Wednesday, December 25, 1996

Christmas traditions

At the South Pole, the tradition is the annual run around the world, 2.7 miles that covers 24 time zones.

The mayor of Moscow decreed that stores in central Moscow not displaying ornate xmas decorations would be fined. Remember: if it's not banned, it's compulsory.

Finally, the British holiday tradition of betting on whether they'll be snow on xmas has cost bookmakers over 100,000 pounds.

Monday, December 23, 1996

I love Christmas news stories. Here's one: 6-year old British girl electrocuted by xmas tree lights while family looks on in horror. Yes, that's real. Finland sent its annual huge xmas tree to the holy land where Israel, exercising its stewardship of the world's holy sites, put it into quarantine for a month. A Buddhist decided to escape the materialist world to meditate on a Welsh mountain; a helicopter descended on him to try to "rescue" him. In Belgium, the paedophile-paranoid police raided a Satanic cult. The high priestess, or whatever she's called, said she found the raid "terrifying". Now, correct me if I'm wrong, if you're planning to deal with the Forces of Darkness, shouldn't you be able to deal with a little police raid with relative equanimity?

Saturday, December 21, 1996

Humanitarian aid X 2

Our first story, broken by the London Sunday Times, is that Israel smuggled tons of hashish into Egypt from the 1960s until the late 80s for sale to Egyptian soldiers, who showed a massive increase in addiction.

Toxic Waste Sent to Bosnia as Aid.

Tuesday, December 17, 1996

John Major, in an interview with Good Housekeeping designed to increase his appeal to women, revealed that he calls his wife "Little Grub." Tony Blair refuses to disclose any pet name he might have for Cherie.

In entirety, from the NY Times digest for the NY region section: "The Queens teen-ager who was beaten into a coma by several youths in a subway station had been harassed recently for being "clean cut," his father said."

Saturday, December 14, 1996

By the way, the last words of Len Tuggle, executed in Virginia yesterday: "Merry Christmas." And to all a good night, I guess.

Wednesday, December 11, 1996

British fox-hunters, in their perrenial fight against hunt saboteurs, are now going after them with helicopters, which sounds a heck of a lot more fun.

JFK's second-most-famous mistress, Judith Exner, whom he shared with Sam Giancana, says that she got pregnant by him in 1962 and had an abortion with his knowledge.

McDonald's opens in its 100th country. Believe it or not, there has never been a war between 2 countries possessing McDonald's. Civil wars don't count, which is good because Belarussian riot police attacked the crowd that gathered at the opening.

Monday, December 09, 1996


At Carl Bildt's party celebrating the 1st anniversary of the Dayton peace accords for Bosnia, many celebrants were hospitalized with salmonella.

Authorities in the Czech Republic wanted to establish a Sigmund Freud museum in the house in which he was born. The landlord preferred to make it into a massage parlor, or, perhaps, a "massage parlor".

It must be the silly season. The London Times is full of stories about people on trial for running over ducks, a scientist trying to get an import license for rhino dung, complaints from its neighbors that the French embassy is too dirty, a man whose photos of his expedition to the Arctic were lost by the chemists and wants 30,000 pounds to go back, etc. Yesterday we got the news that the newest hot business in Kabul is the sale of bones to Pakistan for soap, chickenfeed and something else I forget, and yes that includes human bones, which for some reason are easier to find in Afghanistan these days than animal bones. An adult male skeleton weighs 13 pounds and fetches about 45 cents.

Sunday, December 08, 1996

According to the SF Examiner, the word Nixon used for the rich Jews was cock-sucker. I was hoping for something ethnic.

Saturday, December 07, 1996

Keep the faith

New story from the Nixon tapes: September 1971 Nixon asked Ehrlichman on several occasions to go after the tax returns of the rich Jewish contributors to Democrats. "I can only hope that we are, frankly, doing a little persecuting."

I'm curious. The Reuters report says that Nixon used an expletive to describe the Jews. Anyone know which one?

Also on Nixon, you've read the stories, now read the transcripts from the alcoholic-in-chief:

4/30/73 BETWEEN 10:16 AND 10:20 P.M.:

Nixon: Hello.

Haldeman: Hi.

N: Hope I didn't let you down.

H: No sir, you got your points over, and now you, now you're, you've got it set right and move on. You're in right where you ought to be.

N: Well, it's a tough thing, Bob. For you, for John, the rest, but Goddammit, I'm never going to discuss this son of a bitching Watergate thing again. Never, never, never, never. Don't you agree?

H: Yes sir. You've done it now. And you've laid out your position. You've laid out your, you've taken your steps. You've...

N: Interesting thing. You know we haven't heard. The only cabinet officer that has called , and this is 50 minutes after the thing is over, is Cap Weinberger, bless his soul.

H: Hmm.

N: All the rest are waiting to see what the polls show. Goddam strong cabinet, isn't it?

H: You'd better check and be sure, cause I, they may, you know, we've had a...

N: Nah, nah. No, no, no. They know. They know. They know to call, you know. They know they can get through. But in any event, I just wanted you to know that Cap called & he was all the way.

H: Good.

N: But let me say, you're a strong man, Goddammit, & I love ya.

H: Ha.

N: And I, you know, I love John, and all the rest, and by God, keep the faith. Keep the faith. You're going to win this son of a bitch.

H: Absolutely.

N: You notice what I said about the violence and so forth on the other

H: Yeah.

N: I mean there were some, there were some intricacies in this, that only (unclear) would understand.

H: I got those. And I want to get the (unclear word), cause there are some things to work on from there that.

N: All right.

H: That uh...

N: I thought it was good, too, to sort of end on what I deeply felt (unclear word) on a religious note, you know, God Bless America. I mean, I don't, I'm certain, I must have, have, you know, I must have driven you up the wall.

H: Didn't drive me up the wall, but I felt that way (crosstalk). I'm all for that. I completely agree.

N: I don't know whether you can call and get any reactions and call me back, like the old style. Would you mind?

H: I don't think I can, I don't, I don't.

N: No, I agree.

H: Puts me in kind of an odd spot to try and do that.

N: No. Don't call a Goddam soul. The hell with it. Let me just say,
(unclear words)...from me, from you, I haven't heard from any cabinet
officer except Weinberger an hour afterwards, and thank God, and no
staff member.

H: Well, now, when I called the board said they were instructed not
put any calls through, so...

N: The hell with that. I told them to put all the calls through.

H: Well, that may be why you haven't gotten them though. Because

N: All right.

H: What told me.

N: All Right. I'll change it. I'll change it. Fine, but God bless ya,
boy, God bless you, I love you. You, you know.

H: Okay.

N: Like my brother.

H: Oh, we'll...

N: All right boy.

H: We'll (unclear word) it up from here.

N: Keep the faith.

H: Right.


Nixon: Hello.

Rogers: Hi, Mr. President.

N: Hi, Bill.

R: Gee, that was terrific. Really superb.

N: Don't give me that shit, you know. You know.

R: No, I really mean it.

N: You and I (unclear)...kind of rough, you know, afterwards, I, I,
shouldn't have done, done it, but, you know, I, uh, think, you know,
the, the operators and the rest. All of a sudden, I sort of, sort of
broke down a bit, and I, I don't, you know, I'm not that kind of a

R: Oh, hell (unclear). I tried to get you right away, but your damn
system is tough to get through. I finally got through to Barker,

N: Been trying to get through to you all day. I mean I told Rose,
Goddammit, any cabinet officer is to get through from, from the minute
after the speech. And only one I've heard from is Weinberger. So I
wondered what the hoot, what the hell's happened to everybody else.

R: I don't know what the Goddam system is. Anyway, I called. I tried
to get Barker, I tried to get (unclear). I finally got Barker, and he
took a message. Anyway, I thought it was superb, I don't know how you,
I don't see how you good have done any better. I think it's the best
delivery I've ever seen you give. I thought the delivery...

N: What, what parts of it did you like, Bill?

R: I liked all of it. I just thought it was great. I, um...

N: You didn't mind the God Bless America? That was my intuition
(unclear) I just sorta felt that way.

R: No, I, I, I thought it was, you know, I thought it was great. I,
uh, suppose some of the (unclear word) editorial writers may not like
it, but the public is going to love it. That's what counts. Uh. And I
thought the whole, the whole tone couldn't have been better. I didn't
think it was, I didn't think it had any, any rough spots in it. I
didn't think that you had any (unclear words) or anything of that
kind. No, I thought it was superb. I couldn't improve on it. I just
thought it was great. Adele was watching...

N: What did Dell think?

R: She thought the same thing. She, you know...

N: Smart woman.

R: She's critical.

N: You married a smarter wife that you, than you are. You know, like I

R: That's right. Now, how'd you think it went? I

N: I don't know anything about it. You know, I've, I've gotten. You
know, I've been through a hell of an experience, you know. I was just
reading, uh, Adams' memoirs, and Adams, you know, to his credit, did
come in and say, look, I'll resign.

