Saturday, January 30, 1999

Dennis Miller says that the Senate is trying to figure out a form of punishment for Clinton that won’t make him hard.

The majority of federal wiretaps are now issued by a secret intelligence court.

Did you know that since 1996 civil rights settlements are taxable? What incredible nerve Congress has. On the up side, Paula Jones gets screwed again.

Thursday, January 28, 1999

Sex addiction

The pope in St. Louis speaks against abortion and assisted suicide, arguing for the dignity of human life. He then put on one of his many funny hats, and drooled.

44 Senators, if you read both votes together, said that they’ve heard enough to dismiss the charges, while 0 say they have heard enough to convict and need to see more.

Oklahoma plans next week to execute someone for a crime committed when they were 16, the first such since 1977.

Evidently Sidney Blumenthal is the right’s bete noir, the dark prince in its conspiracy theories, its Richard Mellon Scaife if you like. This is why he wound up on the witness list and not Betty Currie. Of course the last time he was questioned, it was by Starr’s people last June. They asked him whether Bill Clinton believes that oral sex is sex, does Bill Clinton’s religion include sexual intercourse, whether he ever discussed with Hillary whether Bill had a sex addiction....

Wednesday, January 27, 1999

Woody Woodpecker in a KKK cap

One of the defendants in the Jasper, Texas murder-by-dragging trial has a tattoo of Woody Woodpecker in a KKK cap.

Speaking of Woody Woodpecker in a KKK cap, the House impeachment “managers” today announced their list of witnesses, described by Bob Barr as two Jews and a niggra.

Tuesday, January 26, 1999

1 year on

The Wash Post’s impeachment coverage has recently included a “one year ago today” section, and today is the anniversary of the finger-wagging episode.

Normally there is no more fervent supporter of freedom of the press than myself, but sometimes there is an exception. Whatever reporters were briefed by Senators about what was said in closed section today should be hauled in and have electrodes attached to their genitals until they name the offending Senator, who should be expelled from the Senate under the standing rules. I didn’t support the decision to go behind closed doors, but I want a scalp. The hypocritical assholes can’t have it both ways.

Lindsey Graham’s speech arguing against dismissal was an exercise in televised nervous breakdown, and very entertaining as such. Henry Hyde, looking more than ever like Willie Loman, did his sorrowful-at-the-ways-of-the-wicked-world routine. Of course Saturday he supported the civil rights of Paula Jones in the same speech as he mentioned his opposition to abortion, just in case anyone had forgotten that he’s a prick.

As I write, the Senate is hearing arguments about hearing witnesses. No it isn’t, it just went to break. This is all rather problematic because there are good political reasons why Clinton’s people can’t put on a proper defense. If Monica testifies that she understand that Clinton wanted her to lie, without his actually having said so, someone needs to ask her whether she also believed that he would leave his wife for her and that Linda Tripp was her bestest friend. McCollum said that it is not he said, she said because she told other people at the time. She needs to be asked whether she also told them that she slept overnight at the White House and her other tall tales. None of this is possible.

Friday, January 22, 1999

I haven’t made any comments on the impeachment trial of William Jethro Clinton in the last couple of days, so here are my thoughts on developments in that period:

That Cheryl Mills sure has a sexy voice, doesn’t she?

On to other things.

I saw a bit of a clip on the Daily Show yesterday of Dan Quayle in a classroom. The teacher introduces him and explains to the tykes that he is President Clinton’s vice president. She is told that he isn’t and asks who is. Does anyone know where this took place?

Also on the Daily Show yesterday was a piece about a church in whose stained glass people have spotted the image of... Bozo the Clown. And there it was, too, clear as day. The pastor said sorrowfully that, yeah, once it’s pointed out to you, it’s impossible afterwards not to see it.

I think it was on the Daily Show that it was said that the only mention of the impeachment trial during the State of the Union Address was the bit about protecting our children from tobacco.

