Wednesday, May 11, 2005

How to make a member of the House of Lords spit out his soup


The supplemental military spending bill which just passed the Senate includes all sorts of goodies, such as giving the feds back the old McCarren-Walter ability to exclude foreigners from the US merely because of their speech or writings, and, on the other side, a ban on the government spending money to torture people, including non-Americans, who Alberto Gonzales claimed had no constitutional right not to be tortured. No doubt more details will be revealed in the days to come, and no one will be more surprised by them than the hundred senators who voted for the bill without reading it.

Oklahoma’s lower house passed a (non-binding) resolution demanding that libraries hide away books with homosexual content in adult-only sections. The resolution’s sponsor, Eagle Forum fixture and homophobe Sally Kern, the wife of a Baptist pastor, was especially incensed by a children’s book, King & King, about a prince whose mother the Queen tells him he must marry, but he’s “never cared much for princesses”... Ages 6 & up, according to Amazon.

Afghanistan erupts in rioting over claims that Americans flushed Korans down the toilets in Guantanamo as part of their sophisticated interrogation tactics. The story is no sillier than similar rumors that started the Indian Mutiny in 1857, but I tend to doubt it. Americans have much more respect for... plumbing.

Karzai said the riots were proof that freedom of speech and democracy were taking hold in Afghanistan, an exercise in making lemonade out of lemons spoiled only by the addition to that beverage of the blood spilled from at least 4 protesters shot to death by Afghan police, and yes I just nauseated myself with that imagery too. Karzai also gave this as another reason why the American occupation must go on and on and on.

A London Times story begins by asking “Is Kirsty Sword Gusmao the first woman to unbutton her shirt in the House of Lords dining room? It is hard to be sure. What is clear is that when she did so to breast-feed her five-month-old son, their lordships noticed.” The breasts of Ms Gusmao, the Australian wife of East Timor’s president, turn out to be the least interesting things about her in this fascinating article.

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