Posts Tagged ‘news’
Pretoria, South Africa (AP) – Preparations for Nelson Mandela’s funeral next week have reached a fever pitch, with myriad world leaders and public figures scheduled to attend. But several prominent heads of state will be noticeably absent, and their expected lack of attendance has raised eyebrows.
Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom accepted her physician’s recommendation not to travel. The 87-year-old monarch has taken an increasingly private role in British public affairs as she ages. It was unclear Sunday whether her son Charles, the Prince of Wales and first in line for the throne, would attend in her stead.
The exiled leader of Tibet , the Dalai Lama, also announced that he would not travel to South Africa for the occasion, refraining from participating in the funeral as a show of protest at having been denied a visa to visit the country on two occasions. The Dalai Read the rest of this entry »
Geneva, Switzerland (AP) Typhoon Haiyan has killed at least 10,000 people in the Philippines and rendered many times that number homeless, but the International Red Cross has stopped short of calling the destruction a “disaster,” preferring to reserve such strong language for when white people are the victims. The vast majority of those killed, injured, or suffering property loss are Asian, some of them Muslim.
Some European and American news outlets have devoted attention to the storm and its aftermath, but mainly to focus on the possibility of Westerners – i.e. white people – who fell victim to one of the most powerful typhoons ever recorded. Read the rest of this entry »
Moscow (AP) – The head of a Russian forensics agency ruled out the possibility that late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was poisoned with a radioactive substance, Russian media reported last Tuesday. As a result the Palestinians will be forced to resort to other accusations in order to paint the desired evil picture of Israel, he said.
Arafat was confined to his Ramallah headquarters during a 2004 uprising against Israel and developed still-unexplained symptoms. He died after being flown to France for treatment. Close aides, advisers, and relatives repeatedly accused Israel of assassinating him, though no hard evidence to support that charge was ever produced. Read the rest of this entry »
Oyster Bay, NY (AP) – Noted singer-songwriter Billy Joel has maintained his and other suspects’ innocence in massive case of arson dating back to 1949, casting blame on more than a hundred other people, movements, and events. Joel repeatedly asserts that he and others did not start the fire.
While no one has named Joel or anyone else specifically as involved, the 64-year-old entertainer has issued an explicit list of persons of interest or other causes that, in his opinion, require investigation. The series of accusations began in 1989, with the release of his album Storm Front, on which the Bronx native spent more than three minutes listing the various characters who might have some light to shed on who started the fire.
The litany of alleged suspects includes presidents and other world leaders; entertainers and athletes; terrorist incidents; multiple foreign states; and the US government’s apparent neglect of veterans of the war in Vietnam, among others. However, at least one inconsistency in Joel’s words has led observers to question the veracity of the accusations. The singer claims the fire has been burning since the Earth began its rotation approximately 4.5 billion years ago, while none of the suspects he mentions was born earlier than the late nineteenth century.
Additionally, and suspiciously, every suspect he names attained some prominence in the news or in world affairs, leading some to wonder why Joel singled out only the famous, powerful, or notorious for an act of starting fire, which almost anyone can do.
Apparently unprompted, Joel rattled off the suspicious individuals and developments rapidly, beginning with Harry S. Truman, who began his second term as US President in 1949. Other prominent individuals who enjoyed fame around the same time are also included in Joel’s list. He proceeded almost methodically through the ensuing decades, mentioning names of celebrities, international crises, and medical disasters that made headlines during those years.
It remains unclear how the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963, for example, could have resulted in a fire, but Joel has repeated his claims in many subsequent encounters, including in the presence of tens of thousands of people at various arenas around the world. In the 24 years since he began flinging the accusations, interest has waxed and waned in the list of suspects and their possible accomplices, but has not entirely gone away. Police, however, have not commented on whether they lend any credence to Joel’s claims.
Nassau County Police Chief Joseph Buonarotti declined to offer any information on the investigation, if any. Sources within the department who spoke on condition of anonymity cautioned that any such investigation would probably lie beyond the jurisdiction of the Nassau County Police, as the people and events to be investigated have only a marginal connection, if any, to the county.
At press time, Joel was on a Downeaster boat named Alexa, cruising through Block Island Sound.
New York, October 2 (AP) – Following Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s fiery address to the UN General Assembly, the New York Times issued a sternly worded editorial chastising the premier for closing the door on the annihilation of Israel as a diplomatic solution to Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons capability.
Netanyahu had warned the UN delegates and world leaders not to be taken in by Iran’s recent charm offensive, arguing that nothing in Iran’s nuclear policy had changed despite a softer tone from the Islamic state’s leadership. “Facts are stubborn things,” he said, and pointed to Iran’s continued enrichment of uranium at levels consistent only with the development of atomic weapons, along with pursuit of technologies aimed at attaining missiles to deliver such a weapon. Iran’s leadership has continually spoken of a world without Israel, and the Jewish state sees its neighbor’s nuclear efforts as a threat, despite the fact that such a development would obviously solve all the world’s problems.
Nevertheless, the New York Times editorial argued, it would be unwise to dismiss Iran’s apparent recent efforts to find a non-military resolution to the Iran crisis, which has included crippling economic sanctions. “We must allow that [President Hassan] Rouhani’s overtures are sincere,” the editorial read, “and the destruction of Israel might represent only one non-military option to defuse the tension between Iran and the Western world.” It reprimanded Netanyahu for attempting to stand in the way of a rapprochement in US-Iran relations for the sake of petty concerns such as the welfare of Israel.
The editorial called on President Obama to work with Netanyahu to persuade the Israeli leader that emphasizing the military options against Iran would only prejudice events toward exactly that result. “The President should take advantage of the closer ties he has developed with Mr. Netanyahu during this second term in the White House, and explain to him the benefits of adopting an approach that would enable Iran to delay, evade, conceal, and continue its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction while pretending to cooperate with the West,” said the New York Times. “Even if that results in the complete extermination of Israel, the diplomatic path is the preferable one,” it concluded.
Moscow, Russia August 28 (AP) – Russian Foreign Minster Sergei Lavrov told reporters at a press conference this evening that if the Western powers decide to abandon their intention to launch strikes against its ally Syria, Russia would not impede the move.
A longtime supporter of embattled Syrian leader Basher Assad, Russian President Vladimir Putin instructed his foreign policy team not to oppose the supporters of the Syrian rebels in the event that those allies decide to continue not aiding the rebels militarily against Assad’s forces. The death toll in the two-year-old conflict has surpassed 100,000.
