Friday, April 30, 1999

Battle of the great thinkers: Dan Quayle vs. me

Quayle’s answer to Littleton: “The parents need to get in the children’s face when they raise them,” he said on “Crossfire.” “You’re not there to be just the child’s best friend, you’re there as a parent ... And if you see a sawed-off shotgun or whatever else laying around the house, take it away.”

My own answer: those black trenchcoats concealed the shotguns, but even regular clothes can conceal a handgun. Clinton’s been pushing school uniforms, but he just doesn’t go far enough. My idea: total nudity. No concealed weapons, no designer clothes. As with so many other innovative educational concepts, this one was pioneered in Berkeley. Come back, Naked Guy, all is forgiven!

Thursday, April 29, 1999

I thought the US military was supposed to be preventing the war spreading throughout the Balkans, but a missile accidentally takes out a house in Bulgaria. Not the first time we’ve bombed the wrong country by mistake recently.

Wednesday, April 28, 1999

A school shooting in Canada: just what the NRA was praying for.

A school district in LA expels a student for no other reason than that he wears a trenchcoat. His mother bought it for him.

Bees are being trained to detect landmines. Really.

The Marines rejected one of the Littleton massacrers because he once took psychiatric medication. Evidently his criminal record was either unnoticed or a plus.

Tuesday, April 27, 1999

The deputy prime minister of either Serbia or Yugoslavia (tch tch to the London Times for that ambiguity) goes on to tv to tell the government to stop lying to the people. The tv station is shortly afterwards taken over by the army. I take it that would be a “no.”

So NATO’s blockade will not take the form of actually stopping any tankers that don’t want to be stopped from going to Yugoslavia. But they will stop and search them. A typical Clinton compromise: it’s still offensive to principle, illegal under international law, and an act of war, but totally ineffective. Incidentally, while the EU made it illegal to sell oil to Yugoslavia, but the US hasn’t and doesn’t plan to, and may still be doing so. At any rate, Texaco was still delivering oil two weeks into the air war.

For the NATO meeting, Clinton evidently took Tony Blair aside and told him to stop pushing for a ground war in public (according to the Washington Post and denied by Blair, who would, wouldn’t he?). The official line is that they’ve learned from the mistake of Clinton’s promising no ground troops and will no longer discuss tactics in public. So if a ground war is started, it will be with no advanced discussion. What would a democracy do?

Sunday, April 25, 1999

Czech tv weather forecasters are now naked. Or rather, start out naked, and put on (slowly) the amount of clothes appropriate to the next day’s weather conditions.

For its 50th anniversary, NATO has decided to threaten acts of war against Russia. It intends to implement an illegal blockade of Serbia (unless there was a UN vote I missed) that Russia does not intend to honor. They’re talking Cuban Missile Crisis. How did NATO go from a defensive body to this sort of thing without any public discussion whatsoever? And if its purpose is being rewritten, don’t all the NATO treaties have to be re-ratified?

Friday, April 23, 1999

Turned on the car radio yesterday and heard Clinton talking about violence. It took a minute of listening to ascertain whether he was speaking about Littleton or Kosovo. In these times, I suppose the son of an Air Force pilot (as one of the Littleton trenchcoaters was) could be excused for thinking that violence was the approved method of dealing with people one does not like. Clinton continues to attack youth culture (as an Elvis wannabe and sax player himself, he knows that culture shouldn’t be about violence, it should be about sex), and, coincidentally, bombs the Serb state tv station off the air.

Since reunification Germany has been prosecuting East German border guards and others for performing their duties as ordered by their government. Today, oddly enough, they convict a German for killing a border guard while escaping East Germany in 1962. He gets a suspended sentence.

The great event in Serb history was their defeat by the Turks in 1389. The Serbs like to celebrate that defeat the way normal countries celebrate victories. After the battle, when Serb knights were declaring their allegiance to the sultan, one leaped up and stabbed him in the neck.

Wednesday, April 21, 1999

Colombine and masturbation

NATO finally blows up Serb tv stations, right in the middle of "The Erotic Adventures of Bill Clinton," too.

Secretary of Defense Cohen says that the Apache helicopters are not a silver bullet. And stop calling him kemosabe.

Next year what say we just give Hitler a cake or something. A few days ago I was reading an article about fears of masturbation in Victorian England (hey, it’s what I do. Read articles, I mean.) In those pre-Freudian times, all children were considered to be naturally innocent of sexuality, so the Vics developed elaborate theories about children being taught to masturbate by servants who used it to get babies to sleep, or schoolmates, or strange people they met in railway stations who showed them one dirty photograph, sending them into a downward spiral of masturbation ending in drooling imbecility (drooling imbecility is a quote).

So, about the Colorado thing: it ain’t the internet, Leonardo diCaprio movies (although I think Leo should be thrown in jail just on general principles), Marilyn Manson, etc. Youth culture doesn’t kill people, youths kill people. Victorian children were capable of discovering masturbation all by themselves, and late millennial children do not have to be taught the idea of blowing up their high schools and killing the other kids. You could take a 15-year old from the deepest part of the Amazonian rain forest, drop him in an American high school, and a week later he’d be having fantasies about blow guns.

