Jan. 28, 2000
Struggling to find recruits among today’s youth who would rather be rich movie stars than underpaid grunts, the US armed forces are exploring new marketing strategies to replace the now defunct “be all you can be” ads. According to REUTERS, Secretary of Defense Cohen hopped a plane to Los Angeles this week where he “chatted” with Tom Cruise, Julia Roberts, Harrison Ford, and Robert De Niro about doing public service announcements for the military. Cohen said the idea is based on the surge in enlistees that followed the release of the film “Top Gun” back in 1986. If the big turn around in literacy since sports stars began urging kids to “stay in school” is any indication, the new strategy should be a raging success.
Jan. 27, 2000
Sen. John McCain is a staunch advocate of the War on Drugs … unless, of course, the war happens to come to his living room. The JEWISH WORLD REVIEW reports the straight dope on Cindy McCain’s drug addiction.
While her husband was busy opposing legislation to provide treatment for drug offenders in Arizona, Mrs. McCain escaped prosecution for forging prescriptions and stealing drugs intended for foreign relief from a charity she headed.
The mainstream media seems to have bought the McCain spin doctors’ claim that she unwittingly got hooked on painkillers initially prescribed for a back problem. But Mrs. McCain makes for an unconvincing victim. For one thing, she seems to be curiously invulnerable to federal law. Ordinarily, a defendant who committed a crime like Mrs. McCain’s would have, at the very least, been given probation — if not immediately been thrown in jail — and earned a felony record. None of that happened to McCain. Her doctor, however, did lose his license for allowing her to misuse prescriptions.
In addition, McCain fired Tom Gosinski, her charity’s former fund-raising director, after he confronted her about her addiction. Gosinski sued her for wrongful dismissal. She responded by suing him for attempted blackmail, claiming that he had threatened to go to the Drug Enforcement Agency in an attempt to harm her husband.
Jan. 26, 2000
After the last few years’ rash of escaped murderers, killings of both prisoners and guards, and sundry corruption scandals, it’s finally dawned on some members of Congress that perhaps letting private corporations run prisons for profit isn’t such a great idea after all. A bill to ban the federal government from using private prisons and to prohibit states from using federal funds to house their inmates in for-profit lockups has recently been introduced, the MILWAUKEE JOURNAL-SENTINEL reports.
About time, too. Amerca’s private prisons already house tens of thousands of corporate assets, er, inmates.
Jan. 25, 2000
For many sexually harassed women, kicking ass and taking names is just a fantasy. For female bus drivers in the South Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, though, it will soon be a reality, according to THE BBC. The state-sponsored bus company has taken a practical approach to help its female employees, especially conductors, cope with groping and propositions: It has hired a black belt from the Shotokon school of karate to train them.
It could be a trend. The BOSTON GLOBE published an article Sunday about one woman’s campaign in Japan to stop those who would grope her or her daughter on public transportation. Her solution? Make a scene.
So next time you board a bus in Hyderabad or a subway in Tokyo, keep your hands to yourself. Or else.
Jan. 24, 2000
“Poor dear, there’s nothing between his ears.” — Margaret Thatcher on Ronald Reagan in 1988, quoted in The New York Times
The spin to preserve former president Reagan’s reputation by claiming he didn’t begin suffering from Alzheimers until well after his term in office is getting, well, a little crazy.
The latest is from daughter Maureen who confesses that maybe Reagan began succumbing to Alzheimers some time before the official announcement of his diagnosis in 1994, according to REUTERS. Maureen says she should have recognized signs of her father’s failing acuity back in 1993 when he told her he had no memory of making the 1950 film “Prisoners of War.”
Of course, Edmund Morris’ book “Dutch” points out to nobody’s surprise — least of all ours — that Reagan started losing it as early as 1981. Reporter Lesley Stahl also has mentioned that in a 1986 interview with the prez, he seemed glazed over, distant, and didn’t know who Stahl was, despite numerous previous meetings.