It's always a treat when the circus comes to town, what with all the peanuts, clowns, smiling children, and chained, crippled elephants being smacked with bullhooks. It's enough to make one long for the innocence of youth—and by "long for the innocence of youth," I mean, "write a letter to city council demanding they do something for those poor elephants."

And that's just what People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has done. According to a letter sent to Mayor Tom Potter and the city council, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus—which is arriving in town September 13—is trucking around an elephant named Jewel, who suffers from what appears to be crippling osteoarthritis. The organization claims that keeping Jewel chained and stationary on hard surfaces is making the animal's ailment much, much worse.

So, on Tuesday, August 15, they asked council to create and pass legislation that would ban the chaining of elephants inside city limits. So far, no one from the city has responded. Neither have they returned media calls seeking comment. Sorry, Jewel, but it looks like you're on your own. Might I suggest you use your massive weight and height advantage to physically crush your oppressors? It's the American way.

Speaking of oppressed Americans! Those rascally little children—who suck up all of our resources and provide absolutely nothing in return—have been handed yet another free lunch. This time, it's in the form of a so-called city "bill of rights," guaranteeing them such extravagances as the right to "food," "shelter," "love and value," and "clothing." When I was a kid, we didn't just get handed those things, we had to earn them. The hard way. You don't want to know what I had to do for "love and value."

The mayor presented the munchkin manifesto—which was compiled by a cadre of rugrats in early June—last Wednesday, August 16. It passed 5-0.

And in bad news for democracy: Sorry, nutters. You, like Jewel the elephant, are outta luck. Potter got his way, and now you can only address city council during "open communication" once a month. Commissioner Sam Adams was the sole vote against Potter's gag order. Seems city council's inconvenience at having to listen to citizens for 15 minutes a week trumps constitutional ideals. Adams says this now makes Portland the most restrictive city in the West when it comes to citizen communication with elected leaders. Finally, we're first at something.

Elephant dreams in a chimp body: or via AIM at smooremercury