Thursday, April 24, 2003

Montana culture

I don’t know what it is all of a sudden with the Nigerian email scams I keep getting. Today's has a nice twist: it claims to be from the son of Laurent Kabila. In fact, the particular sum of money, 25% of which can be mine if I provide my bank account number, was intended to buy arms from South Africa. And I can tell you, people don’t just give bank account numbers--my answering machine message has asked for that information for a month and no one has yet provided it.

As predicted, Iraqi Shiite gratitude to the US lasted about a nanosecond. Either they have really short memories, or they were too busy with the pilgrimage for the anniversary of the death of Mohammed’s grandson in 640 AD.

Montana’s legislature breaks up without even voting on an open-container bill. Let me introduce you to one of the few supporters of drinking and driving, Jim Shockley (R-Denial), who says, using an odd definition of the word culture, “If they don’t like our culture, they should go somewhere else.” But if they do that, they might want to avoid driving there, cause it’s kinda dangerous.

The US says it opposes “any outside interference” in Iraq. I assume that’s a joke. [Later:] evidently a NY Times story I haven’t seen yet (damned ink on paper slowpokes) on this very subject also says that the US is trying to assist certain clerics, but, shh, don’t tell anyone. Still, there was absolutely no hint in the warning to Iran that there might be something funny about it, nor in the story in the WashPost about the unelected mayor of Kut, who simply walked into the mayor’s office and took over, like Jay Garner didn’t just do the same to a presidential palace.

Weasel words of the week: Ari Fleischer explaining why Bush hasn’t said anything about Santorum’s anti-gay comments: “the president typically never does comment on anything involving a Supreme Court case.” Bill (“The Cat Vivisector”) Frist says that Santorum is actually a voice for inclusion and compassion in the Republican Party. Richard Cohen of the Post suggests that that’s a pretty low bar.

The WHO says that people should avoid travel to Toronto. Canadians are furious, which actually looks a lot like Canadians being calm, or bored, or euphoric.

The US military (finally) admits that some of those held at Guantanamo are 13-15 years old. Guantanamo now has a juvenile wing. And we’re bitching about what the Cubans are doing with the part of the island we’ve graciously left in their hands.

Etch-a-sketch online. Literally seconds of fun. But what sort of person does it take to figure out how to use a computer to cheat at the etch-a-sketch?

The US has captured 10 of the 55 cards in Iraq, and whoever came up with that pack of cards thing must be pissing themself laughing at how the media ran with it. Forget the tv news graphics, the bloody NY Times shows a drawing of the appropriate card whenever one is captured. You know they never even issued these things to actual soldiers and only ever printed 200 sets? It was aimed right at the media from the beginning, forces them to print every time another of Saddam’s second cousins or whomever is captured, as if it were some major triumph. They still haven’t captured so much as a Saddam stunt double, but this gimmick still lets it look like progress is being made, at least in the capture of people on a list chosen by some process that no media outlet I’ve seen has even bothered trying to examine. Oh, and quite a few of the 10 have been “captured” by Chalabi’s mercenary forces, who were just airlifted into the country a week or two ago, a suspicious level of success which suggests that the cards are marked (sorry).

Bush is pressuring Congresscritters, including those of his own party, by sending Cabinet members and himself to 30 states, a tactic the Bushies are calling “flood the zone,” evidently a football term of some sort. The Daily Show notes that the Democrats will respond with their own sports strategy: the asthma note from home.

Which is really too sad to be funny. The R’s just announced plans to push their 2004 convention back a month to hold it--in New York, yet--right before the anniversary of 9/11, in a cynical attempt to exploit it for partisan advantage. So where are the howls of outrage from Democrats that should have followed? I suspect a good many Americans would share that outrage with only a little bit of prodding. I mean, I personally experienced disappointment. I used to express wonder at the fact that I expected almost nothing from Clinton and yet he still somehow managed to disappoint me, but before this week I never felt disappointment at Bush--shock, disgust, outrage, amazement, sure, but never disappointment.

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