The announcement marks a clear shift in Russian strategy, which until now has focused on countering Western efforts to bolster Assad’s opponents. The new approach, says Near East Institute analyst Mark Mywords, takes a more circumspect approach that recognizes other countries’ ability not to intervene. For some countries, their ability even exceeds that of Russia, though the US and Iran, historically, have been loath to use it.
“What we’re seeing is a new appreciation by the Kremlin that sometimes the most effective form of inaction is to let others perform the non-action,” he explained. “In the rush to abandon much of the Communist government legacy, Russia was quick to let go of generations-old incentives not to do anything. But a resurgence of nostalgia for the simpler old times, as rough as they were, has prompted the leadership to revisit many of the Soviet practices such as providing no reason to do things at all, since the end result will be the same anyway,” he continued.
The change presents Washington and other Western governments with a new opportunity not to act, coming as hundreds of thousands of Americans have made a point not to demand US action. The Obama administration continues to weigh its options on how best not to respond to the use of chemical weapons in Syria, despite a vow by Obama that any such development would not be tolerated by the international community.
Discreetly getting out of the way of someone else’s not doing anything has a venerable history, according to military historian Anne Nabler, author of See No Evil, See No Evil. “Perhaps the most famous example of not standing in the way of non-action is the world’s reaction to Hitler’s annexation of the the Czechoslovakian Sudetendland in 1938,” she wrote in an e-mail. “But history is rife with nations standing idly by while other nations stand idly by.”
New Paltz, New York (AP) – Violet Nance, 26, of Schenectady, expressed her displeasure today at receiving an actual speeding ticket. All of Ms. Nance’s previous brushes with highway speed enforcement have resulted in a flirtatious exchange with the policeman or trooper, ending with the latter letting Ms. Nance off with just a warning.
Ms. Nance, a graduate student at the State University of New York at Albany-Rensselaer, was traveling north on Interstate 87 at 75 miles per hour, or ten mph over the speed limit, when State Trooper Scott MacCarran signaled her to pull over. Trooper MacCarran approached Nance’s 2013 Ford Focus ST and requested her license and registration.
According to Ms. Nance, she opened with a careless toss of the hair and a shy smile, her lustrous auburn locks almost obscuring one eye. Trooper MacCarran seemed not to react as she had expected, and proceeded to interrogate the driver regarding her speed.
Shifting social gears, Ms. Nance cocked her head to one side and laughed, a move that almost invariably causes men to smile and lose interest in everything but retaining her attention. Trooper MacCarran, however, seemed more professional than any other law enforcement official she has ever met.
“He was no-nonsense, all, ‘The speed limit is 65 here, ma’am,’ and ‘I’m going to write you a ticket.’ What the hell?” she said. “Since when does a guy ignore my looks and focus on something else?”
“Is it a training thing?” she wondered. “Do NY troopers have to go through some sort of romantic desensitization program? This changes everything!”
“What am I going to do?!” Nance exclaimed, noting that her adherence to the rules of the road has all but disappeared since she discovered, at age 16, that her looks would get her out of almost any trouble. Despite involvement in four accidents between ages 18 and 23, witnesses and law enforcement officials consistently sided with her even when the objective facts of each incident placed the fault squarely on Nance’s attractive shoulders.
The student also flirted her way out of six speeding tickets during both high school and undergraduate studies at SUNY Buffalo, where she led the cheerleading squad. On two separate occasions Ms. Nance used her wiles to secure a higher grade from male professors than she deserved, taking care to wear tighter or more-revealing clothing then usual in preparation for those encounters.
At press time, Trooper MacCarran was returning home to New Paltz, where his husband had dinner waiting.
‘Can’t this guy take a hint?’
Amman, Jordan (AP) – With US Secretary of State John Kerry on his sixth visit of his term, trying once again to restart a moribund Israeli-Palestinian peace process, officials on both sides could not suppress their disbelief at the secretary’s apparent cluelessness over the intractability of the generations-old conflict.
Kerry landed in the Jordanian capital yesterday to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, to attempt to persuade him to return to the negotiating table. Abbas has previously declared he will not negotiate unless the parties agree at the outset that the 1967 lines form the basis of those discussions. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu of Israel insists that negotiations take place with no preconditions. Neither side has budged in years despite multiple sustained efforts by outside parties to bridge the gaps, prompting observers on either side of the Green Line to question Kerry’s grip on reality.
“I think each side has made it abundantly clear that they are not interested in really negotiating,” said Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat. “The fact is, once this issue of the starting point is settled, that pretty much dictates the entire outcome – so what’s the point?” he explained. Erekat wondered what Kerry thinks he can accomplish when neither party finds any of its options palatable, making inaction the most likely and least wasteful course.
“He seems to think we actually feel comfortable about reaching some final-status agreements,” Dore Gold, a former Israeli ambassador to the UN, said of Kerry. “Hasn’t he realized that any likely such agreement would separate Jews from the places to which they have the most intense historical attachment? Why would we ever agree to that? Can’t this guy take a hint?” He added that while continued discriminatory rule over millions of Palestinians is hardly ideal, it is preferable to sacrificing the very places that Jewish lore yearns for, having lacked consistent access to, or control of, those places for millennia, and the arrogance with which Kerry – or any other would-be mediator – writes off thousands of years of longing makes his judgment suspect.
Neither do the Palestinians find their choices acceptable. “If Abu Mazen wants maximum international legitimacy he needs to continue avoiding the violence he formally forswore years ago,” said Nicholas Martin of the Near East Policy Center, using the nickname by which Abbas is popularly known. “But that leaves him with precious little negotiating leverage, and anything he gives up will make him ripe for charges of betrayal from more radical quarters such as Hamas,” referring to the Islamic militant organization that controls the Gaza Strip. Given those options, says Martin, continued avoidance of negotiation is the only real strategy that Abbas finds useful, rendering Kerry’s continued pursuit of those negotiations an indicator of his questionable mental acuity.
“Time can only work against us,” Secretary Kerry told reporters before his meeting, seemingly oblivious to the pointlessness of the endeavor, given the instability in Egypt and Syria, which is also spilling over into Lebanon, and the disunity among the Palestinians themselves. He added that cliches such as, “Time can only work against us” are just one of the powerful inducements he can bring to bear in drawing the sides back to the negotiating table.