R: Yeah, yeah.

N: But Haldeman and Ehrlichman didn't. I had to tell them they had to
resign. That was a Goddam, tough son-of-a-bitch.

R: Yeah.

N: You know.

R: I, I tell you this (unclear), you made a lot of improvements on the
speech. I thought it was pretty good last night, but it was a hell of
a lot better tonight. You must have done a lot of work on it today.

N: Worked all day on it. Yeah.

R: And, well, I, I just think you oughta be happy with the speech. I,
I don't...

N: But, the cabinet thing, they were putting out Thursday, but
(unclear) move to Wednesday. I think we ought to get it over quickly.

R: I think it's probably better.

N: Is that all right with you?

R: Right, right.

N: Because, you're, you're the cabinet now, Boy.

R: No, no.

N: No, I'm not givin' you any bullshit, you know that.

R: Incidentally, I, I think things look pretty good for Packard, I, if
you still want him. I think you ought to give him a call. I thought

N: I think I'll wait til tomorrow, though. I mean it's...

R: I don't want you, I don't want you to do it tonight, but I just

N: Right.

R: I talked to (unclear), I talked to Mansfield, I talked to George

N: What'd they say?

R: Well, they thought he'd be great. They thought he'd be great.

N: And they'll, they'll waive the...

R: Oh, we'll figure out something to do about that.

N: That's right, that's right. Good of you to call, Bill, you've been

R: That was a great speech, and get some sleep.
N: Great (tape cuts off)

BETWEEN 10:20 AND 10:32 P.M.:

Nixon: I had, I had, I had to tell Haldeman and Erlichman to resign,
which they wouldn't do voluntarily, and that was tough.

Graham: Well, your sincerity, your humility, your asking for prayer,
all of that, had a tremendous impact.

N: You really think so, Billy?

G: I really, I'm telling you the truth, and I'm not trying to just
encourage you. I know you get all that. But I really mean it.

N: Well, that's good of you Billy. You've been a friend, and, and
(tape cuts off)

Transcribed by Washington Post Staff researcher Barbara J. Saffir from
tape Tape #197 RC-3, available at the National Archives

Friday, December 06, 1996

Russian cuisine

It seems that "prescriptions" for marijuana under Prop 215 are valid under current Nevada law, and possibly other states as well.

Clinton's book Between Hope and the Remainder Table, or whatever it was called, sold miserably, and most of the copies are being returned to the publisher, which thinks it's unseemly to remainder a book by a president, but I suspect will swallow Clinton's pride. It sold nowhere near as well as the book by the former FBI agent about Clinton's love life etc, much less Hillary's book, but did outsell Dole's book. Interestingly, the publisher of the latter says that the Dole campaign lied, inflating the number of copies printed. In other good news, fewer than 20% of Newt Gingrich's 1945 sold.

John Deutch's last act as Director of Central Intelligence was to revoke the security clearance of the State Dept official who leaked to Rep Toriccelli that the Guatemalan colonel responsible for killing an American was a CIA informer.

There is an interesting 7-part series in the LA Times on homicides in LA, and how badly they are handled, with loads of anecdotes like the guy who rotted in jail for 4 months because the LAPD couldn't be bothered to check his time card at work that showed his alibi. Well worth reading but long, so I'm not sending them out, especially as most of you are on vacation right now. I'm afraid I didn't save the 1st one, or see the next 2, but I will send out the rest to anyone who asks.

A new record was set today when a Japanese furniture mover ate 23 1/4 hot dogs in 12 minutes.

Tuesday, December 03, 1996

A heart-warming story from the NY Times: a 14-year old girl sets fire to her house after years of physical and sexual abuse such that one could only be sorry she hadn't taken out more of her family. Her father has never visited her in jail but did send a picture of the burned-out house on her birthday. Naturally, the state of Indiana put her in a maximum-security prison ($25,000 a year) instead of the juvenile treatment center ($82k) the judge begged the state to put her in. You're waiting for the punchline, well I've got two: she has found a new mom in the joint, or "the closest thing to a mom I ever had" in another murderer, and second, she has been ordered not to talk about being abused in group therapy sessions because her fellow inmates in the special-needs unit are upset by her stories, since they all abused or killed their children.

And Thurgood Marshall used to be an FBI informer. I don't get it.

Monday, December 02, 1996

IRONY ALERT: a couple of days ago the NY Times remarked that a biography of a Chinese general, a veteran of the Long March I believe, gave the impression that he had retired rather than spent the last 15 years of his life under detention. Well, the Chinese minister of national defence is right now arriving in Washington and the official bio of him handed out by the US Defense Dept fails to mention that he commanded the troops responsible for the Tiananmen Square massacre.

UPDATE: My long-term readers will remember Sir Nicholas Scott, the hapless former minister for Northern Ireland and later minister for the disabled, banned from driving after a hit & run involving a baby's stroller earlier this year, and then found by police dead drunk and face-down in the gutter during the Tory Party Conference. Well, despite the endorsements of 130 MPs, other former ministers, other former drunks, and the KGB agent whose job it used to be to try to bribe him, as I reported a couple of days ago, his local party deselected him as a candidate for the next election. The hapless Sir Nick lost his job as Minister for the Disabled in 1994 after having to admit misleading Parliament in an attempt to weaken a bill for access for the disabled. Activists for the disabled, chief among them his own daughter, demanded that he resign.

I THOUGHT THEY WERE ALL THAT LONG: The longest-ever Church of England service was held, 5 hours long, in an attempt to get into the Guiness Book of World Records.

SCRAP, MISSILES, WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE: the US DOD has been selling as scrap military systems that were supposed to be decommissioned but weren't. Parts thus sold include functioning encryption devices, propulsion parts for submarines, advanced radars, parts of Patriot and cruise missiles, Stealth fighter guidance systems, etc. Buyers include Iran, Iraq and especially China.

UNCLEAR ON THE CONCEPT: At a benefit, Princess Di called the homeless "Englishmen without castles".

Friday, November 29, 1996

Germany is to give $1.8m to the town council of Guernica as a "gesture of peace" and certainly not as reparations for blowing the town to bits. Like Japan, Germany is not thrilled with the idea of reparations and is resisting in court having to pay its old slave labor any. My favorite legal argument is that they don't have to pay because Auschwitz wasn't even *in* Germany. The Bundestag hopes that Guernica will build a sports centre: basketball, the universal language of peace.

Sunday, November 24, 1996

Messing with the privates

From today's NY Times: "This is a wake-up call," said Sergeant Smith, a 30-year old drill sergeant instructor... "If you're messing with the privates, you'll go to jail. It's as simple as that."

Thursday, November 21, 1996

Head of State (nudge nudge wink wink)

From Gennifer Flower's book Sleeping with the President [note that the title is an example of resume inflation, since Clinton was governor at the time]: "We continued to make love for several more hours, as Bill demonstrated more sexual libido than I have ever seen in a man. I'm not sure exactly how many times he came, but he seemed to be inexhaustible. I remember thinking that maybe this is the kind of drive a man needs to become president of the United States."

Monday, November 18, 1996

It's a wonderful monopoly

An AP story says that Comedy Central has cancelled a parody planned for Xmas of It's a Wonderful Life in which Jimmy Stewart's character would announce that he was gay. "That angered Republic Pictures, which owns the right to the movie. Comedy Central was planning to go ahead anyway, until it found out that Republic is controlled by Viacom Inc., which owns a stake in Comedy Central."

That's the problem with all these takeovers. It's so hard to keep track of who can censor whom.

Thursday, November 14, 1996

Most frightening human being of the week

On the Daily Show, a former LA cop who has had plastic surgery to make himself look more like Tom Arnold.

More important news: Lady Chatterly's Lover appears for the first time in an unexpurgated version in Japan.

The "restored" Klingon edition of Hamlet is available for $20 (or 3 strips of gold-plated latinum).

Bob Dornan: "I will not concede to an inarticulate, flaky, non-qualified person." At least he didn't call her a "lesbian spear-chucker" like he did his opponent 4 years ago, a phrase I still don't claim to understand.

Another loon to keep an eye on: Jim Ryun, former Olympic runner and new Congresscritter from Kansas. Another Christian rightie, this man has published his daughters' dating rules in Focus on the Family. The guy must approach her parents, where they will then pray together over whether he is ready for marriage. They will then spend time with the whole family, doing missionary work and taking walks. The article (LA Times, 11/2/96) did not say what happens on the actual date, but I suspect no one has ever gotten that far. Dr. Ruth came out against Ryun during the campaign, saying that his rules amounted to arranged marriages (or would if they ever got that far). The girls are aged 21 to 26.

Tuesday, November 12, 1996

Anthony Lewis's column yesterday tells the story of a Cuban dissident type, a school teacher who joined the Cuban merchant marine in order to jump ship. The American immigration judge said that although the man had fled because of his political beliefs and would doubtless be royally fucked if he was returned, indeed possibly executed, it would be for something like desertion, which is ok, because we executed Eddie Slovick in WW II (the last American soldier to be executed), so he should be deported. The 9th Circuit overruled him. Under the new Immigration Act, future such cases will not be subject to judicial oversight.

