What? No butt ads in the August 7, 08 Georgia Straight...Vancouver's news and entertainment weakly? This is blasphemous!

After all, the tobacco industry and the GS have been very proud partners -- in promoting the #1 leading addiction... which, in turn, is responsible for the leading causes of disease, disability and premature death -- for decades! They haven't had a falling out, have they? Or perhaps one of the senior staff at the GS has developed smoking-induced lung cancer? Or -- and I'm really going out on a limb here -- perhaps the GS has found its conscience!?!

Whatever the problem might be, I'm sure it's just a temporary glitch; nothing that tens of thousands of blood-stained dollars won't fix!

While there may have been a few brief breaks in the butt ads in the past, the GS has been consistently running tobacco ads for years... both chewing tobacco/snus ads and butt (cigarette) ads. Recent issues have contained as many as four full-page ads for one 'new and improved' butt or another.

As far as that pesky federal law that outlaws tobacco advertising, who cares? It's so full of loopholes that you could drive a stolen semi loaded with contraband cigarettes through it! While the GS may not be violating the letter of the [very weak] law, it is blatantly violating the intent of the law. And then there's the small matter of a World Health Organization treaty -- the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control -- that Canada ratified years ago. Whether it's provincial or federal law -- or the FCTC -- tobacco-friendly governments clearly don't give a damn, regarding beefing up existing legislation or, where necessary, creating new legislation...and, of course, when required, enforcing the law.

Here's one more theory, regarding the noticeable absence of butt ads in the August 7 issue: Maybe it's because the cover story has the words "crisis" and "genocide" in it ("crisis darfur: On the eve of the Beijing Olympics, Mia Farrow is highlighting China's contribution to genocide").

With all due respect to everyone in Darfur, nobody...NOBODY...does 'crisis and genocide' -- not to mention rape and pillage --quite like the tobacco industry!