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December 10, 2005

Missing The Super-Boat

Still trying to uncover the trick to successful merchandising, the U.S. Postal Service has announced they’re doing a sheet of 20 postage stamps honoring 10 of the characters published by DC Comics. That’s really cool, particularly for Wonder Woman worshipping fanboys who are unaware you can no longer lick postage stamps.

This will mark the second and third times Superman will have appeared on a U.S. postage stamp – the first time being part of their 1998 “Celebrate The Century” series. That’s fine; Supes created an industry and long ago took his rightful place along side Coca-Cola and the hot dog bun as critical American icons. But the Postal Service missed the boat.

It’s damn well about time Superman’s creators, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, were so honored. If that fascist Walt Disney could get his props, so should Siegel and Shuster.

I am told it is postal tradition not to honor a person until 10 years after his or her death. It can happen any time after that; it took 69 years for Bessie Coleman (look her up at http://www.centennialofflight.gov/essay/Explorers_Record_Setters_and_Daredevils/Coleman/EX11.htm) to get her due respect. Siegel died in 1996, Shuster in 1992. If somebody was waiting for the 10th anniversary of Jerry’s death (yeah, I was on a first-name basis with the man, despite my rejecting a concept of his when I was at First Comics), well, the time has come.

The Postal Service will be honoring Marvel characters in 2007. Ummmmm. She-Hulk. Yum yum.

Of course, Jack Kirby died in 1994, and he deserves the same respect.

Posted by Mike Gold at 04:24 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

December 08, 2005

My Morning After Pill

Did you notice that this “holiday season” we have been deluged with people who believe that any action that restricts their right to shove their religion down your throat is an act of bigotry. For example, according to Associated Press writer Jim Shur:

Walgreen Co. engaged in religious discrimination by “effectively firing” three Illinois pharmacists who refused to fill prescriptions for emergency contraception, a public-interest group alleged Wednesday.

The American Center for Law and Justice, founded by evangelist Pat Robertson, said it had filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The group said the pharmacists were put on unpaid leave Nov. 28 because the drug store chain said they violated a state rule mandating that such prescriptions be filled.

“Since the pharmacists believe that human life begins at conception, they conclude that dispensing such drugs would require them to participate in the moral equivalent of abortion,” the Washington-based group said in a statement.

“I knew when these drugs came out I would never be able to dispense them,” pharmacist John Menges, who worked in a Walgreens store in Collinsville until being placed on leave, told The Associated Press.

Frank Manion of the ACLJ declined to release a copy of the complaint, saying such matters routinely are confidential.

The local EEOC office did not immediately return messages left seeking comment.

The Illinois rule – imposed by Gov. Rod Blagojevich in April – requires Illinois pharmacies that sell contraceptives approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to fill prescriptions for emergency birth control. Pharmacies that do not fill prescriptions for any type of contraception are not required to follow the rule.

“It is strictly stated in state law that pharmacists must fill prescriptions for emergency contraceptions,” said Tiffani Bruce, a spokeswoman for Deerfield, Ill.-based Walgreen. “Anyone who takes issue with this law needs to address it with the state or the governor.”

The three pharmacists – identified by the group as Menges, Richard Quayle and Carol Muzzarelli – were put on unpaid leave for refusing on religious and moral grounds to fill prescriptions for the morning-after pill. A fourth pharmacist who was put on leave returned to work Monday after agreeing in writing to follow the state rule.

Manion called a state or federal lawsuit likely if the company doesn’t reinstate the pharmacists. “It’s important that a stand be taken here,” he said.

Bruce said the three pharmacists have declined to accept the chain’s offer to find them work in Missouri, which has no such rule.

Several lawsuits on behalf of pharmacists and pharmacy owners have been filed in opposition to the rule, many by Manion’s group and Americans United for Life, a Chicago-based public interest law firm.

I happen to believe that a lawsuit can be a means of free expression, so there’s no “but” in my argument, although I do think these folks are threatening the wrong people. I do wonder how far this line of thinking can go.

For example, if you are a clerk who is opposed to the selling birth control of any sort – and some zealots are – does that mean that you don’t have to ring up somebody’s order if it contains condoms or spermicidal cream? If you’re a devout Jehovah’s Witness or a follower of a similar philosophy, should you be able to refuse to ring up Halloween products? And if it’s okay for a member of a Christian sect to do so, then is it okay if you’re a Wiccan who’s tired of how witches have been defamed?

Most important – because it’s most pervasive right now – if you want to incorporate all Americans in your year end cheer by saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas,” can these clowns defame you as anti-Christian? I’m not specifically asking this question of Bill O’Reilly, but after his attack on Jon Stewart I am making note of this.

So I think we need a litmus test. Therefore, as I often to, I turn to Jeff Foxworthy for my inspiration. He’s the perfector of the modern-day sociological litmus, with the caveat that he (unlike me) is trying to be funny. Yes, friends, it’s time for

You Just MIGHT Be A Bigot If…

• you think the phrase “Happy Holidays” is anti-Christian.

• you take the phrase “separation of church and state” as an assault on your religious freedom.

• you think America is a Christian nation.

• you think “America” only refers to the United States and not, say, Haiti.

• you think establishing a theocracy in Iraq means Iraq is becoming a democracy.

• you think establishing a theocracy in the United States means we are maintaining a democracy.

• you think all other religions are wrong.

• you believe Pagans are Satanic.

• you get pissed every time somebody notes how many Christmas “traditions” were ripped off from the Pagans.

• you believe atheists are akin to child molesters.

• you are straight and you think same sex marriage is in any way your business.

• you think marriage is in any way the government’s business.

• you think the Crusades were a good thing and you can’t understand why Moslems and Jews are so pissy about it.

• you think that attacking bigotry is the same as attacking your religion.

Give yourself one point for every answer with which you agree. If you come up with a score of “1” or higher, well, you just MIGHT be a bigot.

Posted by Mike Gold at 03:46 PM | Comments (22) | TrackBack