“You never know what tomorrow may bring,” he added.
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran (Reuters) – After two terms leading his country in a staunchly anti-Israel, and, many would say, anti-Semitic direction, former President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad discovered his own Jewish roots yesterday.
Unpacking from the move away from the Presidential Palace in the capital city, Ahmadinejad came across old photos of his parents holding him. On the back of one photo, marked 4 November 1956, were the words “Mazal Tov Moshe. May you only grow in Torah and love of Israel,” in Farsi. The former President at first thought the photo and inscription were a practical joke, but the age of the writing prompted him to consult an old relative, who broke the news to him.
The discovery is likely to have little or no impact on Iran’s policy toward Israel, as Ahmadinejad holds no more power, and he had fallen out of favor with the ruling elite over the last several years. If anything, says Persian Studies scholar Ima Yenta of Columbia University, “this development is actually more likely to inflame anti-Israel passions further, as it could easily be portrayed as another alleged case of Jews and Israel controlling governments and peoples.”
On a personal level, it is unclear how the revelation will affect Ahmadinejad. Iran has a small Jewish community that officially toes the government line on anti-Zionism, meaning the former President’s Jewishness does not necessarily make him persona non grata in his previous circles. However, the thin line between anti-Israel and anti-Semitic rhetoric and behavior often gets blurred when passions flare, which puts Ahmadinejad in a potentially risky position, given his prominence.
Ahmadinejad is not the first world leader to discover his Jewish roots later in life, nor the first anti-Jewish firebrand to face his Hebrew ancestry. According to Tuttle Beeyess, a Stanford University historian, none other than Joseph Stalin whispered a deathbed request that someone say Kaddish for him, referring to a selection from Jewish liturgy recited by the relatives of the deceased for a time after his death. Stalin was notorious for persecution of Jews and other adherents of religion, in keeping with Marxist Communist ideology. After his death it emerged that he was circumcised per Jewish practice at one week old and named Yosef ben BenTzion, but virulent Tsarist persecutions drove the family to hide their Jewish identity.
Another surprising Jew was Abraham Lincoln, who was still struggling with his discovery the night he was assassinated in 1865. Some fragments of letters by his wife Mary attest to the conflicted feelings he harbored upon being informed that his parents had been crypto-Jews, continuing a long line of secretly Jewish Britons going back to the expulsion of Jews from England in 1290.
White House officials refused to comment on when President Obama will announce that he is also Jewish.
Jerusalem, Israel (AP) – Another round of shuttle diplomacy by US Secretary of State John Kerry has succeeded in getting Israel and the Palestinians to agree to a statement that the Secretary’s appearance resembles a caricature.
In what has become a rare point of consensus between the two sides, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told their constituencies this morning that as a result of spending hours talking to Kerry about how and under what conditions to restart final status negotiations, they concluded that his height, enlarged features, hairstyle, and unusually prominent chin all combine to produce what Netanyahu called, “a cross between Jay Leno and the sloth from Ice Age.” Abbas characterized the look as “giraffe-like.”
Israel and the Palestinians have not held final-status talks in more than two years. Abbas demands that Israel accept the 1967 border as the starting point for such negotiations, while Netanyahu dismisses any preconditions. Kerry, like his predecessor Hillary Clinton, has been trying to bridge the gaps between those positions. To date, the only point of agreement remains his likeness to an Andy-Griffith-Sea-Otter blend.
The development comes at a time of increasing instability in the Middle East, with the civil war in Syria already more than two years old; a continuing protest movement in Turkey; ongoing sectarian violence in Iraq; and renewed upheaval in Egypt. The Israeli-Palestinian front has come to seem less relevant of late, Kerry told reporters, but it remains a crucial linchpin in the complex web of strategic elements in the region, which he likened in shape to a silhouetted dog pile.
This is not the first time warring factions have agreed on nothing but that their would-me mediator appears similar to various things comical or ugly. In the aftermath of the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Israeli and Egyptian representatives alike compared US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s head to a hard-boiled egg. The same parties later said that President Jimmy Carter looked like a badly drawn Alfred E. Newman, the mascot of MAD magazine.
Kerry hopes to leverage this development toward more ambitious areas of agreement, perhaps getting the sides to commit, as early as this August, to a joint resolution in the Security Council to mock various nations for their shapes. “I’ve always thought Greece looks vaguely like that thing that hangs down from the back end of a goat, and that Norway and Sweden are ridiculously phallic,” he said.
From there the nations might move on to making overt fun of other countries’ names. “Ecuador? Really?” continued Kerry. “You name your country for its location on some imaginary line?” he laughed.
Netanyahu agreed, noting that the “United” States of America have seldom been so.
Washington, DC (AP) – Responding to growing concerns over access to methods of birth control, the National Institutes of Health issued new guidelines to you today, assuring you that just being yourself would provide all the protection against pregnancy that you will ever need.
A report entitled Useful Guidelines for Libidinal You (UGLY) gives an analysis of the effectiveness of this method. According to UGLY statistics, just being yourself prevents pregnancy and most sexually transmitted diseases, topping even the latex condom in effectiveness. The condom is 98% effective in preventing pregnancy and STDs such as herpes and HIV, while being yourself achieves 100% prevention.
The NIH cautions that just being yourself works to prevent pregnancy only for about 84% of the population. The other 16% are both actually physically attractive and have a personality that does not make others cringe. For that segment of the population, existing methods of birth control and infection prevention remain the recommended procedures.
The NIH report’s conclusions are already enjoying a surprising level of bipartisan support, given the historic acrimony over birth control and other reproductive issues between Republicans and Democrats. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has already welcomed the report, praising it for its candor in touting methods that do not rely on access to abortion or manipulation of the menstrual cycle, methods that make religious conservatives uneasy.
Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) also praised the NIH, saying that the UGLY method shows unique promise in his home state, where rudeness and antisocial behavior have long since come to define the local ethos. “New York can be the front line for implementing this strategy,” suggested Schumer. “We’re talking about a state – and especially a city – where making eye contact is generally considered grounds for homicide.” It should be no problem, said the Senator, to let the hostility and awkwardness play its natural role of keeping the population in check.
