Odds & Ends: Airhead Leo; Customers Getting Irate?; Sprawling Mistakes; Ministry for Self Esteem

End Notes for the May issue of CEI UpDate

WHO’S THE MAYOR OF LOUISIANA, ANYWAY? The intellectual heir to Raquel Welch appears to be…global warming airhead Leonardo DiCaprio. Miss Welch told Larry King’s audience in 1989 that she was going to Chicago in support of some political cause because “Chicago is one of our 52 states….In 52 states across the nation we have to bail water now out of the boat.” DiCaprio was luckier during his Earth Day “interview” with President Clinton for oxymoronically-monikered ABC News: They edited out his monstrous gaffe. Thankfully, Salon.com reprinted the entire transcript released by the White House, which showed that Leo should have spent a little more time in school and less in the studio. Said DiCaprio to the leader of the free world: “Now, Louisiana is the second largest consumer of fossil fuels and the city most at risk for sea level rise. Can’t something be done like in Atlanta where the government withheld highway funds, making it the model city for environmental responsibility?”

WOULD YOU LIKE THE LOVE STAMPS OR THE IRATE STAMPS? Remember how the Postal Service used to jack the prices of first-class stamps? They would announce the increase and then, bam, overnight, they would roll out already-prepared stamps with various letters on them. The “A-rate” stamp was used when it went from 13 cents to 15 cents. Most recently used was the “H” stamp, when the rate went from 32 to 33 cents. But the Postal Service is halting this annoying practice, and has pledged to actually print the value on stamps for future increases. How come? The USPS wouldn’t fess up, but one suspects the postal monopolists were a little fearful offorcing an “I-rate” stamp on a captive market.

OOOPS, SORRY What’s the penalty for yelling “Sprawl!” in a crowded theater? Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman touted the findings of a report in December that said Pennsylvania had lost 1.1 million acres of land to dreaded development from 1992 to 1997. The numbers were seized upon by advocates of government policies which would restrict the rights of landowners to do what they want with their property. But hold on a minute. Turns out the numbers are off. Way off. A computer glitch screwed up the estimates, and the numbers are going to have to be redone. Not surprisingly, Glickman and company declined to hold a press conference to correct the record.

REINFORCE THOSE CATWALKS? Is the air thinner in the UK? That might be the only explanation for plans by regulators to promulgate absurd rules aimed at the fashion industry. Worried that the culture’s obsession with being thin is lowering the average bird’s self-esteem and leading her down the road to an eating disorder, the Department of Trade and Industry is considering regulations which would force modeling agencies and advertisers to use people with what are considered normal body shapes.