Friday, April 28, 2000

That voodoo that you do so well

I didn't think I'd be returning to this subject so quickly: So New York police ram a plunger up a Haitian's butt, and then the mayor gets prostate cancer. And somewhere in Port au Prince there's a little doll of Rudy with a toothpick shoved up its backside.

Someone was going to make that connection sooner or later, but I thought I'd go that extra step and actually say it out loud.

Wednesday, April 26, 2000

You can now be gay in Vermont or smoke marijuana in Hawaii. Plan your vacations accordingly.

So whatever happened to Japan's Prime Minister Obuchi, who is on life support except they haven't said a word about his condition in a month? Well, the wife would like to pull the plug, but the ruling party is looking for a badly needed sympathy vote. Look for him to pass into the great beyond just a little bit before the next election.

First I heard of it, but evidently the British had a Jewish Brigade during the Second World War. Est. in 1944, it consisted of Jews from Palestine. After the war ended, they became a death squad, tracking down and executing Germans, while the British turned a blind eye. The Brigade was disbanded in 1946, and they went back to become generals in the Israeli army.

A resort in the Costa del Sol (Spain) is turning off its beach lights between 1 and 2 a.m. so that people can have sex on the beach. Happy hour, they're calling it. So plan your vacations accordingly.


Another competition, this one from the New Statesman, modern proverbs:

To err is human, to forgive does not come within the parameters of best management practice.

It's a wise hacker that knows his victim's password.

A problem solved means enemies for life.

He who hesitates causes road rage. [Mine actually; I've altered one that isn't as good]

Let sleeping teenagers lie.

The other man's cappuccino is always more frothy.

A friend in need is an acquaintance.

If at first you don't succeed, reboot.

Better to phone a friend than ask the audience.

A bird in the hand is probably sexual harassment.

It's a long road that has no McDonald's.

A phone is only as mobile as its user.

When the mat's away, the mouse has problems.

Tuesday, April 25, 2000

The president of the United States was woken up to be told of the raid in Miami. Priorities.

The South Carolina Legislature has voted to stop raising the Confederate flag on the capitol dome. In future, when getting lucky, they will instead put a sock on the capitol building's door knob.

In Britain, a garden was stolen today. Shrubs, cement ornaments, furniture, sundial, pond with 17 fish. No gnomes.

If you want to worry about a six-year old snatched by the authorities, spare a thought for the Panchen Lama, whose 11th birthday today was. He has not been seen in five years, and is being reeducated, imprisoned like the Dauphin Louis XVII, slowly going crazy imprisoned in his own filth, or is already dead.

A lawyer in LA is suing the phone company for listing her under "Reptiles" in the phone book.

Soon, blacks can take a DNA test and find out where in Africa their ancestors were taken from.

Mayor Benito Guiliani called the INS agents who took Elian "storm
troopers." He added, "But Cubans are nothing like Haitians, right? Cause we don't want to insert a plunger up the wrong anus."

Speaking of people confused about their Nazi forebears, the Germans (possibly just the Berlin regional government) have proposed that dangerous dogs be identified by having to wear, and I am not making this up, a yellow star.

Some of the folks in that Miami neighborhood were earning as much as $300 a day renting out parking spaces and so forth to camera crews.

The Supreme Court ruled that a conviction can't be overruled on grounds of inadequate counsel if the defendant has missed the filing deadline at the local level. I'm guessing that the reason they'd miss that deadline is, what, inadequate counsel?

Friday, April 21, 2000

The French dauphin's remains have been DNA checked, and it was indeed him, which means that he was not saved from the revolutionaries at the last minute by the Scarlet Pimpernel. Damn you, television, you have lied to me again!

The Chinese, in one of their increasingly silly attempts to get pandas to mate, are showing them films. Panda porn.

People are now taking sick people to Elian's house so that he can heal them. I say, when we send him back to Cuba, let's make him walk.

