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Friday, November 25, 2005

Open Thread for Friday

Today is Friday, Nov. 25, the 329th day of 2005. There are 36 days left in the year.

Five years ago today: Hundreds of military veterans and retirees, angered by the rejection of overseas absentee ballots in Florida, held a noisy demonstration in Pensacola, one of several rallies Republicans and Democrats staged across Florida.

Today's Birthdays: Former Chilean dictator General Augusto Pinochet is 90. Actor Ricardo Montalban is 85. Actress Kathryn Crosby is 72. Actor Matt Clark is 69. Singer Percy Sledge is 65. Actor Tracey Walter is 63. Author, actor and game show host Ben Stein is 61. Singer Bob Lind is 61. Actor John Larroquette is 58. Movie director Jonathan Kaplan is 58. Singer Amy Grant is 45. Rock musician Eric Grossman (K's Choice) is 41. Rock singer Mark Lanegan is 41. Singer Stacy Lattisaw is 39. Rock musician Rodney Sheppard (Sugar Ray) is 39. Rapper-producer Erick Sermon is 37. Actress Jill Hennessy is 36. Actress Christina Applegate is 34.


Anonymous Anonymous said:

Rio Restricts Sale of Sexy Postcards

By PETER MUELLO, Associated Press Writer1 hour, 33 minutes ago

Visitors to Rio can gape at the girls from Ipanema wearing thong bikinis on the beach — or even less at carnival celebrations. But if they want a picture, they had better bring a camera.

A new law is restricting the sale of postcards showing scantily clad women, a campaign aimed at reducing exploitation and sex tourism that has drawn mixed reactions in Brazil's tourist capital.

The law, signed last week by Rio state Gov. Rosinha Garotinho, says postcards cannot show bikini-clad women in photo montages or outside natural beach settings.

Many vendors already have pulled postcards off the racks, but few think the law will have much impact on Rio's image.

Or on sales. Luiz Alberto, who runs a newsstand near Copacabana beach, said postcards of Sugar Loaf mountain and Christ the Redeemer are much bigger sellers.

"These cards were mostly for gringos," he said. "This ban is just silly."

Supporters of the ban say the images encourage sex tourism, a growing problem in Brazil.

"Showing women in skimpy outfits, usually from the rear, is a disservice to our country," said Alice Tamborindeguy, the state legislator who proposed the law. "It puts us on the list of countries that encourage sex tourism."

Rio's relaxed sexual mores attract men, many of them Europeans, seeking sex with young girls or boys. Sex has become a livelihood to support poor families in a country with a minimum wage of less than US$135 (euro115) a month.

"Postcards that exploit photos of women in skimpy wear suggest sex tourism, a practice that stigmatizes us with undignified labels," Rio Tourism Secretary Sergio Ricardo de Almeida said in a statement.

Sex also is a big attraction of carnival, the annual four-day, pre-Lenten bash that is Rio's top tourist draw. The city's traditional carnival parade features women dressed in little more than body paint and glitter, and the government distributes thousands of condoms free to reduce the risk of AIDS.

The postcard ban has not caught on elsewhere in Brazil, and its effect in Rio is being questioned. The city still allows bikini-adorned posters, billboards and life-sized photos advertising men's magazines — images that are far more visible than postcards.

Roberto DaMatta, a respected sociologist who taught at the University of Notre Dame, said the ban reflects the "puritan" background of Gov. Garotinho, a born-again Christian.

"It's rational puritanism. The United States has had it for ages," he said.

DaMatta said discussion of the ban has given Brazil a rare chance to shed a stereotype.

"The U.S. view is that Brazil is crime, street kids and slums. No one knows we build and export airplanes," he said. "We can't make a woman's butt the image of Rio. Rio has more than that."

Rosana Ribeiro, a vendor at a Copacabana kiosk, said Rio legislators should be concerned with more pressing problems.

"What about jobs, health care, needy kids? There are more important things, and they waste time on postcards," she said.

November 25, 2005 11:38 AM  

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