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Bender: Call me when the swamp is drained

A legislative committee will examine North Dakota's sexual harassment policy "to make sure it's up to date," said Rep. Al Carlson.

"I'm hoping for visual aids," added a committeeman, panting slightly.

Existing codes are located between weights and measures, buggy whips and the zoning of sod houses.

Current statutes read:

• A chaste woman shan't ride alone in a closed carriage with a man who is not a relative.

• She may, however, signal her status with a fan. Fanning slowly means, "I am engaged." Fanning whilst disrobed suggests, "I am hotith to trotith."

• Gentlemen must remove spurs at the parlor door whilst courting.

• And something about transgender outhouses.

The committee will watch a video, "U Can't Touch This," from noted ethicist M.C. Hammer. Later, there'll be a debate — "Do's and Don'ts" — between Roy Moore and R. Kelly. Mostly they'll be discussing the do's. Kelly got invited because there's an R in his name. And finally, a slideshow on Gadsden Mall hot spots and Moore's plan to bring integrity back to the U.S. Senate.

Rules to be considered:

• Don't handle the hooters.

• Don't goose the caboose.

• Don't make a colleague walk on your back. Even if she's a babe from your harem.

• Don't involve a houseplant in any of this.

Automatic door locks are verboten. Matt Lauer once trapped Willard Scott in his office and subjected him to hours of double-entendres about Smucker's. If Lauer and Charlie Rose ever get together, some crap's gonna go down.

Add Bill O' Reilly, and, oh my ... Seriously, what do you have to do that ends in a $32 million settlement? Does it even involve the same species?

State Republicans have so far resisted the formation of an ethics commission. First, they have to check with Petroleum Council President Ron Ness to see if it's OK.

A Catch-22. If you have the ethics to form an ethics commission, you probably don't need it. A chicken-and-egg thing. What comes first, the ethics or the commission? It's right up there with quandaries like how in quantum mechanics, electrons can be in two places at the same time, and how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop. The world may never know. The capitol is eagerly awaiting sexual harassment training. Some will be disappointed to learn it doesn't involve an instruction manual.

Pop quiz questions:

• Is she winking, or does she have something in her eye?

• What was she wearing?

The state's already facing a gender discrimination case against Higher Ed Chancellor Mark Hagerott, who is accused by fired vice chancellor Lisa Feldner of treating women like pets.

Hagerott is not accused of making any booty calls, though. Quite the contrary. He's from the Mike Pence puritanical wing of politics. In these times, Pence may be on to something.

According to Feldner, Hagerott wouldn't ride alone with single moms on his staff. She also claims Hagerott thought a drone flying outside the capitol was operated by Russians and that the Chinese were hacking his emails. (Did recreational marijuana get approved in Bismarck while I wasn't looking?)

Ed Schafer, who was interim president at UND, did try to influence the 2016 gubernatorial election. But, so far, no connections to Moscow. Fortunately, if Hagerott gets canned, Alex Jones is available and would be a welcome voice of reason. In Bismarck, he'll be branded as a moderate.

Meanwhile, with Russiagate, we could see a Mike Pence presidency. He'd be the anti-Justin Timberlake. He'd bring chastity back. No skirts above the ankles.

Pence wouldn't meet alone with Angela Merkel, or Theresa May, but a meeting with Kim Jong Un isn't out of the question.

I'm glad tax "reform" passed before Russiagate explodes. Even if they had to pass it to see what's in it. Which is how one might approach a bowel movement.

Call me when the swamp is drained.

Bender is publisher of North Dakota weekly newspapers in Wishek and Ashley.

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