Coming to Canada, Eh?

And now the most enthralling two minutes in television, the latest from the political grapevine:

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American Refugees on the Rise
The number of American residents going to Canada claiming to be political refugees has skyrocketed. The Toronto Sun reports that at least 191 people filed refugee claims citing persecution in the United States, a 135 percent increase over the previous year. Some critics say the increase, which is mostly in Arab or Muslim men,  is a result of detentions in terrorism investigations after Sept. 11. But Vancouver immigration lawyer Phil Rankin said most of those seeking refugee status he's dealt with suffer mental illnesses that lead them to believe they are persecuted. Only one American has ever been officially declared a refugee.

Admiration Poll
Occasionally, there is some evidence that the world hasn't completely lost its mind. In that vein, a new Gallup poll shows that Americans place former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher above Jennifer Lopez as the woman they most admire. It also ranks the former British prime minister above Madeleine Albright and Sen. Elizabeth Dole. The telephone survey was conducted earlier this month. Respondents were asked to name the two people they admire most. Among men, President Bush remained the most admired man for the second year in a row.

Shoes and Statues
Imelda Marcos loved shoes. Ferdinand Marcos was fond of statues -- of himself, of course. But other Filipinos aren't nearly as appreciative. One of the biggest statues the late Philippine ruler built of  himself was blown up this weekend. It was not immediately clear who was behind the explosion, but officials said suspects included left-wing rebels, other activists or even treasure hunters.

It's Resolution Time Once Again
And finally, when the Washington Times asked its readers to pick New Year's resolutions for politicians, one resolution stood out from all the rest. Pat Bloebaum of Jacksonville, Fla., wrote this resolution for all politicians: "I resolve that when I do or say a dumb, stupid or inexcusably inane thing, I will own up to it immediately, throw myself upon the mercy of my fellow Americans, and ask for their forgiveness instead of trying to evade responsibility with a bunch of carefully crafted slick words that I think will get me off the hook, but which succeed only in identifying me as just another political hack. "