Thursday, April 20, 2000

Murders in the news today: a guy in an Arizona old age home after a dispute about garden shrub height. The second was only an attempted murder, I now remember. A husband and wife agreed to quit smoking together. He did, she didn't, he got really pissed off and stabbed her in the neck. He went into prison the day after their 31st wedding anniversary, which I'm guessing was a fairly tense affair.

One of those Indian holy men--or is it Indian circus freaks, I can never tell the difference?--bathed in 55 pounds of boiling butter and came out completely unharmed. The Daily Telegraph ran this story under the headline "I Can't Believe It's Not Burning".

Early in the Korean War, the South Koreans executed at least 2,000 political prisoners, and the Americans knew about it, even watched. And successfully kept it secret 50 years.

I don't think I've mentioned this, but the Germans have long had stories that the Americans and British machine-gunned survivors escaping from the Dresden fire-storm. A German historian has disproved this, but the Germans, some of whom claim to remember being shot at, are not convinced.

Janet Reno is said to be looking for the perfect time to transfer custody of Elian. She has a team of experts trying to figure out when he won't be cute any more.

Wednesday, April 19, 2000

Yesterday I made that joke about National Secretary's Day before seeing a NY Times story that said that not only are Easter & Good Friday this week, but also anniversary of the Bay of Pigs (39 today!), the Branch Davidian massacre, Ruby Ridge if I'm not mistaken, the Oklahoma City bombing, and Columbine.

The Bush campaign boasted that his wonderful job on education in Texas was praised by none other than "Al Gore's Secretary of Education, Dr. Bill Riley." This is evidently one of those "see how many mistakes you can spot" tests. Um, three.

Al Gore revealed that as a child he learned how to hypnotize a chicken. This would explain a lot.

Just in case you thought the Russians were hiding some of the soldiers killed in the Chechen war, they buried 101 today. I don't think I mentioned it last week, but the Times ran the most disgusting story of the week, which said... oh, before I forget this little detail, the 101 were killed in the 1994-6 Chechen war, not the current one. Which said that there were hundreds of these bodies kept in railway cars, some on military bases, some evidently in Chechnya, from the earlier war. Refrigerated cars, but the refrigeration cut out a couple of years ago. They're supposed to do DNA tests or do something to identify the bodies, but of course haven't. I'll stop here cause I just had dinner and I'm beginning to disgust myself.

Thabo Mbeki, who if you've forgotten is the president of South Africa, has declared that he is looking for an African approach to solving AIDS. This after last year's scandal when the government refused to pay for a fairly cheap drug that would have prevented or at least made less likely the transmission of HIV from pregnant mothers to feti. Now he's throwing in his lot with the idiots who insist HIV has nothing to do with AIDS. If you're thinking he got this off the Internet, you're right.

Israel wants legislation to legalize hostage-taking. I don't understand those people.

Not to suggest that racism ever went away, but it really does look like racism has become the new ideology. And unlike free-market capitalism, democracy and communism, it never goes out of style. The Italian government just fell on an upsurge of anti-immigrant sentiment. William Hauge, in a speech the Telegraph claims is the most important of his leadership, says that asylum-seekers should be interned. Mugabe says that whites are the enemies of the nation, and he says it after two are murdered. Even Mbeki's speech on Western medicine and AIDS comes across pretty racist, and South Africa is considering adopting the sort of land distribution that's doing Mugabe's popularity so much good over the border. And Belgium is about to deport 1,500 Slovak gypsies (I knew I had another example).

Tuesday, April 18, 2000

The Vatican is revising the rules for exorcisms, unchanged since 1614 (did you know the pope performed an exorcism himself, as pope in 1982?). In the future, the "evil eye" does not count.

Congressional historians are trying to construct an oral history of the Lewinsky matter. The London Times suggests that they must have no sense of irony.