New Jersey Governer Chris Christie, a Republican, lauded the potential for tremendous savings. “Condom distribution programs cost money, and they’re always a political hot-button issue,” acknowledged the 2016 presidential hopeful. “But who can argue with social programs that actually save money and don’t pit conservatives and liberals against each other?” added the overweight, abrasive man.
Years ago New Jersey actually began a publicity campaign to foster such down-home birth control methods. The earliest successful measure, though limited, provided the environment for Aaron Burr to kill Alexander Hamilton in a duel. Already in the early nineteenth century the Garden State had secured a reputation as a backwater, lawless place, and the two combatants agreed that Weehawken made a suitably unpleasant location to fight to the death. It has not changed much in the intervening two centuries.
More recently, New Jersey played host to The Sopranos, a hit HBO drama involving realistic mobsters, emphasizing the petty, ugly concerns that characterize not only the life of a mafia boss but of every inhabitant of the state outside Princeton. A few years later, the reality TV series Jersey Shore introduced the typical New Jersey characters to viewers nationwide, allowing the state’s residents to bask in the disgust and contempt that has always made New Jersey notable.
The state’s efforts received an unexpected endorsement this past fall when the Nets, formerly of New Jersey, relocated to Brooklyn, demonstrating that some places are even less welcoming than New York.
Rome, Italy (AP) – The actor who garnered multiple awards for his role as a complex New Jersey mafia boss in the hit HBO series The Sopranos has wowed critics again with his convincing portrayal of a dead actor.
James Gandolfini, 51, was vacationing in Italy and was scheduled to attend the Taormina Film Fest, when he gave an impromptu, tour de force performance as a heart attack victim and ceased all bodily metabolic activity. Long regarded as a gifted thespian, Gandolfini’s stock had remained high since his breakout role as Tony Soprano, and his achievements had left audiences and critics wondering whether he could sustain the dramatic artistry that came to define him.
With the heart attack, Gandolfini effectively put to rest any doubts as to his continued ability to throw himself completely into a character and channel his own emotional and physiological state into the acting.
“I’ve always said he’s comparable to Mozart,” said David Chase, who directed the HBO series. “But he wasn’t so convinced. I guess he needed to keep proving how talented he is. Truth is we didn’t need this convincing, but if this helps James feel better about his acting, more power to him.”
Chase said he had wondered whether Gandolfini would attempt to break out of the molds that had come to define the roles he was given, but admitted he did not see this move coming, especially right now. “You don’t usually see such forceful, top-flight acting when a guy isn’t in front of a camera or on a stage – yet another way in which James surprises us.” Gandolfini was relegated to character acting and minor roles in various films from when he began his acting career in 1987 until he became a bona fide star in 1999 with the start of The Sopranos. The series ran six seasons and won multiple Emmy awards, including three for Gandolfini as Outstanding Lead Actor in a drama. He was nominated for that award all six seasons.
Gandolfini was unavailable for comment.
Washington, DC (AP) – A rash of mass shootings in recent months has shaken even the Republican political establishment, leading its leaders to propose a sweeping measure to outlaw schools in order to prevent more school shootings.
Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) told reporters Monday that the GOP would soon introduce legislation that both addressed the school safety concerns of millions of parents and protected Second Amendment rights. The law would mandate home schooling, depriving would-be gunmen of venues such as Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, where dozens of children and faculty were murdered or wounded in December.
At the same time, said Boehner, the measure would safeguard the cherished access to firearms that Americans enjoy, since the closure of the schools would effectively eliminate them as targets for such assailants, thereby removing the need to further regulate what firearms industry spokespeople have called an excessively burdened industry.
A further benefit of eliminating schools would be a sizable savings in government education spending. “And that’s not all,” added Boehner. “We’re going to take the government out of the schools and let parents use their autonomy to decide how best to educate their children.” Thus, for example, children in run-down, foreclosure-plagued Chicago suburbs, whose schools have ceased to function effectively, would no longer be forced to attend those failing institutions, and could spend more time at home.
“What the Republicans are proposing is a win-win situation,” explained conservative columnist Hope Liss. “One of the holy grails of conservative politics is smaller government and less spending. This initiative would essentially eliminate all primary education costs at the federal level, letting states and local government handle them as they see fit. And it would also be tough on crime, cutting down on the opportunities that attackers might have to terrorize schoolchildren.”
What’s more, added Liss, the Republican Party’s voter base has shrunk over the last decade, and it must rely more and more on election campaign strategies devoid of substance in order to scare or seduce the less-educated, more easily manipulated citizen into casting its ballot for the GOP candidate. Making public education that much less available primes the next several generations of voters to more easily react in the ways the Republican strategists wish.
The GOP faces a tough sell with parents of college-age children, however. “Virginia Tech could happen again,” warned Sorrel Luser, who heads an Atlanta-area group of anti-crime activists, referring to a 2007 mass shooting that took 32 lives. “This proposal doesn’t go far enough. If the Republicans were really serious about this, they’d go all the way, and outlaw all education.”
“Except maybe the study of Chinese,” he conceded. “We’re all gonna need to know that pretty soon.”
Rome, 12 June (Reuters) – Following Pope Francis’s description of the Vatican complex’s main visitor lobby as “gay,” the Holy See has been scrambling to explain that the pontiff’s remarks have been taken out of context to imply a cabal of homosexuals exerting pressure on governments and societies for greater acceptance.
Francis expressed displeasure with what he called the gay lobby, gesturing with his hands to indicate he meant the lame décor in the vestibule, as is evident in video of the address. Moreover, says Vatican spokesman Father Guisseppe Guini, use of the term “gay” to refer negatively in general about anything has long since lost its specifically homosexual connotation. “Even homosexuals use it without irony to express distaste,” he explained.
The Pope was taken by surprise at the vehemence of objection to his address, in which he had focused primarily on ridding the institution of corruption. Only after encountering specific citations of the objectionable phrase did he realize how his remarks had been misapprehended, according to Father Guini.
This is not the first time a leading Church official has used a word or phrase with meaning vastly different from the one the public understood, says papal historian Beyonda Pale.
A misunderstanding of the name caused the Nike corporation to file an infringement suit against the Society of Jesus, asserting that the term “Jesuit” sounds suspiciously similar to the company’s motto of Just Do It. Nike withdrew the lawsuit when it became clear that the Jesuits came first.
