Saturday, July 10, 2004

To tarnish one of life’s joys

Rep Jerry Weller (R-Ill.), who is on the House Committee on International Relations and its sub-committee on the Western Hemisphere, is engaged to the daughter of Efrían Ríos Montt, former Guatemalan dictator, scum, and genocidal religious fanatic. She helped run strategy for his failed presidential run last year and is a member of the Guatemalan congress, so this isn’t just guilt by association. This would be the first marriage between a US Congresscritter and the member of the legislature of another country. Neither will give up their seats; he will commute from Guatemala. Weller doesn’t like being criticized for this: “To tarnish one of life’s joys, marrying the woman you love, is simply beyond the bounds of decency.” Poor baby. His spokesmodel says this is no more controversial than a congressman who is a farmer overseeing agricultural issues. Farms, genocide--a family business is a family business. During the elections, she called an incident where peasants threw stones at Ríos Montt’s car a violation of human rights, as opposed to the 10,000+ who were disappeared during his reign of terror. Weller’s website’s announcement of the marriage noted that she wrote the legislation banning smoking.
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Afghanistan will hold presidential elections in October but delay parliamentary elections until April, “in an effort to ensure a more democratic process,” the NYT says. Evidently presidential elections needn’t be quite so democratic.

Speaking of undemocratic presidential elections, the list of supposed felons Florida is using to purge its electoral roles is tilted towards D’s (28,025 versus 9,521 R’s), but it also includes almost no Hispanics, 61 on a list of 48,000. Hispanics in Florida are, of course, heavily R. The reason there are so few is that even if felons have the same name and birth date as names on the electoral role, they aren’t purged unless their races match--and the felon list’s racial categories don’t include Hispanics, just white, black, Asian, Native American and unknown (the 61 purgees are the unknowns). So the standards for purging felons were designed to be racist. Why voting records would record race is beyond me--maybe something to do with the Voting Rights Act.
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The NYT says in an editorial what I’ve been saying: “When Tom Ridge, the secretary of homeland defense, holds a news conference to warn the nation of dire peril and it winds up as fodder for comedy shows, there’s something very wrong somewhere.”

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