Monday, November 30, 1998

The hospital at which Pinochet has been hiding the last few weeks is on the verge of taking legal action to get him out.

Clinton pledges, oh some sum of money, you could look it up, to the Palestinians as their bribe for signing the peace accord that Netanyahu keeps threatening to tear up and certainly has no intention of implementing, but he wants $1.2 billion himself. Anyway, Clinton said something to the effect that economic development would bring peace, that the violence has been caused by people with "nothing better to do." NEWSFLASH: Clinton ends decades of Israeli-Palestinian conflict by implementing midnight basketball!

Saturday, November 28, 1998

The Brady Act's 5 day waiting period to purchase handguns expires Monday. It was supposed to be replaced by a computer system that Congress never bothered to fund properly.

A security firm in Russia calls itself KGB (no relation), advertising with pictures of Beria and other such, with the slogan "Nobody stole *their* cars."

Millennium babies. You will here more about these. Britain's ITV is planning to follow the 1st baby of the millennium (well, of 2000, anyway) and do periodic updates, in the style of the 7 Up films. Parents who want in on this (why? presumably they plan to fund the kid's education by selling advertising space on its pram) are planning the conceptions to the minute. Sick of the millennium yet?

Thursday, November 26, 1998

The California Supreme Court says that lawyers have no duty to defend guilty clients competently. The Court voted 6-1 (the 1 is Stanley Mosk, the only justice I voted for, so I feel good about myself) that lawyers can only be sued for malpractice by people who can prove that they were innocent.

Pinochet is pleading mental instability as a reason he can't stand trial. Now he tells us.

Israeli religious parties are objecting to the latest inflation figures, which have been boosted by a large increase in the price of pork. Anathema, anathema!

None of the British press have the nerve to use the obvious headline about Zimbabwe's ex-president Canaan Banana fleeing the country after he is found guilty of homosexual rape. So I will: Banana Splits.

All this talk about trying Clinton after he leaves office. As someone or other pointed out, I'm sure the thought of a Washington D.C. jury really frightens him. He is, after all, the first black president.

As y'all can tell, I'm having another exciting Thanksgiving. Woops, have to go now and get my clothes out of the dryer.

Monday, November 23, 1998

London Times headline: "Reversing Circumcision May be Stretching a Point".

Some British aid workers for some charity hitched a ride back on a cargo plane after spending time in Honduras helping out after the hurricane. The plane went via the US, where the INS promptly arrested them for not having a visa form that is given out free, and then fined them. The INS is not at all embarrassed about this, either.

Friday, November 20, 1998

Starr court

Whose stupid idea was it to confine the testimony to a single day? Still, Starr did the impossible and testified for a solid 87 hours yesterday. Some of it I watched live and I'm still going through the rest on video. I have so far seen the first 137 hours. I am now officially more tired of his voice than I am of Monica's. I'm too brain-damaged to have anything especially intelligent to say, but here goes:

I had a sense of unreality while watching Starr that I only just pinpointed: no pornography. After the intense detail of the Starr Report, someone on the committee, and I nominate Barney Frank, should have figured out a question to which Starr would be forced to answer using the phrase "blow job". I'd have been happy if he was just told to turn to page 231 and read out the salacious material he saw fit to unleash on an unsuspecting world, to watch him squirm (don't go looking to see what's on page 231, I made the number up).

Starr thinks he is demonstrating his impartiality by saying how he didn't recommend impeachment for Whitewater, then wrecked it by adding that this was in spite of knowing damned well that Clinton lied lied lied about it.

I understand that the Dems on Wednesday got their hands on the GAO account of what Starr spent the $45 million on, but that Hyde declared it confidential in order to stop them using it against him.

Hyde's reputation, based on what exactly I've never known, to be the grand old man of impartiality, should now be in tatters.

I want the name of that Asian man with the glasses I could see all day sitting behind Starr, yawning, squirming, looking around like he was wondering why the Rockettes hadn't gone on yet...

Someone writing for Salon described the day as a "carefully choreographed blandness blitz".

