Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Not spam

My server's anti-spam software has struck again. My last email, dated Tuesday at 8:39 pm, had the subject line “An enlarged prostitute.” This caused the server to add to the subject line a warning that it might be spam. Here’s the funny part: the word that set off the spam detector was not “prostitute,” it was “enlarged,” as in ads for penis/breast enlargement.

So maybe I won’t tell you that scientists have learned how to grow penis tissue in the lab. That’s laboratory, not labrador, and you should all be ashamed of yourselves.

Colin Powell’s claim that gunfire was coming from the Palestine Hotel on April 8 was discredited even more thoroughly than I realized: French tv was filming the whole time, and there was no sound of gunfire on the tape.

The Bush admin is asking the Supreme Court not to strike “under God” out of the Pledge of Blind Obedience, saying that the Constitution “does not forbid the government from officially acknowledging the religious heritage, foundation and character of this nation.” What religious foundation and character would those be? I would also note that Bush said earlier in the week (re Iraq) that freedom was a gift from God, and not from, oh, say, institutions created by man. Actually, if you put everything together, Bush is saying that freedom was a gift from God to the United States, and that freedom in places like Iraq is a gift from the US. Although Rumsfeld has emphatically ruled out Iraq ever being ruled by government that acknowledges the “religious heritage, foundation and character” of Iraq.

As expected, on Thursday Bush will declare victory. The Independent headline: “The War is Over (Except for Iraq).” And especially, except for Fallajuh, where US troops shot dead 2 more people today, who were protesting the killing of 13 or so protesters yesterday. Once again, no American soldiers were even injured. I forget, why was Saddam bad? Something about oppressing the people. The fake mayor of Baghdad, the US says, will be held for a very long time, without trial of course.

Bush has chosen a civilian administrator for Iraq, one L. Paul Bremer, former head of the State Dept’s counterterrorism office (and then in Kissinger Associates). In other words, someone whose qualifications have nothing to do with rebuilding Iraq and everything to do with the US’s interest in neutering Iraq.

Rummy is in Iraq. He broadcast to the Iraqi people, telling them all about his grandchildren (really). He said that there is more food, water and electricity in Iraq than under Saddam--remarks which would have pissed Iraqis off, had any of them had electricity with which to view the broadcast. He called for them to provide information on “foreign fighters,” who are there “seeking to hijack your country for their own purpose.” Whenever an American talks about foreign interference, I’m reminded of my stay in Cambridge in 1983. After a couple of weeks, a lot of us Americans were complaining about those noisy foreigners (i.e., Italians and Germans).

He is visiting the country for the first time since 1984, when he went to sell a pipeline to Saddam. And here’s a story about Rummy being on the board of a company that won the contract to build nuclear reactors for North Korea. Astonishingly, at the same time, he was chairing the “Rumsfeld Commission” on missile threats to the US, which concluded that NK could strike the US within 5 years (this was in, uh oh, 1998) and that it was using those reactors to build nukes. Why don’t we just find out which countries he did business with, and bomb them all?

You may remember that the BBC had Brits vote on the Top 10 Britons of all time, with Churchill beating out Shakespeare as top bulldog. The Germans will do this next, but their options will be circumscribed: Steffi Graf yes, Adolf Hitler no.

I said again recently that the Russians lied about the number killed in the theater siege. Sure enough, at least 40 more are dead. And some of the survivors are not at all well.

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