Sunday, December 31, 2000

Russia bans the Salvation Army. Because it
is an army. And therefore dangerous to national security.

Favorite book title of the week: Castration: An Abbreviated History of Western Manhood.

Thursday, December 28, 2000

There is a piece in Slate about the first count, by the Orlando Sentinel, of ballots in one Florida county. I'd have mentioned this days ago, but I expected it to get wide coverage instead of no coverage. They looked not at the undervotes but at the overvotes, and in a heavily Bush county. A lot of people evidently marked the ballot for Gore, then came to the bit for write-in candidates, and wrote in his name as well. What do we learn from this? That such a count even in a Bush county gives Gore an additional several hundred votes, so what must it be like in Gore counties? This was an optical scanner county, so he had votes to be picked up by a recount even there. And that even if we ignore the subjective aspects of the chads.... Gore didn't actually need them!

Salon, incidentally, is selling Re-elect Gore in 2004

Tuesday, December 26, 2000

Serbia, a little unclear on the concept, demands that the
UN clear ethnic Albanians out of the demilitarized zone in southern Serbia/Kosovo.

The tied Senate has meant that there are 17 Republican
senators in states with Dem. governors that cannot be given Cabinet jobs. So no Dick Lugar in DOD, no Richard Shelby at CIA and, thank God, no Jefferson Beauregard Sessions as Attorney General.

Speaking of racists, Salon has an article about John Ashcroft's connections with Southern Patriot magazine.

And the Washington Post has a piece (Wed.) on racial disparities in spoiled ballots in Chicago (one-sixth in Black districts, 0.3% in white). Up until 1997, people there could punch a "vote for all the Democrats" slot, so this is the first election where they had to vote for every single office. And the state Senate, with a Republican majority, prevented Cook County installing a device to alert voters to mistakes.

Saturday, December 23, 2000

His Fraudulency appoints Christine Todd Whitman to head EPA, ensuring that all of America looks like New Jersey. And John Ashcroft, a Pentecostal who lost his bid for Senate to a far better candidate, will head the Justice Department; he has vowed to stamp out abortion. And dancing.

Quote from a NY Times story: In the end, Professor Guinier said, Mr. Clinton "became more consumed with winning than leading," and was "such a good politician that he began to believe that in winning he was actually leading."

Thursday, December 21, 2000

An Israeli army intelligence general admits that there is
a shoot-to-kill policy operating against Palestinian guerillas. In recent weeks, assassination methods have included sniping, exploding mobile phones and exploding automobiles. In other countries, this would be called a death squad.

Guests at Madonna's wedding (hey, I look at a lot of British
media, you have to expect some of it to sink in) wearing kilts will have to be searched with mirrors, like tour buses at Checkpoint Charlie, to see that they are not smuggling in cameras.

Wednesday, December 20, 2000

Today is Secret Police Day in Russia. No, I didn't know either, but I guess it's a secret. To celebrate, whatever-the-KGB-is-called-this-week has released a CD. Not available in any stores, but the London Times bribed someone with booze and got a copy. The CD is called Their Work is Tough, They Call it Spying, and includes such hits as From Kabul To Washington, I Obey Orders, and There Goes Your Friend on a Mission.

In important British news, an analysis by linguists of nearly 50 years of the Queen's Christmas broadcasts indicates that her accent has become progressively more... common.

Elsewhere in Britain, 3 rapists are let off for a Christmas holiday before they serve their sentences, and a man who robbed a store with a toy gun is only given probation and ordered to apologize to the clerks with a nice bunch of flowers.

Tuesday, December 19, 2000

His Fraudulency (y'know, I'm getting tired of that faster than I thought I would) said when introducing his various minority friends it shows "that people that work hard and make the right decisions in life can achieve anything they want in America." Maybe, debatable, but how would he know?

He also joked about how life would be easier if he were
dictator. Well, one syllable out of three ain't bad, George.

That was my cheapest crack of 2000. The year 2000, not of 2000 cracks.

If Condi Rice is actually a lesbian, is she a threefer?

Bibi Netanyahu (which is definitely a more fun name to say even than Condaleeza) has failed to get everyone in Israeli politics
to roll over for him, so has (again) taken his ball and gone home. Shouldn't he be facing charges of corruption or something?

Thomas Friedman noted that at the Bush-Powell press conference,
George wasn't allowed to answer any of the foreign policy questions, and suggests that Powell is so strong, so respected, so, ya know, black, that Bush can't afford to overrule him or piss him off so he quits. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, although Powell's been overdoing the whole '80s revival thing: first Star Wars, then Iraq. Maybe we can invade Panama again, get our canal back. Incidentally, what does Star Wars have to do with being secretary of state, and shouldn't he shut up about it until a defense secretary has been picked? And speaking of that, Dick Cheney has been talking down Tom Ridge for the job, who the conservatives hate because he's pro-choice, and said that Ridge had turned down the job, which he had not in fact done.

Does anybody know anything about the judicial record of that hispanic guy who's going to be the next Supreme Court justice?

Saturday, December 16, 2000

Some Florida counties are talking about selling off their ballots as souvenirs. How much for a butterfly ballot on E-Bay?

In Britain, the Mirror ran a picture of the globe, with an arrow pointing to Britain and a headline "Congrats on becoming president... p.s. we are here."

I must have missed the part where it was explained why a general would be a good diplomat.

Thursday, December 14, 2000


Evidently when His Fraudulency went to the Texas legislature
yesterday to show how bipartisan he was, he "forgot" to invite almost any of the Democratic legislators to the event.

Speaking of dressing up mutton as lamb, it seems the CIA gave a new identity and a new penis to an SS lieutenant who commanded death squads in Treblinka in exchange for him spying on the East Germans. As you must have guessed by now, they turned him into a Jew, in more ways than one.

Wednesday, December 13, 2000


In his concession speech, Gore quoted Stephen A Douglas -- "Partisan feeling must yield to patriotism." And that holds true
as much today as it did in... 1860.

In his speech, His Fraudulency [and yes I do plan to keep calling him that for the next 4 years, like I intend to keep calling the next Chief Justice Antonin Scalia "Fat Tony"; the former comes from the Hayes-Tilden election, the latter of course from the Simpsons] quoted Thomas Jefferson. Bush quoting Jefferson is like a dog trying to sing.

And for this they pre-empted The West Wing?


All hail His Fraudulency, George Walker Bush.

