British Home Secretary Jack Straw praises it as something that will "protect the weak." Conservative Shadow Home Secretary Ann Widdecombe denounces it as "a mechanism for all sorts of nonsense." Today the English got something that we Americans have enjoyed for more than 200 years. What?
Send your answer by 10 a.m. ET Wednesday to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday's Question (No. 484)—"Science Is Golden":
Responding to a reporter during a photo op before Thursday's Cabinet meeting, President Clinton answered, "Well, first of all, this administration treated that issue as purely one of science and medicine." What was the question?
"Is oral sex a viable treatment for glaucoma?"—Larry Amoros
"Is this going to keep itching?—Charles Star
"Does Tom Clancy write his own books?"—Matt Sullivan
"They've cloned Janet Reno! Head for the hills!"—Greg Diamond
"How did you keep Joe Lockhart's coat looking so shiny and healthy all these years?"—T.G. Gibbon
Click for more answers.
The most pertinent scientific or medical issue of the moment is this: G.W. Bush—dyslexic or just an inarticulate dufus? Let's examine the facts. So hop up on the table and take off your pants. Dyslexia is a chronic neurological disorder that inhibits the ability to recognize and process graphic symbols, particularly those pertaining to language—what the kids call "words." Among its symptoms are extremely poor reading skills owing to no apparent cause (much like the popularity of Britney Spears), a tendency to reverse words and letters, and illegible handwriting. (If this were 1955, we'd make an amusing quip about doctors. Then we'd drink a Scotch, eat a steak and eggs, smoke a cigarette, and drive off in a car without seat belts. But we wouldn't be driving to oral sex.) OK, you can put your pants back on.
Only a minority of dyslexics remain nonreaders into adulthood, so if you're Stephen King and want to buy a new boat or something, don't fret. Recent research points to anomalies in the respective functioning of the left and right hemispheres of the brain as a possible explanation (of dyslexia, not of Stephen King), but scientists say that about everything (including the popularity of Britney Spears), and not even they have much of an idea what that means.
The Americans With Disabilities Act has been called the only piece of "civil rights" legislation proposed by the administration of Bush père. Given the dubious mental condition of Bush fils, we might reasonably ask if that bill was ironic or merely good planning. If li'l Bush is indeed dyslexic, and I correctly read the law—which I certainly don't—we may all be legally required to vote for him. If we're able to read the ballot.
Click here for a list of famous dyslexics, including Hans Christian Andersen, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, and Cher.
Photo-Op Answer … Er Question … That Is, Questionable Answer
Q: Mr. President, the abortion drug RU-486 was approved for sale today. Is that fight finally over? And why did it take so long?
A mere 20 years after it was first synthesized and 10 years after it became available in France, the abortion pill Mifepristone received approval from the Food and Drug Administration for use in the United States. It will be known by the trade-name Mifeprex, except at Christopher Smith's house, where it is called "baby poison." (Smith is a Republican representative from New Jersey. Babies are … well, of course, you know that.)
Al Gore applauded the FDA's action, saying it contributed to "the health and safety of American women." G.W. condemned the decision as "wrong," because—as I deliberately misunderstand it (or maybe not)—it contributes to the health and safety of American women.
Ellis Weiner's All-Singing Extra
Remember the old Firestone commercial jingle? Hey, who doesn't!
"… the name that's known/ Is Firestone/ Where the rubber meets/ the road …"
The rubber is in such a hurry to meet the road it's coming off the tires! I wanna tell ya ...
The stain. (Clinton jokes expiration date Jan. 10, 2001.)
TODAY IN SLATE
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Sprawl, Decadence, and Environmental Ruin in Nevada
An All-Female Mission to Mars
As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.