Saturday, May 30, 1998

Yes, you always knew where you stood with Barry Goldwater. And Adolf Hitler. Enough with the eulogies already!

In 1961 a US warplane caught fire at an RAF base in the south of England. The fire almost succeeded in opening up the nuclear bomb on board, in which case Suffolk would have been an irradiated desert for centuries to come.

Thursday, May 28, 1998

"I'm Troy McClure. You may remember me..." Yes we do, Phil. Yes we do.

The only joke I remember from Will Durst's special last night: Kenneth Starr is like a cat that keeps dragging stuff into the house that we don't want to see. "Oh good, a dead mouse."

According to the Press Clips section of the Village Voice, India's nuclear tests were not only a surprise to the CIA, but to the news media, which had almost uniformly missed the BJP's election manifesto promise to do so. Of course I read the British papers, and they actually give a shit about what goes on in the sub-continent even without someone hitting them over the head with a nuclear hammer.

Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif: "We paid them back." Pakistan immediately declares a state of emergency and suspends all press freedom and civil rights (I just read a Pakistani newspaper. They didn't know what to do with press freedom anyway) to deal with the upcoming sanctions. And just as the shit is about to hit the fans of the world stock markets again. Bad timing. Well they didn't need civil rights, and India didn't need electricity (the World Bank has suspended loans for electrification).

Of course we all knew that Pakistan was a nuclear power. They are not only not more of a nuclear power today than they were yesterday, but they are less of one, since they just wasted about half of their weapons-grade uranium. Our nuclear non-proliferation policy is evidently based on the Don't Ask, Don't Tell principle.

So how are these nuclear powers different from all other nuclear powers? If mutual assured destruction was good enough for Europe, why not for India? For a start, the warning time is way too short. It'll be like a permanent Cuban Missile Crisis. Second, there aren't enough nukes to make nuclear war unthinkable. Maybe we need to make sure that Pakistan gets the uranium it needs? In the last few years the Indian military has been increasing its superiority over Pakistan, which means that Pakistani thinking has increasingly been that Paki nukes would be used to prevent conventional attacks from India (just like those going on in Kashmir the last few days). They would probably have to anyway, as Indian air superiority means it could quickly shut down the Pakistani ability to get its Mirages into the air--Pakistan would either have to use its nukes earlier on in any war, or lose them.

The Supreme Court gives police immunity from deaths caused by reckless police chases even if they display reckless disregard or deliberate indifference to life. You can sue them if you can prove intent to run you over. The Court's rationale is that decisions have to be made really really quickly. Oh, good. How long does it take to pull a trigger? Actually, cops kill more people each year by running them over than by shooting them.

Even stupider: the Supremes let stand South Carolina's interpretation of life as beginning at the viability of the fetus for purposes of child endangerment laws.

California primary: People, let's remember that it's a primary. The Bay Guardian brilliantly endorses the Green party candidate for governor. Well, maybe he's great, maybe I'll even wind up voting for him in November. But the Greens only have one candidate running for governor, so a vote for him truly is a wasted vote. When you choose candidates, keep in mind that they're not running against the fifty others on the ballot, just those from their own party. So go out and do some mischief with your vote, like the open primary was intended for. If you can find a Democrat with an ounce of integrity, vote for them. Or vote for Dennis Peron to annoy Darth Lungren.

Monday, May 25, 1998

Follow up: the Gloucestershire cheese roll, banned as too dangerous, was performed surreptitiously in the early hours with a single cheese and four idiots chasing after it. Freedom wins again!

Duck and cover: newest thing in US schools: the psycho drill.

Thursday, May 21, 1998

Trying to derail the tobacco bill, Republicans in Congress try to set a limit to lawyer fees. The Republican Party has come out against greed. You heard it here first.

