Dispatches > Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Issue: "Beyond hate speech," Aug. 20, 2005

Liberals get cold feet about cold Canada

Impassioned liberals threatening to emigrate if George W. Bush won reelection were as serious as Alec Baldwin. Meaning, they weren't serious at all. Nearly nine months following President Bush's November 2004 victory, immigration officials say actually fewer Americans are heading north. In the days following the Bush victory, Canadian officials reported a spike in traffic on their immigration webpage, but Immigration Minister Joe Volpe said the flood of angry Democrats never materialized. "I was absolutely elated to see the number of hits and then my staff said 'You know what? A hit on the internet is after all just a hit,'" Mr. Volpe told Reuters. "I guess I'm happy Republicans and Democrats have found a way to live together in peace and in harmony." Toby Condliffe, who heads the Canadian chapter of Democrats Abroad, doesn't think so. Instead, he explained his own theory to the news service: "I can only assume the Americans who checked out the website subsequently checked out our winter temperatures and further took note that the National Hockey League was being locked out and had second thoughts."

Small letters produce very big numbers

If profits can't push Hollywood to make more family-friendly films, what can? According to a study released by the Dove Foundation, each G-rated film released between 1989 and 2003 averaged $80 million in profits. By comparison, R-rated movies in the same period generated only $7 million profit per film. Apparently, word never reached the business end of Hollywood production houses. Although hugely profitable, G-rated movies accounted for only 4 percent of total movies released from 1989 to 2003 even as 52 percent of all movies released were rated R.

Cowboy Indians

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Squirrels are nuisance enough, but try dodging a cow. New Delhi, India, officials are tired of stray cows roaming across the capital city. On Aug. 5, the Delhi High Court ordered a bounty placed on every head of cattle: 2,000 rupees (or $46) for each stray cow delivered safely into a state shelter. Hindu religion makes cows sacred and harming one could incite a mob. But now with more than $1.6 million in bounty available on the estimated 35,000 stray cows and buffalo that wander New Delhi streets, a new class of cowboy Indians may emerge.

Now hear this

Sharon Rivera of remote Columbia Falls, Mont., is a one-woman complaint department. Not by choice. A printing goof stuck her private telephone number on a Medicaid brochure sent to 339,000 people instructing hearing-impaired folks to dial if they had questions about cuts in the program. Ms. Rivera's phone rings constantly with angst-ridden, often older (and hearing-impaired) callers looking for answers she doesn't have.

Three cheers

A group of Michigan cheerleaders put their team spirit to work solving crime. In Ann Arbor for a competition, the cheerleaders from Ypsilanti's Lincoln High School witnessed a hit-and-run accident near the University of Michigan campus. A truck drove away from the scene-but not before their coach, Patricia Clark, took note of its license plate number. Ms. Clark shouted the number back to the girls, who made a cheer out of the plate numbers, repeating it again and again until they could inform police.

Ads and subtraction

What's the charge for advertised robbery? At least one Kansas newspaper knows. The Lawrence Journal-World settled with a Lawrence woman for an undisclosed amount after the newspaper printed an unclaimed property advertisement with Kris Bryan's address. When Ms. Bryan, 22, returned home, she had to confront complete strangers carrying away her things, including her television, DVD player, and her 7-week-old kitten. In turn, the looters showed Ms. Bryan the ad, which said all property at her address would be thrown away if not collected. "Just that ad in the newspaper doesn't give someone permission to go in and take items," Ms. Bryan said.

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