Friday, February 16, 2007

Voter Tantrums

In my salad days of reporting, I heard a political scientist declare we were "overworking the American voter," forcing too many ballot items before them and deluging them with initiatives. Arizona and California are notorious for offloading issues onto the electorate, especially silly ones -- like that million-dollar voter lottery Arizonans rejected last November. However, it's nice to see some other folks getting into the game.

GO FORTH AND MULTIPLY -- OR ELSE! A group promoting same-sex marriage is trying to get a new item on Washington's ballot: Initiative 957 would require heterosexual couples to have children within three years or see their marriages annulled. It would also force couples to prove they can procreate before they can marry.

Crazy? That's just what the Washington Defense of Marriage Alliance wants you to think.

From the AP:
"Our intention is not to actually put this into law," he said. "All we want is to get this on the ballot and cause people to talk about it."

The group's Web site gives another reason: "And at the very least, it should be good fun to see the social conservatives who have long screamed that marriage exists for the sole purpose of procreation be forced to choke on their own rhetoric."
It's unlikely the initiative will pass, but if it does, it would also face a Washington Supreme Court challenge, forcing the same justices who banned same-sex marriage to consider whether procreation and marriage go hand in hand.

If we want to use the ballot process for hissy fits, your Lightning Round staff offers these items:

* "Three Strikes And You're Out Act" -- an initiative preventing people who have been divorced three times from marrying again. We see it especially useful in Hollywood.

* "Not In Front Of The Kids Act" -- preventing people with children from getting divorced until the young ones have moved out of the house

* "True Love Waits Act" -- requires a 30-day waiting period for marriage licenses. Already, Vegas wedding chapels are lining up opposition. But hey, it worked with handguns, didn't it?

EAT UP. To this day, my beloved Queen Mother says I need to eat more and will lovingly push food my way. In that spirit, a high-end London restaurant is offering free meals to skinny models.

From Reuters:
Bumpkin restaurant in trendy Notting Hill is offering models with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of less than 18 the opportunity to gorge on fish pies, lamb burgers, king prawns and scallops.

"If I could recommend a dish to a size zero model, it would be a charter pie containing leeks, chicken and bacon; it's enough to keep you warm and energized all day," Bumpkin general manager Dariush Nejad said in a statement on Monday.
Of course, this is all a by-product of the debate surrounding social x-rays on the runway after the deaths of two Latin American models. However, we're not told if any mother figure is around to make sure everybody cleans their plate.

HOW NOW SOUSED COW? A Cornish cattle farmer is letting his herd quaff beer -- up to 40 pints a day. Darren Pluess says the beef is better for it.

From the Manchester Evening News:
Mr Pluess claims the result is fatty well-marbled meat and burgers from the herd fetch up to £40 in restaurants.

"You can't really taste the beer, it just tastes like really, really good beef," he said.

"The cows were kept relaxed and happy by being fed beer and having massages.

"The result of this royal treatment is a quality of beef and a taste like no other.

"Due to the cows being so very relaxed a rich, succulent and tender beef is created."
Those massages come from giant self-service brushes on the shed walls that provide a back rub, so exorcise those dirty thoughts.

And we want to know, how's the milk?

HOME GROWN. Don't bother sending any of Mr. Pluess' products to Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester of Montana. They're charbroiled over Japanese beef in the Senate Dining Room.

From the AP:
"We were puzzled that the United States Senate Dining Room featured Japanese beef instead of homegrown Montana beef," they wrote [to the restaurant's general manager], adding that Montana cattle "graze on the high plains and in the mountain valleys so their beef is natural, delicious and healthy."
But the real issue here is hard feelings: the Japanese banned U.S. beef imports for several years in the mad cow disease scare, resuming only after intense begging from Congress.

No word on whether Senators Baucus and Tester had Freedom Fries with their meals.

SERVING WITH A CONDITION. West Virginia legislator Ron Thompson may be the first politican to run to rehab and stay in office at the same time. He has been AWOL from the state capitol for months. Voters still re-elected him, but colleagues declared Thompson's House of Delegates seat vacant after he missed his swearing-in. But they reversed themselves when they got a note from his psychiatrist.

From The (WV) State Journal:
According to the doctor’s letter, Ron Thompson has been suffering for some time from a medical condition that has prevented him from performing his legislative duties and taking the oath of office. The doctor told the speaker that he expects Ron Thompson to make a full recovery and eventually be able to fulfill his obligations to the Legislature and his constituents.
The specifics of that condition remain a mystery, but our Lightning Round amateur diagnosis points to an obsession with Thomas Jefferson, specifically his undocumented, mis-attributed mantra: "That government is best which governs least."

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