Wednesday, May 20, 1998

Watching C-SPAN earlier today, I heard Tom DeLay ask for an end to partisan attacks in the investigation of campaign contributions to Clinton who, he had just finished saying, had by selling satellite technology to the Chinese in response to contributions, caused India to test its nuclear weapons and Pakistan to respond, and thereby to threaten the lives of everybody on the planet.

I'm not exaggerating any of that.

India has already threatened Pakistan with nukes over Kashmir.

Milosevic, having sent troops into Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, and Kosovo in turn, is now thinking about Montenegro. Hey, it worked so well in the past.

Someone at the LA Times wrote that the only way to get LA tv stations to cover the governor's race would be for the candidates to get into four cars and chase each other up and down the San Diego Freeway. May I recommend the Ford Pinto?

Friday, May 15, 1998

Two die in blast at gnome plant

Warsaw: Two young men died in an explosion at a Polish garden gnome factory, PAP news agency reported. Three other people were injured in the blast at the plant in Kozuchow, western Poland, it said. A police spokeswoman said paint fumes might be to blame. (Reuters)

The California Supreme Court rules that a single crime can generate more than one strike for the 3 strikes law. The example given is that carjacking is usually prosecuted as both robbery and kidnapping. In the case involved, the guy was in a fight 15 years ago (strikes 1 & 2), and is now convicted of stealing a carton of cigarettes. The brand isn't given, but in a perfect universe, they would be Lucky Strikes.

According to Wisconsin doctors, a poorly-drafted partial birth abortion law has outlawed all abortions in the state. Legislators disagree, but no abortions are now being performed, doctors not being willing to risk life imprisonment.

Why the hell is Clinton in Germany campaigning for Helmut Kohl?

Israel celebrates its 50th anniversary by shooting 9 Palestinians dead. I guess it wasn't a big enough cake to have 50.

Does anyone actually feel sad that Seinfeld is no longer on the air?

Wednesday, May 13, 1998

That Chinese law professor will not be deported from the US for slapping his kid--he has pleaded to a lesser charge.

Jon Christensen did not win the primary to become governor of Nebraska but came in 3rd, despite all the stories I read which said that he was the front-runner. He cried.

I KNEW RONALD REAGAN: Estrada seems to have won the Philippines presidential elections. Yeah, he's a drinker and a gambler and has several illegitimate children, but he was a famous Filipino actor. I think he played a motorcycle cop or something (joke).

A New York judge returns a 5-year old to his mother, who killed her other kid, an 18-month old, for spilling her dinner, and then tried to blame it on the other kid. She's served her full 9 months and the judge thinks she's shown enough remorse to have a shot at killing the other one. I'll say one thing: that kid is going to have the best table manners in New York.

A couple of years ago, there was a story by Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker to the effect that India and Pakistan had come very close a couple of years before that to a nuclear war. Nice to know that next time, they'll be doing it with fully tested weapons. Or not. The US claims that India's claim to have detonated an H-bomb Monday is a lie. The country of Gandhi has no dissenters to the nuclear policy. A petition in support of the testing was signed in Bombay by over 100,000 so far. Signed in blood. Their own, for once.

Monday, May 11, 1998

South Africa and Rhode Island both legalize sodomy. There's a joke in there somewhere.

Guatemala celebrates getting off a UN list of human rights violators by beating a bishop to death with a concrete block. In a move typical of Guatemalan efficiency, the guy they're trying to frame as the lone, um, concrete-man, turns out to have a deformed arm that leaves him unable to lift concrete blocks.

Saturday, May 09, 1998

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that the IRA had shot a 79-year old man in both knees and both ankles. Seems they got the wrong address. Oops.

"I'm not only the president of impotence pills for men, but I'm also a member": gee, Bob, thanks for sharing. Or as Liddy used to say, "Where's the erection, Bob, where's the erection?" And all this time he's been living right next door to a famous practitioner of the felatalic arts. There must be a joke in there somewhere but coitate si cognito (fuck if I know).

Some immigrants from China slapped their 8-year old for lying and will appear in family court in Chicago Monday. If convicted, they will automatically be deported, thanks to the 1996 Immigration Act.

