Sunday, February 28, 1999

Lockheed Martin is developing the latest technology in troop transport: a really big blimp, capable of moving 4,000 soldiers.

The Times has an obit of a trader in port wine, who “elevated the act of spitting to almost an art form.”

In another example of an increasing problem, a Russian nuclear sub went out of commission because one of the sailors had snipped some wires and sold them to another submarine. This happens to elevators in Russia all the time. Also, units of the army have been selling some of their soldiers to the Chechens as hostages.

Australia’s deputy chief censor is now in the porno business. Just another example of the Hey I can do better than that! phenomenon. His films all seem to have the words “Down Under” in the title.

In 1954 the Catholic orphanages in Quebec were converted into psychiatric institutions in order to qualify for federal funding. They had 3,000 illegitimate children in them at the time. So what did they do with the kids? Re-classified them as mentally ill, put them in straitjackets, drugged them...

Britain is still working on their own little Rodney King story, after six years. A teenager named Stephen Lawrence was stabbed by a bunch of white teenagers. Reports at the time suggested that police arrived while he was still alive and stood around letting him bleed to death. That doesn’t seem actually to have been what happened, but that ensured that media attention stayed on the case. Everyone knows who did it, and everyone always knew. One newspaper even printed the names, which is unheard of, given the libel laws. The police screwed up the case beyond description so that no charges were ever brought, were nasty to the family, who got more and more upset as the years went on. Anyway, a report came out last week which blamed the London police for being racist (who knew?) and incompetent. Unfortunately, they also accidentally released the names and addresses of all their secret witnesses. And then the memorial to Lawrence was vandalized and it turned out that the police video cameras monitoring it were fakes, with no film. The Home Secretary Jack Straw, a man with all the passion for liberty of Antonin Scalia, has proposed doing away with double jeopardy protection and making it illegal to say racist things in your own home.

You’ll all hear this sooner or later, so why wait for the media hand-wringing? Clinton has been accused by unreliable sources of 2 more rapes, one in Britain in 1969, a British woman, and one while he was at Yale Law School, which brings to mind a fairly obvious joke.

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