05 April 2005

Channeling a Snotty Paul Harvey

Some days, there's not much news to report; other days, there's an embarrassment of riches.

CBC News reports that, starting in 2007, most Canadians attempting to escape their "nation" enter the United States will be required to show a valid passport:
Canadians without a passport will be barred from entering the United States after Dec. 31, 2006, unless they have a special U.S. "laser visa" border crossing card that includes a fingerprint or other "biometric identifier" such as a retinal scan.

Those cards are issued mostly to Mexicans who want to enter the U.S.

Currently, Canadians and Americans are able to enter the United States with little more identification than a driver's licence or a birth certificate, though a passport has sometimes made it simpler to satisfy immigration officers at the border.

The new rules will still allow Canadians to enter the United States without being fingerprinted.

This change is part of a larger effort by the Department of Homeland Security to update our existing Canadian travel policies. Key dates for implementation of these changes, designated "Operation Choke Off the Flow of Those Smug, Maple Leaf-Wearing Bastards", include:
  1. Passports Required by 2007;
  2. Radio-Tagging Mandatory by 2008; and
  3. Hunting with Dogs Permitted by 2009.

The death of Pope John Paul II this past Saturday marked the end of an historically-significant papacy and a truly remarkable life. It also heralded the birth of a papal superhero:
Pope John Paul II is being reborn in a Colombian comic book as a superhero battling evil with an anti-Devil cape and special chastity pants.

The first episode of the "Incredible Popeman" is about to go on sale in Colombia and shows the late Polish pontiff meeting comic book legends such as Batman and Superman to learn how to use superpowers to battle Satan.

"The pope was a real-life superhero, of flesh and blood," said Colombian artist Rodolfo Leon, a non-practicing Catholic who has been working on the comic book for about a year.

Like any self-respecting superhero, the Incredible Popeman has a battery of special equipment. Along with his yellow cape and green chastity pants, the muscular super-pontiff wields a faith staff with a cross on top and carries holy water and communion wine.

In the comic book, the pope dies and is reborn with superpowers beyond the infallibility Catholic doctrine gave him on Earth.

. . . .

He also plans to produce Incredible Popeman action dolls.

"He isn't John Paul II any more," Leon said. "From now on, he's the Incredible Popeman."

Reached for comment, Mehmet Ali Agca was surprised by the artist's audacity: "Chastity pants and action dolls? Oh man, talk about taking an express train straight to hell." There's no word yet whether the Incredible Popeman will appear in the forthcoming sequel to Hellboy.

Reuters reports that Florida no longer will require retreat before the use of deadly force is permitted in self-defense:
The Florida House of Representatives, citing the need to allow people to "stand their ground," voted 94-20 to codify and expand court rulings that already allow people to use deadly force to protect themselves in their homes without first trying to escape.

The new bill goes further by allowing citizens to use deadly force in a public place if they have a reasonable belief they are in danger of death or great bodily harm. It applies to all means of force that may result in death, although the legislative debate focused on guns.

The "Stand Your Ground" bill passed the Senate last week on a 39-0 vote and now goes to Republican Gov. Jeb Bush, who indicated he will sign it.

"This is about meeting force with force," said House sponsor Republican state Rep. Dennis Baxley of Ocala. "If I'm attacked, I should not have to retreat."

In related news, Michael Schiavo clarified that his seven-years-long battle to end his wife's life had been an act of self-defense: "After a few years in a persistent vegetative state, Terri suddenly came at me with a crazed look in her eyes; I had no choice but to defend myself." Notified of these previously-unpublished details of the Schiavo case, Florida Governor Jeb Bush was introspective: "Well, I guess that changes everything. I suppose it's all OK then."

A library assistant who had claimed she was discriminated against by Harvard University because she was "a pretty girl who wore sexy outfits" lost her federal lawsuit on Monday:
Harvard University did not discriminate against a library assistant who claimed she was repeatedly turned down for promotions because school officials saw her as "a pretty girl" whose attire was too "sexy," a federal jury found Monday.

Desiree Goodwin, who is black, also claimed that Harvard passed her over because of her race and gender. She had been seeking damages for emotional distress and lost wages.

. . . .

Goodwin, who has worked as a library assistant at Harvard since 1994, claimed in the lawsuit that she had been rejected for seven promotions at the library since 1999.

She said she was shocked when, in late 2001, her supervisor told her she would never be promoted at Harvard. In court documents, Goodwin said her supervisor told her she was "a joke" at the university's main library, where she "was seen merely as a pretty girl who wore sexy outfits, low cut blouses, and tight pants."

But Harvard attorney Richard Riley said Goodwin's supervisors encouraged her, helped her with her resume and recommended her for other positions. For each job she applied for, Harvard received applications from dozens of other qualified applicants from across the country, he said.

Goodwin's claims were dismissed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination.

It was noted that after the verdict went against her, Goodwin related that "One of my friends said to me, no matter how it turns out, standing up for yourself is a victory in itself." Fortunately, federal juries tend to disagree and require a higher level of proof, or at least some proof. Perhaps the Special Olympics or an under-10 soccer league would be more Goodwin's speed; word is that they give you awards for just showing up.

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