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Traficant's speeches add color to House

Here are some examples from indicted Ohio rep.

Sunday, May 06, 2001

By Peter Carlson and Margaret Smith, The Washington Post

WASHINGTON -- Mr. Speaker, if we may?

Rep. Jim Traficant, D-Ohio, was indicted Friday on charges of tax evasion, bribery and obstruction of justice. Among its other consequences, this event could potentially silence the House's unofficial King of the Surrealistic One-Minute Speech.

Traficant, a nine-term congressman from Youngstown, is famous for his polyester clothing, his bad hairdo and the brief but bizarre speeches he makes on the House floor nearly every morning. Gesturing grandly, Traficant discourses on anything from China and the IRS (he hates both) to bras and beauty pageants, nearly always including his all-purpose cry of frustration and vexation: "Beam me up!"

Here is a small greatest hits sampling of the wit and wisdom of Jim Traficant:

On the IRS: "From the womb to the tomb, Madam Speaker, the Internal Rectal Service is one big enema. Think about it: They tax our income, they tax our savings, they tax our sex, they tax our property-sales profits, they even tax our income when we die. Is it any wonder America is taxed off? We happen to be suffering from a disease called Taxes Mortis Americanus. Beam me up!" (March 20, 2001)

On fuel prices: "Mr. Speaker, home heating fuel costs have doubled. The companies blame OPEC and the bitter winter. Now if that isn't enough to insulate your BVDs, these same companies are now saying, and I quote, they are losing money. Beam me up! I say it is time to impose a $100 million fine on this bunch of bric-a-bracin', ratchet-fratchet nincompoops ..." (Feb. 13, 2001)

On gasoline prices: "Mr. Speaker, gasoline is $2.20 a gallon. That's right, $2.20. Now, if that is not enough to bust your bunions, Congress gives billions of dollars to OPEC countries, and they rip us off. To boot, the domestic oil companies are gouging us so bad, we are all passing gas. Beam me up!" (June 12, 2000)

On China: "If the White House succeeds in getting China admitted to the World Trade Organization, I say the White House needs a lobotomy performed by a proctologist." (March 1, 2000)

On IMF loans to Russia: "These experts are not only smoking dope, they are drinking vodka chasers if they expect me to vote for one more dime for a Russian loan." (July 19. 1999)

On rumors that Miss France is a male transvestite: "Maybe J. Edgar Hoover will crown the next Miss France, Mr. Speaker. Hey, what is next? Will they have certification standards performed by licensed gynecologists for these pageants? Beam me up! This is not brain surgery. Even the University of Dayton School of Political Science can determine human genitalia." (April 26, 2001)

On underwear: "Madam Speaker, it started with the training bra and then it came to the push-up bra, the support bra, the Wonderbra, the super bra. There is even a smart bra. Now, if that is not enough to prop up your curiosity, there is now a new bra. It is called the holster bra, the gun bra. That is right, a brassiere to conceal a hidden handgun. Unbelievable. What is next? A maxi-girdle to conceal a Stinger missile? Beam me up! I advise all men in America against taking women to drive-in movies who may end up getting shot in a passionate embrace." (April 25, 2001)

On drugs for dogs: "Mr. Speaker, the Food and Drug Administration has approved a new state-of-the-art antidepressant for dogs. The FDA says, 'American canines are suffering from anxiety.' Think about it: no barking beagles, no more whining Weimaraners, no more defecating Dobermans. Meanwhile, the FDA continues to deny approval for certain cancer-treating drugs to help Mom and Dad. Beam me up! It is evident that the FDA has gone to the dogs. What is next, Viagra for felines?" (Feb. 9, 1999)

On excess regulation: "Mr. Speaker, the Gettysburg Address is 286 words. The Declaration of Independence is 1,322 words. Government regulations on the sale of cabbage is 27,000 words. Mr. Speaker, now if that is not enough to stuff your cabbage roll, regulations cost taxpayers $400 billion a year, $4,000 per every family each and every year, year in and year out. Unbelievable. It is so bad, if a dog urinates in a parking lot, the EPA declares it a wetland." (Oct. 12, 1999)

In the custom of the House of Representatives, speakers finish their remarks by saying, "I yield back the remainder of my time." But Traficant, being Traficant, likes to play with that phrase, yielding back all kinds of things:

"I yield back 2,800,000 words in our tax code."

"I yield back the socialist, communist income-tax scheme of these United States."

"I yield back those stumbling, fumbling, bumbling nincompoops at the IRS."

Mr. Speaker, this is serious: We cannot afford to let a federal prosecutor silence the Sage of Youngstown! Beam me up!

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