You can now buy "medical marijuana" pipes on the streets of Berkeley.

Thursday, November 07, 1996

Clicking his Bic, if you know what I mean

How can you tell when Elizabeth Dole has had sex with Bob?

She has pen marks all over her back.

Tuesday, November 05, 1996

And a happy Guy Fawkes day to you all, but watch out for those fireworks.

According to a Wash Post article on election superstitions, James Carville has a pair of lucky underwear (boxers or briefs Jimmy Bob Bubba?), Dan Quayle goes to the dentist, and Al Gore has nothing, no lucky socks, no lucky tie, no lucky stick up his ass, or anything else that might reflect a personality.

I leave you with this thought: for half a century, Bill Clinton has done just one thing, run for the presidency. He may win the election today, but he will still have to find a new occupation. To quote Robert Redford in the candidate, "What do I do now?"

Monday, November 04, 1996

Sunday NY Times week in review section article: "Vying for the Breast Vote". Something about breast cancer.

A divorce lawyer is the new president of Bulgaria. Might have been more appropriate to the Czech Republic or Slovakia, or Yugoslavia.

There is a story that in the early 1970s Bob Dole accompanied a woman to the University of Kansas Medical Center for an abortion. Dozens of reporters have worked at tracking this story down, and the Washington Post had a long-term discount on hotel rooms in KC. So where's the story?

My first anti-209 commercial on tv, featuring David Duke and a burning cross.

Friday, November 01, 1996

So many options

From the Daily Telegraph (I think):
IN THE School of Islamic Thought that has shaped the ideology of the Taliban, there is an active debate on the appropriate punishment for homosexuals.

Mullah Mohammed Hassan, Governor of Kandahar, the fundamentalist movement's home province, explained the dilemma: "There are two kinds of strong punishment. There are those who say homosexuals should be thrown to their death from a high fort, and those who favour putting them in a pit and pushing a wall on top of them."

Monday, October 28, 1996

Animal house

is what Dole says the White House now is.

We are now in a great race to see which will happen first, the election, or Bob Dole's head exploding.

Dole is now running against the New York Times, which he mentions every day. The Times is beginning to run back. Dole said that the Times wouldn't print the size of one of his crowds--and they printed the Secret Service estimate, along with the town's population.

Dole says it's time America had a real man in the White House. (To anticipate the late night comedians: we do, and it's Hillary)

"Double-talk has a bad name because of this group, this group of elitists in the White House who've never done anything, never done anything, and now they're running the country, running the country." He really must get that repetition thing looked into, it's beginning to sound like a political Tourett's syndrome. Still, the thrust of this quote, as I understand it, is that the Clinton administration is giving double-talk a bad name, is in fact ruining double-talk for the rest of us. Where is the outrage?

Halloween is now the biggest commercial holiday in the US after Xmas, having surpassed MOther's Day & Easter. For the Web version of the holiday, there is virtual pumpkin carving (really) and the Web ouija board (2 people put their hands on the mouse...)

Friday, October 25, 1996

There is a hilarious picture on the front page of today's NY Times from the Angola (Louisiana) Prison Annual Rodeo, from the convict poker event, wherein convicts play poker while a bull charges them. The last person to leave the table (either running or flying) wins.

25 police forces in Michigan bought a computer program to manage their case records. The vendor has since vanished, as have 4 years of records.

Monday, October 21, 1996

Where US feminists & Iranian fundie loons agree: Barbie is Satanic

From the Daily Telegraph, May 7, 1996:
Barbie dolls ‘satanic’

THE appearance of smuggled Barbie dolls in shops in Iran has prompted Islamic hardliners to dub them "satanic" in an attempt to dissuade people from buying them.

Hardliners say that the "unwholesome flexibility of these dolls, their destructive beauty and their semi-nudity have an effect on the minds and morality of young children".
And today, Iran issues its own Islamic Barbie, although I suspect the Taliban would still consider her a whore.

In a related story, Israeli Jewish religious loons have created a server, presumably on the order of those run by Singapore and other such countries, to shield customers from un-Jewish thoughts and images (like the Talibani, they don't want to see any women).

And in an unrelated story, a conference in Italy hears that a lot of Catholic saints were anorexics.

In a demonstration of the relationship between money and politics you wouldn't normally expect to see out in the open this close to an election, the House National Security Committee objected to the forthcoming ending of the subsidy of tobacco sales at military PXs, which costs the taxpayers $30+ million per year not counting deaths (13% of military deaths) and medical costs. 11 of the 12 members of the house committee get tobacco campaign money.

Saturday, October 19, 1996


Ecuador's only famous person, Lorena Bobbitt, returns home, where she meets with the president.

Thursday, October 17, 1996

The Washington Post truth scorecard somehow missed the Dole claim that we have the worst economy in a century, but it does note that the frequent claim of 30 administration officials kicked out or in jail or under investigation actually includes people Al D'Amato is hounding, and people who were investigated and cleared, and people investigated for stuff that happened before the Clinton administration.

Clinton actually had a radio ad bragging about signing the bill against gay marriages. It has been pulled. If anyone hears where that ad was played, what cities or type of radio station, could they tell me?

Commercials featuring the Big Mac will soon be forced off Israeli tv for offending kosher sensibilities. (insert joke here)

In perfect timing as the British gov. proposes banning all handguns except for one-shot .22s locked up securely in gun clubs, some idiot clay pigeon shooter accidentally shoots himself to death. One Tory MP says that the parents of the children killed in the Dunblane massacre are too emotional.

Monday, October 14, 1996

Senator John Warner's campaign, caught having faked a picture of his opponent Mark Warner (no relation) with Clinton & Douglas Wilder, calls sticking Mark's head on Chuck Robb's body "a technical adjustment".

Friday, October 11, 1996

Salad shooters for democracy

GEN Colin Powell has apologised for using an ethnic slur against Chinese in a speech to businessmen in which he said: "If you give 1.3 billion Chinamen access to home shopping on television, [communism] is over, because there is no way communism can compete with a Salad Shooter for $9.95 (#6.37)." He now says his use of the word "Chinamen" was inappropriate.

Dennis Miller says that Gore's people say he accomplished his goal in the debate, which was to make a clear distinction between himself and the podium.

Thursday, October 10, 1996

Veep debate

"Affirmative action should be predicated on need, not on equality of reward, not on equality of outcome," Kemp said, adding that Abraham Lincoln would agree with him.

"I do not believe that Abraham Lincoln would have adopted Bob Dole's position to eliminate all affirmative action," Gore said.

Bob Dole knew Abe Lincoln, Abe Lincoln was a friend of Bob Dole's....

Tuesday, October 08, 1996

Quotes of the day:

"Maybe people in the lower economic brackets don't necessarily want the History Channel." Chief Justice Rehnquist

"There's something magic about riding around on a bus with Governor Whitman." Bob Dole

"Dope-Hemp 96" t-shirt in Berkeley

Best spin on the debate, from Clinton's campaign chair Peter Knight: "The President was very presidential."

I can't believe they're using the Whitewater counsel guy. If the Clinton people have any sense at all (which they don't--they'll continue to play defense on Whitewater and hope it goes away), this is precisely what they need to label the investigation convincingly as partisan.

By the way, haven't seen the photos, but Scalia evidently now has a beard, the 1st bearded justice since 1941. Way to go Tony! Just keep those beard hairs away from Clarence Thomas's Coke--you know what he's like!

Monday, October 07, 1996

Biggest jerks of the week who are not members of the Taliban: the golf club in Surrey who ejected a mother and son from the mother and son competition because he was adopted.

Biggest jerks who are Talibani: the Taliban, who have banned pet birds, chess, kites and marbles.

The debate

The Washington Post says that Senator John McCain's job during the debates was to sit in the front row and smile the whole time, to remind Dole that he was supposed to.

Most of the immediate reaction after the debate on CNN and such seemed to be that Dole had won, evidently because he had not drooled on himself. The Post is a little less kindly, because I was wondering just what debate the tv people had just watched. To me, Dole wandered, lost track of his own thoughts and the questions, and kept bringing up things he said he wasn't bringing up, like Whitewater and Clinton's drug use. But at least he called him "Mr. President", though once too often, David Broder thinks.

The fight for the alleged political center was downright unseemly, with Dole continuing his mantra of liberal liberal liberal, which is evidently a dog that won't hunt, which is Arkansasese for am not am not am not. Clinton several times brought up the 60 new death penalties and cutting welfare and the alleged 100,000 new cops, and said the American people would judge whether that was a liberal record or a record that was good for America. Gee, Billybobbubba, what's behind door number three?

PBS provided not only dull as dirt questions from Lehrer, who is supposed to have a personality in real life, but amazingly, even duller analysis. When asked what would be remembered from the debate, Mark Shields said the part after it was over where the candidates and their families were all standing around, and Paul Gigot said just the fact that they showed up. Whatever those two are paid, it is not enough.

