Thursday, February 26, 2004

Does God have more influence than Oprah?

I thought about going to the opening of Mel Gibson’s Jesus Christ Beyond Thunderdome today, when all the religious kooks were going, and heckling, but I thought better of it.

Someone suggested this slogan: “Keep America Free From Ass-Fucking: Bush 2004.” Or: “Don't Switch Horsemen Mid-Apocalypse.”

According to the governor of West Virginia, Kerry “can legitimately say, 'I carried an assault weapon,' and I hunt. That could go a long way toward offsetting the gun issue.” Really? Does hunting gooks count?

The Guardian’s Polly Toynbee: “American elections make the case against Iranian-style "Islamic democracy" a little harder. Which is more democratic: rule by moolah or mullah?”

The Supreme Court rules 7-2 that states don’t have to pay for the training of ministers. No points for guessing the 2. Scalia: “The indignity of being singled out for special burdens on the basis of one's religious calling is so profound that the concrete harm produced can never be dismissed as insubstantial.” Boy, you’d really have to have, I don’t know, religious faith or something, to endure such torment. Fat Tony also says the decision could deny publicly funded drug benefits to priests and nuns. Scalia is getting stupider with age. The plaintiff in this case experienced such harm that he switched sides, becoming a lawyer (well, half switched sides, he was double majoring in pastoral studies and, um, business administration. I don’t think either God or Satan appreciate people hedging their bets like that.). 37 states don’t fund religious instruction, at least to people planning to become ministers, so which are the 13? That would be too hard for reporters to look up, so we don’t know.

Bush’s statement on the Unequal Rights Amendment yesterday, which I linked to, was 776 words long (compared to the 207 words Putin took to fire his entire cabinet), not one of which were “gay,” “homosexual” or “ass-bandit.” It could be fun in the coming months watching him attack the rights of homosexuals without ever acknowledging their existence.

Tanzania decides not to take that bribe in order to house black refugees Britain doesn’t want.

Britain drops its prosecution of GCHQ employee Katharine Gun, who exposed that the US asked the Brits to help spy on UN Security Council delegates. So now we’ll never know how the British responded, he says facetiously. (Later: yes we will: Clare Short, who resigned from the government over the Iraq war, says she saw transcripts of Kofi Annan’s conversations). Also, at trial she would have demanded the gov’s legal advice on whether the war was legal, which Blair doesn’t want out, for some reason.

Israel raids banks, steals $9m it claims is terrorist money sent by Iran and Syria (the sum varies wildly according to your source).

Alan Greenspan said that Social Security benefits need to be cut for future recipients--who should develop an irrational exuberance for the taste of cat food--rather than taxes being raised. Why is he expressing an opinion on this subject? John Kerry wants to reappoint Greenspan.

Bush evidently agreed to allow the 9/11 commission more time because he knew his surrogates in Congress would kill the extension for him. They even pretended that Bush’s chief of staff called Dennis Hastert to plead for the extension and was turned down. I mean come fucking on. And Condi Rice has refused to testify in public. Bush and Cheney are also refusing to testify to the whole commission.

In an international BBC poll, 56% of Britons believe God is more influential than David Beckham, 75% of American respondents said he has more influence than Oprah Winfrey and 94% of Indians placed him ahead of the batsman Sachin Tendulkar. Britain was the most atheistic of the countries surveyed, maybe because of all the rain, and has the lowest rate of church attendance. That also translates into only 31% believing that theirs is the only true god, compared to 51% in the US and 96% in Indonesia.

Secretary of War Rumsfeld is in Afghanistan (and he brought his wife), where Puppet Prez Karzai declared the Taliban defeated. Evidently all the violence is from common criminals. “Now every act committed by a Kalashnikov is not an act done by the Taliban or al-Qaida.”

The Netherlands plans to make immigrants take a test on the Dutch language and fine them every year they fail.

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