Thursday, March 18, 1999

In the Susan McDougal trial, the Starr people take the rather unusual step of calling one of their own grand jurors as a witness, to say that Starr wasn’t out to get anyone, he just wanted the facts, ma’m. The trial then broke for lunch, during which the juror could be seen indicting his ham sandwich for obstruction of justice.

The New York Times has recently added a world summary column in which the boring countries of the world get about two sentences each (sigh), but they still don’t have the space for an odd little story out of Egypt in which a charity is accused of selling orphans for spare parts. In a world less inured to horror stories, this might have made the front page instead of “NFL Backs Limited Replay After Complaints of Bad Calls”, but there you are. The charity took charge of 32 orphans. Shortly after, 25 were dead. Now there is a possibility that the organ transplant thing was made up by Islamists trying to derail a bill to legalize organ transplants, and the government certainly denies that anything of the sort happened. But they would, wouldn’t they? And the death certificates have consecutive numbers, which is more than a little suspicious.

Paul Wellstone, Patrick Leahy and Richard Durbin, the last 3 sane voices in the US Senate, voted against Star Wars. Buoyed by the fact that last week a Star Wars test actually succeeded (presumably on the same principle that a stopped clock is right twice a day, and 80% of American VCRs as well) after 3,000 consecutive failures. How long does a really stupid idea have to be around before 97 Senators vote for it without blinking an eye? I take it this is aimed at North Korea, whose last citizen should die of starvation well before that eventuality comes about, and China, which means that we are now literally in an arms race with ourself. Two arms races actually, if you count the race between our defense contractors and our spies to see who can sell American technology to the Chinese first.

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