I regret that I didn't have the patience to hear Nader and the Libertarian and the Natural Law candidate on CNN, but they had Perot first, and after a minute, I had to lie down.

I'll conclude in the words of Robert J Dole: "Mr President, stop scaring the seniors!" Be afraid, Bob Dole, be very afraid!

P.S. The Berkeley spellchecker doesn't know the word mantra. I don't know what this place is coming to.

Saturday, October 05, 1996

From a NY Times movie review: "Chemistry project: Take the powdered contents of a small box of Jell-O. Add Water. The volatility of the reaction will give you some idea of the excitement generated by the teaming of Steven Seagal and Keenen Ivory Wayons in "The Glimmer Man."

Latest piece of brilliance from the Taliban loons now in charge of Afghanistan (Taliban is the Pushtu word for Khmer Rouge): not content with banning women doctors and nurses, they are now throwing women patients out of hospitals. I am still waiting for an explanation for how soccer is unIslamic. Award for best explication of a policy that is nowhere near as comforting as it is supposed to be: well, most Taliban fighters have never
seen a woman over 10 not wrapped head to toe, so we wouldn't want to excite them.

Thursday, October 03, 1996

News you may have missed:
-a reporter for Le Figaro is murdered (or committed suicide if you're not very bright or a member of the Spanish police force) was working on reports that organs were "harvested" from the concentration camps in Bosnia.

-the key witness against Mumia Abu-Jamal (that must be what happens when you send a perfectly normal name through the Jive program in Zurich) says she was forced by police to change her story

-can you believe Gingrich and the Newtzies tried to water down the provision about denying guns to wife batterers by restricting it to cases where they were convicted by juries instead of judges?

-This week's award for slimiest site on the internet:
Joe Bob says check it out!

-Orrin Hatch did it, he snuck a provision into the budget outlawing virtual child pornography (where no actual child is involved) on the Internet.

Wednesday, October 02, 1996

After 12 years, you can forget about pants too

THE sartorial habits of Natan Sharansky, a key member of the Israeli summit team, raised eyebrows in the White House, a Tel Aviv newspaper said.

Maariv said President Clinton asked the former Soviet dissident, now the Trade and Industry Minister, why he had come to the White House without wearing a tie. Mr Sharansky responded without batting an eyelid: "There is a law in Israel, according to which anyone who was incarcerated in a Russian prison for longer than eight years is exempt from putting on a tie." Mr Sharansky had been a guest of the former Soviet Gulag for ten years.

Saturday, September 28, 1996

I'm not as think as you drunk I am

Bayer (as in aspirin), a corporate descendant of IG Farben, the manufacturers of Zyklon B, have been advertising an insect killer in Guatemala with the slogan Sudden Death is a German Specialty. Truth in advertising at last!

Wednesday, September 18, 1996

It makes me feel old to hear of Agnew's death on the BBC--which mispronounced his first name.

Almost unreported is the only intelligent thing Dole has said this year, an acerbic comment on the economics of firing $1 million missiles at $60,000 Iraqi radars.

From Comedy Central's The Daily Show: the new Miss America says that God wanted her to win in order to be a role model for children. And today, all over the country, children are greasing their teeth, taping their breasts and spouting delusional crap.

Wednesday, September 11, 1996

NY Times headline: "North Carolina Groggy After Hurricane". All together now: HOW CAN YOU TELL?

Note also a propos the previous message, that at least 20 members of the Senate are divorced. Well, as "Dick" Morris used to say, marriage should be defined as a union between...oh, yeah, keep sucking my toes, oh baby oh baby, and then Al Gore oh yes yes yes aaaaaah, and could you just charge that to the campaign?

I could swear I heard Dole give a speech yesterday calling his opponents "scareheads".

Friday, September 06, 1996

The mystery explained

There was a letter to the NY Times a couple of months ago that suggested that Saddam Hussein's behaviour could be explained by speculation, Hussein's that is, in international oil spot markets. All the man has to do is move a few troops or make a speech and he can send the price of oil wildly up or down. The ultimate in insider trading. It may not be true, but as a theory, it does fit all known facts.....

China blocks Internet access to human rights groups, Taiwanese & Hong Kong democratic groups, and to Western news sources, such as the NY & LA Times, CNN, Wall Street Journal. USA Today is unaffected. I did say news sites.

Tuesday, September 03, 1996

If you want to send a message, use Western Union

27 cruise missiles are launched at Iraq to send it a message. As usual, the message says "boom".

Alternatively, we are sending a message that Americans are still geography-impaired. The Kurds are in the North, the bombing is in the South. The Kurds are still in the North, the extension of the air exclusion zone is in the South. Our bombs are smart, our leaders are fucking idiots.

A cartoon in the just-arrived SC Comic News quotes Dole telling his little joke about a busload of supply-siders going over a cliff and the bad news is that there were 3 empty seats. The next panel shows a bus going off a cliff with Dole running behind it shouting Wait for Me!

Friday, August 30, 1996

Random thoughts about the convention

As Bill Maher said, introducing Politically Incorrect last night, Bill Clinton just made an important speech with many significant proposals. Let's talk about the hooker.

Only in politics would someone feel obliged to impress a $200 an hour hooker.

Did anyone else hear Clinton say we needed a law to punish people for killing Americans in other countries?

The new theme is A Bridge to the Twenty-First Century. Yes, Bill, the speech did seem to go on that long. I'm assuming this theme is another way of suggesting that Dole won't live that long, but "subtly", like my favorite Dem commercial which includes the sentence "But next year, if Newt Gingrich controls Congress and his partner Bob Dole enters the Oval Office, (etc)" with a slight pause to subconsciously get across the idea that Gingrich would control "Congress and his partner Bob Dole".

Anyway, do we need a bridge to the 21C? I mean, isn't the millennium going to come anyway, pretty much irrespective of executive action?

The only bridge we need is something to reset the date function in all our computers. Where is Al Gore when you need him?

Japan does no transplants. Their law does not recognize brain death.
Did anyone else wonder about the shear number of Kennedys speaking yesterday in Chicago, the place where the family allegedly stole the 1960 election? Were they trying to tell us something?

Everyone compared Liddy Dole's speech, or "performance" since it wasn't really a speech per se, to Oprah Winfrey...approvingly. When did that become a favorable comparison?

As most of us guessed, yes, during "ladies' night" at the convention, delegates were told to bring their infants.

Newsweek said that Kemp once invested tens of thousands of dollars with a since-vanished businessmen who "invented" a device to extract gold from sand.

Dole's 41-year daughter's speech told the endearing story of how at 13 she lobbied her father on ear piercing. She left him an actual memo with cost-benefit analysis and the whole bit. Of course she had to leave it for him since Bob "it doesn't take a village, it takes a family" Dole was never home. What's worse, I have to ask, that she had to lobby her own father (and for someone who started so early, how did she get fired from a lobbying job last year? I mean, how on earth does the daughter of the Senate majority leader get fired from a lobbying job? It's more mind boggling than Newt not getting tenure at Southwest Georgia Tech, or wherever it was) or that this was presented as the endearing side of Bob Dole?

Tom Carson thinks the appropriate insignia for the Log Cabin Republicans would be a pink Bermuda Triangle.

Speaking of which, Candace Gingrich was at the Democratic Convention. Her endearing story about Newt is that he gave her pink legwarmers for her birthday one year. I gather that even as a teenager she looked like she does now. The Economist once said that the only thing she has in common with her brother is that they both need to fire their hairdressers.

Tom Carson on Liddy Dole: "Liddy's both the perfect Republican career woman and the perfect Republican clubwoman, which means that she shuttles back and forth between power and power. Sometimes she gets to be charming about being hard-nosed, and sometimes she gets to be hard-nosed about being charming."

Thursday, August 29, 1996

Copenhagen Zoo's primate house includes two humans. Really. I blame a welfare state gone horribly wrong.

The pope says that Jesus had no brothers or sisters, no matter what the bible says. That settles that.
Gore's speech yesterday featured him talking about the death of his sister in his quadrennial display of emotion. In 1992 it was his son being hit by a car.
In Greece, not only will prisoners be allowed to vote in the next elections, but so will draft dodgers. They will be allowed to come back into the country, vote, and then sneak out again without being arrested. The cradle of democracy, ladies and gentlemen.

Did anyone else see Mario Cuomo at the convention? He had the huge projection screen behind him, but all you could see of it in the PBS feed were his hands, so you had a little Mario in the foreground and these huge hands making Italianate gestures behind him, like a translator for the Italian-impaired.

When the US signed the deal with Russia to buy up the uranium from its decommissioned nuclear weapons, the job was assigned to a corporation owned by the US, but which is slated to be privatized. The problem is that it's increasingly making decisions based on profit rather than national security. Since the Russian stuff is more expensive than what's mined domestically, it actually refused repeated requests by the Russians to buy more uranium than had been planned. Capitalism at its finest. I'm assuming this has something to do with reducing the size of government, in the same way that federal detention centers are being privatized even though that's more expensive.

