Explainer Mailbag: Who Is That Missing Osbourne?

As Explainer noted last Friday, both French presidential and parliamentary elections are held every five years. Several Slate readers wrote that they thought the French president was elected every seven years. True?

At one time, yes—but a September 2000 voter referendum reduced the presidential term from seven years to five. The constitutional change was supported by 73 percent of French voters and favored by both President Jacques Chirac and Prime Minister Lionel Jospin. The seven-year term had been in place since 1873.

Why the switch? Remi Marechaux of the French Embassy says the intention was to elect the president and Parliament by the same majority, thus fostering greater cooperation between the two. The change is also favored to discourage periods of “cohabitation,” in which the president and prime minister belong to different parties.

The staff of the Council on Foreign Relations has answered Explainer questions on terrorism in recent weeks. (Click here, here, and here to read them.) A reader asks, “What is the staff of CFR?”  Director of Communications Lisa Shields responds, “Founded in 1921, the Council on Foreign Relations is a nonpartisan membership organization, research center and publisher. It is dedicated to increasing America’s understanding of the world and contributing ideas to U.S. foreign policy. The Council accomplishes this mainly by promoting constructive discussions both in private and in public, and by publishing Foreign Affairs, the leading journal on global issues. After 9/11 the Council launched the nation’s first online encyclopedia of terrorism at www.terrorismanswers.com, which offers nonpartisan briefings in Q&A format about terrorism and America’s response. The content is researched and reported by a Council editorial team headed by Warren Bass, a former associate editor of Foreign Affairs.”                      

Finally, an irksome omission from The Osbournes demands explanation. The reality-TV show is the biggest hit in MTV history, featuring Ozzy, wife Sharon, and the charmingly uncouth children Kelly and Jack. But isn’t there another daughter in the Osbourne clan?

Yes, but she chose not to appear on the show. Aimee, 18, moved out of the family’s Beverly Hills mansion shortly before the five months of taping began. Mom Sharon revealed on MTV.com that Aimee is trying to start a career in the music business and couldn’t handle being around her familial “lunatics” in the process. Ozzy and Sharon’s eldest once garnered attention for her rumored romantic link to pop group Hanson member Taylor.

Next question?