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Rudy Giuliani, man of clarity

According to remarks lawyer Rudy Giuliani made to The Atlantic, he’s feeling just a little under-appreciated these days for his role in defending his top client, President Donald Trump, against complaints by a whistleblower. “It is impossible that the whistleblower is a hero and I’m not. And I will be the hero! These morons — when this is over, I will be the hero,” Giuliani told The Atlantic.

“I’m not acting as a lawyer. I’m acting as someone who has devoted most of his life to straightening out government,” he added. “Anything I did should be praised.”

Well, let’s give credit where it’s due. While the news media was scrambling to make sense of the Trump-Ukraine-Joe Biden-Giuliani-election scandal, Giuliani offered some much needed clarity in an interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo.

“Did you ask the Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden?” Cuomo asked.

“No,” Giuliani said. “Actually, I didn’t.”

Cuomo asked the question again, prompting Giuliani to admit that he did make such a request.

“So you did ask Ukraine to look into Joe Biden?” Cuomo asked.

“Of course I did!” Giuliani shouted.

“You just said you didn’t!” Cuomo said.

“No, I didn’t ask them to look into Joe Biden,” Giuliani replied.

A grateful nation cannot adequately express its appreciation to this hero. Clarity, consider yourself administered. Nation, consider yourself saved. Government, consider yourself straightened out.

Unfashionably tasteless

The fashion world frequently pushes envelopes, but a line of clothing sporting the names of schools where there were mass shootings — accessorized with faux-bullet-holes — isn’t “controversial,” it’s disgusting.

A fashion show in New York last week featured runway models wearing outfits decorated with words like “Columbine,” “Sandy Hook,” and the names of other schools where children were killed by gunmen. The addition of the ripped holes was apparently to make sure everyone understood the reference. Why didn’t they just spatter it with red dye, too?

The show made a splash, but not the type that the fashion label, Bstroy, was hoping for. Outrage was immediate and intense, and was joined on social media by relatives of the slain children and teachers. “This is just absolutely horrific,” tweeted one. “A company is [making] light of our pain and other’s pain for fashion.”

A co-founder of the fashion label lamely tried to insist the idea was to “make a comment on gun violence.” It made a comment, all right: Some people will monetize absolutely anything.

Hot air and cold hearts

Fox News went off the rails long ago, but this was shocking even for them: Fox guest and climate-change denier Michael Knowles called teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg, who has been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, a “mentally ill Swedish child.”

This was followed by a less blatant but still inappropriate dig by President Donald Trump, who tweeted sarcastically after Thunberg warned United Nations leaders of the disastrous future awaiting her generation: “She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!”

If the anti-science crowd had actual data to counter the conclusions of scientists all over the world about the reality of global warming, they would certainly be within their rights to respectfully present their views.

They don’t have that data. So they counter with name-calling and sarcasm. (Fox later said Knowles wouldn’t be invited back. The network apologized. Trump, of course, didn’t.)

Paradise lost

Michigan’s Mackinac Island on Lake Huron prides itself on having limited its ground transportation for the past century to bikes, scooters and horse-drawn carriages. The island has no cars. In fact, they’re not allowed.

But Vice President Mike Pence thought otherwise. Pence arrived with a full motorcade of eight SUVs. (His state police escorts respected local tradition and rode on bicycles.) It’s not that the Secret Service wasn’t capable of handling security outside an SUV. Agents managed to protect President Bill Clinton while jogging alongside him in Washington. When President George W. Bush took up mountain bike riding, the Secret Service took it up, too.

And when President Gerald Ford visited Mackinac Island in 1975, he chose a horse-drawn carriage. The Secret Service maintained island tradition, though it did bring in a backup emergency vehicle, just in case.

But given this administration’s theme of trashing anything involving carbon-free living and combating global warming, Pence’s one-finger salute to Mackinac seemed like par for the course.

School spirit, yes. Politics, no.

North Carolina’s North Stanly High School postponed its planned football game last week amid ongoing controversy after cheerleaders, wearing their school uniforms, posed on school property in front of a big banner supporting President Donald Trump’s reelection, along with his Make America Great Again slogan. The Aug. 30 photo was posted to Facebook, then went viral, immersing the school in weeks of controversy and chaos. The school ordered the cheerleaders to stand down.

Critics cried political censorship. Members of Congress protested. A white supremacist group offered its support to the cheerleaders.

The school stood firm on its policies, warning the cheerleaders not to pull such a stunt again. “Because the cheerleaders were in uniform and were acting as representatives of the school, the display of the sign could be perceived as the school or school system endorsing a political campaign,” a school statement said.

Off campus, political expression is everyone’s right. In some circumstances, maybe even on campus. But it’s off-limits to use taxpayer-funded facilities and uniforms that place the school’s imprimatur on political messaging, regardless of the party. The school was correct to shut them down.