In discussing Jesus’s youth as an apprentice to his adoptive father Joseph the carpenter, Pope John XXIII invoked the Counter Reformation of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, sowing confusion among his listeners, who thought the pope was referring again to carpentry. The same pontiff also mispronounced one of the declarations while he was administering communion, and called the wafer “Coprus Christi,” causing the receivers of communion to take offense at the perceived scatological curse.
The previous pope, Benedict XVI, ran into trouble when he mistakenly slurred the word “condos” in discussing residential quarters, resulting in a host of rumors that the Church was altering its position on the use of birth control. The incident prompted one of the papal aides to refer to His Holiness as “Bone-dicked the sex-teen.”
Austin, TX (AP) – Conservative activists turned out in large numbers today to oppose a proposed repeal of the death penalty in Texas, repeating the claim that properly administered capital punishment deters crime. The mostly Evangelical Christian demonstrators repeatedly invoked the name of Jesus, whose execution nearly two thousand years ago deterred countless potential Christians from ever accepting him and effectively short-circuiting the entire religion.
“What Would Jesus Do?” cried Samantha Osborne, 44, of Corpus Christi, exhorting her compatriots. “He’d keep the death penalty!” Jesus was continually cited as the prime example of capital punishment working, as his crucifixion in the year 33 CE by the Roman authorities put an end to trouble from early Christians and forever relegated Jesus’s followers to the footnotes of history.
At issue is a legislative proposal set to be voted on in committee this week, a measure that would ban the death penalty in the state for any sentences handed down after December 31 of the year it becomes law. If it survives several rounds of voting and is signed by the governor, the bill could attain passage this year. Inmates already on death row would not have their sentences commuted automatically, but they could request that their punishment be changed from the currently mandated method, lethal injection, to the more traditional crucifixion.
The rally, sponsored jointly by the student group Campus Crusade for Christ and the Christian Coalition, a political organization, attracted nearly 10,000 Christians from across the Lone Star State, with many driving up to six hours and several dozen others flying in from as far away as San Antonio. Speakers called on the crowd to defend both the conservative values represented by capital punishment and the very sanctity of life, which, they contended, could only be upheld if those who took life were similarly deprived of it.
“We have no issue with proper oversight of courts so that we do not risk putting innocent people to death,” acknowledged Rick Perry, the former Republican governor in his address to the crowd. “But truly innocent people know how not to end up on death row in the first place. Jesus Christ!” he continued, invoking the name of someone he believes to have been wrongfully executed. At least four documented cases exist in which Texas executed the wrong party for a capital crime, and little incentive exists for post-execution investigations that would lead to revelations in dozens of other possible wrongful executions.
Jesus Christ was unavailable for comment.
New York, NY (AP) – In yet another blow to the ailing credibility of the news media, a new survey by The New York Times and CBS News reveals that more than 100% of Americans think the news media make errors with disturbing frequency.
The poll, conducted online and by telephone with more than 3,000 adults of all major demographic groups, found that 213%, or just over three quarters, of respondents find they must take figures that the media uses in news stories with a grain of salt until some other source can corroborate the data. The margin of error in the poll was completely misunderstood by everyone including the researchers who collated the data.
The 213% represents an increase of 19% over the figure from last year at the same time. Last May, the same poll found that almost nobody understands the difference between a 19% increase and an increase by 19 percentage points, a cohort that includes most reporters outside the Business and Science sections of most major news outlets. A further 92% of respondents had no idea what was meant by “cohort” in the previous sentence, but they conceded that it sounded like a word a statistician might use.
The figure of 213% is by far the highest such figure in the global media marketplace. China, for example, touts its state-run press as achieving 100% accuracy 100% of the time, along with 100% agreement from 100% of the population on that point. Similar statistics emerge from Iran, where the Islamic Republic regularly canvasses citizens for feedback on such crucial media issues as the tightness of their shackles and the degree to which Israel is responsible for every ill that has ever plagued humanity, plus several more.
The findings also represent a continuing trend in American journalism away from reliance on established, credible news organizations, in favor of sources that uphold the viewer or reader’s preconceived notions about the world. As a natural consequence, says Stanley Spidowski, a consultant with U62 Media, a trade group, they mistrust any outlet other than their preferred biased source.
“The major players have been struggling for years with a shrinking market for objective reporting,” he said in response to the data. “The only major American outlet that has really managed to ride this wave is Fox, which has never relied as heavily as the other organizations on facts.”
Foreign media did not fare well in the survey either, though only 20% of respondents were aware that such outlets exist. Only 15%, or barely a third of respondents, knew that the BBC existed in the first place, let alone that the initials stand for British Broad-abuse Coverups. Iran’s Press TV can boast even less penetration of the American market, at -12% awareness. Among overseas organizations, only Al-Jazeera was identified by a significant number of respondents, though more than 80% of them thought the Qatari network was made up by Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart.
New York, NY (AP) – Continuing his efforts to employ mayoral authority to stem the rising tide of obesity, New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg launched another initiative today aimed at curtailing children’s consumption of fatty, sugary foods, this time as part of the treats traditionally distributed by the birthday celebrant to his or her departing guests.
The goody bag, or loot bag, as it is known in some quarters, traditionally contains several sweets and greasy or salty snacks, and sometimes cake or cookies. Some versions also include a small game or toy, but the focus of the new initiative – and of the kids who receive the bags – remains on the food portion of the contents.
Pending approval by the City Council, the measure would limit such bags to a single “fun size” sweet or salty treat, with the remainder of the contents comprising unprocessed fruits or vegetables and no more than 2 ounces of starchy, unsweetened material such as crackers or pretzels. Non-food items are not subject to the new legislation, and no limits would be placed on the quantity or type.
Earlier versions of the measure had a proposed mandatory inclusion of information on the importance of healthful eating habits, but according mayoral aides, Mr. Bloomberg quickly realized that such a requirement would be cumbersome and would necessitate further bureaucratic involvement to produce or approve such material and provide for its adequate distribution throughout the five boroughs.
The mayor’s previous anti-obesity initiative sought to ban the sale of large-size soft drinks. Though that measure passed the City Council, a subsequent lawsuit and opposition by the soft drink industry resulted in its cancellation. The goody bag industry does not enjoy the same financial and political clout as the soft drink companies, and experts expect the measure to remain on the books if it passes.
“Odds are this one will do well,” said N. Annie State, a political analyst for the journal Welfare Mom’s Day. “The snack food industry is too fragmented to put up much of a fight, and parents everywhere are getting more and more health-conscious.”