Tuesday, January 19, 1999

State of Union/impeachment & whatnot

So Bob Barr didn’t go to the State of the Union speech (see below). I’m guessing it’s for a reason similar to that of Andrew Cuomo, the single Cabinet member who traditionally doesn’t go, so that if the Capitol blows up, after the partying dies down, the Department of Health and Urban Development can go on. Similarly, Barr didn’t go so that even if Clinton, Gore, all but one member of the Cabinet, and most of the House and Senate and Supreme Court get blown up, the impeachment hearings can continue.

In 1940 a German firing squad executed a French horse that kicked a German soldier to death.

The Supreme Court lets stand a 25-year sentence under the Calif. 3 Strikes law for someone who shoplifted some vitamins.

During the Address, there seemed to be applause for everything. Who but a politician would applaud “putting a human face on the global economy”?

A quick read through Salon, the free parts of Slate and the Washington Post show no one else making the obvious observation, so I will: Clinton said that Boomers like himself have a fear of becoming a burden on their children, which is why Social Security should be shored up by investing a lot of money in the stock market. An interesting sentence for someone who last week sent a large chunk of Chelsea’s inheritance to Paula Jones.

In the speech and in today’s impeachment hearings, the day was surprisingly abject-apology free. Maybe we’re done with all the groveling. Today, Ruff pointed out two obvious holes in last week’s case: the call from Betty Currie to Lewinsky that proved there was a Clinton conspiracy to hide gifts, actually occurred after the gifts were given to Currie, not before. And Vernon Jordan’s meeting with Lewinsky that proved the job assistance was a bribe in exchange for false testimony because it occurred immediately after the judge in the Jones trial ruled that testimony from other girlfriends was admissable, actually occurred before--Jordan was on a plane to Europe by the time the ruling came down.

Quick excerpt from a Washington Post story:

There were tricky moments. At one point, Ruff found himself explaining that Clinton could not possibly have been obstructing justice when he lied about his affair to various top aides. Why not? Because he was lying to everyone else too. If you had a television, the president lied to you. The aides were nothing special.

He said it so calmly, so smoothly, that it passed by entirely unremarkably.

Monday, January 18, 1999

State of the Union?

The House impeachment wranglers made the point over and over yesterday that Clinton was being accused of stuff that the Senate has previously impeached judges over. I think that presidents in the future should wear uniforms so that they may be easily distinguished from other people in uniform. If Billy Clinton were a judge, he’d be wearing a black robe and no pants and he would serve for life upon good behaviour. If he were in the military he’d wear another kind of uniform and he could have been thrown out for the adultery alone (or for being gay or for sending a bunch of Italian skiers to their deaths). If he were in the Boy Scouts, he could have been thrown out for any of this, or for being an atheist. But he isn’t any of these things. Get over it.

A British judge rules that a house is not haunted. The owners were trying not to pay it off.

Sunday, January 17, 1999

Motto: “And sleep like a Senator during an impeachment trial”

A piece in the Monday Washington Post points out that Clinton is in one sense not above the law at all, that the abuses perpetrated by Starr are the ones that US attorneys inflict on average Americans every day. Indeed, Reno has been lobbying against a bill to make US attorneys comply with state ethics rules and not interrogate people who have lawyered up (as they say on NYPD Blue).

On the talk show circuit today, 19% of the “jury” has spoken its mind, if any. D’s are fighting back on the witness issue, threatening to interrogate Starr and Tripp. It could be a long winter.

This year South Africa will legalize polygamy, as long as it is performed according to traditional rituals and so on. There will be no legal limit on bride-price, so this should hold the incidence down. Interestingly, whites will be able to take advantage of the law. No discrimination in the new South Africa.

Saturday, January 16, 1999

Now it can be revealed

Jerry Falwell says the Antichrist is alive now and is a male Jew.

The University of Abertay (Dundee, Scotland) is developing a degree in computer games technology. The university’s first fellows in this dept. are the people who created Lemmings.

Egypt convicts a couple to one year for kissing in public.

The Sunday Times confirms that Hitler had one ball.

The US Department of Defense wants the right of prior censorship over Scott Ritter’s book.

All right, I admit it, Jerry Falwell, *I* am the Antichrist. There. You’ve dragged it out of me.

At the impeachment yesterday, Tom Harkin objected to the Senators being called “jurors” on the grounds that, quote, “Only losers get stuck with jury duty.” Rehnquist sustained the objection.

