Tuesday, March 31, 1998

The British Tory party's compassion is not entirely fictitious, although the object of that compassion is. The party has united in support of a review of the sentence imposed on one of the characters on Coronation Street, the long-running soap opera.

Rep. Jay Kim asks for his federal sentence of house detention to be postponed, as it would interfere with his reelection campaign.

The new mayor of Russia's 3rd largest city Novgorod is convicted felon (fraud, pornography and embezzling a state loan) and nightclub owner Andrei "The Pimple" Klimentyev. He ran openly as a gangster, but then again the person he defeated ran openly as a lawyer.

102-year olds in the news: a woman who emigrated from the US to Israel, the oldest such emigrant ever (I think they told her it was Florida); a British man who was declared missing in action in the Great War but turned up in time for his own funeral, 80 years ago.

Saturday, March 28, 1998

Interesting article in the Sunday NY Times on how police departments are training cops to ignore suspects' invoking of their Miranda rights.

Paula Jones's latest court filings bring gossip to a fine art. To prove a pattern of intimidation by Clinton of witnesses, they cite a woman who will not testify against him as an example. They claim based on no evidence at all that Clinton raped her in the late 1970s.

Stupid casting idea of the week: Meg Ryan as Sylvia Plath.

Thursday, March 26, 1998

The Nation of Islam appoints one of Malcolm X's convicted murderers to head a Harlem mosque.

It seems that there is a drunk driving lobby which recently defeated an attempt in Maryland to lower the drunk driving standard to .08 and is working to do the same at the national level. Naturally, it consists of liquor companies and chain restaurants/bars. Who ever thought that Hooters could be on the wrong side of an issue?

A 4-year old in Ohio showed up at daycare with a handgun. For the second time.

The grandfather of one of those loveable tykes in Arkansas says that he was taught how to shoot at 6, but he always shot safely. I wonder what his definition of safe is? Maybe he wore a condom.

Wednesday, March 25, 1998

Kenneth Starr subpoenas two bookstores to find out what Monica Lewinsky has been reading. He's really becoming the nosy neighbor on a sitcom, but with subpoena power.

Meanwhile, Clinton has forced the claim of executive privilege to greater lengths than did Nixon. Congratulations, Billy Bob.

Ariel Sharon said on tv that Israel will sooner or later assassinate the guy they got caught trying to kill in Jordan a few months ago.

The British Parliament votes 211-15 to ban caning from all public (private, you know) schools. Can't wait to see what the next generation of Etonians' sexual perversions will consist of.

Tuesday, March 24, 1998

Al Checchi, accused of not being a Democrat for donating the legal max to Robert Dole & Malcolm Forbes Jr., said that was just a courtesy. What's wrong with a nice card? Chocolates are always nice too.

Saturday, March 21, 1998

In October 1993, the US Marines Historical Reenactment Society evidently performed their version of My Lai in Somalia, killing over 1,000 Somalis, taking hostages, using bodies as barricades, etc etc. Nice to be hearing about this now.

The latest breakout in the increasingly out of control world of fertility research: sperm from a dead guy. Sperm from someone dead over 24 hours was removed and successfully fertilized eggs. And the stuff can be frozen. So there have been an increasing number of requests for extractions from dead teenagers (to carry on the family lineage) and that sort of thing.

Friday, March 20, 1998

Dean McHenry, the guiding force behind UCSC, has died.

So has Dr. Spock and I can no longer resist: He's dead, Jim.

There's talk of a Jewish cable channel in Britain. One idea: a dating program on traditional lines, questions being asked of someone hidden from the contestant, except that in this case, the questions are to be asked by the contestant's...Jewish mother. Oy. Jenny McCarthy will probably not be on this one.

How do American dental students get teeth to practice on? The French have reverted to the traditional medical practice of graverobbing, or actually bribing gravediggers.

A belated Purple Heart was given to a prisoner on San Quentin's death row today. It's part of his crazy-veteran defense, but they still had the normal ceremony.

Wednesday, March 18, 1998

The Amazing Kreskin has said he will get to the bottom of the whole Whitewater thing by reading the minds of all concerned, for $1. Anything's better than Death by 60 Minutes. Just saw Ann Lewis, White House Communications Director, being savaged on Nightline for giving the same line on Willey that she attacked when it was used against Anita Hill. Someone suggested that the response of feminists to this one indicates that feminism is no longer a principle but a political tool.

The story to look for in the next few days will be about the information contained in the just-released files of the Mississippi Sovereignty Commission. Keep an eye out.

The new status item for drug dealers is watch-alligators, replacing the pit bulls they used to use.

New Labour, Old Genitals: David Spry elected for the Labour party to the town council of Bristol (coincidentally, Bristols means breasts in cockney) has since become a pre-op transexual called Rosalind. I blame Monty Python, and Benny Hill. He/she was not allowed into the women's group of the Labour party.