Amazingly enough, there was no Elian news today. How will we fill the empty hours? A couple of days ago the Miami Gonzalezes said that he shouldn't be returned this week because it was Easter. They also noted that next week there was National Secretary's Day...

Gore's new issue: a ban on guns in churches. Well, it's no sillier than Bush pretending to care about the environment and health care. There is an interesting review of the new bio of Gore by Jacob Weisberg (the review, not the book) in Slate.

A few weeks ago I commented that any time Clinton travels, in this case to South Asia, they expel beggars, arrest dissidents, close off entire cities and ban all demonstrations. Well, Clinton himself has admitted that his visit was the cause of the massacre of Kashmirs. He didn't sound especially worried about that, either.

Word to be used as often as possible: globaloney, to describe the nonsense about how globalization is the future and anyone who doesn't spread their legs for the multi-nationals is a raving luddite.

The most expensive Congressional campaign is expected to be that of Clinton prosecutor James Rogan, despite the fact that he's running against Adam "Just make the deal, Jack" Schiff.

The Clinton administration, in responding to the many subpoenas, evidently didn't go through back up hard drives. Evidently subpoenas were just suggestions, requests that they find any information that didn't involve too much work on their part.

Visiting Britain, where he got to sip tea with the Queen, Vladimir Putin, sticking one blood-soaked pinkie out in the approved manner, said that Russia had been left to fight alone in its struggle against Islamic fundamentalist international terrorism. Isn't that what the Serbs always say?

Saturday, April 15, 2000

Brazil just checked by satellite, and 70 schools the state was funding in the deepest Amazon turned out not to exist. Others were over the border in Peru or Bolivia.

I was reading that a military museum in Scotland is getting a new exhibit, one of those mythical Bibles-that-stopped-a-bullet. The guy involved, a WW I soldier, lived another 74 years. And probably told the story several thousand times.

Wednesday, April 12, 2000

Several days ago, the papers all reported that a Dubya appointee to the Commission on Law Enforcement Standards in Texas denied that a certain racial epithet was a racial epithet. Unfortunately, the papers didn't report the actual racial epithet, in one of those PC moments that no one can be proud of. I can now report that the actual term was "porch monkeys".

In an effort to save giant pandas from extinction, they will be given Viagra, and I intend to make no joke about this.

As the Washington Post points out, Ralph Reed, the Christian Coalition weasel turned lobbyist, has expressed regret for doing exactly what Microsoft hired him to do, lobby politicians, including the one he also happened to have been hired by.

Monday, April 10, 2000

Quote of the week: Rep. Joseph Pitts (R-Penn.) said that amendments to the bill to ban "partial-birth" abortions would allow a woman "having a bad day" to get an abortion.

As I said, I hate to be supporting the white landowners in Zimbabwe, but there it is. Incidentally, an opposition leader says that if he wins the next elections, he will seize the farms which have been seized by Mugabe cronies. This could be fun, but I don't foresee a lot of planting getting done. Which is too bad, since the banking system is dependent on mortgages paid by white farmers and the economy on farm exports.

Florida is doing something or other to make it possible to harvest organs from those it executes. I assume with their consent, although you never know in Florida.

Just because Nawaz Sharif's wife declared her intention to lead his party after his conviction does not, as it turns out, mean that the party has to accept her as its leader. And it didn't.

If Germans were not all comfortable with the Christian Democratic Union being run by a cripple, they surely won't be happy with the female Easterner they just replaced him with. Don't bother learning her name, she will never run the country, being about as electable in the modern Germany as someone named Seymour Lipschitz.

London Times:

Gnomes released into wild
A SINISTER threat returned to haunt suburban France yesterday when the infamous Garden Gnome Liberation Front (GLF) claimed its most daring exploit to date.

In a statement, the Paris branch said that it had "freed" 20 of the 2,000 gnomes on display at an exhibition in the Bagatelle Park on the outskirts on the French capital.

