without a whistle.

It’s strange coming from a guy who was awfully quiet when the U.S. Supreme Court refused to call a foul in Florida and handed the presidency to Dubya. But on the other hand, what’s more important than basketball?

• And finally this: The new Russian skipper of the international space station is not impressed with proposals that Lance Bass of ’N Sync visit the astronauts. Valery Korzun noted to journalists that in terms of space tourists, he’d like some American supermodels instead. Or in the immortal words of Steve Martin and Dan Aykroyd, those beautiful girls with the large, American breasts.

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