The Democratic platform mentions expanding the death penalty and even Star Wars.

Clinton, mixing his political imagery badly, took a train to the
convention (old fashioned politicking combined with a phallic symbol, right up Billy Bob's alley), but when he reached Chicago took a helicopter the rest of the way. Didn't I see that in Mission Impossible? Clinton thinks he's Tom Cruise now, maybe?

The aforementioned giant tv screens have printed text along the bottom, nearly simultaneously turned by computer from spoken word into print. By computer. So Sarah Brady's reference to gun nuts who talk of "jack-booted thugs" became "Jack Buddhist thugs", Tipper Gore became TP Hour, Mario Cuomo Marry Oh Quen Oes and one speaker was seen to refer to Republican ideal logs.

Tuesday, August 27, 1996


5:11 p.m. Jesse Jackson Jr is telling us about how his father always said grace at breakfast. And when Jesse finished, it was time for lunch.

The Times says that welfare is the Dems' abortion. Moynihan & Rangel will both speak at the convention but have agreed not to mention it.

Monday, August 26, 1996

Neither the LA Times nor the NY Times article on Dole's speech blaming Clinton for increased teenage drug use quote the most quotable line of it, that drug use is "the moral equivalent of terrorism". His solution: use the military.

Wednesday, August 21, 1996

Here we go again

Did you see where Corcoran state prison in our own fair California had actual gladiatorial fights organized by the guards. Sure the guards were punished this time, but in ten years you'll be able to see fights to the death on pay-per-view, especially if Lungren becomes governor. The fight I'd almost have paid to see: Charles Manson versus Sirhan Sirhan, both prisoners there.

Sunday, August 18, 1996

Jack Kemp, draft dodger

Ya gotta love it. Just a couple of days after Dole says that veterans are better Americans than... well, I don't think he actually said better than whom, it seems that Kemp, who was a private in the Army Reserve, should have gone to Berlin in 1961 but was evidently not fit because of a shoulder injury. This was the year he passed 2,686 yards and won a division title (whatever any of that means). I'll bet Governor Engler, two pounds too fat to go to Vietnam, is looking better. Actually, my money is on this never being heard of again, since Clinton might have difficulty raising it, but who knows?

Thursday, August 15, 1996

The Million White Man March

Newt Gingrich, Republican Convention, August, 13:
A mere 40 years ago, beach volleyball was just beginning. Now it is not only a sport in the Olympics. There are over 30 countries that have a competition internationally. There are some 13 states with 25 cities in America. And there's a whole new world of opportunity opening up that didn't even exist 30 years ago or 40 years ago, and no bureaucrat would have invented it. And that's what freedom is all about.

Freedom is about having a dream, and maybe I feel that particularly because the greatest Georgian of this century, Martin Luther King, went to the Lincoln Memorial and said in his extraordinary speech, "I have a dream," and the dream he outlined is a dream for every American of every background to participate in creating an America that is better for our children and our grandchildren.

Dole says those who serve their country are better Americans than others. What others would those be? Before you ask, Kemp was a private in the reserves, if that counts. By the way, Dole was drafted. You might not understand that with everyone at the convention saying that his military service reflects his values in some way. As I write, Dole is talking on video about having his mouth washed out with soap by his mother. He doesn't say for what. Probably telling his mother to stop lying about his record.

The London Times reports a Tory technician saying that the applause at last year's Tory party convention was, shall we say, augmented electronically.

Clintons' Whitewater legal bills are $2.3 million (Washington Post) or $2.7m (New York Times). The sexual harassment suit is paid for by his liability insurance. How wise of him to take out insurance against being sued for sexual harassment.

Dole is still trying to project warmth. Frightening. It's like those stupid jokes they keep telling. You know, "Clinton's promises last as long as a Big Mac on Air Force One." (Oh God, the Rocky theme song) The jokes are like the music. No one sits around their house playing John Philip Sousa. It's just every 4 years you hear that stuff, at these conventions. No one really likes it, but they have to play it. The jokes are the same.

In the big news, a trial of a burglar in England is about to be the first to introduce ear-prints as evidence. Ear prints are evidently unique. In case you're wondering, a lot of burglars stick their ears against windows before breaking in.

The Catholic Church in Britain is soon to ordain a lot of disgruntled Church of England clergy who quit over the ordination of women. The interesting thing is that some of them are married. Now the person I want to hear about is the one female Catholic priest that I know of, who some years ago had a sex change operation.

Jay Leno says Dole and Kemp standing together looked as natural as Michael Jackson & Lisa Marie.

Will sign off. Dole is about to speak, be still my heart. I imagine it'll be slightly less awkward than that of the new Indian prime minister, who doesn't speak Hindi, but just gave his first address to the nation in phonetic Hindi. He speaks Kannada, whatever that it.

Wednesday, August 14, 1996

Haley Barbour keeps commenting that the only woman governor is a
Republican, as if the increased number of Republican governors isn't responsible for the decrease in the number of women governors.

Mississippi's new abortion law puts onerous regulations on some abortion providers, extending to them the rules applying to small hospitals. These are doctors who perform more than 10 per month--or advertise. Advertise!

And Arkansas, prohibited by state const from paying for abortions for anything except when the mother's life is in danger, but required by Medicaid law to pay for cases of rape & incest, will pay for them from private donations until the courts resolve it. If that's clear enough.

The platform includes a full Star Wars defence by 2003, inc for Hawaii and Alaska.

Friday, July 19, 1996

Welfare--Clinton's, I mean

The House just passed a particularly vicious welfare bill. Even the Democratic "non-partisan" alternative eliminated automatic entitlement to people meeting the conditions, which shows how far right the debate has moved. Clinton Admin has refused to release estimates of how many children the bill would impoverish because he might want to sign the bill. Shoddy even by Clinton's standards, I'd have thought.

Saturday, July 13, 1996

Simple, maybe, but pure?

The House passes the No-Gay-Marriages-No-How Act of 1996, 342-67. The White House press secretary says that the bill is "gay bashing, pure and simple" and that Clinton will sign it.

The British papers only have 70 or 80 stories about the royal divorce details, so not much to tell. Diana will have to give up her military duties (!!!) -- evidently she's colonel of a bunch of regiments. And since she'll revert to commoner status, she's technically supposed to curtsey to her sons now. A teenager's dream.

And Israel's sephardic chief rabbi calls for the killing of all
non-Orthodox Jews.

Even I don't believe any of this, but it's all true.

Friday, July 12, 1996

Village Voice

From this week's issue, 2 quotes:

"I didn't think Striptease, the movie about Demi Moore's body, was so bad, but that's because I saw it a few days after seeing Phenomenon, the movie about John Travolta's brain."

"In my most recent conversation with Eleanor Roosevelt, I asked her what she and Hillary talked about--and Mrs. R. complained that she could barely get a word in edgewise."

Thursday, July 11, 1996

What ho, Robin!

The Sheriff of Nottingham is fired for slapping a 10-year old boy. Evidently he's been drinking lately (the sheriff, not the 10-year old). Oh how PC! What did they expect the sheriff of bloody Nottingham to do? Maybe his evil laugh wasn't quite wicked enough, that's all I can think.

Speaking of PC, what can one make of Orwell's having named
"crypto-communist and fellow-travelling" writers and journalists to the British government in 1949? I mean, Orwell of all people.

The vice chair of Dole's campaign finance committee pleads guilty to making illegal contributions, laundered through his employees and banks in Hong Kong.

Quebec re-establishes the famed language police, with a $3.5m budet to go after English on signs.

Tuesday, July 09, 1996

Law 'n order

From LA Times. Does anyone know the incident referred to in a story about gay marriages in which someone mentions Dan Lungren having had to apologize for a homophobic brief filed by one of his subordinates a few years ago?

Lungren & Pete Wilson are calling for a bill to refuse CA recognition of gay marriages, now wending its way through the legislature. Wilson wants only the traditional marriage of a man, a woman, and an illegal immigrant nanny.

An article on Tony Blair says that he supported family values back when most Tories were still on their first wives.

Yeltsin and the Wilsonites

I've just read the piece in this week's Time magazine about how American advisers helped Yeltsin run a "modern" election campaign. One problem with it is that the consultants clearly did a much better job conning Time into exaggerating their importance than they did conning the Russian people. Still, it's an amusing piece. Yeltsin's people saying, why can't we just tell the factory owners to order their workers to vote for us? and the Americans saying, no no, you have to have focus groups and go negative negative negative, show pictures of Soviet breadlines, and never promise anything because no one believes a word Yeltsin says. The clash of two totally different forms of complete and utter political cynicism.