A GLF statement said: "We want to end the ridicule to which these garden gnomes are subjected. We want to return them to their natural habitat by releasing them into the forests they should never have left."

The theft came more than two years after French justice dismantled a movement that began as a student joke but turned into a wide-ranging social trend that forced home-owners to buy guard dogs and lock up their gnomes at night.

On that occasion, in November 1997, three men were given suspended prison sentences and a fourth lost his driving licence.

Friday, April 07, 2000

Some must-reads in the Friday Washington Post (which can be accessed at least a day or two later, if need be). In the world section, there's a story about massacres of Vietnamese civilians during the Vietnam War, by, of all people, South Korean troops. And a story about Quebec, which I've mentioned before, about how all the orphanages turned into insane asylums because there was more federal money in it if they were, and the nuns (all social services in Quebec being run by the Catholic Church, which from all reports was represented in Quebec entirely by paedophiles and sadists) started treating these perfectly normal orphans and illegitimate children like mental patients, drugging them and electro shock and so on. In the national section of the Post, there's a long but entertaining story about St. Elian of Little Havana and exile politics, with guest appearances by famous Cubans like one of Nixon's Plumbers. No one mentioned Ricky Ricardo, though. Hey, isn't it about time Bush or Gore named Elian as his running mate?

In other horror stories, Israel finally released one of its Lebanese hostages, this one after 10 years (and 4 years held by the Lebanese Christian militias before that). The only country in the world in which torture is a recognized aspect of the judicial process and hostage-taking is announced government policy. I saw Netanyahu a few days ago in an interview with Israeli tv, telling improbable stories about how he happened to have in his possession all these expensive gifts given to the nation of Israel by foreign leaders.

Thus proving that all politicians are criminals. More cases in point: the Republican who asked Bill Gates, now touring D.C. (the Washington he owns only half of) drumming up support, why Microsoft hadn't given more money to Republicans. It hardly gets more blatant, unless you count Japan, which has chosen as its new prime minister one of the thieves in the Recruit scandal a little over a decade ago, one who walked away with a million dollars in ill-gotten gains. And Helmut Kohl, now trying to suppress Stasi tapes of him taking bribes as long ago as the mid-70s.

The good news: Tennessee did not execute anyone this week, making it still the only Southern state not to have executed anyone recently. One of the targets was a man who was involved in a shoot-out with police, although it's pretty damn clear that the cop who was killed was actually shot by another cop. By the way, if and when Pennsylvania gets around to executing Mumia, remind me to tell you what I know about that case; no one story ever includes all the sordid details, of which there are a great many.

Thursday, April 06, 2000

Today's NY Times had an article about consultants who help school districts make Medicaid claims (some of them semi-fraudulent) in exchange for 20% of the rake-off.

The street betting in Pakistan on deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif getting the death penalty tomorrow is 4:1. His wife is already threatening to take his place. We've seen a lot of these Asian widows/daughters taking over from dead male relatives, but this may be the first time it's been suggested before the event.

I haven't decided yet how I should feel about the situation in Zimbabwe, where Mugabe is encouraging squatters to terrorize white farm owners into giving up their land. Put that way it sounds clear enough, and ex-colonialists or not, some of these families have no doubt been there since most of our ancestors came to America, but they do own a rather huge percentage of the good farmland. If the government seizes it, as Mugabe failed to get approved in a referendum just a month or two ago, it will all go to Mugabe's friends where it will be left to rot. Still, it's hard to have to side with the imperialists. Britain is making plans to evacuate the country of whites, and Mugabe keeps calling them gay, today specifically naming junior foreign office minister (something like an assistant secretary of state in the US) Peter Hain of being gay, which I'm pretty sure he's not. Hain earlier in his life was an anti-apartheid activist forced out of South Africa, where he was born (I should probably say that he's white).

In theatre news, Kathleen Turner appears naked in a production of a stage version of The Graduate.