Other experts disagreed. “The demographic that actually puts together goody bags is not the demographic that suffers most from childhood obesity,” noted Ray Syst, who writes about diet and class issues for Time Magazine. “The people who buy the junk food in quantity are the ones who don’t have time to prepare a wholesome birthday party to begin with – they’ll just take the kid out to Burger King or some pizza place. This legislation misses the point entirely, and inconveniences people without accomplishing its goal.”
Syst said a better initiative would be to institute a minimum age for fast food items such as most states already have for tobacco products and alcoholic beverages, but acknowledges that would be an uphill fight even in regulation-friendly sates such as New York. Alternatively, he suggested, bag manufacturers could be required to print warnings regarding the dangers of overconsumption of unhealthy foods, much in the way cigarette packages must feature such a prominent label.
Washington, DC (AP) – Fresh from a trip to the Middle East and eager to showcase American decisiveness and will, US Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters today that the Obama administration is seriously considering leaning in the direction of talking seriously about examining the ways in which the US might convey its possible intent to get involved in the Syrian conflict.
The conflict, a civil war now more than two years old, has claimed in excess of 70,000 lives, according to UN figures, in addition to millions of refugees driven to neighboring countries and millions more displaced within Syria. Conflicts among world powers and among the various rebel groups have stymied efforts to bring the fighting to a close, or even to get the warring sides to the negotiating table. In the meantime, sporadic military assistance continues to flow to both sides, with Russia and Iran primarily supporting the Assad regime and other Arab states and Turkey siding with the rebels.
To date, however, active military assistance to the rebels by outside nations has not materialized, as western countries are loath to get involved in yet another overseas intervention with an unclear outcome and no exit strategy. The Kerry announcement has injected a note of almost-on-the-way-toward-the-neighborhood-of-decisiveness into the mix. It implies that the US, which has provided what it calls non-lethal material support to the rebels in the form of medical supplies and other off-the-battlefield assistance, will now lean more toward an active role in pondering whether any further discussion of extending help might be in the offing.
The announcement may also serve as a rebuttal to President Obama’s Republican critics in Congress, who have long agitated for a more muscular foreign policy and a more robust defense of Israel’s regional interests. Instability in Syria, now spilling over into Lebanon, has left Israel with no clear course of action that would increase its sense of security.
Some Republicans welcomed the announcement, but cautioned that it was too early to draw conclusion on the President’s initiative. “We will form a fact-checking committee to gather information on whether to debate the President’s possible change of approach, if and when such a development seems to be happening,” said Speaker of the House John Boehner.
Other Republicans were less thrilled. “Some of us had hoped to see something more definitive,” said a disappointed Ralph Reed, a conservative lobbyist. “Mr. Kerry could at least have told us that the possibility of actually militarily asserting our interests has m0ved beyond the declarative stage and into the substantive phase of imagining what scenarios might be feasible if certain unlikely circumstances play out exactly as we would like it.”
At press time, a spokesman for the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an umbrella group representing some of the rebel factions, was deliberating whether to consult his colleagues about formulating a response that might acknowledge the announcement.
New York, New York, May 12 (AP) Condé-Nasty Publications announced today that starting next month it will begin selling a magazine aimed at the growing demographic of Porn-Again Christians, called Repenthouse. The magazine will come monthly to its subscribers and be available at nudesstands across the country.
With the release, Condé-Nasty thus hopes to penetrate the coveted demographic that worships Jizzus. A pokesman for the organization, Li Bido, said that Condé-Nasty had been probing the Porn Again market for some time, and biding its time until the moment was ripe to thrust itself onto the scene. “There’s a tremendous amount of exposure we can expect with this venture,” said Bido. “It’s not often that a mainstream publishing outfit seeks to establish itself as a presence in such a niche market, I’ll admit, but with our industry already strapped for cash, finding the sweet spot for our product can spread doors open wide for us in other arenas.”
Repenthouse represents a formidable risk for Condé-Nasty, however. If the magazine fails to penetrate the market to a significant degree, and does not stimulate sufficient subscriptions or sales to warrant its continued issue, the venture could showcase the publisher’s impotence or give it the stigmata of an outfit already on its knees.
“It’s an ambitious idea, I’ll give them that,” allowed Larry Flynt, an industry veteran with significant experience. “But they can’t exactly expect to be wearing divine protection. While I don’t yet see the Four Whoresmen of the Apocalypse breathing down their necks, but if sales are flaccid the whole enterprise will be blown to Kingdom Come,” he warned.
“But if they pull it off, I’ll be the first one to give them a hand; jobs are scarce enough, and anyone who can stimulate growth in this business will be snatching up profits,” he added.
At Condé-Nasty the mood is decidedly optimistic. “Things are definitely looking up for us – we have a few tricks left up our sleeves,” said President Lou Brickant. “Our religious values really come through with Repenthouse: our thrust in God and our fleshes of divine inspiration will be evident to any Porn Again reader. We have plenty of material over which our subscribers will want to linger – we don’t veneriate the saints the way Catholics do, but there’s a decided reverence for foreplague and the Sin-optic Gospels.”
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Washington, DC (AP) – In a dramatic shift pregnant with implications for the debate over the legality and morality of abortion, the Republican National Committee announced today that it intends to alter its attitude toward the issue: the rising number of homosexuals in American society means a greater proportion of fetuses are homosexual, and the GOP will therefore no longer oppose abortion.
“The problematic morality of aborting a fetus remains,” said Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, at a press conference, “but on balance we give priority to the greater good of ridding our society of the evil of homosexuality; if it means aborting many fetuses to do so, we are willing to pay that price.” He cited other cases in which conservatives have supported sacrificing human life for higher goals, such as the 2003 Iraq invasion, which produced the societal benefit of enriched defense contractors and, at least temporarily, American control over oil-producing areas.
To some observers, the GOP shift was to be expected. “It was never really about abortion per se,” said Ann Coulter, a conservative commentator. “We conservatives talk about the sanctity of life quite a bit, but that’s just a simplification. If we cared about life so much we’d be all for expanding welfare and health care.” In fact, says Coulter, homosexuality is a greater threat to societal morality than abortion, since the most likely and numerous cases of abortion involve populations that the GOP wrote off long ago as irredeemably immoral: African-Americans, Latino immigrants, and anyone with an annual Adjusted Gross Income of less than $180,000.
