Saturday, March 12, 2005

The Lady or the Asswipe 

You are by now familiar with the game of Zemblan Headline Challenge, in which we juxtapose two items, one of them (sadly) true and the other (sadly) not, and dare you to tell us which is which. Today we have a gen-you-wine hard-news story from the AP wire, forwarded to us by Zemblan patriot J.D., and alongside it a whimsical fantasia concocted by those incorrigible practitioners of the deadpan at the Swift Report. As always, the first ten respondents to correctly identify the ringer each win one dollar American (less 37 cents for postage and a nominal processing charge of $0.95).

And now . . . Item the First!
Florida's Legislature is flush with good ideas. Sen. Al Lawson's involves a 2 cent-per-roll tax on toilet paper to pay for wastewater treatment and help small towns upgrade their sewer systems.

The Democratic lawmaker's pay-as-you-go bill has been the source of many jokes - bathroom humor you might say - but he says the issue is a serious one, especially in some of the fast-growing Panhandle coastal counties in his district . . . .

In a Republican-dominated Legislature that doesn't like new taxes, the idea is likely to pretty quickly end up in the tank.

"We're not wild about tax increases," said House Speaker Allan Bense, R-Panama City. "But we'll certainly let it go through the system."

It would also need approval from Gov. Jeb Bush. He said that if toilet paper is taxed, people might use less of it.

"That's not necessarily a good thing," noted the governor.

And . . . Item the Second!
The brain-dead Florida woman known to her supporters as 'Terri' made her presence felt on Capitol Hill this week as two Florida legislators introduced a bill intended to protect her life. Florida Senator Mel Martinez and Florida Representative Dave Weldon have filed a bill that would stymie the efforts of the woman’s husband, Michael Schiavo, to remove his wife's feeding tube by guaranteeing all Americans the right to food, water, and shelter.

But while Ms. Schiavo herself enjoys wide-spread support in the Republican-dominated legislature, few lawmakers have the stomach to embrace the concept of a guaranteed right to nourishment, warning that it could be taken advantage of by individuals other than Terri Schiavo, including poor Americans who are not mentally incapacitated.

Legal experts also warn that by embracing the so-called ‘right to eat,’ the Bush Administration risks contradicting its avowed opposition to new international human rights. Earlier this month, the US fought unsuccessfully to amend documents from the historic Beijing Conference with language mandating that no new rights be created.

“The problem here is that once you say people have a right to eat, where does it stop?” asks Eric Stafford,” a spokesman for the Foundation for Moral Law, a nonprofit legal organization that seeks to reestablish a society with good morals and values as set forth in the Holy Bible. "If you say that everyone can eat and drink according to their needs, then how do we make sure that it applies just to Terri Schiavo and not to millions of other Americans, let alone to people around the world?"

But Terri’s supporters, who gather in Clearwater, FL, each day in front of the home of Michael Schiavo, say that they are hungry for action—even it means embracing a law that is socialistic in nature. “If we end up protecting some other people in addition to Terri, so be it,” says Maryanne Gable, who traveled here from Augusta, GA to join the campaign to save Terri.
Answers? This one's true. This one's better than true.

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