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.

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