Friday, June 30, 2000

Guatemalans tore themselves away from Sabado Gigante long enough to catch two televised executions by lethal injection.

In the last 6 months or so there has been a minor surge of stories about drugs in Africa. Gore was persuaded to u-turn and stop trying to jack up the price of AIDS drugs to Africa, some drug companies have lowered prices on various drugs. I must have mentioned that while there are all these great impotence drugs and whatnot being produced, no one is working on new drugs for tropical diseases, which are becoming increasingly resistant to
drugs. One of the stories is that the cheapest anti-malarial drug, whose name I still remembered a couple of days ago when I first meant to write about this, used to be manufactured rather cheaply on the African continent itself, and that some of the same politicians (more in Britain than here) who have been pointing out that for just a few cents a head you could save all sorts of people from death, made no objection when the plant that used to produce it in Africa was blown off the face of the earth by US missiles (in Sudan, of course).

The New York Times editorial page comes out in support of the two-party system. Evidently there is so much difference between Bush and Gore that Nader is just being a big selfish spoiler by exercising his right to run for president.

The next editorial is on the Mexican elections, and says that they will be an important test of the country's progress is democracy, while admitting that there is no difference between the two main candidates whatsoever. All hail democracy!

Thursday, June 29, 2000

Elian is back in Cuba. Ha ha ha, your magic dolphins cannot save you now!

The Russian high school student, although offered a free scholarship at a university, although one specializing in the wrong field, still has not had her grades restore. Someone needs to parachute in some spin doctors. The local education authority report that marked down her grades included in its four pages 33 spelling and 97 punctuation errors, according to one newspaper.

The Supreme Court upholds Miranda not because it thinks Miranda is constitutionally required, but as part of a separation-of-powers pissing
match with Congress. Right decision, wrong reason.

The Supes also strike down Nebraska's partial birth abortion law, while telling it how to write one they will accept. So not the victory it has been portrayed as.

They also allow the Boy Scouts to exclude gays on the grounds that the courts have no right to examine an organization's claim that discrimination is part of its "expressive message."

That said, I have no objection to the Boy Scouts excluding gays, just so long as they get no government funding and their uniforms are banned from schools.

In South Africa, the parties which were bitter enemies under apartheid, the Nationalists and the Democrats, have merged to form a single party, to be the official opposition to the ANC. In other words, they have submerged all their political differences to form a party based solely on ethnicity. South Africa has finally joined the African mainstream.

School prayer got banned by the Supreme Court again. By the way,
wasn't that Texas law great, allowing the students to vote for a student to lead prayers before football games? Who would have thought that a school sponsoring a vote over whose religion was better would had any problem with the Supes?

Friday, June 23, 2000

Oxford University, which has been the target of government attacks as being elitist, will not give Tony Blair an honorary degree. The chancellor says that Blair has only a "second-class mind." Whether pissing off the PM is the action of a first-class mind remains an open question.

Although that Russian girl's grades remain marked down, she did get that camcorder she asked for. She will now have a permanent record of the day her life's dreams went down the toilet.

In chapter 839 of Hollywood's war against culture and sanity, we come to the planned remake of Alec Guiness's Kind Hearts and Coronets, with Will Smith and Robin Williams.

Saturday, June 17, 2000

The Daily Show quoted Bill Gates as saying that whenever something gets too popular, the government tries to take it away--like slaves and Thalidomide, they added.

In 1972 Shrub was suspended from flying for having failed to take his medical. Coincidentally, this was the first year in which his medical would have included a drug test. That is one interpretation. The other is that he simply failed to do it like he failed to do any of the other duties he was supposed to perform in his last year in the National Guard, like show up.

When NATO made the ceasefire agreement with Serbia last year, it deleted a clause from the first draft requiring it to release Albanians held in prisons. 1,300 still remain. If I'm reading this right, last month 143 men who had been arrested at random were sentenced to long terms for the murder of a Serb policeman, which occurred after the arrest of some or all of them.

Tuesday, June 13, 2000

Check out the Chicago Tribune website for an analysis of all 131 (whoops, 132 since they published this morning) of Shrub's executions. Find out how many lawyers have been disbarred, how many jailhouse informants were used, how many lawyers presented no witnesses during the sentencing phase, including one who didn't know he was allowed to. Find out who "Dr. Death" is. And he is not the forensic scientist temporarily released from a psychiatric ward to testify, or the pathologist who made up autopsies. Thrill to the story of a confession coerced by El Paso police, who had Juarez police break into the home of the suspect's Mexican relatives and threaten to hook their genitals up to generators. (A harmless violation of his rights, according to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeal, which is all Republican and one of whose members made up most of his resume and was caught practicing law without a license in Florida, and all of that was known at time of his election and he was elected anyway and he has since been arrested for ticket-scalping). Very entertaining in the sickest possible way. And how about this for a closing argument: "Ladies and gentlemen," Pena began, "yesterday when I was talking to you all the lights went out. I don't know. Maybe that was a message. Today it rained. Maybe that was a message. Maybe the rain drops are the key issues, but that's what you have to decide today." "The system. Justice. I don't know. But that's what y'all are going to do."

