Saturday, July 03, 1999

A tabloid newspaper I saw on line in Safeway (I was on line, not the newspaper) said that John the Baptist’s severed head has been discovered after 2,000 years. I didn’t read the story, but I’m betting it’s been in a college dorm somewhere, made into a bong.

I said the Northern Ireland peace deal would fail, and it has, but no one really feels like going back to war either. It’s foundering on the fact that Sinn Fein has to pretend that it doesn’t speak for the IRA, while the Unionists say that an agreement with SF is silly if they don’t. They’re basically waiting until they can find some form of words by which SF will guarantee decommissioning, at which point they can say “Ha, we knew it all along, you are all just a bunch of terrorists.” Sheesh.

The pusillanimity of the American press is boundless. Both the NY Times and the Washington Post mention that the bald eagle is off the endangered species list, McNeil-Lehrer even showed film of the photo op, but no one even mentioned, much less showed, the eagle biting Clinton on the hand.

Also, in the obits of former Tory party grandee and adviser to Margaret Thatcher, the Viscount Willie Whitelaw, all the British papers, but not the NY Times, quoted Thatcher saying of him, “Every prime minister needs a Willie.”

Privatizing Medicare has worked wonderfully, hasn’t it? I mean, the whole future of the program collapsed this week, but all the reporters are on holiday or something. The HMOs that are supposed to run this program for us just threw 250,000 old people out of their plans and raised the premiums on the rest enough to force many more out.

Speaking of which, Blue Cross just raised my premiums by 1/8. Do you *know* how sick I’ll have to get this year to make sure that they don’t make any money off me?

Another under-reported story: the Indonesian military, disguised as “anti-independence militias,” just terrorized the UN election monitors right out of East Timor. They’ve already forced a postponement from the highly auspicious original date for the referendum of August 8.

The US, displaying that sensitive diplomacy that worked so well in Kosovo, has simply ordered Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania to refuse permission to Russia to fly troops to Kosovo over their airspaces unless it gives in and puts its troops under NATO command. I did say that it was our plan to negotiate their role forever while quietly excluding them.

A lesson for America: New Zealand has a rating and censorship system for computer and video games, so there are all these censors sitting in rooms trying to figure out how to get into Level 8 to see if there’s anything objectionable there.

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