Saturday, February 28, 1998

By coincidence, ran into 2 stories of Starr's hypocrisy in a row. The first, on the Mother Jones website, shows how when Starr was attorney for GM, he did his damnedest to keep evidence of perjury out of the records, if not actually suborn perjury himself. The article is kind of interesting. It's about how GM, in the 70s decided it was cheaper to let a bunch of people die and pay the lawsuits than to make a rather cheap improvement to their automobiles.

The second, in the Washington Post, says that Starr has now subpoenaed two private investigators for the National Enquirer who in 1996 tried to find evidence that he was having an affair. Amazingly, they couldn't find evidence, and didn't run the story. That puts their journalistic ethics higher than those of any other news source in the country.
My long-time readers will recall the following, from Fri, 1 Nov 1996:

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.

A follow-up:

International News Electronic Telegraph Friday 27 February 1998

Gay men survive execution attempt
THREE Afghan men convicted of sodomy have been spared after they survived an attempt to execute them by using a tank to bulldoze a wall on top of them. Thirty minutes later, they were found alive in the rubble.

Friday, February 27, 1998

I keep hearing about vampirism in youth subculture lately. Florida, which as ever has no clue about how such things are done, just sentenced one to the electric chair. What's a vampire doing in Florida anyway?

Oregon just decided to use Medicaid or some form of state funding for doctor-assisted suicides for poor people. This was decided by a health panel rather than the legislature, but you can just imagine the dilemma for Republicans: on the one hand it's socialized medicine, on the other hand, it's killing the poor. What to do, what to do.

The Vatican has found that since there is now so much call for the exorcism rite, that they should simplify it. For a start, it was never updated during Vatican II so it's still in Latin.

Tuesday, February 24, 1998

A Haifa rabbinical court rules that married women must be home by midnight. If I get this right, this has the force of law. These are the courts you go to to get a divorce. The woman in this case was heard to object, "But my husband was fucking other women."

Monday, February 23, 1998

Stephen Hawking's new theory says that something called inflation occurred before the beginning of the universe and that the universe will expand forever. He is wrong. What, who are you going to believe, me or some guy in a wheel chair?

The British government is threatening to eliminate the extra fee police officers earn by searching a dead body (£25, or 17 each if there are more than one).

Saddam Hussein: he starts a war, his popularity goes up, he loses a war, his popularity goes up, he averts a war, his popularity goes up, he gets a blow job from an intern, his popularity goes up....

Sunday, February 22, 1998

Arrogant quote of the week, from Madeleine Albright: "If we have to use force, it is because we are America. We are the indispensable nation. We stand tall. We see further into the future."

Correction of the week, from the Washington Post:
An article yesterday on variations in Paula Jones's account of alleged sexual harassment by President Clinton stated that her lawyers filed an amended complaint in December, a month after her deposition, to charge that Clinton tried to touch her "pelvic area." Jones's lawyer said yesterday that the first public reference to the "pelvic area" allegation appeared in an earlier document, filed in court on Oct. 27.

Saturday, February 21, 1998

The CDC have stopped those obnoxious placebo tests of AIDS transmission by pregnant women that I railed against a few months ago.

Chris Patten, the last governor of Hong Kong, is writing a new book, unfortunately for HarperCollins, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch, who is very interested in sucking up to the Chinese and so has ordered the book be toned down. I did not read about this in the London Times.

Austria is to change its marriage laws to require the husband to do half the washing up. As absurd as most Austrians find this, they have said nothing for 60 years about the law that allows divorce by men on the grounds of the wife refusing to cook or to clean.

So why does the US have no credibility over Iraq? Well, there's of course the Wag the Dog phenomenon (a movie recently shown on Iraqi tv, which is a serious miscalculation; as China knows, we don't care about human rights but the theft of intellectual property is another matter entirely). In the Middle East, it's the refusal to confront Israel about anything, although Israel like Iraq is in violation of numerous Security Council resolutions and has weapons of mass destruction (WMD in killer-wonk speak). But I think for the rest of the world a serious obstacle to American credibility is our continued attitude towards Cuba. As in Iraq, the US is here trying to foist its foreign policy on the rest of the world, and more to the point, it underlines Hussein's point that there is nothing Iraq can do that will get the sanctions removed. 40 years of petty vindictiveness with no end in sight.

Friday, February 20, 1998

That damn machine again

From a New York magazine competition (8/4/97) for outgoing answering messages:
"Hello. This is Bob Dole. Bob Dole is not here right now..."

"This is Martha Stewart. While you are on hold, why not spray-paint your phone? First, put masking tape..."