All of the American consultants, none of whom spoke Russian and who spent the whole time hiding out in a hotel room so that no one would know Americans were trying to run the Yeltsin campaign, were former aides and campaign managers of our own Pete Wilson. Thus the negative strategy.
And again, Wilson was hated almost as much in California as Yeltsin was in Russia but they both got (re)elected. The parentheses in the previous sentence indicate my understanding that Yeltsin was not reelected since he was holding an office, president of a sovereign country, to which he was never elected in the first place--the last presidential election took place when there was still a Soviet Union responsible for foreign policy, the military and so on, all run by Micky "Mr. 0.5%" Gorbachev.

Wednesday, July 03, 1996

Cough cough

Bob Dole goes insane on morning television and insists that C. Everett Koop has been brainwashed by the liberal media for thinking that cigarettes are addictive.

It's not just that Dole has personally received close to $400,000 in tobacco money and that Philip Morris sponsors the Republican conventions, but that many of his consultants, spin-meisters and lawyers are shared with tobacco companies and lobbies.

By the way, Dole's brother died of emphysema.

Sunday, June 30, 1996

Now for real news, did you notice the LA Times reference yesterday to a Topless Traffic School?

And did you see Scalia's dissent, joined by Justice Pubic Hair as always, on the right to free political speech by independent government contractors, where he said that there was a traditional right to reward your friends and punish your enemies?

Saturday, June 22, 1996

Supreme Court rules 5-4 that a death sentence can't be set aside simply because the prosecutor introduced new evidence, after telling the defence he wouldn't, in the *sentencing* phase, accusing the defendant of a whole new murder for which he was never charged.

The Great Beef War of 1996 ends with a total capitulation by John Major. The British secret strategy was to delay negotiations until lunchtime, so that the always-hunger Helmut Kohl would want them wrapped up quickly.

People who are no help at all: the Saudi dissident that Britain tried unsuccessfully to deport to Dominica because the Saudis threatened their business deals--and amazingly this was cited by the British government as sufficient reason to do it--well, he may now be charged under the race relations act or whatever else they can think of, for calling for the annihilation of all Jews (well, Al Masari says he just meant all the Jews in Israel, so that's all right then).

Another day, another proposed Amendment to the US Constitution. This one a victims' bill of rights sort of thing, allowing the victims to be notified of prison releases, escapes and be present at all phases of the trial, even when testifying themselves. And for a speedy trial, even if this violates the defendant's right to due process. Sponsored by our own Senator Di Fi, supported by Clinton.

The US frees Haitian death squad leader Emmanuel Constant without
deporting him back to Haiti, citing concern for the overburdened Haitian courts and prison system, and not having anything to do with his CIA links at all, no sirree bob.

The RSPCA had to change its constitution because it was being covertly infiltrated by hunters wanting to change its position against hunting.

Some guy in Lincolnshire paid 10,000 pounds for a Russian Scud missile for his front garden.

Friday, June 14, 1996

While 7 Supreme Court justices accepted that there is a common law right of privacy for patients of psychiatrists, Scalia said that people would be better off talking to their mommies, but there is no mother-child privilege.

The Southern Baptist convention has voted both to boycott Disneyland for giving benefits to gay partners of its employees, and to try to convert Jews. I've tried like hell and I can't think of a funny way to connect the 2. There will be a virtual prize (like a prize, but not actually existent) for the best joke. Void where prohibited.

So I'm reading the Supreme Court decisions rejecting all these black districts. What's interesting is less that they consider race valid as a criterion (hey, if you had to work with Clarence Thomas every day, you'd have second thoughts about affirmative action too!), than the valid criteria mentioned in the decision. It's ok to gerrymander for political reasons, for example to protect incumbents (i.e., not having 2 incumbents run against each other). I must have missed the jobs-for-life clause in the Constitution. Drawing up districts on party affiliation lines is also ok. Silly me, I thought we had elections to determine the party make-up of Congress. If that is the case, then surely party affiliation is the least appropriate criterion for redistricting. Stevens, in the sort of dissent that makes you wish Brennan or Marshall were still on the court, notes that strange-shaped districts are banned only to facilitate minority voters, not white ones.

The Supreme Court also found valid in upholding the reduction in the sentences of the cops who beat up Rodney King the criterion that they had been found innocent in the local trial. Assuming that you accept the bizarre presumption that the federal trial wasn't double jeopardy because it was a different jurisdiction ("Well, we couldn't convict them at the state or federal level, let's try them in their waste management district, then the water district..."), surely the results of one trial shouldn't be used to change the sentence in a trial where a different decision was reached. Should hung juries count? Are we just taking the average of innocent + guilty? They also got time off for being cops and therefore in greater risk in prison. By that standard, child rapists should all get reduced sentences....

Thursday, June 13, 1996

Horror story of the week

Several decades ago (the story is unclear), presumably around the same time the Australian government was stealing Aborigine children, it was doing the same for illegitimate ones. Certainly dozens, maybe thousands. The mothers were told that they'd died, or were drugged, or tricked into signing papers, and the babies taken away for adoption.

Wednesday, June 12, 1996

Manners are everything

New York Times story: "An Ethiopian man who hijacked a German jetliner to NY in 1993 was sentenced to 20 years in prison after a judge rejected his assertion that the hijacking was justified because his visa application to the United States had been denied. The man, Nebiu Demeke, said, "I was forced to hijack the plane and I hijacked it politely."

Sunday, June 09, 1996

The Antiterrorism Act passed last month included a finding that international terrorism is more dangerous to the US than pollution or population growth. It also says that the gov should use covert action and military force to destroy terrorist infrastructure abroad--a sort of Tonkin Gulf resolution for the '90s.

China will join the nuclear test ban treaty when it is quite done exploding nuclear bombs, evidently having given up on using nukes for tunnelling and abandoning the planet to killer asteroids. The small print says that they also want to ban any high-tech monitoring of compliance with the test ban.

One of the preconditions for fair elections in Bosnia not yet in place is some form of nation-wide media. Serbs say that their communications infrastructure was too badly damaged by the war for them to participate. In the meantime, there is Pale TV, which just announced its scoop, that NATO used low-intensity nuclear weapons in last year's air strikes on Serb positions. Pale TV also says that the war crimes tribunal tortured a Serb general, and when a UN spokesman held a press conference in Pale to condemn the beating and torture of 7 Muslim prisoners, they cut out that bit and claimed that he called the Muslims terrorists.

In 1961 the CIA started sending Vietnamese agents into North Vietnam. The project was taken over by the Joint Chiefs in 1964. The agents had a way of not coming back, and the military started declaring them dead in 1965, and lying to their families: over 200 people they knew were not dead. Many of them are now in the US after 15 years or more of Vietnamese prison, and they'd like their back pay now, $2,000 per year, without interest. The US is resisting this in court, saying that secret contracts for covert operations are unenforceable (a 1875 Supreme Court case denied back pay to a Union spy from the Civil War), so we don't have to pay.

Tuesday, June 04, 1996

Go team!

Competing to replace Bob Dole as Senate majority leader, are two
Mississippians, Trent Lott and Thad Cochran, who also have in common a) silly names beginning with T, b) they were both cheerleaders at Old, pardon me, Ole Miss.

Tuesday, May 28, 1996

For God, Harry, tallow, gellatin and semen!

The British war on Europe continues in earnest. While a Cabinet minister back home is admitting it could take 6 years for British cattle herds to be clean of BSE, Br reps in Europe are vetoing all measures that arise. So far, in the war to get Europe to take British tallow, gellatin and semen (and you thought the War of Jenkin's Ear was silly), they have vetoed measures on AIDS, 3rd World Refugees, cutting red tape for small businesses....

So Yeltsin promised to "go to Chechnya" like Ike, before the election, but his people told him it was way too dangerous. So yesterday he signs a peace accord that settles none of the main or even the minor issues, and today to everyone's surprise he turns up in Chechnya, not least surprise of the Chechen leaders and officials who are still in Moscow. Repeat: who are still in Moscow, and suddenly realizing that they have become in effect hostages for Yeltsin's safety. This isn't my paranoia, this is the London Times. What a sneaky little fucker Yeltsin is!

Wednesday, May 22, 1996

Summary of Romer v. Evans Decision (fwd)

My impression is that this decision is even narrower than we had guessed, that it was more the pre-emption of future political processes that was the problem for the Court.

Scalia's dissent was especially apalling, as per usual. I liked his approving reference to Kulturkampf. I'd have stayed away from the German terminology if I were him....

John Major formed a beef war cabinet today. The man thinks that trying to force his beef down the throats of hapless Europeans (British beef, you'll never get better) is going to be his Falklands.

Saturday, May 18, 1996

Clinton was on McNeil-Lehrer (or whatever) today talking about how uniforms cut down violence in schools. Yeah, right, like it worked in the post office (that's someone else's joke), and like the Chief of Naval Operations didn't just die over some jewelry, just like they do in South-Central LA (that's mine).

A true Clinton appointee, United States Attorney for Southern Florida Kendall Coffey, resigns after getting into a fight in a bar with a topless dancer, biting her on the arm.

