Toby and the GOP

Last week we got this e-mail: “I am writing in response to the column by Jaime O’Neill on your website. She/he states that Toby is a Republican and that is not true. I work for Toby and I would know since I am a Republican and have been trying to convert Toby for many years. You should verify your information before publishing it as fact. Maybe you would like to print a retraction? If you don’t believe me, you can do what you should have done in the first place—verify. Sincerely, Bill Eden, SKS Merchandise Manager.” The company Eden manages, SKS Merch LLC, sells Toby Keith merchandise. Keith is the jingoistic, shit-kicking country music recording artist who got all patriotic when the bombs started dropping on Baghdad. SKS sells things like T-shirts, hats and, I don’t know, maybe ashtrays, action figures, guns and knives, all bearing Keith’s name and/or likeness. Eden sells them at concerts. You know. “We have CDs and guns for sale in the lobby.” This is what O’Neill wrote in his essay: “Not surprisingly, Keith’s a Republican, like many of the startlingly wealthy country music people. In a recent interview, here is what Toby Keith had to say about his political affiliation: ‘My dad and granddad would roll over in their graves if they knew I voted Republican. My dad used to say, “We don’t have enough money to be Republicans.” Well, I do have enough.’” What a mystery.

This week the Enterprise-Record wrote an editorial that we think may have taken a shot at this paper, though we could be wrong because that’s happened before (see above). The July 9 editorial suggested that a lot of folks were duped by the Butte Humane Society’s threat to abandon the Park Avenue animal shelter unless it got a new contract with the city. The editorial mentioned a “farfetched newspaper article” that said the shelter was in danger of closing and the local animals could end up at the Paradise shelter. The story, the E-R editorial said, “was based on rumors and a vague statement by a Chico city official that the city was looking at all options with regard to its shelter options.” Our story said the shelter “most likely would continue” and paraphrased Bob Koch, the city’s risk manager, about the provisions of the contract. If the editorial was not referring to us, then it must have been in reference to an April 29 Paradise Post story headlined, “Town may take Chico’s animals.” Or even a July 8 Post story headlined, “Chico turns down Town’s offer to take over animal services.” What’s weird about that is the Post is a sister paper to the E-R—both are owned by MediaNews out of Denver. On second thought, I guess there’s nothing unusual about one sister accusing another of being “farfetched.” Siblings fight all the time. I’ve got the scars to prove it.

Are you a Republican who bristles at the thought of paying good money to see Michael “I hate America” Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 but would still like to know what the hubbub is all about? Here’s your chance. A smart-aleck guy in Santa Fe has an on-line promotion called “Republicans Win Cash!!!” Jim Terr said he figured that cash part would catch the Repubs’ eyes. Terr is asking for a movie review of Moore’s film from a Bush-supporter’s point of view. First prize is $300. “Although I confess to being a flaming leftie,” Terr writes on his Web site, “I am not seeking positive reviews. Just reviews which are honest, thoughtful and interesting, and of course based on actually seeing the film.” Go to

We’d like to thank Mark Lightcap, district manager of the California Water Service Company, for making the arrangements allowing us access to the water tower on Sixth Avenue, across from Enloe Medical Center. All we had to do was type up and sign a document saying that we (or our next of kin) would hold the water company harmless if we were to fall off the tower as we ascended or descended the tower’s metal ladder. Thanks, too, to Tom, the regular water tower climber, for showing us how to do it. Rest assured, we’ll never ask to do it again.