OK, it was too much to expect the 2 justices with conflicts of interest to recuse themselves, but then the Republican party seems to be the party of conflict of interest this year. Sons in Republican law firms, wife processing resumes, cousin in the first news network to declare for you, campaign chair in charge of counting the votes, brother the governor. But to counter that, as the Daily Show pointed out, Al Gore's daughter works for "Futurama," so that's another whole can of worms.

The Supes didn't bother to rule the first time, stayed a count for no particular reason, and then issued a ruling 2 hours before a not-very-hard-and-fast deadline saying that there wasn't enough time. Rather like the guy who killed his parents and wanted mercy on the grounds of being an orphan.

I haven't thought much of the Supreme Court in years, but this was still disappointing. Not only did Scalia, Rehnquist and Thomas suddenly discover the 14th Amendment, but intervened in a matter of state law in a way they wouldn't have done for other issues, or indeed had the Gore and Bush positions been reversed. It isn't just the partisanship, including Scalia's announcement on issuing the stay that Bush would probably win, an announcement of such a piece with Bush strategy that Karen Hughes might have written it, but the strong sense that they didn't believe the logic behind their own ruling, and didn't care.

So as we embark on the Failed Bush Administration (and I'm not only being bipartisan myself here, but bending over backwards--I started referring to the Failed Clinton Administration the day after election day 1992), let's remind ourselves of the questions Bush was allowed not to answer. To my mind, if we're going to elect someone with the power to declare war or push the button, we have a right to know everything we want to about him. I want debates next time held with polygraph machines (I had forgotten until this week that the polygraph and Wonder Woman were invented by the same man, by the way, a pop psychologist and bondage fetishist).

And Bush opened the doorway even wider by talking about "values" and "his heart" so often. Privacy is no longer an issue, if those are the standards. If someone wants to know whether he wears boxers or briefs, by god he should be made to answer. So, some of those questions:

--When did you take which drugs and how often?

--Do you really think you would have been given all that
money to start an oil business when you were in your 20s if it weren't for your connections?

--Did you fail in that business because you were drunk
a large portion of the time, or were you just incompetent?

--Were you arrested any other times?

--How often did you drive drunk with underage siblings
in the car (we know of at least twice)?

--Did you use AA to give up drinking, and if not, what
methods did you use and what methods do you use currently?

--Do you consider yourself to have been an alcoholic?

--Do gays go to hell?


--Catholics? (and we know that Billy Graham has
couched you to avoid this question by saying that it's not up to you who goes to hell, but that's not the question and you know it)

--What ever happened to Neil?

Sunday, December 10, 2000


A 5-4 ruling -- exactly what the Supreme Court had hoped to avoid, although its previous 9-0 ruling had also given a surreptitious assist to the Bush campaign's strategy of running out the clock. This was much worse, because it does look like a partisan ruling, because it indeed is one. Bye bye lofty moral superiority. Remember, this is the court that sometimes agrees to hear a death penalty case but not to stay the execution in the meantime. In this case, there are in fact good reasons to hear the Bush appeal, but no good reason to stop the recount in the interim, using up 2 days of the remaining 3. That decision looks purely partisan.

It also looks like the conservative justices agree with the Bush campaign that Gore actually won the popular vote in Florida, and would prefer not to have that fact known when they hand the election to Bush.

I just said that there are good reasons to hear the Bush appeal. What I meant, of course, was that there are good legal reasons.
The problem with such reasons is that they are hard to explain to the American people, most of whom have not undergone the process of stamping out all traces of common sense and logic in themselves in preparation for taking a civil service or bar exam. The Florida Supreme Court ruling Friday was indeed flawed, in that it failed to set proper uniform standards for counting the vote. I tend to think that this just counter-balances the lack of uniform standards inherent in the operation of multiple voting
systems (punch card, optical scanners, etc), but more of that later.

Equally questionable is whether screwing around with the rules after the election has taken place is legitimate, but since Florida law seems to have contradicted itself at key places (allowing a recount without allowing enough time for one), it also seems to have been inevitable. Whether the Florida Supes' decision was based on the US Constitution, the Florida Constitution, federal or state statute -- which is the primary point of contention between them and the US Supes -- is going to seem fairly irrelevant to people who haven't been to law school and just want the actual votes to be actually counted and then to actually count.

The last significant legal question into which the Supreme Court could legitimately insert itself is the 14th Amendment question of whether counting votes in different ways in different counties (and indeed some of the votes ordered included in the count by the Florida Supes would have been counted by different standards than other votes even in the same county). This is a troubling issue, but the fact is that the voting system in Florida, and in every other state that uses different systems in different counties, including California, already presents a 14th Amendment problem. If it didn't, we wouldn't be here because under-counting would affect Bush and Gore equally. It does not because the crappier older systems were in use in the poorer, darker-complected, more Democratic districts. All votes are not treated alike, because some have a 0.5% chance of being arbitrarily rejected, and some have a 7% chance.

We've been hearing from candidates in Florida and elsewhere who lost previous elections for school board or whatever by 12 votes and were denied hand recounts and treated as sore losers, who feel vindicated. Makes you wonder about other close elections, doesn't it? How much did Pete Wilson win by in 1990 anyway?

Friday, December 08, 2000

As I write, 2 of the Florida cases are announced. The integrity of the election is not compromised, they say. Oh, it's way too late for that.

Seen on CNN: someone holding a sign "Don't circumcise the vote."

So let the fight for place begin. A lot of this is going on below the radar screen, including the far right's attack on Tom Ridge, proposed as a possible secretary of defense, because he is pro-abortion.

Thursday, December 07, 2000

Rolling Stone admits that in his interview, Clinton did not call don't ask, don't tell a "dumb-ass" policy. Too bad.

To those who, asked to name any accomplishments by Clinton, named the Middle East and Northern Ireland peace agreements, please note that the second is going the way of the first, as I always said it would. 3 sectarian killings in recent days, 1 Protestant, 2 Cath. Gerry Addams blames government dirty tricks.

The New York school chancellor banned support of Boy Scouts because of the organization's homophobia. The right-wing Queens school boards are objecting. And this from a columnist in what the NY Times improbably describes as a chain of newspapers in Queens: "The idea that this appointed hack in Manhattan elected by no one is going to stick his dirty fingers into Queens..." In Manhattan I believe that term has a different meaning.