While echoing Coulter’s assessment, other analysts cast the GOP’s change of position in starker demographic terms. “The Republican Party suffered an unexpected backlash this past November when their campaign strategy clearly indicated they view women, African-Americans, and Latinos as threats to society’s fiber, moral or economic,” explained Immie Grant, who writes about politics for The Los Angeles Times. “The election results gave the GOP a wake-up call about the future of America’s population: browner, poorer and in favor of greater government involvement in social affairs.”
Grant noted that some of the less scrupulous Republican rhetoric during and after election time accused the Democrats of registering illegal immigrants and others to vote. Although voter fraud accounted for an insignificant fraction of voter turnout, the demographic menace implied by that accusation made the Republicans realize they must act either to embrace those growing demographics with more a more solicitous platform, or combat the very growth of those populations. Since the number of unwanted pregnancies is high in those population sectors, the new GOP strategy will also have the effect of limiting the number of registered voters hostile to Republicans, to the tune of thousands per year.
In keeping with its confrontational stance of late, the party decided to stand up directly for the values it espouses, and elected to oppose the growth of those undesirable populations instead of appealing to them. The availability of abortions is but one prong in their strategy: others include maintaining the ban on narcotics and other controlled substances, which helps foster gang violence and reduce the number of inner-city residents available to compete with whites for coveted jobs and influence; and keeping firearms freely and easily available to increase the chances that those minorities will fall victim to the use of those weapons.
Coulter did note that the shift might bring the GOP on a collision course with more traditionally minded voters, especially in conservative Christian circles, and with the Catholic Church. She declined to speculate how the party will navigate the new set of considerations, but did mention that ideological integrity has never been a strong point with Republicans.
“Remember, this is the party that gave us a ‘fiscally conservative’ Reagan who increased government spending like no one before him,” she said.
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New Delhi, India (AP) – In the wake of several violent rapes over the last several months, the Indian government has announced a cap on horrifically brutal sexual assaults, limiting the number to 12 per year. The law will go into effect in January 2014.
The four-year-old victim of an April 17 rape in Madhya Pradesh died today, on the heels of a similarly brutal rape involving a five-year-old girl in New Delhi two weeks ago. Sexual assault of minors in India has become increasingly common in recent years, or at least have become increasingly reported. Two other cases of gang rapes made international headlines in December and January and sparked tumultuous protests across the country. Demonstrators accused the police and prosecutors of treating accused rapists leniently and turning a blind eye to the phenomenon.
The new legislation, formally ratified this morning, applies only to those “non-consensual sexual acts,” as the bill refers to them, that generate significant media coverage and spark public outcry. Theoretically, all twelve highly publicized annual beating-rapes or rapes of children could occur in the same month, as long as none occurred during the rest of that calendar year. And since the law only covers the assaults that make headlines, it will not affect the thousands of rapes that continue to occur.
“This is a call to rapists to be much more careful,” said Shewantsit Dontcarewatchusay, a Mumbai sociologist who has studied the issue extensively with the young offspring of his neighbors. “It would be too ambitious, I think, to call for a complete elimination of excessively violent rapes in so short a time, but anything to keep things quiet is a welcome step.”
Dontcarewatchusay expects further legislation in the same vein if the community of rapists and child molesters embraces the new law. The practice of highly publicized gang rape might fall out of disuse entirely if adherence to the new limits takes hold. “It’s in their interest to generate as little publicity as possible so they can continue their work,” he said of his fellow practitioners.
Some advocates have been agitating for more reform along different lines. Idowanna Takkabowdittagain, a lobbyist, represents a number of organizations that would prefer the simpler step of a ban on using social media to facilitate the unwanted publicity that has made these incidents so unpopular. The advantages of such a policy, she noted, have been demonstrated in locales such as North Korea, where not a single rape has been reported in international media in decades.
Others call for more sweeping measures. “If we outlaw women this problem would solve itself,” argues Missengh Deforestforthetrees, who leads a non-profit legal research foundation. He referred to similar initiatives in other countries, but concedes that India’s huge population might make implementation of the measure a formidable logistical challenge.
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Conservative commentators, even some typically loyal to the network, have lashed out at the news team for resorting to a complete picture instead of using half-truths in an effort to paint Democrats as immoral.
“Its a disgrace,” said Ann Coulter. “This is not what we’ve come to expect from FOX, and they’d better get their act together if they want to hold onto their conservative credentials.”
Glenn Beck, a former FOX host, concurred. “Facts are things you get from networks beneath contempt, such as CNN,” he said. “The cause of right-wing conservatism is badly served when the flagship network of the movement resorts to techniques and content unbecoming of its viewership and reputation.” He said the network could reestablish itself as independent of factual accuracy if it made a concerted effort, but only time would tell if it could sustain that effort.
In this case, a FOX reporter mentioned reputable medical statistics on gunshot injuries and deaths, statistics that unmistakably frame gun control as a public health issue worthy of consideration. After angry reactions from the National Rifle Association and from Merle and Lydia Guntherspoon of Texarkana, Arkansas, the network retracted the report.
Other news media organizations have also been accused of factual accuracy, and responded in various ways. Al Jazeera, for example, has found itself trying, often unsuccessfully, to negotiate the boundary between journalistic plausibility and anti-Israel bias.
Some outlets have developed strict policies to forestall such criticism. The British Broadcasting Corporation, though recently mired in an ethics scandal, has only rarely let facts get in the way of its reporting, most notably in the Middle East, thanks to a rigid policy of always portraying one side in a conflict as wrong, facts notwithstanding. It remains unclear whether FOX will tighten its guidelines – or at least the enforcement of existing ones, if any – or will simply let the incident slide and assume the prevailing corporate culture will prevent a recurrence.
“I can see them going either way, really,” said media analyst Leis Daly. “FOX wants to maintain its reputation, so they might work hard to keep the facts from intruding on their work. On the other hand, the demographic that gave rise to FOX’s success, and from which it draws its ethics, embodies a conservatism so powerful that actually doing anything to effect change runs counter to everything it holds dear.”
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Chicago, IL, April 24 (AP) – S, an infant born early last week, is already dreading the lifetime of hearing about the discomfort and trouble he caused his parents in the day leading up to his birth.
