Enter Stage Right hands out its awards...

The Earth is Flat Award

A celebration of the inane, insipid and asinine...

web posted August 21, 2000

What do you do when the party on power launches multiple lawsuits against you and seeks nothing less then the break-up of your business? Hold parties for them.

That's what software giant Microsoft Corp. did August 14 at the Autry Museum of Western Heritage in Los Angeles. Democratic delegates and big wigs were treated to beef sandwiches, fajitas and the soothing sounds of a country band. The company donated nearly $600 000 in cash and computer equipment for the convention host committee and co-hosted the Autry Museum shindig for Pacific Northwest Democrats.

Microsoft officials also honored Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, while raising money for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and they co-hosted a fund-raiser for Emily's List, which gathers money for Democratic women candidates.

A company spokesman told reporters that they didn't just giving a helping hand to the Democrats. Microsoft donated a similar amount of money for the Republican National Convention and co-hosted events for the GOP in Philadelphia.

"Showing leadership and support for issues important to this industry is not partisan," said Rick Miller. "We have found people on both sides of the aisle who have shown leadership."

Perhaps, but by showering with money the party whose officials have attempted to destroy you, Microsoft sends the message that its fight for survival is just politics and business as usual. It certainly makes it more difficult to defend Microsoft in the future when Janet Reno or Joel Klein announce another move against one of the most successful companies in the history of the United States. I suppose it was telling that Microsoft never defended itself on moral grounds...

Feminism has come back to bite women in their rumps.

For years, feminists have actively supported young girls who want to join athletic teams made up exclusively of young boys, even obtaining court orders to force these teams to accept players they may not want. If a young girl is good enough to make a boys team, they argue, then there is no reason why she shouldn't be there.

Well, the chickens came home to roost last week at the Little League Softball Series in Kalamazoo, Michigan when the opposite occurred. The traditional all-girl's event saw a team from Arizona which featured five boys.

"It looks like they stacked the deck. Those boys are huge," said Val Maslauskas, a parent from a Massachusetts team whose players wore mouthguards to protect themselves in a 10-2 loss to the Arizona team on August 16. "We're trying for equality for these girls and this is not equal."

Ah but it is Val...this is what feminism has been arguing for years, that there is no difference between boys and girls.

"They made catches in the outfield that no girl could have gotten to," said Kelly Popko, who played third base for Westfield, Mass.

Little League Baseball Inc. made its softball and hardball divisions non-gender specific in 1974 after losing lawsuits filed by boys demanding to play softball, spokesman Lance Van Auken said.

The first girl played in the Little League Baseball World Series in 1984. The Arizona boys are the first to play in the softball series.

"Little League's preference is that the softball division be for girls," Van Auken said. "It would be nice if there were a legal solution to it."

Richie Reyes and four other boys signed up for the girls team after their usual summer baseball league disbanded. He doesn't see what the fuss is about and says the girls' team needed more players. "We were all brought up to believe that an athlete's an athlete," he said.

Describing an "undercurrent of unhappiness," tournament director Bud Vanderberg said he will take the issue to the national Little League board of directors this week. "I will do what's in my power to change this to make sure it's all girls playing in this tournament," he said.

So much for equality.

web posted August 14, 2000

When it comes to an insult, there's nothing like making sure you dig it in as hard as possible. It would seem the masters at it are the men and women of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service.

Elian raidThis week, the federal agents who conducted the early morning raid on April 22 to "liberate" Elian Gonzalez from the home of his Miami family to be sent to the worker's paradise that is Cuba will be honored for their fine work. At a special ceremony, INS Commissioner Doris Meissner will present awards to those who participated in Operation Reunion.

"We are having an awards ceremony for the people who participated in Operation Reunion -- and rightly so," said Maria Cardona, an INS spokeswoman in Washington. "They were people who did an extraordinary job under extraordinary circumstances."

Darn right. Over 130 members of the INS and other federal agencies burst into the home of the Gonzalez family, assaulted a journalist, sprayed pepper spray and intimidated unarmed American citizens. An extraordinary job indeed.

They do deserve an award of sorts for the picture which symbolizes government force against its citizens. For that naked hostility and the resulting picture we can be thankful. At least Americans know what they are dealing with.

The Vinegar in Freedom Award

There is an old Serbian proverb that says vinegar in freedom tastes better than honey in slavery. This award is meant for events and people Enter Stage Right considers to be positive.

web posted August 14, 2000

And what a debate it is. George W. Bush and Norman Schwarzkoff on one side and the Pentagon and Clinton administration on the other. Who is right? Is America's military, the global policeman, seriously understaffed and unable to fight two major wars -- long the benchmark for American strength -- simultaneously?

Bucking the traditional cone of silence that officers cultivate when they fear of losing a promotion, Marine Corps Gen. Anthony Zinni blasted away on behalf of Bush and Schwarzkoff. Zinni told CNN last week that America would have difficulty mounting an operation on the scale of the Persian Gulf War.

While Zinni did say that America could still fight two major wars simultaneously, it would be much harder, risky and filled with casualties. Zinni said the American military today is under-funded for the number of missions it's being asked to perform, everything from peacekeeping in the Balkans to containing Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

"I believe the military is too small for the current kinds of commitments we have," he said. "You either need to change the structure of the military and the size and the manning, or you need to change the strategy. I don't see the strategy changing significantly."

The sad thing is that Zinni waited until the eve of his retirement to raise his voice. Unlike his peers in America's army, however, at least he did say something.

Have someone you want considered for the Earth is Flat Award or the Vinegar in Freedom Award? Email ESR with your candidates!

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