Finally, from the Telegraph:
Blind drunk in charge of a car

POLICE who were called to stop a drink-driver found that
the 33-year-old man they arrested was blind. The masseur,
who was three times over the alcohol limit, was reported after driving out of a blind school in Mainz, Germany. Police said: "He was going about 50cm at a time, then getting out and feeling around to see how close the car was to anything else." Hannah Cleaver, Berlin

Sign that man up as a Florida vote-counter.

Tuesday, December 05, 2000

The Supreme Court was obviously more concerned with not having a 5-4 ruling than it was with actually addressing the issues, which given the deadline is a decision unto itself. At any rate, despite the talk about whether there were federal issues, it
smells intellectually dishonest. But what hasn't, lately?

There's been a lot of talk about whether stepping aside gracefully is the sine qua non for candidacy next time, and I've been meaning to address this. My first thought was that if Gore lost now he had lost for good and might as well go back to journalism or seminary school. But of course whoever the party annoits is the next candidate, which means it will be Gore anyway. Which could mean that Gore could get to lose to Dubya twice, because 3 years from now, when the next election begins, the enthusiasm for a Gore presidency will make the Dole 96 campaign look in comparison like the Beatles appearing on Ed Sullivan. "It's my turn" was a bad slogan four years ago, it'll be a bad slogan four years from now.

By the way, UCSC voted to keep the mandatory narrative evaluation.

Sunday, December 03, 2000

On the election, see the Washington Post on the differential rates of machine and other error in black neighborhoods, although it leaves out things like that laptops containing voter registration lists didn't go to those areas, although they had the highest % of new voters and hence problems, so many were turned away or got tired of waiting after an hour or so. Or the company hired by Katherine Harris to comb blacks out of the voter lists. See also the Miami Herald (, if you have better luck getting through than I did) which estimates how many people *really* voted for Bush and Gore.

It also seems that under the state's Sunshine Laws, someone will be able to sue for access to the ballots and do a real count a few months from now.

By my reading of the 14th Amendment, section II, if the Florida Leg. decides to disregard the election, the state of Florida loses all its representation in the US House of Reps.

Memo to the judge in Leon County: stop with the rocking already! And take control of your damned court. If ever there was a man watching the Bush lawyers run rings around him, trying to keep the case running forever, it's him.

The Russian Orthodox Church has named St. Matthew as the
patron saint of the tax police, those guys in the ski masks.

The newly-elected governor of the Kursk region of Russia, a communist named Alexander Mikhailov, hails his victory as a defeat for the world Jewish conspiracy and says it's time to rid Russia of Jewish filth.

This is not, it seems, the only time the election of a
Democratic president was (nearly) stolen in Palm Beach. JFK hung out there after his election 40 years ago this month. As did an old insane guy who parked outside the house he was staying in for 5 days in a car bomb, waiting to get him alone, away from wife and baby. Was stopped for a traffic violation first. No, I never heard of this before either.

Thursday, November 30, 2000

Euthenasia is now legal in the Netherlands. And drugs, of course, are also legal there. "Whoa dude, do you know what you did last night?"

I thought that when Bush decided to appeal to the US Supreme Court, that would then be the highest authority, and he couldn't dare try to overturn the election (or confirm the election, as he would pretend to believe) through the Florida Legislature or US Congress. And yet he will. Which is fine by me. The less legitimacy he has as president--and he is now likely to have all the moral authority of a substitute teacher--the better I like it.

I watched the Florida mini-legislature this morning and it wasn't as fun as I hoped, but the full session should be an epic geek show, if the novels of Carl Hiaasen are anything to go by. Mostly I had the sound off, checking in every couple of minutes to see if anything interesting was going on; I did listen to Daniel Webster, because of the name.

According to Michael Kinsley (in Slate a couple of days ago, the best source of detailed analysis of the doin's and the rhetoric; see, for example the recent piece "Bush's Miami Lies"), the Bush legal strategy up until Sunday was to say in court that Gore had no right even to be in court until after the certification, because only then would there be something to actually contest. Of course once the certification occurred, the Bushies told the public that now everything was done, over, settled.

This is remarkably similar to what his father pulled over Iran-Contra. For years, he said that he couldn't talk about it because it was still being investigated. And then he said that he wouldn't talk about it because it was ancient history. Evidently no one knew enough to ask him questions during that nanosecond between the two periods.

CNN and MSNBC have been following the Ryder truck with the ballots all the way to Tallahasee as if it was being driven by A.C. Cowling.

Right now some Bushies are on tv. For those keeping track of these things, there seem to be only 2 flags.

In New Mexico, Bushies are claiming that it is suspicious that so many people in one county didn't choose to vote for president and those ballots should be looked at. Precisely the argument Gore's folks are making in Florida, of course.

Monday, November 27, 2000

Kirk Douglas says that we need to have peace in the Middle East, and something about maybe our children can do better than ourselves. I think he did, Kirk, I think he did.

Headline of the week: "Germans Fear the Worst for Sausages"

ITN news commented that we now know what sort of president W would be: the sort who puts in charge of his transition the guy who just had a heart attack.

Bob Dole has an op-ed piece in today's NY Times saying that Gore should concede because he conceded quickly in 1996. Oh fair point, Bob.

Bush went on tv yesterday to tell Gore to give up, that Gore is now not contesting votes but the election outcome. To paraphrase Gore on election night, just because the Lady Macbeth of the Everglades certifies the election doesn't make it so. Notably, Katherine Harris said that she had no choice but to certify the
election without the new votes from Palm Beach County because it was a couple of hours late, although she had shown up Sunday when she could easily have waited another 16 hours according to the Florida Supreme Court, and when she herself was so late getting her hair and makeup and facelifts done that she certified the
election after the Palm Beach results she was ignoring had come in. She also said that she couldn't accept their partial (99.75%) figures submitted by the deadline, which is actually untrue under Florida law.

Personally I remain agnostic but sceptical about the admissibility of dimpled chads. I would have to play around with a stylus and some punch cards for a couple of hours before making up my mind on that one. But any procedure that has counters deciding that a voter must have meant to vote for Gore because they otherwise voted the straight party line has to be wrong. Which means that, clear as it is that more people who went to the polls intended to vote for Gore than for Bush, a count that didn't involve mind-reading might well still return Bush. That said, Palm Beach's ballot design was still illegal, which no one is addressing in court, and Seminole County allowed Republicans to play with absentee ballots that had already been submitted but not those of Democrats, and as the Bush people have been pointing out, different rules is a violation of the 14th amendment.

