Tuesday, April 08, 2003

Finger by finger it's coming off

Clarence Thomas in the cross-burning case: “In every culture, certain things acquire meaning well beyond what outsiders can comprehend.” Which may be the first use of “It’s a black thing--you wouldn’t understand” in a Supreme Court decision. Thomas also astonishingly claims “This statute prohibits only conduct, not expression,” displaying a complete inability to distinguish between symbol and reality. In case anyone here shares that problem, I should explain that when I call Clarence Thomas a horse’s ass, I am being figurative, not literal.

Incidentally, I was premature yesterday. Evidently the Virginia law does ban cross-burning only when done with the intention of intimidation. That makes it almost ok in my book, although not enough so to make it constitutional, since it still bans an expressive act. As I said, burning a cross on someone else’s lawn has to be a crime already, and intimidation is already a crime, for which the burning of a cross could be evidence (but not prime facie evidence, a provision of the act the Court correctly struck down), so there is no good reason to ban it in a separate act.

And I still say a burning cross isn’t quite as scary as, say, a fiberglass bloody Jesus.

A cute Jon Carroll piece on explaining ourselves (and Britney Spears) to the Iraqis. And less politically, Jon Carroll on cats, and copulating penguins.

Puppet-in-training Chalabi’s financial past. Evidently he was on 60 Minutes this week.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t the US bomb al-Jazeera during the Afghan war as well? Yes we did, November 2001, I just looked it up. (Later): it gets even better. The same correspondent survived both attacks. So far only Robert Fisk (without whom the Independent would have no reason to exist) dares call the Pentagon’s literal war on the press what it is, murder. The claim that the attack on the Palestine Hotel (and on Reuters’ office) was a response to firing was universally repudiated by every reporter staying there.

Funny headline in the Independent: “UK Forces Invite Religious Leader to Help Run Area as City Is Looted.” Yup, that sounds like a religious leader all right. The British say the religious leaders has “credibility and authority,” which they wisely refrain from undermining by actually naming him.

Are we really supposed to believe that right in the middle of the pulverizing of Baghdad, Saddam Hussein decided to go out to a restaurant, and maybe dancing later? Still, at least we managed to kill a cadre of elite busboys.

Bush and Blair really did meet in Belfast or, as Ari Fleischer called it, Dublin. The Guardian seems to think the Bushies aren’t that engaged with the problems of the Northern Irelanders, as Bush called them.

The Times also makes fun of Bush: President Bush at Hillsborough Castle: “The grip I used to describe that Saddam had around the throats of the Iraqi people are loosening. I can’t tell you if all ten fingers are off their throats, but finger by finger it’s coming off.” The location of Saddam’s thumbs has yet to be revealed.

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