Republicans are calling for Monica Lewinsky to be called so that her body language can be read. I’ll leave it to you to create your own jokes, using the following elements: Ted Kennedy and Braille, overeating as an aid to Senators sitting in the back.

Ya know, Mark Fuhrman pleaded nolo contendre to perjury in an actual murder trial and got a $200 fine.

In one of the sillier moments, George Gekas talked about his mother’s naturalization classes, in which she learned that the three branches of government were, she said in her “wonderful, lovable accent”, were “The Exec, the Legisla and the Judish.” George Gekas’s mother was, in fact, Chico Marx.

Friday, January 15, 1999

And on and on. Bill McCullom actually summarized yesterday’s summary of the Starr Report. Jeff Greenfield on CNN is speculating that none of the House managers are speaking to each other, since they all deem it necessary to repeat the same damn things, including reading what Betty Currie said Clinton said to her (perhaps if it gets repeated enough times, we’ll all be convinced that Currie was able months later to remember it word for word?). Jon Stewart on Nightline described the Republicans from the House as looking like “every guy who ever fired my father.” McCullom looks like Clark Kent sucking on a kryptonite lemon. Now let’s see if I’ve got this argument straight: perjury must be impeachable because the Federal sentencing guidelines (the ones written in the 1980s?) said that perjury is as bad as bribery, which is mentioned in the Constitution. Head...hurt. The guidelines also say that crack is much worse than powder cocaine. And Clinton was lying when he said he wasn’t paying attention to his lawyer. If he has to deal with people like these Congressmen every day, I’ll bet he’s mastered the art of looking like he’s paying attention when he isn’t. As opposed to the Senator, I forget which one, who’s been showing up wearing sunglasses so no one can be sure when he’s sleeping.

I’ve read the affidavit of Bob Barr’s ex-wife, on the web, of course. What is it with Republican first wives and cancer? Bob reacted to her breast cancer and chemotherapy by saying she should take her mind off it by working for his election campaign.

Christopher Hitchens quotes Clinton after ordering the missile strike on Sudan: “I was here on this island [Martha’s Vineyard, poor baby] till 2:30 in the morning, trying to make absolutely sure that at the chemical plant there was no night shift. .. I didn’t want some person who was a nobody to me--but who may have a family to feed and a life to live and probably had no earthly idea what else was going on there [a CIA official?]--to die needlessly.”

And Michael Douglas in the movie “The American President,” which we know Clinton has seen because it’s about a president who dates: “Somewhere in Libya right now, a janitor is working the night shift at Libyan intelligence headquarters. And he’s going about doing his job because he has no idea that in about an hour he’s going to die in a massive explosion.”

Thursday, January 14, 1999

From bias free of every kind, this trial must be tried

Someone at Slate counts today as the 9th presentation of the same old evidence against Clinton including the Starr report, Starr’s testimony to House, the judiciary committee’s presentation to the whole House, etc etc. And boy did it seem it, from the half or so I’ve seen or heard so far today. Henry Hyde said that oaths were real important (key theme today: every time someone lies under oath, an angel dies), that Thomas More went to the stake rather than swear a false oath (all together now: I knew Sir Thomas More, Sir Thomas More was a friend of mine...). Poor Paula Jones had her civil rights violated. It’s always laughable watching Republicans try to hitch their causes to civil rights: Sensenbrenner likened Jones’s suit to sit-ins at lunch counters. Especially laughable if you’ve read today’s NY Times article about the Council of Conservative Citizens and why Trent Lott had to have known what it was all about, including the frightening information that 34 Mississippi legislators and Governor Kirk Fordice (who I’ve described as David Duke without the sheet) are members. And don’t get me started on Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, one of the three jurors currently consorting with the prosecutors about witnesses.

Things House “managers” did today they shouldn’t have: turned the count about grand jury perjury into an argument that Clinton lied during the Paula Jones deposition. Which he did, but that was a count the House voted against. It should not be resurrected now. And making the argument for calling witnesses during what was supposed to be about something else.

In other news today, the Pope says that God is not an old man with a beard, but refuses to say what she does look like.

The European Commission barely survives a censure vote, unfortunately.