The best way for this story to be driven out of the newspapers for ever is for Clinton to send in the Marines. I mean it. He sent in the Marines to Haiti and are we paying any attention to their elections, now occurring? Of course not. Has Aristide, the little priest, turned into a complete raving lunatic? Possibly, but there isn't enough coverage to tell. What do you suppose is going on in Somalia these days? We ignored the East Bloc so long that Romania is about to return to communism, and no one is paying any attention. In Kosovo, NATO is talking about having joint patrols of the Kosovo-Serbian border---with the Yugoslav Army! Which we were bombing just last year. How did that happen?

Friday, November 24, 2000

So once again a politician, Dick Cheney, has been lying about his health. They said he was perfectly healthy despite having had 37 heart attacks in the past, they did not say that his heart function was depressed. Whoever was in charge of picking this guy as VP should really have looked into this better.

2 British soldiers imprisoned 6 years for shooting an unarmed Catholic teenager dead in Belfast were allowed to resume their military careers.

In Finland, fines can be related to income. A dot-com millionaire was just fined $77,000 for speeding.

Clinton's gone to Vietnam, but the question remains whether he will go to that other hostile territory, Nebraska, which he has never visited as president.

Thursday, November 23, 2000

10 years since Thatcher was tossed out. How time flies.

Actually, I've come to think that Bush and Gore are both robots. I just think that Bush's programming is Windows-based. I especially liked his "The Legislature's job is to write the law. It's the executive branch's job to interpret law." Great, will somebody just give him some maritime law to get on with interpreting, then we won't have to worry about seeing him for the next 4 years.

The Bushies' ongoing assumption that the only fair election is one in which Bush is elected (and Bush did say so in as many words today. It wasn't in the NY Times transcript, but I wrote down "If there is a fair and accurate count", it would show that he had won. This is the Bush smugness at its purest, and it will get him into a great deal of trouble some day. Of course at the same time he said that Cheney hadn't had a heart attack.

As William Saletan points out in a piece well worth reading in, posted Wednesday, every time an institution disagrees with the Bushies', they trash it. They literally spent the entire day bad-mouthing the Florida Supreme Court. Every election board, every court they don't like is evidently an enemy of the republic, personally corrupt and unpatriotic. At least the rest of us are only attacking Katherine (I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille) Harris.

We've now got James Baker, Trent Lott and Dick Armey all suggesting that if the count doesn't go their way in Florida, they will expect the legislature to overturn the vote. What is amazing to me is that no analyst is linking this explicitly with the last attempted Constitutional coup aimed at overturning an election, which took place only 2 years ago.

At least when Bush wins we've now got the makings of a jolly good fight for supremacy of the Senate, which now does look to be 50-50 after all.

The D's are already saying that the VP may have a casting vote in case of a tie, but that this does not apply to committee chairmanships, which should be split into co-chairs, one from each party. OK, who would we most like to see Hillary co-chair of what committee with? I just wish that Barney Frank and Dick Armey could be co-chairs of, oh say the armed services committee, but they're in the wrong house.

I don't foresee Bush getting his nominees through in an especially timely fashion. This could only get nastier. I can't wait.

Saturday, November 18, 2000

Losing in the courts, the Bushies are claiming that Democratic hand-counters are stealing votes from them. Could be true, but at this stage, and as intellectually dishonest as they've been, who would believe them? Of course the Dems know this, so.... Meanwhile, Katherine Harris, who only thinks that maroon is her color, has issued rules on overseas absentee ballots at variance with the law to get more of them in. And R's in the state legislature are discussing taking away the selection of the electors from the voters altogether and doing it themselves. That they can is more proof that the Constitution needs a re-write.

It is probably true that we can't abolish the Electoral College, no matter how stupid most of know it to be, but would it be that hard to end the winner-take-all policy? Yes, it would require either 48 separate campaigns or an Amendment to the Constitution, the latter being preferable, but why not?

My mother asked why Florida, which must of all states have the highest proportion of its population arthritic, would be relying on styluses.

I say let's skip the courts and go straight to the civil war. In Florida, of course.

Friday, November 17, 2000

Yesterday, the Bushies magnanimously announced that they would not contest the election in Iowa, which they had lost by 4,000 votes they were never going to make up and whose electoral votes wouldn't help them anyway. Neither the NY Times or the Washington Post noted that the Gore campaign's response was a sardonic announcement that they would not challenge the election in Texas.

Thursday, November 16, 2000

Useless but interesting scientific fact of the week: bowhead whales live into their 200s, the longest-lived mammals.

India's new trend in models: eunuchs.

Someone just spent $180,000 on an oil painting of Winnie the Pooh. Now that's an investment for you. On a par, really, with those who invested their life savings in "Don't Blame Me, I Voted for Nader" bumper stickers.

Monday, November 13, 2000

It's the buggery, stupid

The fun in Florida never ends. It seems that in Duval County, 9% of the ballots were tossed out, mostly in black Democratic neighborhoods, suggesting that it's not just the butterfly ballots (another good name for a rock band) but something seriously wrong with Florida elections. Going on past history, the Republicans (motto: With Election Machines, Nothing Can Go Wrong Can Go Wrong Can Go Wrong Can Go Wrong) (come on people, Westworld, let's keep up with the references here) may be right to suggest that Florida aspire to the integrity of Cook County.

Given the Florida secretary of state's intransigence in trying to force an abandonment of the recount by tomorrow, you should catch up with one of the biographies of her, in Salon, for example, but the London Times has one so everyone must. Trust Florida to elect someone previously caught in campaign finance law violations to oversee their elections.

Meanwhile in Britain, the House of Lords votes for the 3rd time to veto the Commons' vote to lower the age of male homosexual consent to 16 to match the heterosexual age of consent. Under the Parliament Act of 1911, the law should go into effect over the Lords' objection sometime this year. Here is a hilarious account of the debate by the Times's parliamentary correspondent, himself a former Tory MP and homosexual.

A pleasure peers ought never to be denied

THE Bill equalising the age of homosexual consent must not pass. It must stay in the House of Lords forever, batted around in perpetual debate. Talking about unusual sexual practices affords peers such pleasure that it would be wrong to deprive them (or Britain) of the fun. One baron started fantasising about an anal spliff.

The Baroness Young could not stop saying buggery: far more important, she said, than the Dome.

The trim Baroness had devised amendments of such fiendish complexity that to explain them she had to say buggery repeatedly.