Monday, March 16, 1998

The Chinification of US prisons

The world's largest democracy, so-called, just gets sillier. The Hindu fundies have taken over, if they can dispense enough bribes to keep power, and pledge to build nuclear weapons, presumably for use against McDonald's (that's a sacred cow joke, if anybody didn't get it). Meanwhile the Congress Party, in an act of ancestor-in-law worship that should set back the feminist movement even further, puts Italian widow Sonia Gandhi in charge of their party. She did it on the condition that she wouldn't have to do any actual work.

A new book says that Lyndon Johnson bugged Veep Hubert Humphrey and sabotaged his 1968 presidential campaign.

I trust everyone watched 60 Minutes last night, because you just can't hear enough about Clinton's penis (or, the leader of the leader of the free world, as it's known).

Friday, March 13, 1998

You may already have won

Clinton has been toying with adopting Truman's strategy of attacking the do-nothing Congress, his ambivalence perhaps reflecting the relief most of us feels when this particular Congress is not doing anything. Certainly, Clinton picked a bad place to start, insisting on Congress ratifying the tobacco deal. Assuming this has nothing to do with campaign contributions, this shows how committed Clinton has become to the idea of a budget surplus (his budget numbers require the money from the tobacco companies). However, the continuing flow of revelations about past practices suggests that rushing the deal would be to give an amnesty without knowing what crimes were being amnestied.

Speaking of amnesties, 1) the South African Truth Commission just asked the courts to reverse its own amnesty of ANC leaders in the absence of testimony from them, as was required of everyone else. 2) Kim Dae-jung's amnesty of 5.5 million Koreans failed to include the world's longest serving political prisoner (since 1958--in solitary) and several other POCs, who refused the condition of renouncing their political beliefs (the bit that none of the American media seem to have noticed). But it does include a lot of convicted drunk drivers who will presumably now get their licenses back.

The Serbian media keep referring to the Albanians of Kosovo as a minority. Do you think even Serbs believe that 90% constitute a minority? It's that sort of thinking that made Wilson cancel the requirement that the state should try to give 5% of its contracts to businesses owned by women.

Web-site of the week: www.taliban.com

Wednesday, March 11, 1998

I said a few months ago that there would be ethnic rioting in places like Indonesia. Even I underestimated the cynicism of the Suharto government, which ITN says is organizing some of the rioting against Chinese shops, a sure distraction from the government's rampant corruption. Sworn in for yet another unopposed term, Suharto, who has only one name, like Madonna, or Godzilla, said that the good times (!) will not return to Indonesia. This is a day after he restored tax breaks and monopolies to his family.

Rep. Jay Kim, the first Korean member of the US Congress, will become the first to come to the House with one of those prison monitoring bracelets.

Sunday, March 08, 1998

I am somebody--well, the son of somebody

In a profile of Jesse Jackson Jr., the NY Times says that he talks of the difficulties of a black man hailing a cab in D.C. Maybe they just realize he's a congressman.

The media always get interested in censorship just a bit late. For example, I just got from the Village Voice the answer to a question I had been wondering for weeks, namely, if there had been a war in Iraq, what would the press arrangements have been. In fact, it would have been the reviled pool system, which alternative media during the last Gulf war, and mainstream media afterwards, filed suit against, but which no one bothered to report would have been instituted again, if you can follow my grammar. Incidentally, all those interviews we did read last month with resigned but game servicepeople were chaperoned by minders from the Pentagon.

In Mein Kamf, to make a subtle segue, Hitler talked a lot about The Jew and the Jews, but only mentioned one specific Jew, an unnamed one he had gone to school with at Linz, who evidently soured him on the whole race. In a book out shortly, Kimberley Cornish, The Jew of Linz--excerpted in today's Sunday (London) Times, which can be easily retrieved from the Times web-site whenever you read this, it is suggested and I think close to proved that that Jew was the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. The same age, but 2 years ahead of Hitler, he shared many of the same interests and annoying habits, and matched many of the traits denounced in Mein Kampf. Hitler would later set up a steel works specifically to undermine the works owned by the Wittgenstein family. The book also argues that Wittgenstein was the unnamed homosexual teacher at Trinity College, Cambridge, who recruited the famous spies for the Soviet Union (Blunt, Philby, Burgess, Maclean).

I hope everyone's keeping up with the oil pipeline planned through the Caucasus. Russia seems so intent on making sure that it's path, to be chosen this month, goes through Russian territory, that it seems to be responsible for the assassination attempts last month on the presidents of Georgia and Azerbaijan, as well as the bloodless coup in Armenia, which Russia is arming for a renewed military confrontation with Azerbaijan.

Friday, March 06, 1998

The Supreme Court rules that local officials who deliberately violate civil rights have legislative immunity. In the case, a city council retaliated against a black woman who had complained about racial slurs from a co-worker by eliminating her job.

The Palestinian security forces are being trained in interrogation and eavesdropping by the CIA. I'm sure the news of that will relax everyone.

The UN war crimes tribunal cuts the sentence on a Croat who shot at least 70 Muslims to 5 years on account of his youth and remorse. So that's all right then.