A Labour county councillor in Sussex of all places defects to the Scottish National Party.

Israeli Watergate?

Something else worth paying attention to in the days or weeks ahead: the German debate over the proposed citizenship law.

Tuesday, January 12, 1999

A new California law says that it is now legal to throw out your old batteries. Um, you have all been recycling those batteries as was legally required, haven’t you?

So Bob Barr (R-Antebellum South) committed adultery, lied about it in court papers, failed to pay child support, and paid for his wife’s abortion. And has a really creepy mustache. Larry Flynt also says he has video on a congressional player yet to be named. And pretty much said that the next one he outs will be Tom DeLay.

Friday, January 08, 1999

The sheer spectacle of the Clinton impeachment is just overwhelming, isn’t it? Rehnquist in his personally designed comic opera robes, Strom Thurmond in his personally designed comic opera hair and comic strip (Li’l Abner) accent. The senators were required to keep silent under pain of imprisonment. I personally saw three senatorial heads explode. Each senator signed something or other and got a souvenir pen. A cigar would have been more appropriate. An exploding cigar would have been still more appropriate. Clinton still hasn’t been allowed to see all the evidence against him. But remember, folks, this is not a trial, no matter what they call it, even if it is the trial of the century of the week. It is essentially an administrative procedure. If they don’t want to show him evidence, they can. There has never been a standard of proof established for impeachments (beyond a shadow of doubt, a preponderance of evidence, whatever). I personally think they could order Clinton to testify without any right of non-self-incrimination, because it is not a trial.

The most popular boy’s name in California and Texas last year was Jose. Elsewhere, Austin is big (groovy, baby). I don’t know what the most popular baby’s name in China is, but it’s certainly a boy’s name, since they’re producing fewer girl babies than ever before.

Linda Tripp has established a legal defense fund. So send your letter bombs to...

Who are these unnamed US officials who are confirming to every newspaper that will listen to them that the CIA used the UNSCOM inspectors as cover to spy on Iraq? On the one hand, the US’s blatant abuse of the UN will definitely make sure that weapons inspection will not be re-established in Iraq or anywhere else (North Korea might have been a candidate). The UN’s credibility is especially damaged by the fact that the information flow came entirely through the US, which passed on only what it felt like, only to the UN folks it liked (Scott Ritter, to name one, was out of the loop), and for all we know tampered with it before doing so. On the other hand, whose idea was it to give the UN essentially espionage duties, for which it had no capabilities whatsoever? What did anyone expect it to do, other than to subcontract the job out?

Tuesday, January 05, 1999

John Ashcroft drops out of the presidential race before anyone knew he was in it. Of course, in today’s environment you have to ask whether that means he had an affair he doesn’t want to come out. Get used to it: even if it isn’t about sex, it’s still about sex.

Or at least about gender. The following is the summary of two stories from the index to the British news section of tomorrow’s Times:

[19]Women kick men when they are down
Survey indicates that women are more likely to attack men when they are most vulnerable

[20]The Thatcher theory of women’s success
Study shows female managers go to great lengths to appear more macho than men, writes Alexandra Frean

Monday, January 04, 1999

If you read only legitimate news sources like the NY Times or the Washington Post, you will be woefully uninformed about this week’s two Bill Clinton scandals. 1) his father is evidently not the guy his mother always claimed he was. 2) the son of a black prostitute is being DNA-tested to determine if Bill is the dad (this is made possible by Starr’s running tests on a certain dress).

Saturday, January 02, 1999

The British Lottery, which funds lesbian theatre and other worthy causes, including a number of heritage projects, is to be used to renovate one of the last of the Victorian public loos, made famous because the playwright Joe Orton used to have sex there.

New laws: kids in Wisconsin can bring inhalers to school. They couldn’t before? NH parents of murdered children can sue for loss of companionship (although presumably the defendant can respond by proving that the kid was a little shit). And Massachusetts gets an official state polka. Massachusetts.

Friday, January 01, 1999

The Post suggests that 1998 can best be summed up in the words of Monica Lewinsky to the grand jury: we’re all really sorry for everything that’s happened. And we hate Linda Tripp.