Buggery in England with men and women, buggery in Scotland with girls under 18, buggery at 17 in Northern Ireland with either sex . . . on and on she went. For variety the Baroness would sometimes say sodomy.

Then she would toy with anal intercourse. Lady Young coined the phrase the age of buggery, which I momentarily supposed to be her grand summary of the epoch, England having made the sad and Gibbonesque decline from the Age of Empire and the Age of Steam to the Age of Buggery.

"Now I turn to girls," she said, rather severely. The press gallery (infested with sketchwriters) was by now giggling disgracefully at imagined double-entendres.

"For girls the position is quite different." We were unclear what position Lady Young had in mind, "but my amendments maintain the position." More giggling. Of all types of lovemaking (she advised), anal intercourse is the most dangerous sexual practice.

"Not in my experience," came a fearsome growl from the Independent's seasoned sketchwriter, who has been to New Zealand.

"Let me quote from the manufacturers of Durex," continued Lady Young, remorselessly. Condoms seemed to excite their lordships and ladyships greatly. One wonders whether the Baroness Seccombe, in her days as a deputy chairman of the Conservative Party, ever realised where it would all end: hitting on the web, then leaping to her feet in a crowded Chamber to trill that condoms are available in all sorts of colours, shapes, flavours and sizes as peers reeled back, aghast.

Lord McColl of Dulwich, too, wanted to talk about condoms: specifically slippage rates. In trials (he said) the slippage rate was 21 per cent. Peers longed for Lord McColl to tell them exactly how the trials were conducted, but on this he was vague.

And then there was Lord Selsdon, who took the opportunity (these are rare) to share his thoughts on things you could put up your bottom.

Drugs, for instance. You can, he revealed, stuff them up your rear end. Nostrils (he added) were another orifice you could insert things into, though we trust he was only talking about drugs here and perhaps jelly-babies.

"I find it difficult to use the word buggery for the first time in this House," he said, rolling the word teasingly around in his mouth, "but then I thought back to my days in the Army and how it used to be a friendly phrase -- well I'm buggered!".

The Earl of Longford insisted that homosexuals should not be condemned. The Earl (94) illustrated what he meant by not condemning: homosexualism was a sad disorder, he said, like schizophrenia and chronic alcoholism. Seduce a girl of 16, he added, and that was a dreadful shame. But seduce a young man and he would become a rent boy.

Lord Selsdon said that he had eaten the private parts of a green monkey.

Please, Mr Blair, don’t take this Bill away from them.

Saturday, November 11, 2000

Hanging chads

Well, I'm finally having fun. Richard Nixon and Cook County held up as electoral paragons, the 1997 Texas recount law, hanging chads (which would make a great name for a rock band, as Dave Barry will be sure to point out), and so on.

Bush's new slogan: "They trust the people, we trust machines." When he heard the election was up to the Floridians, Dubya went to court because foreigners shouldn't be allowed to vote in the US. This is also his campaign's problem with the manual count (don't groan, you'll be telling it tomorrow).

In gay election news, a major party nominated an out gay for Senate for the first time (Vermont--didn't have a chance), and the 1st out homosexual is elected to a Southern state legislature (Georgia). A male and female respectively.

Alabama elects as chief justice of the supreme court that idiot who kept refusing to take down the 10 Commandments from his court-room.

Friday, November 10, 2000

So if there isn't a president-elect by inauguration day, it goes to Strom Thurmond. If he's challenged for being 98 and a loon even when he wasn't senile, it goes to Larry Summers. Ok, that's clear then.

The Republicans are suddenly so unconcerned with precision. So what if the election is only an approximation of the actual will of the electorate, it's close enough for government work. Not the arguments they were using over the 2000 Census, to be sure, but roughly the same ones they like to use about the death penalty in Texas, and elsewhere: it doesn't have to be perfect, just roughly approximate the forms prescribed by law, there shouldn't be any proper appeal if election officials/lawyers/judges were asleep and failed to carry out their jobs correctly, and above all, there should be finality. Not justice, not fairness, just finality. Go ahead, next time a Bush spokesmodel is defending the Florida vote, just insert the words death penalty and see if I'm not right.

The District of Columbia has started issuing license plates with the motto "Taxation Without Representation."

I can now marry a black woman in Alabama. Somehow the idea does not particularly appeal, but at least I have the option.

Thursday, November 09, 2000

You don't have to be so snippy about it

Bush works out some of the tension of waiting for poll results by
executin’ a guy. I understand that barbeques are also traditional in Texas.

Don't know if you saw the footage of the South African police dogs being ordered as part of a training exercise to savage black suspects, but the dogs are now to be examined by animal psychologists to determine whether they are racists, in which case they'll be killed.

Wednesday, November 08, 2000

Election and whatnot

Well, it's more entertainment than we got from the actual election, isn't it?

What I want to know is, why do I never get a chance to vote for a dead guy?

Look at Salon for Wednesday, Jacob Weisberg's piece on why Al Gore lost (which he did, stop living with hope right now).

For my money, Gore didn't lose because we didn't like him, but because he didn't like us, and it showed. Call it condescension, but really he didn't like campaigning because he doesn't much care for people who are not like himself. He was a member of the American House of Lords, the hereditary aristocracy, and considered himself to be above the task of explaining his policies to the proles. Bush, another member of the hereditary aristocracy, has spent all his life pretending not to be one,
in order to be liked. Usually he takes it a bit far, as when he chewed tobacco at Harvard Business School, which he thought showed his down-to-earthness, but really just showed that behaviour is tolerated from an aristo puppy which would not be tolerated from you or me. The opposite of Gore, Bush liked campaigning but will be no good at governing. For him, it is all downhill from here.

Which we wouldn't have to find out if we could just get Palm Beach County to vote again, this time with a properly laid-out ballot. If you haven't yet seen what that ballot looked like, find a picture. It is genuinely confusing and non-intuitive, as the mysteriously high Buchanan vote there shows.

If you want light comic relief from the thought of a(nother) Bush
presidency, see the London Times's story "Man Cooked Wife's Head to Cover Killing."

Monday, November 06, 2000

Twits, poltroons and supercilious gits

In a move that evidently has something to do with its bid for the 2008 Olympics, Beijing has ordered that the town be painted... gray.

I saw a commercial with the slogan "Make 7 Up Yours". Call it my inherited marketing research skills, but I don't think they should be associating their product with the phrase "up yours."