Dubya thanked Kansas for voting for him in the primary yesterday, except there was no primary yesterday: it was cancelled in February.

The Wall Street Journal points out that while Gore piped up on the issue of Elian Gonzales, he won't express an opinion on the fate of Microsoft. I think a truly Solomonic decision would involve splitting up Elian and sending Bill Gates to Cuba.

A mother went to testify to the character of her 18-year old son, just convicted of murder in North Carolina. Except they stopped her at the door for being 3 times over the legal limit.

The Project Censored report is out. You can find it in this week's Bay Guardian and no doubt on its own site. Some of the top censored stories you heard from me, on Kosovo and such. They mention the relationship between multinational companies and 3rd World violence, a recent theme of mine. The one story that was new to me said that the American Cancer Society not only spends most of its money on its own bureaucracy but also won't say anything about the actual chemical causes of some cancers and that it sides with drug companies. Another story is about the neglect of research into drugs for tropical diseases like malaria.

Dubya: "Reading is the basics for all learning."

Tuesday, April 04, 2000

Last week Dubya vowed to remove the federal "cuff links" from local schools.

Maine passes a law renaming every place with "squaw" in the name.

From one of the countries responsible for the $1.79 it cost for each gallon of gas I put in my car today: the United Arab Emirates sentences a woman to four months imprisonment because she cast a spell on her husband and sister-in-law, causing them to be possessed by a demon. The court appointed a committee of religious scholars to hear the demon's testimony.


Saturday, April 01, 2000

A German general says that the Serbian "plan" to ethnically cleanse Kosovo was pretty much a fake. Those maps we saw as proof last April were drawn up by Germans, and the name of it, Operation Horseshoe, wasn't even rendered correctly, as the Germans evidently didn't know that the word horseshoe is slightly different in Croatian than in Serbian, and used the former.

The Scottish police, who already take DNA samples of prisoners convicted of rape and burglary and such, are now taking them from those convicted of racial offences. There's something rather ironic about DNA being used in this way.

The queen was in Australia this week. At one pre-school, a three-year old boy who hadn't had the benefits of the months of training in how to treat a monarch, repeatedly asked her "What's your name?" She failed to answer. If she had, I have no idea what she would have called herself. I'm Liz; Mrs Windsor; I'm the fucking queen, that's who I am....

Courtesy of the NY Times and the US Supreme Court, the exact description of one part of the body which is supposed to be covered in strip clubs in a Florida county (they were less forthcoming about the legal description of a nipple):
"The area at the rear of the human body (sometimes referred to as the glutaeus maximus) which lies between two imaginary lines running parallel to the ground when a person is standing, the first or top of such line being one-half inch below the top of the vertical cleavage of the nates (i.e., the prominence formed by the muscles running from the back of the hip to the back of the leg) and the second or bottom line being one-half inch above the lowest point of the curvature of the fleshy protuberance (sometimes referred to as the gluteal fold), and between two imaginary lines, one on each side of the body (the 'outside lines'), which outside lines are perpendicular to the ground and to the horizontal lines described above and which perpendicular outside lines pass through the outermost point(s) at which each nate meets the outer side of each leg.

"Nothwithstanding the above, buttocks shall not include the leg, the hamstring muscle below the gluteal fold, the tensor fasciae latae muscle or any of the above-described portion of the human body that is between either the left inside perpendicular line and the left outside perpendicular line or the right inside perpendicular line and the right outside perpendicular line. For the purpose of the previous sentence the left inside perpendicular line shall be an imaginary line on the left side of the anus that is perpendicular to the ground and to the horizontal lines described above and that is one-third the distance from the anus to the left outside line, and the right inside perpendicular line shall be an imaginary line on the right side of the anus that is perpendicular to the ground and to the horizontal lines described above and that is one-third of the distance from the anus to the right outside line. (The above description can generally be described as covering one-third of the buttocks centered over the cleavage for the length of the cleavage.)"