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The Earth is Flat Award

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

web posted October 11, 1999

Suppose you are a politician. Now suppose you are a moron...but wait, I repeat myself.

If you're like me, you aren't a moron. You can occasionally be dumb, but rarely do you achieve the level of moronhood.

Unfortunately for Canada, not one but two leaders were morons within hours of each other. Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and Quebec Premier Lucien Bouchard both got failing grades on October 6 for their knowledge of Canadian history. Both the prime minister and premier had problems pegging the year of Confederation.

During a conference on federations, Chrétien told his fellow world leaders that Canada became the third federation in the world -- after the United States and Sweden -- in 1863. Several hours later saw Bouchard speaking in reference to a Supreme Court of Canada decision on secession, stating that Confederation was in 1868.

Of course, as those who didn't fail elementary Canadian history could tell you, Canada became a federation in 1867.

Now Bouchard I can't fault too harshly considering that he leads a political party that wants Quebec to leave Canada, but as for Chrétien there is little excuse for a man who is ostensibly a strong federalist and leader of the nation. Had Bill Clinton made that type of error on the birth of his nation, you can bet a strip would (deservedly) have been torn out of him.

web posted September 20, 1999

I've always like England. Might be because of all of those movies which showed her soldiers doing some amazing things, whether Lawrence of Arabia, Zulu or The Charge of the Light Brigade. But England, like many other countries, has fallen pray to heavy government interference in people's lives. Take, for example, platform shoes.

An investigation at the British Standards Institution (BSi) is being held into the fashion craze for platform shoes following the first recorded death blamed on a pair of shoes. In Japan last month 25-year-old nursery teacher Misayo Shimizu suffered a fatal skull fracture after toppling from her five-inch high platforms.

David Lazenby, BSi director of standards, said: "This epidemic of killer shoes has already claimed one life and injured thousands with Baby Spice and Naomi Campbell already falling victim.

"It is clear that when it comes to fashion shoes, style and size matter."

Lazenby said that over 200 000 people have already been treated for shoe-related injuries each year in the UK. He emphasised how the problem is a very real one for the fashion world and today's youth.

Platform shoes, some of which are 10-inches high, set the pace during the 1970s glam-rock era. Their popularity revived when the Spice Girls paraded their lofty footwear to the nation.

English girls in their teens and even younger around the world followed the trend despite the much publicised falls from grace of famous stars.

Baby Spice Emma Bunton sprained her ankle while running from a television studio in her platform trainers and catwalk queen Naomi Campbell fell off her eight-inch heels while modeling in a Vivienne Westwood catwalk show.

Current footwear guidelines relate mainly to whether or not the shoe can withstand normal wear and tear. There are no guidelines on heel height, nor any suggested age restrictions. Never fear, where there is a government office there is new regulation!

A BSi spokesman added: "We will look at possible height restrictions and recommendations on the shoes themselves or packaging that people under a certain age should not wear them.

"Of the total number of accidents involving shoes around 10 000 every year relate to high heels or platforms, so this is a very serious issue."

Very serious indeed.

Ah Hollywood. Even a conservative author's words will be twisted.

I speak of Tom Clancy, noted founder of the techno-thriller genre and author of Red Storm Rising, Clear and Present Danger, among other novels which appeal primarily to men. And conservatives. Could you imagine Bill Clinton using force against an actual enemy of the United States? Thought not.

Paramount is working on the movie version of Sum of All Fears, in which radical American Native Indians and Arab terrorists explode a nuclear weapon outside of the Super Bowl as pay back for sins both real and imagined. Well, it would be about American Native Indians and Arabs, but they apparently vote Democrat. See, Paramount is planning on changing the villains of the novel into something more politically correct. Right-wingers.

"We are examining changing the bad guys into members of the extreme right wing in America," says director Phillip Noyce.

Noyce also states that the premise of the novel is something he believes will happen someday. Hopefully it's in a certain California city. As Public Enemy once sang, "Burn, Hollywood, burn."

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 October 11, 1999

The judiciary is supposed to be the home of impartial opinion as it is charged to dispense the law. Unfortunately in these days of judicial activism -- typically liberal but also tainted by conservatism -- judges often seek to make social policy by ignoring the tenets of law and ruling in flagrantly biased ways.

Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Robert Ruehlman is at least one person who decided to do his job.

On October 6, Ruehlman dismissed Cincinnati's lawsuit against gun manufacturers on the grounds that it was vague and unsupported by legal precedent, the first dismissal of this kind of suit.

The city had sued the manufacturers, a distributor and three trade associations. The suit demanded reimbursement for the costs of providing police, emergency, court and prison services in connection with shootings in the city, including suicides and accidental shootings as well as homicides, alleged reduction of property values and loss of tax revenues, plus court orders that would force the defendants to change the way they design, distribute and advertise their products nationally.

Ruehlman, however, ruled that only the legislature has the authority to impose that type of legislation. He also rejected other claims by Cincinnati as vague or not supported by laws or precedent in court cases.

Americans can take at least some solace in the fact that one judge believes in the law and not social engineering. Even more so, unless Cincinnati appeals -- which it is certainly to do, the decision forces the debate back into the legislature. Too long the opponents of America's Constitution have side-stepped debate and merely looked to the courts to impose their statist agenda. Democracy ceases to exist when lawyers get involved and we can thank Ruehlman for understanding that.

web posted September 20, 1999

Thanks to farmers, the Saskatchewan Party managed to deal Saskatchewan premier Roy Romanow and his socialist New Democrats a serious blow in that province's recent election. Romanow's NDP went from a substantial 25-seat majority in the provincial legislature to its first minority government since 1929.

The vote gave the NDP 29 of the province's 58 seats, the Saskatchewan Party 26 and Liberals three. The NDP's popular vote fell almost 10 per cent from what it was in the last provincial election in 1995. In fact, the Saskatchewan Party won slightly more votes at 39.4 per cent to the NDP's 38.7.

Despite public opinion polls that consistently showed the NDP with a double-digit lead on the Saskatchewan Party, a third straight majority was still up for grabs a full two hours after the vote-counting began.

But the rural-urban split revealed a deeply divided province. The NDP was on its way to victory in 26 of Saskatchewan's 29 city ridings and the Saskatchewan Party was poised to grab 24 of the 29 seats up for grabs in the countryside.

The Saskatchewan Party, contesting its first election, won support for its aggressive pledge on tax cuts and its call for improvements to the province's deteriorating roads.


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