Sunday, December 17, 2006

Of magic bullets, bush blessings, the appropriate response to a hand grenade, karaoke and coups


Unfortunate metaphor of the week, from the director of HIV/AIDS for the World Health Organization, Dr. Kevin De Cock (whose name is also unfortunate; I mean, really... “Kevin”), who says that circumcision can reduce the risk of HIV infection but is “not a magic bullet”.

Unfortunate headline of the week, regarding Mary Cheney’s pregnancy: “Lesbian Mother Gets Bush Blessing” (The Sunday Telegraph, which also translated Chimpy’s original quote, “Mary Cheney is going to make a fine mom” for the benefit of its down-market English readers: “Mary Cheney is going to make a fine mum”. The story ends with this fine sentence: “The manner of Miss Cheney’s impregnation and the father’s identity have not been revealed.”).

The US Army has produced a new manual on counter-insurgency (those who can’t do, write manuals), which I haven’t seen yet but which seems to be an etiquette guide, preparing military personnel “to be greeted with a hand grenade or a handshake, and to respond appropriately to each”. Something about not using the left hand, I’m guessing.

The British Education Ministry reports that millions of British adults cannot read well enough to keep up with karaoke machines. They seem to think this is a bad thing. “New York, New York” evidently requires the reading skills of an 11-year old (plus 11 glasses of warm beer).

Palestinian President Abbas has announced that there will be new elections. In case you’re wondering, no, he does not have the power to do this. Hamas is now in the position of either boycotting illegitimate elections, or standing in them and accepting the illegitimate results. Or going to option 3, civil war. I’m not sure why Abbas thinks he’ll win either the elections (yes I am: he plans to rig them) or a civil war, even with all the American arms that have been arriving for his “presidential guard.”

The WaPo Style Invitational is especially good this week, bad ideas for toys.

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