The most telling moment on the issue of OIC leaking was the one where Starr was asked to release all media from any confidentiality, and he refused.

There was a piece in the Thursday Washington Post on the history of actual censures and attempted censures of US presidents, which can still be accessed using the Yesterday's Paper button. An interesting corrective to the claim that the censure is unknown to the American political system.

Tuesday, November 17, 1998

So that's what Monica sounds like! I'm listening to C-SPAN as I write. For a ditz, she has good grammar. She uses "whom" correctly. The censorship is annoying the shit out of me, especially during the discussion of Bill's dick size a few minutes ago. Linda to Luciane Goldberg (on whom, by the way, there is an interesting long article in today's, Tuesday's Washington Post) (yes, I use whom correctly too): "If she's flipping out I want to get that on tape."

Safeway's female employees are suing for sexual harassment. They claim that the rule that they smile at customers just encourages lonely pathetic men to hit on them, so it creates a hostile working environment. In future, I'm just going to grunt at the cashiers.

The Prince of Wales talked with new black army recruits, explaining how he too was persecuted and subject to prejudice when he was in the military. Yes, prince, that's exactly like racism.

Monday, November 16, 1998

The Washington Post says that Bob Livingston's first job was cleaning up after the elephants at the New Orleans Zoo--and that not much has changed since then.

The Lord Chancellor has won a vote in the House of Lords allowing him not to wear breeches, tights & buckled shoes, except on ceremonial occasions, although I believe he'll still be stuck with the wig. One (anonymous) peer asked when he was getting his kit off. Some peers worried that "dressing down" would work to the detriment of the Lords' image. Poofs in fancy dress?

Saturday, November 14, 1998

Reagan's grandson is arrested for breaking into cars. Not exactly the Kennedies, are they? Not even the Bushes? Speaking of which, what is Neil Bush doing these days?

The London Times says that Israel is working on figuring out what genes distinguish Arabs from Jews so that they can develop biological weapons. Nice to see that old South African research, not to mention Joseph Mengele's, is being put to good use.

The Clinton Admin finally admits that those cruise missiles were intended to kill Osama bin Liner. It seems that while assassination is illegal, they can target the "infrastructure" of terrorist groups, and in this case, they define that infrastructure as human beings. So it's not assassination, it's, I don't know, infrastructure downsizing. Somebody find out who came up with this explanation, find out what law school they graduated from, and drop a small nuke on it.

I saw the tv footage of Prince Charles doing the little dance from the Full Monty. Priceless.

Friday, November 13, 1998

Carlos the Jackal is on hunger strike. What do jackals normally eat, anyway? Carrion? In a French prison that would of course be carrion with a really superb sauce and exactly the right wine.

Bubba Livingstone, the next Speaker of the House and third in line to the presidency (no, second, Clinton already is the president, so he's not on line) has won the position the old-fashioned way: he bought it. I mean, is there anyone who's arguing that he'll do a competent job, or unify his party, much less the House he is supposed to Speak for? No, he just has a very large PAC which disbursed a lot of money to Republican candiates, and is chair of the Appropriations Committee, and therefore someone you really don't want to piss off.

China has just convicted a rather nasty Hong Kong gangster of kidnapping. The problem is that he was arrested on the mainland, and tried there, for a crime committed in HK. HK was supposed to have judicial independence (and doesn't have a death penalty, which is about to be imposed on one of its citizens).

Wednesday, November 11, 1998

I trust everybody celebrated the 80th anniversary of the end of the Great War by going up behind a veteran and shouting boo.

London Times headline: "Coward was Unfit to Serve in 1914-18 War". Noel Coward, actually. Evidently he didn't like loud noises.

Chutzpah of the week award: At the global warning conference, OPEC demands compensation.

Buzzword of the week: "Exit strategy"-- what Republicans need to get out of the impeachment thing gracefully.

Monday, November 09, 1998

Mon, 9 Nov 1998

C-SPAN just interrupted its repeat of today's impeachment hearings to show Newton Leroy Gingrich speak at his political action committee, GOPAC. Which by coincidence is also the name of what the American people told him to do last week.

