Odds & Ends: PETA Notes; Government Gaffes; High Tech Divorce?


The sensitivity monitors at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals are taking their crusade to the world of sports.  PETA is asking one of professional football’s most storied franchises, the Green Bay Packers, to change its name.  The Green Bay gridders, named for the meat packers who work in slaughterhouses, have been around since 1919.  Home to legends like Vince Lombardi and Bart Starr, the Packers have politely declined PETA’s request.



What else is PETA up to?  From a recent PETA news release (this is not a joke): “SEXY DOMINATRIX TO UNLEASH PETA’S LEATHER-FREE ENTRY IN COW PARADE — Despite the punishing summer heat, notorious rubberwear designer Pigalle and one of her sexy friends will don full-body plastic dominatrix outfits to unveil PETA’s leather-free entry in CowParade New York 2000….Pigalle will unveil PETA’s ‘cow.’  The funky ‘cow,’ which is decorated entirely with faux leather boots, jackets, pants, and belts, illustrates how easy it is to find cruelty-free clothing….Pigalle, who took her name from the infamous red-light district in Paris and is known for her synthetic ‘leather’ lingerie and clubwear, urges the fashion-conscious to shed their skins.  Says Pigalle, ‘Wearing skins won’t make you look sexy.  Animal suffering is a turn off.’”   With luck PETA literature will now be distributed in the nation’s bondage dungeons and S&M clubs.



Not wanting to give any offense, the US State Department has softened the term “Rogue State,” usually applied to, well, rogue states, such as North Korea and Libya.  The rogue states of the world will now officially be known as “States of Concern.”  Apparently Madeleine Albright’s crew is worried that low self-esteem on the part of the world’s dictators could imperil serious negotiations, but they have stopped short of issuing formal letters of apology to Kaddhafi and his fellow rogues.



The good news from Los Alamos is that investigators do not think the out-of-control fires caused by the Forest Service, which destroyed over 400 homes and forced the evacuation of 25,000 people, played any part in the missing-nuclear-secrets caper.  The bad news from government investigators? They think the nuclear secrets were missing before the fire.



Another reason to be suspicious of government statistics: For years the Pentagon has placed the number of American casualties in the Korean War at roughly 52,000.  But just this May they admitted they goofed.  The actual number of Americans who died in Korea is 36,000.  Nice to know they could be wrong by nearly half.



In order to make Los Angeles safer and more beautiful for visitors to the Democratic National Convention in August, city authorities reportedly are rounding up stray dogs and euthanizing them.  Some parts of the city are said to have particular problems with roving packs of dogs.  No word yet on what the city plans to do with the roving packs of liberals and reporters during the convention.



Amazon.com’s Jeff Bezos surprised many at the 2000 American Booksellers Association convention in Chicago when he predicted that e-commerce would probably not take over the marketplace.  According to the AP, Bezos thinks that 10 years from now, only 15 percent of sales will take place online.  “The physical world is still the best medium ever invented,” said Bezos.  “We are a gregarious species.”



That’s the word from the Kremlin, but it’s not directed at the free world. It’s directed instead at Russia’s “progressive” tax code.  Parliament is seriously considering scrapping its tax code and instituting a flat 13 percent income tax.  The system now taxes income at rates ranging from 12 to 30 percent.  Russia hasn’t done much right since the Commies raised the white flag a decade ago.  This is a good start.



Australia’s Federal Health Minister thinks it should be illegal to smoke while driving.  After all, it’s illegal to use a cell phone.  He thinks it’s inconsistent to ban one activity and not the other.  In the United States, of course, the car is about the only place one can smoke these days.



Germany’s Green Party is suffering a huge identity crisis, with a large faction calling on the party to abandon its traditional hostility to the automobile.  According to one news service account, “It is likely that this potential shift in Green ideology, argued in a nine point discussion paper last Friday, but yet to be agreed-on party wide, has come in response to the party’s realization that it is losing voters’ support in a society where numbers of car users continue to grow annually.”



And now you’re under arrest!  Expect to hear that if you find yourself in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and you’re slathered with perfume.  No matter that smoking is legal, and that the port town often stinks of fish.  Perfumes have been banned in public places in Halifax since 1996.  The ban, according to Reuters, is “designed to prevent illness caused by allergies and other discomforts.”  One high school student was recently arrested by Canadian Mounties for wearing perfume after a teacher complained the fragrance was making her ill.



John Marshall wrote that the power to tax involves the power to destroy, and legislators in the Volunteer State have been laboring to prove exactly that point.  Efforts by Gov. Don Sundquist and members of the legislature to impose a state income tax on voters were repelled by a groundswell of popular opposition to the plan, much of it fomented by talk radio. (Sundquist’s 1994 and 1998 campaigns relied heavily on a pledge to prevent enactment of a state income tax.)  So who did the lawmakers in Nashville go after next?  You guessed it, the same talk-radio stations which stood up to the income tax plan.  Under legislation introduced right after the plan died, the radio stations’ parent companies would have been saddled with a 6 percent gross receipts tax.  Cooler heads prevailed in the Music City, though, and that plan was tabled, too.



A Muslim man in Egypt can divorce his wife simply by telling her “I divorce you” three times. But not by e-mail.  According to the New York Post, an Egyptian court said “Islamic laws cannot be interpreted to accept electronic documents as proof.”