Sunday, April 27, 2003

But is it art? Actually, who cares, as long as there are naked people

Clarification: when I said that HIV-positive men can father children, I of course meant through IVF, after a “cleaning” process. So don’t try this at home.

The Pentagon decides its troops know everything about keeping the peace that they need to know, and will close down the Peacekeeping Institute at the US Army War College.

In the Independent, “Revealed: How the road to war was paved with lies.” Pretty much what it sounds like.

Follow-up: Hamburg, NY has declined to change its name. Turns out Hamburg is where the hamburger was born, in 1885. The PETA guy says that veggie burgers are a nutritious alternative and animals don’t have to suffer. Unless you count humans as animals, and humans are the ones expected to eat the wretched things.

I’m told by a recipient of this list who can read Norwegian that that amusement park had no children in it when the US soldiers ran the naked looters through it, because it is occupied by the US military, which is using it to store weapons. And that way there are no lines for the rides. No kids, but there certainly were photographers, weren’t there? The article also explains that Iraqis find public nudity very humiliating, something which Norwegians, who enjoy being naked in public, might need explained to them, my informant points out.

Norway’s equality chief (who should start with her own job title) has urged a change in crosswalk signs to more gender-neutral stick figures. Norway’s current signs feature a man in a hat (or possibly a lesbian). No word in the Agence France-Presse story about whether the figure wears anything besides a hat.

You know, somewhere there must be a website devoted to crosswalk figures throughout the world. It might even be fun. I remember noticing that the figure in West German signals walked a lot faster than the one in East Germany.

The Day the Fake Laughter Died: Charles Douglass, inventor of the laugh track, has died.

Attorney Gen Ashcroft “rules” that illegal immigrants who aren’t criminals or terrorists or anything can be detained indefinitely, without any investigation to determine whether the individual poses any sort of threat. The case was of a Haitian, and the reason Ashcroft gives for imprisoning him is that releasing him would encourage other Haitians to come which would strain “homeland security resources.” In other words, imprison an innocent man indefinitely purely to send a message to others. How many concentration camps does this country now run, in which people are incarcerated without any legal process?

Shrub gives an interview to NBC, which I did not watch. The NY Times says it “provided rare access to the president’s thinking.” The horror, the horror.

Here’s the “president’s” thinking on the Dixie Chicks: “They can say what they want to say. And just because--they shouldn’t have their feelings hurt just because some people don’t want to buy their records when they speak out. You know, freedom is a two-way street.” True as far as it goes, but the--here come those quote marks again--“president of the United States” just endorsed a boycott of artists who speak out against his policies.

And a reminder of other blacklist activities: Martin Sheen seems to have survived the impeachment campaign against him, but he did lose a car commercial, and Janeane Garofalo, who was supposed to have a sitcom in the fall, no longer does.

Bush said that "on bended knee to the good Lord, I asked Him to help me to do my job in a way that's wise". So that would be a “no,” then.

US troops from the 422nd Irony Battalion arrest the self-proclaimed mayor of Baghdad for “exercising authority which was not his.” Those exercising authority which evidently is theirs include the so-called technocrats, the Iraqi exiles just flown in. Most of them refuse to be identified by name, because they don’t want to be killed.

Bush’s little exploitative gesture of holding the R. convention in September 2004 puts it past the deadline to be on the ballot in several states, including California, heh heh heh.

Talks over Northern Ireland, conducted entirely through the media as near as I can figure it, are still going on, with the British and (for once) the Irish governments trying to get the IRA to say that the war is over. Jeez, how hard is that, Putin has declared the war in Chechnya over half a dozen times, Bush is supposed to declare Gulf War II over this Thursday, and nobody expects that to stop us killing Iraqis. I think Gerry Adams’s statements have been as clear as anyone could expect on the subject, but they keep demanding more clarifications, which will never be enough for David Trimble. Anyway, the Northern Ireland Assembly is still suspended, which may mean that the elections scheduled for a month from now may occur, even though they will be to a body that doesn’t actually technically exist. “Vote for me, I won’t do anything.” Pretty appealing, actually.

Bush says he would invite the new Palestinian prime minister to the White House “one of these days,” but only if he wasn’t in the company of Arafat (who was actually elected to office, unlike Mr. Abbas, or indeed Bush). The thing is, that statement is pure posturing. Arafat is under house arrest, still, and if he left the country, the Israelis would refuse to let him back in. Today, Abbas said that he will refuse to go to Washington, or anywhere else, until Arafat’s freedom of movement is restored.

US forces in Iraq seize the six of clubs. Not a person, just the six of clubs.

A children’s hospital in Iasi, Romania has decided that it no longer has enough money to pay for dialysis, and so will let children with kidney failure die. What it does have money for is new armed guards to keep journalists out of the hospital.

The pope, as ever working for religious intolerance, is to make a saint of a friar who worked to keep Turks out of Europe. And in the process invented cappuccino.

From the Daily Telegraph. There is a picture in the story. I have appended a picture from the guy’s website. There is also a piece by the paper’s art critic, who participated in the piece.

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