Should be available for a while. Long but well worth it. If anyone can't access it, I'll pass on a copy on request.

Tony Blair is being criticized in embarrassing leaked policy memos for being out of touch, and was heckled last week at the Women's Institute. To prove that he is not out of touch, he is finally going to tackle the fox-hunting issue. According to a report released today, "There is a lack of firm scientific evidence about the effect on the welfare of a fox of being closely pursued, caught and killed above ground by hounds. We are satisfied, nevertheless, that this experience seriously compromises the welfare of the fox."

A twin was born in Britain today, 28 days after the other twin.

In order to place bets, I guess, on which inflated internet company is going to go under next, go to I'm telling you, there is a site for everything.

In another example of democracy at its finest, the other son of deceased President Assad of Syria has put in a claim to be his successor. This will last until someone finds a dictionary with a good definition of "president."

The Supreme Court ruled that a person who was told to wait 8 days with appendicitis cannot sue her HMO because her appendix burst, as this was what HMOs were designed to do, and what Congress intended.

Jehovah's Witnesses will no longer be excommunicated ("defellowshipped") for having blood transfusions, but they're still not supposed to.

Some of Barak's coalition partners are pulling out because their rabbis ordered them to.

Beaver College in Philadelphia is giving in after 147 years of tittering (so to speak), and changing its name, although I haven't heard what to. Clitoris University springs to mind. Well maybe springs isn't the best verb. Evidently some prospective students couldn't get to the college's web site ( because of censorship software.

Sunday, June 11, 2000


The state psychologist in Texas who told the jury that Hispanics are dangerous and should be put to death did the same in other trials. See the Sunday NY Times article on the Texas lawyer who represented more people who have been executed than any other lawyer in the US, in between drinks, and how in at least one case he put up no witnesses, including perfectly good alibi witnesses he had been too busy even to interview, and didn't cross-examine the only state witness.

I've been meaning to say this for two weeks, but it seems that Austria's neo-fascist Freedom Party has always been heavily subsidized by Libya.

Saturday, June 10, 2000

That idiot judge in Alabama who insists on posting the Ten Commandments in his court, no doubt in the original Hebrew, is going to be the next chief justice of the Supreme Court there.

The Supreme Court vacated another Texas death sentence, in which the jury was told by the prosecutor, with no objection from the defense lawyer, that Hispanics are inherently dangerous, as is shown by their over-representation in the prison system.

If more proof were needed of the utter contempt politicians feel for the intelligence of the electorate, Congress passed a repeal of inheritance taxes, that fall on the richest 2% of the population, in an election year. I don't know what's worse, that or Dubya's sudden conversion to such popular issues as air pollution and insurance, when his record as governor indicates no such prior interest, meaning that even though he planned to run for president, he didn't feel obligated to do anything, as opposed to making speeches during the election year.

Prince William of Great Britain, Northern Island, Gibraltar and the Falklands, is about to turn 18. Let the media feeding frenzy
begin. Charles has shut the queen out of contact with the prince, in a successful effort to get her to cave and meet Camilla. Philip made a totally gratuitous defense of genetically-modified foods, precisely in order to annoy his son. The dysfunction goes on. Rather surprisingly, I read that Charles was actually present at the birth of William. Typically, Diana thought that he was paying too much attention to the baby, and not enough to her. Does anyone else see a parallel between Diana and Marysleysis, or however you spell it?

Friday, June 09, 2000

Chernobyl is finally to close down. At the employees' farewell party, all beer will have two heads.

The Justice Dept. says that there was no conspiracy in the Martin Luther King assassination. So that's all right then.

The UN is censoring "hate speech" in the Kosovan media.

Wednesday, June 07, 2000

NY Times headline: Democrats Try to Redefine Gore in Ad Blitz. As a mammal?

An Egyptian court says you can't divorce your wife (I divorce you I divorce you I divorce you) by e-mail.

Further raising the question of just how committed to democracy Japan is, after all those Shintoist statements by the prime minister, it seems that 1/4 of the seats in Parliament were inherited, some in their 3rd generation since the war. And this has been going on for a while. Why didn't I hear of this before?

Monday, June 05, 2000

The media in China are not allowed to use the name of the new Taiwanese president.

The Antiques Roadshow (British version) this week evaluated what turned out to be stolen silverware (worth #20,000).

I haven't looked at it yet, but the site evidently rates the panhandling techniques of actual homeless people. The mind boggles.

Clinton offers to extend the Star Wars umbrella over civilized countries, defined as "if you have to ask, you're not."

My cat decided I wasn't eating enough and brought me a bird. The first time that's ever happened, but not from want of trying. Any creature stupid enough to get caught by Turquoise does not deserve to be in the gene pool.

Sunday, June 04, 2000

In a man-bites-dog story, an African country, Benin, has apologized to the US for the slave trade. This is actually legitimate, since the Dahomean state (as it was then) based its wealth on raiding parties into the interior, which captured slaves from other states and sold them on. It was also known for its king having a bodyguard composed entirely of women. Topless women, if I'm not very much mistaken.

Compassionate conservatism, Shrub-style: it is compassionate to grant a stay of execution in order to run DNA tests. It is conservative to sweat the guy until 18 minutes before the scheduled execution.