Monday, April 19, 1999

Weird medicine: in Britain a 21-month year old is stretched via a balloon to make his abdomen large enough to accommodate a liver and bowel transplant from a 9-year old 3 times his size.

A pedal-operated tv has been invented, to solve the problem of fat kids.

There was a great recent Tom Tomorrow cartoon, which those of you with better browsers than mine can find on the Web, in which Iowa launches air strikes (crop dusters) on New York City, where the security forces are terrorizing the ethnic poor. Iowans however remain opposed to the idea of ground troops. “My uncle went there once--and got lost on the subway for three days.”

Another day, another NATO story on the bombing of the convoys of civilians 5 days ago. They now admit to 2 bombings, say there were 14 planes involved, that British Harriers had already seen the convoy and reported that it was civilian, but no one passed the information on (that’s the problem when one of the NATO countries forgets that there are other countries in NATO), but, and here is the impressive part, still doesn’t admit that the bombings necessarily killed anyone. They’re still going with that Serbs-machine-gunned-the-survivors story. The problem with the last five days of ass-covering is that when NATO announces, oh, say, that the Serbs have probably killed at least 100,000 Albanians, it’s hard to take them terribly seriously. Still, there’s rarely a downside to lying to the media. No one seems to be bringing up the stories George Bush used to tell about the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, babies ripped from incubators and so forth. Meanwhile, Yugoslav media have been broadcasting a faked tape of the cockpit conversation of the pilots on that mission, saying he just saw tractors and being told to bomb anyway. I’m told it’s jolly good drama. In their version, the Serbs get to shoot down a plane. “Eject eject eject!” the pilot is heard to yell.

An article in the Village Voice suggests that Serbia thought it was given the green light last year when US special envoy Robert Gelbard went to the Balkans and called the KLA terrorists.

Sunday, April 18, 1999

After 3 days of conflicting stories about bombing the refugees, NATO abruptly cancels a briefing at which they were supposed to show the footage taken by the plane itself, and then refuses to say anything more on the subject because NATO is “moving on.” Is that anything like achieving closure?

Friday, April 16, 1999

So yesterday after NATO planes attacked a convoy of refugees, the NATO commander claimed to have evidence that it was actually Serb soldiers who fired at the refugees. A day and a half later, we know that this was not true. Indeed, there were no soldiers and no tanks in that convoy. So what evidence was that, Wesley? Making a mistake is one thing, but if someone says he has evidence when he can’t have, some questions need to be asked, that no one seems to be asking.

In a gesture of goodwill, the Indian government has released a peregrine falcon arrested, if that’s the word, on suspicion of spying for Pakistan.

The latest unlikely-but-you-wouldn’t-put-it-past-them rumor out of Kosovo is that the Serbs are using Kosovars as living blood banks.

A complaint was submitted to the British Press Complaints Commission for harassment by a Mr. Slobodan Milosevic of Ilford (no relation).

Wednesday, April 14, 1999

An interesting article on Danforth Quayle in the Wednesday Washington Post. It says he doesn’t see himself the way everyone else in the universe does. You have to read it to catch a glimpse into a universe where Quayle is a winner and a hero. And Mr. Spock has a goatee.

Elsewhere in the Post, Al Kamen makes fun of Henry Kissinger for going on all the talk shows complaining about the lack of an exit strategy for Kosovo, and brings up Vietnamization. I hereby propose my own version of Vietnamization: any politician of a certain age who is a hawk now but avoided the draft back then is given bayonet and is dropped from an airplane into Beograde.

I haven’t decided on whether to give them parachutes first.

The briefing on how it was possible to blow up a passenger train was rather interesting. OK, by the time the pilot saw the train, he had already fired the first rocket, got that. Um, and then he turned around and took a second shot at the bridge, and hit the train again.

So Jack Kevorkian is sentenced to 10 to 25. A judge with a sense of humor would have sentenced him to life.

Monday, April 12, 1999

Why the sun has set on the Empire

Today’s London Times has an article on the state of the education system. Well fuck that. I have distilled the article down to the important information: funny mistakes on the GSCE tests.

A MYTH is a female moth and Joan of Arc was burnt to a steak,

“Sir Walter Raleigh is a historical figure - he invented cigarettes and started smoking.”

“Sir Francis Drake circumcised the world with a 100ft clipper.”

“Ancient Egypt was inhabited by mummies and they wrote in hydraulics,”

“Julius Caesar extinguished himself on the battlefields of Gaul,”

“Beethoven wrote music even though he was deaf - he was so deaf he wrote loud music,”

“The sun never set on the British Empire because the British Empire is in the East and the sun sets in the West.”

“In the Olympic Games, Greeks ran races, jumped, hurled the biscuits and threw the java,”

“Socrates died from an overdose of wedlock - after his death his career suffered a dramatic decline,”

“Moses went up on Mount Cyanide to get the ten commandments,”

“Adam and Eve were created from an apple tree.”

Thursday, April 08, 1999

Serbia says peace has been restored in Kosovo, so that’s all right then.