The town of Virgin, Utah has passed a law requiring all residents to keep a gun and ammo in their homes. To protect their Utah-ity, no doubt.

Favorite piece of advertising of the election period: in the 15th Congressional district here, the National Republican Congressional Committee attacked Mike Honda's criminal record and showed him (in a flier) behind bars. Meaning that he was interned for being Japanese as a child.

From Die Tageszeitung: "On Tuesday, the most self-absorbed and least politically interested people in the world are going to elect the most important government in the world." Sounds like an endorsement of Bush to me.

From the London Times, excerpted (necessary piece of information: Parliament has a new Speaker):

Prescott twits Tory over flood of publicity

THE Deputy Prime Minister yesterday called Anne McIntosh a twit, which caused an unholy row. It is not the first time John Prescott has failed to get in touch with his feminine side.

Up she leapt. Is it parliamentary language for one Hon Member to call another a twit? It may well be. Each Speaker makes his own determinations anew. Poltroon, was disallowed in 1881, cheeky young pup in 1953, stinker in 1958, supercilious git in 1984, ignorant twat in 1990 and little squirt in 1992.

But snivelling little git got through 25 years ago, and wet-necked twits was accepted in 1992. Twit followed (in Betty Boothroyds time I think).

Yet Mr Speaker Martin didn’t like the term and wanted to help Miss McIntosh. How should he rule: parliamentary, or unparliamentary? It isn’t nice, he replied, deftly.

Saturday, November 04, 2000

So evidently it's a dirty Democratic trick to have (possibly) been behind the publication of entirely true facts that George D-Dubya-I Bush has been trying to keep secret. If you lie about your past, you don't really have the right to complain when the other side releases their information at a strategic time.
And in retrospect does he really think that lying about his record was the right way to set a good example to his children? I want to have a button where, whenever a Republican who pursued Clinton Javert-like over a failed land deal from the 1970s, complains about Bush's ancient history being brought up, I
can press it and their head explodes. This seems only fair.

A C of E priest has refused to baptize a baby Maximus Lucius, after the lead character in "Gladiator." The mother's previous children are named Chantelle, Kingsley and Alexander, and she evidently wanted to ensure that this one was beaten up even more regularly.

I trust everyone is following the saga of Diego Garcia, the little island in the Indian Ocean that the US coerced Britain into leasing to us in 1965, and expelling its 2,000 inhabitants. The High Court has ruled that the order that they never return was illegal, but the US, which uses a bit of one part of the island as an air base, is still demanding that the natives be excluded. They are all living in poverty on Mauritius.

The NY Times Week in Review section has excerpts from the Texas "let sleeping lawyers lie" ruling.

Wednesday, November 01, 2000

animal stories

Gore's foreign policy is to be something called "strategic humility".

2nd best London Times headline today: Farmer Keeper Water Buffalo Dry.

The best: Navy to rescue falling penguins

Monday, October 30, 2000

The 5th Circuit rules that a lawyer can give effective counsel while sleeping through a trial, as long as he doesn't sleep through the important bits. It should be noted that in this case, which was a capital case in Texas, the record doesn't show exactly when the lawyer was asleep (do you think any trial transcript records "Zzzzzzzzz"?), but what the hey.

Saturday, October 28, 2000

A federal court has overturned Alabama's ban on sex toys.

Clinton thinks the Republicans should apologize to the nation for the impeachment.

Saturday, October 14, 2000

Today the Queen was handed a marijuana posy, worth about $75, street-value, as they say.

While no one was paying attention yesterday, Congress passed an Official Secrets Act, under another name. It is now illegal to publish pretty much anything that would embarrass the government.

Thursday, October 12, 2000

You can now buy some of Hitler's hair. On the web, of course. $1,000 each. Evidently Hitler was actually afraid of this happening and ordered his hair be burnt, but his barber moistened his shoe to pick up the hair.

Salon says that 2 1/2 years ago, a letter was sent to Gov. Bush's office confessing to a crime for which two other men are serving life. The letter was ignored.

A Palestinian mob lynched 3 Israeli soldiers. Israel, which gets acrophobia if it inhabits the moral high-ground for more than 5 minutes, responded with a rocket attack. Not quite as impressive as last week, when they sent a rocket into an apartment building (did you see the footage?). And they wonder why no one perceives them as the victims in this (no one who isn't running for political office in the US, I mean).

Daily Telegraph headline: "I'm Sitting on Volcano, Kostunica Complains". Well, you shouldn't have ordered the chile.

I know, I know.

In the supermarket today I saw a bottle of Vampire Cabernet Sauvignon. A product of Transylvania, of course. $6.
I believe I said that Bush was going to beat Gore in the debates and today at least he did. Or really, Gore beat Gore in the debate. I'd almost rather have had him continue with the sighing and eye-rolling, which at least would have suggested that he didn't respond to every opinion poll about his personal style. Bush looked relaxed and confident, suggesting that he's so stupid he doesn't know how stupid he is, otherwise he'd be terrified. Ok to be fair he does seem to have memorized some more stuff about foreign countries than he had last time, although I can't wait to see what the British papers have to say about the assertion that European nations should start helping us out with some troops in Yugoslavia.

Got my sample ballot today. The Green candidate for Senate is named Medea. In fact, Medea Susan Benjamin. I just don't know how you say, "Hey why don't we name her Medea." And then when it comes time to pick the middle name, go with Susan.

I'm trying to decide on all this before I go into the hospital, because I really don't see myself spending a lot of time focused on the candidates for sanitation district afterwards. And BART district. And park district. And high school district. And community college district. I've already picked the candidate for high school district, based solely on the fact that she went out of her way not to split an infinitive in her statement.

I got a mailing from the Republican candidate for Congress here. And here's the clever part: where it said the name of the incumbent Congresscritter, Ellen Tauscher, her name was crossed out and written in was Taxer. Isn't that clever? Doesn't it make you just want to slap the guy?

Tuesday, October 10, 2000

New Statesman competition

Sayings for our times:

The truly wise leader speaks little, but his spin doctor has to be very eloquent.

It is a poor leaker who doesn't cover his tracks.

He who surfs the net surfs alone.

Polls may go up and polls may go down, but the pollster goes on for ever.

He does not stir who watches moving images.

No skill is important to the man who lacks it; the more so when a woman learns to do it.

The man who buttonholes a guest at a party will have an unpublished novel in a drawer and a great need to talk about it.

