Thursday, June 24, 1999

Khrushchev’s son has passed his citizenship test, missing only the question on what sort of government the US has. I know you’re all waiting with bated breath, so the answer is evidently supposed to be: a democracy.

Another war ends and guess what, the Pentagon was wildly over-optimistic about its successes again. Who’da thunk it? NATO bombing destroyed all of Yugoslavia’s tanks except for, um, those 250 that rolled out of Kosovo. Evidently we took out a lot of cardboard tanks.

The Village Voice has a guide to the many many scandals of Hillary Clinton. Remember the White House travel office? Castle Grande? The $100,000 won in a single day playing the cattle futures? Channeling Eleanor Roosevelt?

Speaking of families with peculiar finances, what is it with the Bushes? Jeb Bush’s wife spent $20,000 on a little shopping spree in Paris and then lied to Customs. Whatever happened to Neil Bush, anyway? Or Roger Clinton? And how did Reagan ever get to be president without an embarrassing brother? Dubya’s finances could use a little wholesome sunshine themselves. Although he insists that since being born in the family compound on Third Base he never actually benefited from having well-connected relatives, it seems that his oil skills were minuscule, and he was paid a suspicious amount of money for his involvement in that, um, what, football team? basketball? Another one of those deals where the sales tax got put up so that investors like Dubya could walk away with a fortune.

The Supreme Court has released a raft of silly decisions this week. Under the guise of “federalism,” states evidently have complete sovereign immunity to break any law they feel like. Death penalty trials can be shoddier than ever, with juries given inaccurate or non-existent instructions on the alternatives if they deadlock. Also, in the same case the Supes ruled on whether the 2 necessary aggravating factors required for the death penalty can be basically the same one. Actually, the two were “the victim was a chick” and “her family liked her”, neither of which seem to me to count, unless you admit that some people have more legal protection than others and accept as mitigating factors “the victim was only a black person” and “he was a shit anyway”. The case was from Texas, where “he needed killing” is considered a defense, which is about all you can expect for the $500 or so most counties allocate for the defense in criminal cases. Dubya just vetoed a bill that would have provided a lawyer within 20 days of arrest (everywhere else it’s 72 hours).

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