Living Today: Issues of modern living

By United Press International


Whaddya mean putting New York at the top of a list of cities with the best manners?


"It's an attitude," said etiquette maven Marjabelle Young Stewart, who released her list of the most polite cities in the United States last Friday.

New York tied with Charleston, S.C., which has been a bastion of Southern gentility for decades, for the top spot on the good manners list.

Charleston, which has captured the top spot alone eight times, met the news with disbelief. "You're kidding, right? That's some kind of spoof?" Maggi De Lamater-Jenk, who greets tourists at the City Council chambers, asked the Charleston Post and Courier.

Milwaukee came in second, followed by the Quad Cities -- Rock Island and Moline, Ill., and Davenport and Bettendorf, Iowa. Chicago was fourth, followed by Portland, Ore.; Providence, R.I.; and Omaha, Neb.-Council Bluffs, Iowa. Miami and Orlando, Fla., tied for eighth, while San Francisco and San Diego tied for ninth. Seattle came in 10th.


"They were irate in Seattle," said Stewart, who has been monitoring manners for 40 years and producing her list for 25. "They want to know what they can do (to improve their standing)."

Stewart noted that New York City hadn't made the list for years. When it last appeared five years ago, "I got a call from (columnist) Dave Barry and he wanted to know if they say, 'Give me your wallet, please.'"

Stewart said manners in general have been improving in recent years. She credits Wal-Mart with improving people's manners as well. "It's nice to have someone say, 'Welcome. Come in. Here's a basket.' Smart people have beautiful manners," she said.


NBC officials are doing their best to reassure critics that they will impose strict limitations, but the network has decided to become the first broadcast network to run ads for hard liquor.

The decision is in large part a reaction to the brutal ad market that has cost the networks hundreds of millions of dollars in lost ad revenue.

NBC said it has developed a set of rules governing liquor ads on the air, including a requirement that no one under 30 may appear in such ads, and one that no one -- regardless of age -- may be shown consuming alcohol. The network also said that no professional athletes may appear in the ads, and no liquor ads may run before 9 p.m. or after 11 p.m. -- except during "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno."


The ads must also be accompanied by PSA campaigns -- paid for by the advertisers -- promoting "socially-responsible" drinking.

The liquor industry currently spends $377 million per year on advertising, most of which goes into print advertising.

Ad industry analysts expect the spirits industry would be anxious to capitalize on the opportunity to advertise on network TV. Liquor ads have already become more or less commonplace on cable channels -- including BET, Comedy Central, E! and the Sci Fi Channel. Local broadcasters have also been broadcasting TV ads for the hard stuff.

(Thanks to UPI Hollywood Reporter Pat Nason)


The ease with which the alleged leader of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks got a Florida driver's license has led to stricter requirements and long, unruly lines at the state's license offices by people trying to beat the deadline.

The new restrictions went into effect abruptly last Thursday, but that didn't stop immigrants from trying to beat the deadline. Officials moved up the date because of a sharp increase in applications for drivers' licenses by immigrants.

"We realized if we waited any longer, hundreds more old-style licenses would be issued," said Sandra Lambert, director of the drivers' license division at the state Department of Highway and Motor Vehicles.


In the rush Thursday, Florida Highway Patrol troopers had to be called out in south Florida for crowd control. "They were angry because they couldn't get a license on the spot," Lambert said.

The new regulations designate only 10 locations in the state -- four of them in south Florida -- where immigrants can get drivers' licenses. The new restrictions cover non-citizens who hold permanent residency "green cards." When they apply for new licenses, they will get 30-day permits while their identification documents are checked. If they are cleared, they will be mailed licenses that expire at the same time as their visas.

The rules were changed when it was learned that Mohammed Atta, a terrorist leader, had little trouble getting a license that he presumably used as a picture identification to get on the airplane that he crashed into the World Trade Center in New York. Atta was refused at one driver's license office at Venice, Fla., but he tried again at Lauderdale Lakes, Fla. Officials there called Venice to try to find out why he was turned down, but when there was no answer, they gave him one anyway.

Ahmed Al Haznawi also got a license at the Lauderdale Lakes office just four days before he helped hijack a plane that crashed into a field in Pennsylvania.


Records of the transactions were released by the state this week.


The public affairs director of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms has sent out special holiday greeting cards which depict Santa, standing on top of an aircraft, holding a bag of handguns, and presenting one of the guns to the plane's pilot.

John Michael Snyder --- who's been dubbed the dean of gun lobbyists by the media --- reports getting a letter of thanks from Santa, which says: "As your card suggests, I'm ready to present a handgun to any qualified pilot who wants one."

According to Snyder the letter continues, "This should enable pilots to protect themselves, their crew, their passengers, their aircraft and other innocent people from possible future terrorist attacks. The elves and I were delighted to learn that Congress passed and the President signed into law last month the Aviation and Transportation Security Act with its armed pilots provision. Hopefully, the Department of Transportation will move swiftly to implement this provision. The safety of an untold number of people could depend on that."

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