Darn a hole in one sock and the other will go missing in the wash.

Why move to the right? The left is already there.

The honest man works, the clever man manages, the wise man goes sick. [clearly written by someone who's never met a manager]

Death is infinite upload.

The search on the internet is the illusion of movement.

The barcode will work on the third swipe.

The Pentium is mightier than the sword.

The child who leaves the Barbie in the box will make a fortune when 50.

You can take an ego trip without seeing a travel agent.

Monday, October 09, 2000

Lech Walesa got a whopping 0.9% of the Polish presidential vote. Maybe Gorbachev'll buy him a beer or something.

As I write, I am listening to the tape of William Hague at this year's Tory party conference. He recently boasted that when he was a teenager, I think it was, he drank 14 pints of beer every day. So a year from now, when he too has been consigned to the dust heap of history, Gorbachev, Walesa and Milosevic are all going to have to chip in. But he evidently did not try any illegal drugs. At the conference, the Shadow Home Secretary Anne Widdecombe proposed a fine and criminal record for everyone found with any drugs at all. She later said that she didn't mean to go after educated people smoking dope at university, but the scum on the housing estates. Since then, a reporter has been asking all her fellow members of the Shadow Cabinet whether they indulged at Uni. So far 8 have, and here's where it gets interesting.
Tim Yeo, Shadow Ag Minister, says that he liked it. Never before in history has a politician admitted to actually liking marijuana. Presumably it's ok so long as it's grown by British farmers.

Speaking of which, did Bush the Younger and Stupider really say during the debate that the US should reduce its dependence on foreign oil by encouraging drilling in... Mexico?

Friday, October 06, 2000

Another day, another debate. CNN’s Bernard Shaw, by no means to be mistaken for George Bernard Shaw, asked both candidates to imagine that they were black and the victims of racial profiling by police. Cheney absolutely refused to imagine himself as black, because it's against the rules of his country club. No seriously, at least it's an honest answer. The next question was about homosexuals, but Shaw didn't ask them to imagine themselves gay, which is really too bad. I'd have paid money to hear them try to answer that one. Cheney actually came out not opposed to gay marriage.

So you're Reggie Kray, in your day the most feared criminal leader in East London. And when you die the New York Times obit helpfully points out just which Monty Python sketch was based on you.

The budget bill for the Department of Agriculture strips of his authority the current (but not the next) undersecretary for natural resources and environment. Evidently one Rep Marion Berry (D-Ark) dislikes him personally and for negotiating with the enemy--those commies at the EPA.

Remember, just because Milosevic is out, assuming he really is, does not make the Serb people any less the steaming pile of yak turds that they have proved themselves to be over the last decade. Montenegro, Kosovo and Vojvodina must be broken out of Yugoslavia. Serbia cannot be small enough for my taste.

Thursday, October 05, 2000

Britain's version of the welfare-to-work program is training one woman to be a Britney Spears impersonator. It would have been a more interesting story if it was a guy.

If Gore is practicing "fuzzy Washington math," what would Texas math be? In Bush's case, presumably how much to tip your hooker after you've snorted cocaine off her ass. And yes, that was the best I came up with. Can any of you do better?

One comment that rather describes Dubya, except for the first two adjectives: "He was competent, fluent, pleasant and funny, satisfying every doubt except the most troublesome: what is he for?" Actually written about William Hague at this week's Tory party congress. And Hague is nowhere near as purposeless as Dubya.

With all the preparation he must have put into the debate, he was still an idiot. He knew less about his own plans than Gore did, and it showed, he obviously didn't know that RU-486 has been available in other countries for years, unless that comment about making sure it was safe for American women implied that American uteruses (uteri?) are different than French and British uteruses, like Japanese snow. And he didn't know Russia's position on Yugoslavia. Wouldn't it behoove someone who wants to be president to read a newspaper every so often?

And so repetitive. Both of them seemed to think we needed to hear everything five times before it would sink in. Bush did the fuzzy math thing about four times, according to my fuzzy math, and the crack about how many IRS agents it would take to figure out Gore's tax plan twice. At least he kept the "Mediscare" crack down to one usage, but really.

And all that makeup, on both of them. When Jim Lehrer is the most life-like person in the room, you know you're in trouble.

Tuesday, October 03, 2000

Debates, elections, whatnot

More from the master of the English language, George W (the W stands for dyslexic) Bush: "I will have a foreign-handed foreign policy." and "I view this [the debate] as a chance for people to get an impression of me on a stage debating my opponent."

Governor Gray Davis vetoes a bill allowing prisoners to be interviewed.

Good piece in Salon on the Texas death penalty and Bush's attempts to avoid being blamed for it.

Evidently one of the reasons that some of the Calif. voter pamphlet arguments is so terrible is that, if a prop. is put on the ballot by the Legislature, as in the very weak campaign finance initiative Prop 34, the Legislature itself gets to decide who writes the arguments against it. That's why the arguments against 34 are solely on the basis that there should be no lmiits whatsoever to campaign contributions, a position we know Californians don't accept since they've voted against it roughly once every two years since 1988, without it ever taking hold, rather than, say, someone arguing that 34 is laughable because it doesn't go far enough.

A letter in the NY Times responds to the criticisms of debates as
favoring style over substance. He notes that the classic example of this is that people saw Nixon sweating and beady-eyed in 1960 and thought that he looked sneaky. And they were right.

Monday, October 02, 2000

Headline of the week, from the Daily Telegraph: "Milosevic Denounces Rivals as Warmongers".

The important issues have been decided about tomorrow's debate. Bush does not get to have a shorter podium than Gore (Bush is shorter, which means he will lose the election), Gore does not get a lapel mike, and the room will be 65F. Let the games begin.

Friday, September 29, 2000

Ronald Edward Gay, tired of being called gay, shoots up a gay bar. He will now go to prison, and his name will legally be changed to Ronald Edward Bitch.

This year Britain raised old age pensions by the stunningly generous sum of 75p/week, which some took to be the equivalent of leaving a 10 cent tip, more insulting than not raising it all. Some of them in protest sent the Treasury checks for 75p. The Treasury cashed them.

Jorg Haider loses a court case in which he argued that it was perfectly respectable to refer to concentration camps as "punishment centers."