The Roadrunner: "Beep beep"

Harry Houdini: "I'm all tied up right now..."

The Marquis de Sade: "I'm all tied up right now..."

"Hello, this is Jerry Seinfeld. Did you ever wonder why everyone has to say hello?....."

"Hi, this is Gary Karsparov. I could have taken your call, but the machine beat me to it."

"Paul McCartney here. daed ton m'I."

"You've reached the home of Erwin Schrodinger. I'm both in and not in at the moment..."

"You have reached the offices of Dr. Jekyll. Thank you for your patience during our transition."

"You have reached Weight Watchers. If this is an emergency, press the pound sign now."

[NOTE: More New York Magazine competitions here.]

Thursday, February 19, 1998

2 completely unrelated news stories:

The French Ministry of Culture names a (closed) Paris brothel a historical monument.

Australia will preserve a hut in its station in Antarctica with a "Sistine ceiling" of 92 naked pin-ups.
With the War of Clinton's Penis tentatively scheduled in for the end of the month (let's see, it has to be after the Olympics, during a full moon, or was that no moon, and before the haj season. Have your people call my people.), no one seems to have noticed that Turkey invaded Iraq for the 87th time or whatever it is, a week or two ago, with the intention of making sure there are no Kurdish refugees, at least none that will live to tell the tale. The US has been remarkably quiet about the Kurds this time.

With all the hypocritical stories about the Russian 1995 deal (which may not even have gone anywhere) to help build the Iraqi chemical weapons industry (hypocritical because all the initial aid to Iraq in this department came from the US & Britain; the US sold Iraq its starter set of anthrax and botulism, some of it after the gassing of the Kurds in 1988) (Britain was also the first country to use chemical weapons on Iraq, yonks ago, ordered by Winston Churchill).

The US Senate passed a law allowing the president to refuse inspection of our chemical facilities in the name of national security.

Iraq is getting to be like the Monica story, where there are bits of rumor that you hear once and then never again, but are never quite sure whether that means they were wrong or that the media got bored. For example, did Iraq send all its bio weapons scientists into hiding in Libya? Is it true that Iraq offered bounties for killing UN & other foreign relief workers assisting the Kurds?

Pop quiz: which US president renounced research into biological weapons?
Answer at the end of this message.

A letter to the NY Times points out that in his press conference of Feb. 6, Clinton said that we will use force against Iraq, but said about Northern Ireland that "Nothing worth having can be accomplished through violence."

The LA Times Wednesday notes that the Senate (Republican) report on Clinton fund-raising talks about, but fails to prove, Chinese attempts to influence the 1996 election, but neglects to mention Taiwan. John Huang and Charlie Trie are both from Taiwan, and the famed Buddhist temple is also linked there. When all else failed, the Republicans referred to "Greater China" so that the Reds would take the fall for Taiwan's actions.

Answer: Nixon.

Friday, February 06, 1998

The LA school district police want to be allowed to carry shotguns in their patrol cars. "Hey, kid: SPIT OUT THAT GUM!"

Clinton admin says its authority to blow the shit out of Iraq derives from the resolution passed in 1991 before the War to Make the World Safe for Feudalism. Um, we did repeal the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, didn't we? I'd have to check, but I'm pretty sure that using this sort of standard would allow us to resume hostilities with Germany. We declared war in 1941, but I don't remember a peace treaty....

I performed a little gotcha on the Washington Post. If you check out the "Today's Paper" section of today's Slate (which you should each and every one of you have them send you by e-mail, by the way), you will see a mention of a fuck-up in yesterday's Post, which I brought to the attention of the Slate writer. An article on Zimbabwe was titled "Winter of Discontent". Zimbabwe is of course in the southern hemisphere so it is summer and the toilet bowl water revolves in the opposite direction from whichever direction it revolves here.

Wednesday, February 04, 1998

As I speak, there are Congresscritters on tv arguing about renaming National Airport after the Antichrist. They will have to remove all metal detectors, because Reagan thought everyone should have a right to be armed, and air traffic control would be performed by the first ten people who came in off the streets. New slogan: "Mistakes were made."

Yeltsin says that the US could start a world war if it uses force against Iraq. His handlers say this meant if the US uses tactical nukes. And they then say, no that doesn't mean that Russia would retaliate if nukes were used against Iraq. So presumably there would only be a world war if Iraq has nuclear weapons, which is rather the point.

Texas executes at 6 p.m. That means the last meal is served around the time all the old folk are taking advantage of the early bird special at Sizzler.

Nice to see the evangelicals out in force against someone being executed. Of course it's not really because she's a woman. After all, they'd all be happy to see Ellen DeGeneres given the death penalty.