Friday, February 17, 2006

Accidents do and will happen


I hate the State Department’s crappy website. I’ve been getting Condi’s budget committee testimony in dribs and drabs (by the way, do you know what a drab is? It’s a drib). Here’s another drib: she accused Hugo Chavez of practicing a “Latin brand of populism that has taken countries down the drain.” I’m kind of enjoying thinking about a brand of populism conducted entirely in Latin (“Vox populi, vox Dei,” I always say). Or, if you wanted to be even more populist, Pig Latin. Or did Condi mean something else, with salsa music and the tango and the hot Latin blood and suchlike? Populism is one of the Bushies’ swear words, although it really hasn’t caught on. You were supposed to gasp when she said it: “Populism, oh my word! heavenly mercies! oh the horror!” As I commented in October, “The Bushies don’t seem to be defining what this populism thing they’re castigating actually is, but the label is meant to somehow delegitimize leaders they dislike who nonetheless have the effrontery to win elections.”

Another drib, or possibly a drab, about building the Iraqi military and police: “To be fair, we made a mistake earlier. We relied on number rather than on quality.” I dunno, the death squads operating within the Interior Ministry seem fairly efficient.

The chief Internet guy in the Chinese government, Liu Zhengrong may or may not be horrified by the thought of populism, with or without salsa, but is afeared of “harmful information.” However, he says that Chinese censorship practices are based on those in the West, just like the Washington Post turning off comments. Oh, and the Patriot Act, it’s just like that. “We have noted that the US is doing a good job on this front.” And a Google VP told a House subcommittee, that Google’s censoring of the internet in China
was not something we did enthusiastically, or not something that we’re proud of at all.” So that’s ok, then.

There’s another reward for the death of the Danish cartoonist, this time from a cleric in Pakistan: $1 million (why must they use American currency? why not the Danish herring, or whatever they use over there?) and a car. Doesn’t say what type of car.

Harry Whittington is leaving the hospital. He says he is “deeply sorry” for the trouble he caused Dick Cheney by getting shot by him, adding, “Accidents do and will happen, and that’s what happened last Friday.” The Associated Press put a period after the word happened, covering up the worrying detail that Whittington doesn’t know what day he got shot.

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