2 new inventions, just in time for California's new casinos: a combination stationary bike slash slot machine and a combination treadmill slash slot machine. You can't gamble unless you're exercising.

Friday, November 06, 1998

The case for taking Governor The Body seriously

The Shumer-D'Amato race cost $36 million.

Not only has the first open lesbian been elected to Congress (Tammy William, D-Wics) but also the first ever homosexual of either sex--previous gay Congressmen were in the closet when first elected. Why didn't this get more attention?

Israel is still using fake Canadian passports for its covert operatives, which they promised not to the last time they were caught.

If you haven't read the actual 81 questions Hyde has for Clinton, do so. The NY Times printed them all. Don't accept stories that just quote a few: you can only get the flavor of the document by seeing it all.

Slate's "Today's Papers" notes that Hyde told two huge lies yesterday: a) the downsizing of the impeachment process has nothing to do with the elections, b) he's planning to call only Starr because the American people really want to hear from Starr.

In the following article, note that Minnesota's slap at the two-party system, which I wholeheartedly applaud as long as it's another state that elects the wrestler, was made possible by campaign finance laws and easy voter registration. Surely an important lesson. The article neglects to mention the real reason Jesse won: he had the coolest campaign slogan--"Retaliate in '98"

Wednesday, November 04, 1998

The CIA refuses to tell Honduran human rights investigators the name of military officers responsible for death squad killings in the 1980s.

Has anyone seen the figures on the miscegenation repeal in South Carolina?

Lebanon accuses Israel of stealing its topsoil.

I give us 3 days before we're all heartily sick of jokes about Governor The Body. Until then, has anyone heard any good ones?

The LA Times calls the election as LA county sheriff of Mr. Baca a shift in power to the Latino middle class. And presumably a shift in power away from, you know, dead people.

Tuesday, November 03, 1998

Election--1st thoughts

Most of the surprise Dem wins so far seem attributable to black voters. Does that mean they're voting this year?

The Bushes are the new Kennedy’s. Come to think of it, the founding dynast in both cases was a Nazi sympathizer. Other than that, not much comparison.

Senator Pothole out, Senator Putz Head in.

D.C. voted on medical marijuana today. Congress voted last month that the initiative ballots could not be counted.

In Britain, two soldiers let out after serving 6 years of a life sentence for killing an unarmed Irish civilian are readmitted into the Scots Guards.

Fob James, the stupidest governor in the US, is out.

Jesse "The Body" Ventura?

Sunday, November 01, 1998

The commercials just get more and more amusing. I haven't seen the one for whoever the Republican candidate for atty general is, accusing Lockyer of smoking dope, but I have seen the one where March Fong Eu demands that Barbara Boxer stop picking on her son. As the New York Times recently reported, there are a surprising number of ads this year featuring the wives of candidates, to prove that they are happily married (like Hillary wouldn't make such ads even today, if Billy Bob were running again). What does it prove when you have your mother do the ad? Especially when mom is from another party and didn't speak to you for many years after you became a Republican?

Speaking of presidential sex scandals, DNA tests strongly suggest that Jefferson did fuck Sally Hemings, which means that every Jefferson biographer has to eat their words and admit that every black person in America was right. Next up: proof that OJ was innocent and that the CIA created AIDS.

Oddest political spectacle of the season: LA county supervisors falling all over themselves to endorse the late Sheriff Block for reelection. The highest paid elected official in America, Block admittedly is much more competent now than he was last week when he was actually breathing. The supes want Block elected so that they can appoint a successor, rather than leave it up to the electors. So anyone who votes for Block, knowing this, is tacitly admitting that they consider themselves too stupid to vote for sheriff, concurring with the supes. But given that Daryl Gates was only the second stupidest law enforcement official in LA county, this is hard to disagree with.

On the Calif. animal trap initiative, Kevin recently asked whether fur trumps feathers. One person strongly supporting the initiative: Tippi Hedren. Really.