In yesterday's local elections, the people of London voted to have an elected mayor. This looks to be a very silly race. Jeffrey Archer, who evidently can't read any better than he can write, is studying up on the subject of the city he hopes to lead into the millennium by reading the *London Encyclopedia* -- one page per day. By far the most popular choice is the one Tony Blair is desperately trying to figure out how to block from running and still be able to use that annoying "we trust the people" line: Ken Livingston, or Red Ken to his friends, was last seen running the Greater London Council until Thatcher abolished it just to be rid of him. He's calling for a special greedy bastard tax. His words, not mine. Not very "New Labour".

Jon Christensen (R-Palookaville), generally regarded as the stupidest man in the US Congress, is front-runner to become the next governor of Nebraska. His platform consists of a promise never to hire a homosexual and that his fiancé is a former Miss America and is a virgin.

Tuesday, May 05, 1998

Merrian-Webster refuses to bow to pressure to remove "nigger" from the dictionary.

Namibia and Botswana are moving towards war. Over a tiny uninhabited marsh island submerged several months a year.

Alabama Governor Fob "Crazy as a Fruitcake and Twice as Stupid" James has filed before the Supreme Court on the 10-Commandments-in-the-courtroom case, saying that government officials should ignore Supreme Court decisions they consider unconstitutional. Also says that Sandra Day O'Connor's agnostic beliefs have caused her to closer her mind to the fact that abortion is murder. So there.

Cockroach hunt turns into lottery

Tucson, Arizona: In a publicity stunt, a pest control company has released 100 cockroaches with barcodes on their bellies. Whoever catches the roach with the winning number will win $50,000 (#31,000) while $100 will go to anyone who tracks down any of the remaining 99. The company admits that the odds are not great as there are more than a million roaches in Tucson. (Reuters)
With all the talk about the procedure to kill off all cancers, at least in mice, no one has answered the one question I want answers to. Who collected the mouse pee? The tests involved gallons and gallons of the stuff, so who was it who made them go in the little itty bitty botttles?

The head of the pope's Swiss guard is murdered. There has to be an interesting story there. Evidently, the Vatican doesn't have a very high murder rate. So the first one in 150 years, and its the head of the cops (and his wife).

In Clinton's stupidest and most spineless cave-in since the last one, he has agreed to let Senator Slade Gorton name a far-right judge to the 9th Circuit and generally take over the power to appoint judges in Washington state. By the way, if anyone knows anything about Barbara Durham, the current chief justice of Wash Sup Court and soon to be 9th Circuiter, do pass it on.

Speaking of idiots who shouldn't be allowed the power to veto nominees made by their betters, have you all been following the wrangling over the first head of the EU's central bank? The term was supposed to be 8 years for reasons of continuity and to stay above politics, so France only agreed not to veto the unanimous choice of everybody else if he'd resign after 4 years in favor of a Frog, who would have a full 8-year term (for reasons of continuity and to keep the office above politics, of course). The only contribution the French have hitherto made in EU financial policy was to appoint a commission that decided that "euro" is masculine, le euro, not l'euro. We'll all sleep better at nights knowing that one is settled. This means that euros can be created from a standing position (euros in Greek means urine) (Greece is not joining monetary union, so it won't have to worry for a while yet about jokes about keeping your assets liquid).

I've gotten my sample ballot. Vote yes no yes no no no no no no

Friday, May 01, 1998

Bad news for Filipino stand-up comics: Imelda Marcos has dropped out of the presidential race.

The British government decides not to pardon deserters shot during World War I.

Those Colombians who protested working conditions by having themselves crucified were up there for 50 hours. And won their strike.

Gingrich says he won't allow a vote on funding for the IMF unless the Democrats agree to grant immunity to 4 witnesses on campaign finance issues. Well, it may seem irrelevant, but this is nothing compared to the dozens of amendments stuck on to a bill to pay UN back dues.