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THE VOICES OF THE ABSURD.

Byline: TOM HOFFARTH

It's somewhere there in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Or maybe it got folded into the Bill of Rights. Then again, it could be down near the end of the list of ingredients for Quaker's Instant Oatmeal.

It's that guarantee that Congress can't squash our right to ``petition the Government for a redress of grievances.''

No matter how important, or how goofy, how petty our need to scream might seem.

The millions of cybersignatures posted on the thousands of active petitions posted today on the Internet site PetitionOnline.com seem to prove that point.

In an age where we can come up with a cause and start acting on it quicker than a 140-word-a-minute typist -- bang, zoom, send -- there's this immediate feeling of empowerment getting behind the charge for the betterment of society and world in general.

Not that we have any grand illusions about the petition we posted a week ago, trying to get the Federal Communications Commission to realize that the NFL's enforcement of a bogus ``market of interest'' rule holds the Los Angeles television market hostage to whatever happens with the San Diego Chargers telecasts (go to www.petitiononline.com/sd2006la/ for the precise wording). But at least it has created some dialogue.

There were 16 signatures on our petition as of Saturday. And two e-mail rebuttals.

From Douglas Graham Gillard of Palmdale: ``This may come as a surprise to you ... but thousands of Charger fans also live in Los Angeles County! You myopic (sic) local yokels (sic) are lobbying to deny me any games of my favorite team.''

And from Lou Filliger of Woodland Hills: ``Count me as an L.A. resident who loves and follows the Chargers. ... Having lived in both San Diego and L.A., there's this holier-than-thou attitude rampant in both cities that, frankly, ends up doing a disservice at both ends. We're all SoCal. Stop this petition drive. (First time I've ever petitioned a petition!)''

Scan the list on the PetitionOnline.com site, and we guarantee you'll find even more sports-related petitions worth petitioning against.

Such as:

A 24-hour Wrestling Network: A plea to Vince McMahon to use all the home videos he has in his vault to launch an endless loop of folding- chair-over- the-head slams. ``The undersigned agree. ... they would order this channel and watch it on a consistent basis.'' There are 1,855 signatures so far.

Bring Major League Baseball to Indiana: ``Look at California,'' the petitioner asks. ``It has five MLB teams and Indiana has none!'' Neither does Alaska, but, seriously, I think we're all OK with that. So far, just 162 signatures.

Anti-Bill Walton: Some guy wants Walton fired from NBA telecasts because ``his off-the-wall comments and constant hypocracies are a disgrace. ... As I understand it, a national television analyst is required to be unbiased and make sense in their commentary.'' If that's the case, where's the Dick Vitale petition? There are 94 signatures here.

Ban the Yankees from Major League Baseball: When we first made note of this one in March 2002, it had 1,430 signatures. Now it has 4,023 who side with the sentiment that ``they are nothing but a disease. ... the likes of George Steinbrenner must be stopped.''

Put Alex Rodriguez on a box of Wheaties: The members of ArodCentral.com are behind this one because he ``represents your product's slogan: He is a champion.'' Wonder how many New Yorkers are among the 322 who've signed this.

Steroids in Baseball are OK: ``Baseball needs a shot in the arm,'' this one says. ``Let's allow the players to do just that! Let everyone know that you don't care if a guy ruins his body and (the) rest of his life.'' There are 71 so far who agree -- one more than have signed the petition that reads ``Barry Bonds Must Quit.''

Bring Back `American Gladiators': There are 9,390 who must still have a crush on Zap.

A Seventh Boston Red Sox World Championship: The contention of some BoSox fans is that the team deserved the vacated 1904 championship because the New York Giants, representing the National League, refused to play and thus should have forfeited the title to the AL champs, the Red Sox. Apparently, 143 felt it was important enough to sign their names to it.

The NFL is Fixed: Inspired by the officiating in the Steelers-Seahawks Super Bowl XL, the author says ``we will no longer stand by and allow our pure game to be corrupted by blatant bias.'' Of the 39,303signatures on this, most are fake. It's pretty easy to tell. One is calling himself Jerome Bettis.

Get the Deal Done: A plea for the city of San Diego and the Chargers to ``increase the tempo of negotiations'' as it relates to a new stadium and keeping the team in place. And so far, 1,299 agree with the statement: ``We want the Chargers to stay and firmly establish their roots in either the City of San Diego or anywhere else within the boundaries of San Diego County.''

You mean, like Los Angeles?

CAPTION(S):

4 photos, 4 boxes

Photo:

(1) One petition floating around the Internet would like to see Bill Walton stop calling NBA contests.

Vince Bucci/Getty Images

(2) NOMAR GARCIAPARA

(3) TERRELL OWENS

(4) ODELL THURMAN

Box:

(1) sunday punch

(2) HOT ... LUKEWARM ... COLDFISH

(3) FANTASY FOOTBALL

- Matthew Kredell

(4) The Pop Quiz
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Oct 1, 2006
Words:904
Previous Article:L.A. CONFIDENTIAL.
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