Warren Christopher wants to have regular Cabinet-level meetings with the Chinese. Great, appeasement on the installment plan.

Finally, a physicist got a postmodern deconstructionist spoof published in the cultural studies journal Social Text. "Transgressing the Boundaries: Toward a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity" was passed by 6 editors who didn't know what that meant either. The article, evidently modeled after a real trend towards lit crit deconstruction of
physics just like they do for literature, says that "physical `reality', no less than social `reality,' is at bottom a social and linguistic construct; that scientific `knowledge', far from being objective, reflects and encodes the dominant ideologies and power relations fo the culture that produced it." Basically, gravity, and pi, are just what the dominant culture chooses to believe.

Who needs sitcoms when you have the New York Times?

Wednesday, May 15, 1996

Yes it hurt. Yes it worked

James Miller III, Reagan's budget director, who evidently thinks that that is a qualification for higher office, running against John Warner for the Republican nomination for Senate from Virginia, visits so many gun shows that his staff have to make sure he doesn't violate the state's one gun per month law.

Speaking of idiots in the South, since the Olympics committee re-routed the Olympic torch route away from Newt's Cobb county because of its 1993 anti-homosexual ordinance, Spartanburgh (!) SC, on the new route, has decided that a bunch of foreigners won't push them around, and passed their own anti-gay ordinance for no other reason than to annoy the Olympics. Since the Olympics originated in a bunch of Greeks watching a bunch of naked Greek guys run around sweating, I don't know what they're complaining about. The whole torch thing only goes back to 1936 anyway, when Hitler's filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl thought it would look neat (especially if they were naked).

New Tory party ad campaign: "Yes it hurt. Yes it worked."

De Klerk left the South African government, claiming that the ANC was racist.

The latest victim of the Yugoslav break-up: the language of
Serbo-Croatian. The Bosnian Muslims are bringing in Arabic words, while Croatians are reviving 15th century words and voting on a law on the Quebec model. President Tudjman personally came up with new tennis terms, but forgot when meeting Clinton that he was supposed to be sretan (happy) to meet him, not srecan (happy). Croatian tv edited it out.


Saturday, May 11, 1996

NY Times headline: "Dole attacks Clinton Asia policy although he supports part of it", and actual Dole quote: "As we have seen in Bosnia, Iran, Cuba and elsewhere, when President Clinton is faced with a fork in the foreign policy road, he takes it." (huh?)

Or in this case, chop sticks presumably.

Speaking of which, the US decision not to punish China as required by law for selling nuclear equipment to Pakistan is based on our belief that they were telling the truth. And what they said, that we believed, is that the transfer never happened, that the government didn't know that it had happened, and that it wouldn't happen again.

In return, they promise to believe that Clinton didn't inhale.

If Clinton really believes all that, then he has passed the qualifying test for jury duty in LA.

Thursday, May 02, 1996

Rep. Wes Cooley, arch anti-environmentalist Republican from eastern Oregon, class of 1994, who called Federal Fish and Wildlife Service agents a Gestapo & told a wildlife conservationist during Congressional hearings not to set foot in Oregon, who mistook an April Fools story for real and made a speech about it, then threatened to punch (his office claims whip, so that's all right then) the (6-month pregnant) Oregonian reporter who questioned him about it, is in almost as much
trouble as I am trying to figure out how to end this sentence before it goes on too long. He either lied in the 1994 voters' pamphlet, a federal crime known as voter fraud, about being married, or he and his wife have been fraudulently collecting collecting her 1st husband's death benefits from the Marine Corps. Not that fraud would be new to him. He collects
a tax break for his farm although he does not farm there, he manufactures vitamins (from snake oil, no doubt). Also on the voters' pamphlet, he claimed to have been in Phi Beta Kappa. Well, maybe it was Alpha Beta Epsilon.... And said he'd served in Korea. Then he said he was doing secret demolition work and wasn't allowed to talk about it. Then he admitted he was lying.

And he didn't even make the Progressive's 10 stupidest Congresscritters list a few months back.

Wednesday, May 01, 1996

That'll show him!

KEY WEST, Fla. A tiny flotilla of Cuban exiles sailed toward international waters near Cuba Wednesday to toss flowers and human rights pamphlets into the sea in protest against Fidel Castro's May Day celebration.
Ooooo, soggy pamphlets. Castro must be shaking in his boots....

Monday, April 29, 1996

Helmut Kohl is in Britain. They gave him a nice big plate of British beef, with no alternative dish prepared. Fortunately for their little publicity stunt, none of the German delegation turned out to be vegetarians. (I'm trying to think of a segue to Hitler having been a vegetarian, but I can't)

Do you think Governor Engler will be denied the chance to be Dole's running mate solely on the basis that he was too fat to be drafted to go to Vietnam?

The Alabama Prison Commissioner, renouned for making prisoners who masturbate in front of female guards wear pink uniforms, has resigned in disgust because they wouldn't let him start up female chain gangs (evidently the state is being sued by male prisoners for discrimination).

Thursday, April 25, 1996

Dole, continuing the attack on judges that Clinton so skillfully turned aside last month by caving like a kleenex full of snot, said yesterday that the Supreme Court is just one appointment away from being the most liberal court since Warren.

Clinton may not be able to stand up to Dole, but he sure gets tough on 13-year old girls who get in his way. When those 2 were arrested for sending him crank letters a week ago, I really thought it would be laughed out of court by now, but no....

I understand Dole is now taking warmth lessons. "Bob Dole feels your pain." Rather like when they locked LBJ in a room for six months to teach him to say negro. "Niggra-o." "No, no. Try again, Mr. President." (old Dick Gregory joke, I believe)

Did you see where Mississippi is mandating equal admissions standards for all its public universities, ensuring a 50% drop in black enrollment in the 3 traditionally-black U's?

Wednesday, April 03, 1996

So Judge Baer reversed himself. Not because of all the intense political pressure of course, but because of new evidence, including the testimony of a cop that blatantly contradicted his written report after the arrest. And Clinton suggests that all he did was to comment on the case, as if he had never threatened to demand the judge's resignation. Judicial integrity is being beaten like a dark-skinned person after a chase in southern California.

Tony Blair: "Our government will fail if it sees its task as dismantling Thatcherism." Boris Yeltsin: "No one with a heart can but regret the end of the Soviet Union. No one with a head can think of creating an exact copy." And US reform rabbis voted to support gay marriages but not actually to perform them.

The House ethics committee gave Gingrich another walk, without
questioning anyone or examining any documents.

Did you see where the law against "partial birth abortions" was so badly written that a) its definition included other types of abortion, b) its exclusion to save the life of the mother wasn't one, because it specified if the life was endangered by a physical disorder or such, but most women who have late-term abortions are threatened by the actual pregnancy, which is not a physical disorder.

The Treasury Dept forbids its law-enforcement officers to exhibit any bias off-duty on basis of sex, religion, etc etc. Intended to keep them from the Good Ol' Boys Roundup, it's actually so broad as to punish ethnic jokes, say, told privately.

Sunday, March 31, 1996

What does it take nowadays to be insane?

What about Daumer? Don't you have to wonder about a state in which someone who kills loads of people and keeps them in the fridge for munchies and the court says, nope, not insane, seems perfectly reasonable behaviour to me. I'd hate to meet the real loons in that state.

Thursday, March 28, 1996

Favorite news stories of the week: mad cows and Englishmen (yes you have less chance of catching mad cow disease from a Wimpyburger than of winning the lottery, but have you noticed how popular the lottery is?); the rise in cannibalism in Russia; the report that the Federal Reserve is horribly mismanaging its own budget; the 58-yr old black female cashier of the Senate coffee shop fired for calling her customers baby, sweetheart, and such, a complaint being filed by an aide to...Mitch McConnell. Sonny (I got you, babe) Bono is running scared.

Sunday, March 24, 1996

After vituperating at President Lee for months, China is now suggesting that his reelection is a vindication of the one-China policy, so they've won anyway. Speaking of political reality, some of the op-ed pieces in the NY Times calling on Lee to accommodate China more, and coming from good liberals like Thomas Friedman and I think Anthony Lake and the Times itself, sound an awful like the advice the west offered Czechoslovakia in 1938.

Speaking of which, Germany recently refused to acknowledge that the Munich agreement of 1938 was illegal.

Friday, March 22, 1996

Sorry, this was a NY case, so I guess it gets more coverage there, though I thought of it as a national story. A judge excluded a trunkfull of cocaine and heroine saying that the police did not have reasonable cause to pull over a car that a bunch of men were putting bags into the trunk of at 5 in the morning, and that since Washington Heights police were known to be thugs (which is very true), it was not unreasonable for the men to run away. Not surprisingly, a lot of ink has been spilled over this case the last month. The judge is Harold Baer, Southern District of NY, appointed by Clinton 1994, and Clinton just ordered him to reverse himself or resign (not that Clinton can make him, of course), since Republicans intend to go after him on his judicial appointments. Newt demanded that Clinton ask for the resignation, Dole has been mentioning it. All this including the Clinton threat comes in advance of a rehearing. Mike McCurry is going after Reagan and Bush judges as being
too soft on crime (the judges who struck down Megan's law, the SF judge who wants drugs legalized....)