Germany says it has a secret Yugoslav plan for ethnically cleansing Kosovo, drawn up 6 months ago. There is also one written in 1937 by Vasu Cubrilovic, a man whose life suggests how short the 20th century has really been. Cubrilovic, whose pamphlet by the way was titled “The Expulsion of the Albanians by the Serbs” (he was for it), was one of the seven assassins of the Archduke Ferbinand in 1914. Released from prison in 1918, he became a professor of philosophy (applied philosohpy, I guess) at the University of Belgrade, and was a minister in Tito’s government. He died in 1990 at 94.

Speaking of young murders, Arkansas has decided to sentence children under 14 to life imprisonment. Just some of them.

Wednesday, April 07, 1999

Finally, a solution to the Kosovo Krisis

Macedonia seems to have beaten the Serb’s land-speed-ethnic-cleansing record. Huzzah and cudos. I now support Greek’s position that Macedonia has no right to the name Macedonia. I propose as its new name Serbia Lite.

Propaganda has gotten so much better with the computer. Serb tv is showing films of NATO jets flying in the swastika formation.

Serbia is also issuing stamps. First up, the bulls-eye stamp; next, the downed Stealth fighter stamp. Too bad there’s no international mail out of Serbia, these could be worth a fortune some day. But don’t try to buy them in Pristina’s central post office: we blow it up today.

An Egyptian woman is granted a divorce from a man because he wore an unIslamic earing. Let me rephrase that: all earrings are Islamic on men, since they make them like women.

Tuesday, April 06, 1999

The Germans are having a problem with their military forces in Yugoslavia. They don’t have any medals to give them. The Iron Cross was pretty much abolished--too many bad memories. The stuff they’ve been giving out has been designed to look as little like military medals as possible, and is for non-combat stuff, essentially Miss Congeniality awards.

Kevin has had the good grace or bad memory not to point out that several years I advocated pretty much precisely the actions over Bosnia that I have been criticizing over Kosovo. I said at the time that bombing could reduce Serb military capabilities and, if it would not end the war, would at least reduce the slaughter from wholesale to retail. Of course, that was the seige of Sarajevo, which is a somewhat different military situation.

So Milosevic has that tame/intimidated Kosovan leader they’ve been parading on tv. First NATO said that they were doctoring old footage, now that he’s acting under coercion, and they keep pointing out that there are pictures but no sound track. My question is, how long does it take to find a lip-reader who knows Serbo-Croatian?

I may have made another mistake over Kosovo. Some time back I commented that if nothing else, it was at least good that this war wasn’t started by something in Clinton’s sex life. On reflection, I’ve decided that the whole thing is a sneaky plot to get people to say precisely that. Clinton, looking to his place in history, wanted to bomb some place at a time when he didn’t have a sex scandal, so that history would say that that indicates that he didn’t bomb all those other places just to cover up sex scandals. Sneaky, huh?

I may have made another mistake, when I said that American Atheists Inc moved to New Jersey because NJ is proof perfect of the non-existence of God. Well, I told that to my mother, and she related the story of a friend who went to Catholic school in New York in the ‘50s, and they used to put the kids on buses and drive them past some place like Hoboken to show them what Hell had in store for them if they weren’t good Catholics.

Monday, April 05, 1999

Tipper Gore’s motto for the 2000 campaign: “I still believe in a place called Stepford.”

Antonin “Fat Tony” Scalia says that passengers in a car have a reduced expectation of privacy even for things hidden away in say a purse, so cops can search passengers they don’t think did anything because they think the driver did something.

NATO has officially stopped using the word refugee for Kosovars. They are now deportees. Macedonia, that fount of humanitarian benevolence, has been shoving refugees onto planes to airlift them to anywhere else. Turkey, which is taking some of them while countries like the US and Britain dither, is planning to use them to populate parts of Cyprus from which they expelled Greek Cypriots. At least in Cyprus, they’ll feel right at home.

Evidently NATO can affect events in Kosovo solely by bombing, according to Madeline Albright, because we are degrading his military and hence his ability to control the area. Of course by next week there should be so few Kosovars left that they could be controlled by a couple of guys with pointed sticks.

One of those workplace psych guys in Britain says that members of the House of Lords who are about to be, um, downsized, should really be given the sort of counselling you give after layoffs. You can just picture the session, can’t you?

Saturday, April 03, 1999

Serbs you right

Don’t blame me for that one, it came from a British tab.

Notice all those Pentagon briefings given by Ken Bacon, who will never be mistaken for Kevin Bacon? He was the guy who leaked Linda Tripp’s file to the press.

OK Slobadon, quit hiding behind that Rembrandt!

American Atheists Inc is moving to New Jersey, a state which many people believe proves that there is no God.

Friday, April 02, 1999

So has the government yet figured out where those soldiers were when the Serbs captured them, and if not, why not? I smell covert op.

General Wesley Clark wants to bomb Beograde. Well, if you want a tough soldier, go for the guy whose name ensured he got beat up a lot as a kid.

In time for Passover, Louis Farrakhan goes into the hospital. His followers think the government gave him cancer, you know.

New Hampshire no longer has a school system.