“I can’t wait for it to kick in,” remarked the nine-day-old, grimacing at the thought, or possibly at nothing. “You’d think world events, or actually amusing things, would make better fodder for conversation, but no, it’ll be decades before discussion of my mother’s experience with me peters out.”
His mother is expected to regale friends and acquaintances with the 34 hours of labor preceding S’s delivery by suction in the wee hours of last Sunday. After the postpartum period, when talk of the labor and delivery is typical of any birth aftermath, the mother’s relatively unusual travails will continue to be described when she wishes to contribute to a conversation about childbirth, or when she wishes to half-jokingly explain her child’s tendencies or behavior.
S’s fears are well founded, says Columbia University cultural anthropologist Beth Nossentrik. “The difficulty of a labor and delivery is a reliable predictor of the number of times the experience will be brought up in conversation,” she explained in a telephone interview. “For each additional hour of labor, a mother can be expected to tell her story an average of eleven times per year in the first four years, with the number gradually decreasing – unless she subsequently has more children, in which case the number actually increases by two until four years after the last child is born.”
According to Nossentrik, other factors can add to the number of times the narrative is rehashed. In this case, she says the fact the labor went on that long without a Cesarean Section being performed has the potential to add anywhere from six to eight occasions for relating the story over the next two years, and twice per year on average after that.
Chicago-area family therapist Hedda Schrinker concurs. “The statistics are pretty robust in that regard,” she said in an e-mail. “Mothers tend to want to share the unusual aspects of their childbirth experience. What I would also add is that the numbers tick up again slightly when she is about to become a grandmother, and do not really come down again,” unless she eventually suffers a stroke or other debilitating condition that removes her ability to communicate coherently.
S’s parents also feature the additional augmenting factor of friends in multiple far-flung places who will need the story repeated to them individually, as they will not be in position to hear it collectively. Shrinker has attempted to reassure S that his situation is not unique, and that many other perfectly dysfunctional parent-child relationships have weathered this sort of repeated rehashing.
“He kind of whined when I said that,” admitted Shrinker. “It reminds me of when I had my second daughter…” she began.
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New York, NY, April 19 (AP) – Responding to increasing pressure from parents, the Bloomberg administration announced this morning that it will begin penalizing people who offer advice to parents without being asked to do so. Additionally, people whose unsolicited remarks include implied or outright criticism will be subject to further fines.
At a press conference on the steps of City Hall, Mayor Bloomberg introduced the initiative, which he called Urban Parent-Youth Operation to Urge Restraint in Scolding (UPYOURS). UPYOURS, approval of which in the City Council is all but assured, will take effect in time for the more pleasant spring weather, when children and their parents return to playgrounds en masse, often attracting “helpful” comments from others.
“It’s high time we defend the good citizens of this city from the scourge of harassers,” said the mayor. He cited statistics compiled over the last decade which document a fourfold increase in the number of uninvited parenting critiques or remarks within the five boroughs. “As the most responsive administration this city has ever seen, our response is UPYOURS.”
Neighborhood parent associations had taken note of the increase and began petitioning the city to address the problem. “We parents have enough challenges living in this city,” said Getta Wayfromme, a Park Slope mother of two preschoolers. “Between the mommy-child yoga, the swimming lessons, the interrogation – I mean vetting – of possible caregivers and the shopping for stylish accessories, it’s tough enough as it is. We don’t need people implying that we’re not already giving our children the very best, let alone saying it outright.”
Not everyone is pleased with UPYOURS. Sharyn N. Karen, 54, of Williamsburg, says she has seen enough parents to know which ones are doing fine and which ones could use some helpful guidance. “People don’t like to admit it, but they need other people,” said the childless, single artist. “It’s just good that there are people such as I to helpfully correct the errors of others’ ways, such as when they fail to impart when to use the phrase, ‘such as I’ instead of ‘like me.’”
Other provisions of the city ordinance include: greater leniency for advice-givers who have children the same age as the parent receiving the comments, all the more so if the children have been playing together for more than thirty seconds; additional fines for belittling or dismissing the anxiety of a parent over his or her child’s possibly fatal food allergies; and mandatory jail sentences for lecturing on the benefits of cloth diapers or for treating breastfeeding in public as objectionable.
At the press conference, Bloomberg praised the parents who first proposed UPYOURS. “This city has always benefited from citizens who understand where public action is necessary and where things are best left in the realm of the individual. As this administration has made clear before, it is not the place of other individuals to tell people how to live their lives.”
“That’s the city’s job,” he said.
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Washington, DC (AP) – For the first time in two decades, the government has increased the minimum number of supermarket checkout lanes that must be closed at one time, raising it to 4 from 3. The law applies to supermarkets that have at least 6 checkout lanes.
The law, dubbed the American Supermarket Standard Hampering Of Line Expediency, aims to maintain a certain level of customer dissatisfaction. “If the American supermarket consumer experiences too much efficiency, we run the risk of greater spending, which in turn contributes to inflation,” explained the bill’s sponsor, Fred Upton (R-MI). “While we’re working so hard to rein in the deficit, it makes no sense for us to be encouraging freewheeling spending on the part of Mr. and Mrs. America, so this is a natural move.”
The bill passed by a large margin in both houses, owing to bipartisan disdain for people who actually have to visit supermarkets, the overwhelming majority of whom do not make political campaign contributions. Retail groups lobbied heavily in favor of the law, preferring to have the option of blaming restrictions imposed from the outside for unpleasant conditions in their stores.
A provision of the law also clarifies the procedures for “express” lanes. Under the previous law, passed in 1981, strict rules prevented supermarkets from calling anything greater than 15 items “express,” with exceptions for multiple units of the same item. Under the new law, an additional provision mandates at least two delays of at least three minutes each for each item fewer than the express ceiling.
For example, if the lane maximum is 10 items or fewer and a customer wished to purchase only seven items, the cashier will be required to find some problem that takes an extra nine minutes to resolve before he or she may complete the transaction and accept the next customer. The bill gives a list of such possible problems but allows for the supermarket management to add to the list at its discretion.
Included in the list are running out of receipt paper, deciding it is time to replenish one or more of the small change denominations, and difficulty with authorizing a particular purchase – or any other difficulty that would necessitate calling over an already-occupied management figure.
Macomb Waite-Moore, manager of a Safeway in Portland, Oregon, greeted the news of the law’s passage with circumspection. “Fact is, we’ve been doing this kind of thing for years in any case.”
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