Incidentally, Pataki removed a Bronx district attorney for refusing to act within his discretion to ask for the death penalty for a man who killed a cop.

Thursday, March 21, 1996

Another month, another proposed constitutional amendment from the
Republicans. I know the constitution isn't etched in stone, but on an etch-a-sketch?

Now even Fed Courts of Appeal can ignore the Supreme Court and set their own affirmative action policy, so why don't you try to persuade the 9th district to follow the 5th?

What must John Gummer be thinking today, the former British Agriculture Minister who fed his 4-year old daughter a hamburger on national tv to prove that British beef was safe despite the mad cow disease.

The House voted to let states deny public education to children of illegal immigrants, including those born in the US (the latter by a vote of 269-151, actually higher than for the bill as a whole), proving that they too can ignore the Supreme Court.

A Texas grand jury decides that a man taking advantage of the new
concealed weapons law to settle a traffic accident dispute with extreme prejudice was within his rights. Not even a trial.

In Berkeley I saw a sign for a candidate for Assembly who proposes to abolish the IRS.

I've been trying to pick someone for superior court judge from the meaningless candidate statements. So I'm asking myself whether the one whose law degree came from Catholic University Columbus School of Law would be against the death penalty. I may wind up voting for the one I know was a defense attorney, who still somehow tries to fool the death penalty voters by noting that "My last case before taking the bench was a death penalty jury trial." I can see a thousand voters underlining death
penalty with highlight markers and voting for him. My mother says she has someone who brags that as a judge he saved taxpayer money by sentencing people at the prelims. Um, doesn't that mean he just ratified plea agreements, or is this some new thing implemented by Dan Lungren to eliminate juries. In LA, you could see how that might be popular. I personally blame whatever consultant took the Menendez brothers out of their cable-knit sweaters and into suits and ties for their conviction.

I've decided to vote in favor of giving unemployment insurance to prisoners.

Maybe we could send our mountain lions to Australia and thus solve our lion problem and their koala problem at the same time?

Friday, March 15, 1996

An alternate juror in the Whitewater case was expelled, not because she'd worn her home-made Star Trek uniform to court every day, but for talking to TV about it. She evidently wears it to all formal occasions.

Thursday, March 07, 1996

Thu, 7 Mar 1996

The Village Voice, commenting on a Forbes reference to the liberal media distorting his flat tax idea, notes that of the remaining candidates, Keyes and Dornan are radio hosts, Buchanan is a columnist and is on CNN, and Forbes owns a multibillion dollar media empire.

Question I'd have liked to hear someone ask Dole when he was posing with George Bush yesterday: "So, is he lying about your record now?"

Buchanan says that he will look like something out of Deliverance...

Yesterday I found the lock-picking web-site and Dave's Web of Lies, on which everything is guaranteed to be inaccurate.

Wednesday, March 06, 1996

Today I have found "Dave's Web of Lies" on which everything is guaranteed to be false, and the Web-site containing a guide to lock-picking. Contrary to my assumption that the latter would turn out to be a joke, it does indeed seem to be a guide to lock-picking. Just in case you were looking for a new career.

I have also been running into problems relating to the Web-browser I am using more frequently today than is usual. When you choose an option from the British comedian/actor/writer/show-off's home page called Instant Orgasm, and the result is a message that this cannot be displayed on your screen, well, disappointment hardly begins to describe it.

Monday, March 04, 1996

Former Governor Carroll Campbell of S Carolina on Lamar Alexander: "I don't think people perceive him as a fellow-Southerner. They perceive him as a nice guy."

Friday, March 01, 1996

Another great Republican debate. C'mon Dole, should a raped woman be forced to carry a pregnancy to term, or not. I understand that Dole will soon hit his legal spending limit, thanks to Forbes. Did you hear that Alan Keyes went on hunger strike to protest being left out of the debate? I knew Dick Gregory; Dick Gregory was a friend of mine... While inside, Buchanan kept trying to get everyone to join him in a chorus of

Thursday, February 29, 1996

And despite Laurence Taylor's comment that no matter how useful this is supposed to be for our research we all wind up looking first thing in the Frisky Lesbians section, 1) it was the second thing I look for, 2) it doesn't seem to exist.

Nothing in the British papers today except learned disquisitions on how Diana can be Princess of Wales but not be Her Royal Highness. Well at least she still has the castle.

And does anyone think that those Cubans were looking for boat people in February?

I trust you've seen the story about the Salt Lake school district banning all student clubs.

Dole has a new ad accusing Lamar Alexander of being too liberal. "He even signed a bill allowing violent criminals to be eligible for parole after serving less than half their prison sentence." Actually that was an increase....

Tuesday, February 27, 1996

The Times suggests that Quentin Davies (I love British politicians' names. Esp compared with US, where MacNeil-Lehrer today talks with Congressman Zack Wamp [pronounced womp]) voted against the gov. on the Scott Report out of pique with one of the 2 ministers in question, William Waldegrave, who was Minister of Agriculture when Davies was fined for cruelty to sheep. For the past 5 yrs, Labour MPs always "baa baa" whenever he speaks in Parliament.

And the new 11th Duke of Atholl is a South African, who now becomes the only man in Britain allowed to keep a private army, the Atholl Highlanders. The guy confesses that he doesn't even own a kilt.

Thursday, February 22, 1996

I am watching the college championships of Jeopardy as I write. One category is Winona Ryder films. Sigh.

Director of CIA Deutch says CIA agents will only use journalistic cover if it's really gosh-darned importance. There was a piece in the NY Times by someone once held by Iraq for a week who thought this was not a good idea.

If you haven't been following school desegregation in South Africa, now would be a good time. I'd suggest the Jo'burg Star, if that's on-line.

Friday, February 16, 1996

The Guardian material is great. The problem is that the government refused to let anyone in the opposition see the Scott report before its release, except the Shadow Foreign Secretary, who was locked in a room with it 3 hours before its release, which is fairly useless for an 1,800-page document, especially when it's written in that excessively tentative, convoluted style so beloved of the British civil service. It's hard to tell yet how much damage this report has inflicted. The government is claiming exoneration, which is fairly laughable, but depends on those double negatives and subordinate clauses, and statements that Scott accepts that ministers really believed what they were saying, despite mountains of evidence that what they were saying was horse puckey. In drawing conclusions, this guy goes to the opposite extreme of Al D'Amato.

Did you see where Yeltsin announced that only he could save Russia from authoritarianism on the same day he fired the head of state television for critical reports on Chechnya?

Thursday, February 08, 1996

I understand that Henry Hyde included in the Communications Bill a provision extending the Comstock Act to the Internet. How could the Comstock Act possibly still be on the books?

I'm enjoying the beginning of the primary season. Evidently Gramm's goose is cooked based on the 21,500 representing the 5% of Louisiana's Republicans who showed up at the caucuses.

Speaking of geese, Forbes said that if all the people in China ate two more eggs a week, it would take all the grain produced in a year in Australia. Gramm said if everybody in China ate one more chicken a year, it would take the entire soybean crop of Illinois to feed that chicken. As the New York Times puts it, "That's some chicken." Lamar Alexander says that if Chinese ate more chicken and pork, they'd require the entire Nebraska grain crop. Sounds like the SATs to me.

OK, just to test the provision that it's illegal to mention abortion on the Internet (which the BBC caught about 5 days before the New York Times, I might add), did you know that last year the governor of New Hampshire vetoed a bill to ban the use of force, threats and intimidation by anti-abortion protesters?

And speaking of China, last year they extended the death penalty to the offense of faking value-added tax forms, according to the Economist.

Speaking of which, I've noticed that I have access to some sort of editing program, the sort that checks for grammar and syntax
and...sexism. Ah, Berkeley!

Tuesday, February 06, 1996

There's a Charles Addams cartoon. Under a banner saying Class of 1954 stand an assortment of bums, winos and the like, and one says to another, "You know, I always thought it was just me, but maybe the school's no damn good."

Wednesday, January 31, 1996

There is an article in today's paper that says a lot of schools are using video cameras during lunch, football games & such to catch their students breaking the rules. It cites Dana Point, CA. Try that in NYC and see how fast they disappear. I remember when I thought metal detectors in schools spelled the death of civilization as we know it.

Malcolm Forbes, Jr. says we need more judges like Scalia.

Dole suggested Forbes isn't being examined properly by the press because maybe he owns stock in the networks & Time Warner? He keeps talking about himself in the 3rd person like Nixon used to do: "Bob Dole is a proven leader etc"

Actual NY Times headline: "US Ships Steam to Persian Gulf in Response to Iraqis". My first response was, how do you ship steam? Do you put it in boxes or what?

A Mexican "policeman of the year" is detained with 436 pounds of marijuana.