Denmark's voters decide not to join the single currency. No doubt the government will make them keep voting on it until they give the right answer, like it did for the Maastricht Treaty. I can't think why they didn't want to join the Europe of Haider and Chirac, whose RPR this week asked him to do the generous thing and declare an amnesty for illegal party financing. The RPR said that they should just say that all the parties did it until the early 1990s and would promise never to do it again. It is not known how Chirac will react, but he was the owner of the largest slush fund of all. And Helmut Kohl took his seat in Parliament again this week (no doubt a double-sized seat), showing up for the first time since his own disgrace. No, I can't think why
Denmark wouldn't want to get into bed with these clowns.

Speaking of clowns, has anyone seen Tony Blair's hair recently? It seems to be going, as Gerald Ford once said of Ronald Reagan's hair, prematurely orange.

Tuesday, September 26, 2000

California ballot

OK, I'm willing to read arguments that disagree over the effects a ballot initiative will have, but I am not willing to read arguments in the official ballot that lie about the actual details of the initiatives. I complained about that last time, and it's at least as bad now. Most egregiously, the argument against Prop 36, which would decriminalize drug use, says that this would apply to date-rape drugs. It clearly would not (I checked the actual bill). More amusingly, the statements for 32, veterans' home bonds, squabble over whether George W. Bush would qualify with his Air National Guard service.

I also want my own measure next time: for every ballot initiative, you get to vote yes, no, or who gives a damn. If who gives a damn wins (and I refer you to Prop 35, on Public Works Projects. Use of Private Contractors for Engineering and Architectural Services), then every member of the California Legislature gets their salary docked $20,000 for making us do their job for them.

So, the initiatives:

32, vets' bonds. No, as for all bonds (although these are paid back by the veterans themselves, so the principle is less vital here).

33 would allow members of the Legislature to participate in the
retirement system for state employees. Yes, of course. Incidentally, I invite you to read the text of the actual initiative, which actually corrects the grammar of the original law.

34 is the weakest, most pathetic campaign spending limits initiative I have ever seen, ostensibly in order to make it through the courts, but I assume mostly to gut the previous initiatives. And this one won't, or shouldn't, make it through the courts either, since it makes access to the ballot pamphlet conditional on keeping to voluntary spending limits. If you want to see the most cynical arguments ever against campaign finance reform, read the arguments on this one. "No money, no
information" indeed.

35, the afore-mentioned public works projects privatization measure. I have no idea about the merits of this, but I think it's a safe assumption that if someone spent enough money to get this thing on the ballot, it's automatically a bad idea.

36, drug treatment and probation instead of jail for possession of drugs for personal, repeat personal, use. Do you have to ask?

37 redefines certain fees as taxes, requiring a 2/3 vote of Legislature or local voters. Evidently if we don't for this, we'll pay fees on our movie tickets to pay for parks and recreation programs. It must be true, it says so right here in the voter pamphlet. This is the most blatantly pro-big business document I've seen since the Republican platform. No.

38 school vouchers. No no no. And no.

39 would reduce from 2/3 to 55% the vote required to raise property taxes to pay for school bonds, and to authorize the bonds themselves. This is sort of a tough one. Bonds are undemocratic, so are super-majorities, but 55% is just silly and a bit sneaky. It feels like a classic Clinton compromise, like Don't Ask, Don't Tell: it reduces iniquities on paper while retaining something that's bad in principle. The one thing I like about this one is that those votes would have to be during regular elections. I'm tired of those special elections that
cost a lot of money and at which only parents vote.

And that's it. Isn't it nice not to be voting on a new death penalty provision?

Monday, September 25, 2000

Saddam Hussein was presented with a Koran written in his own blood. Hey, that's what the Daily Telegraph said, and who are we to doubt it.

Some of the Dolly the Sheep scientists believe that it is possible for a baby to be created from the DNA of two (gay) men. These scientists must be hunted down and beaten to death before Siegfried and Roy find out about this.

In Britain a lapdancing club has requested planning permission to allow blind people to enjoy the dancing through Braille.

Friday, September 22, 2000

In a stunning, completely unexpected verdict, the Belgrade war crimes court sentences Clinton, Blair, Chirac, Schroder and a few others to 20 years in prison.

Speaking of stunning, remember those planes Iraq sent to Iran early in the Gulf War in order to safeguard them? Well the Iraqis are shocked to find that the Iranians are using them.

Tuesday, September 19, 2000

The New York Times and Washington Post rather surprisingly are ignoring the current Yugoslav war crimes trial, you know, the one where Clinton, Blair, Chirac etc etc are being tried in absentia.

OK, Lynne Cheney accused Gore of being at some fundraiser where there were comedians or something who she considered to be "X rated." Has anyone seen an example of this x-ratedness?

A bomb goes off in a street market in Islamabad. Pakistani dictator Musharraf condemns this "dastardly act of terrorism." That's what I like about the Indian sub-continent: it's the only place where people still say "dastardly."

Only 15 senators voted against normalizing trade relations with China and never bothering them about human rights again, just as China and the Vatican are about to go to war. China just re-arrested a bishop, and the pope has announced that 120 Chinese "martyrs" are to be canonized on October 1, the anniversary of the declaration of the People's Republic.

Denmark's tax courts have allowed a prostitute to deduct the cost of breast implants as investment to "improve facilities."

Bush the Younger went on Oprah today and admitted that he wasn't too bright but that he won't talk down to people like certain other smarty-pants types he could name. "You can't inspire and unite by thinking that you're smarter than anyone else."

A letter in yesterday's NY Times suggested that Bush's problem is not dyslexia, but that he has heard a lot of words but not read them, because he doesn't read. And thus come Bushisms like this one, from Slate:

"A tax cut is really one of the anecdotes to coming out of an economic illness."-- The Edge with Paula Zahn, Sept. 18, 2000

Monday, September 18, 2000

THE TIMES: WORLD NEWS: UNITED STATES : Gore drawn into political dogfight:

The Bush campaign issued the following statement today: "Following a troubling pattern of embellishing and exaggerating his plans and personal experiences, Al Gore misled Florida seniors on prescription drugs and how it impacts his mother-in-law and his dog."

Friday, September 15, 2000

Some drunken guy decided to get into a race in Moscow with Putin's motorcade, which traditionally zips along at 90. Astonishingly, he kept up with them in his Lada, until they shot out his tires.

So that's what happened to Yeltsin.

If I have this straight, so to speak, Men's Health magazine just ranked universities according to being pro- or anti-male, and I think Santa Cruz topped the list as Male Hatred USA. I have no further comments at this time.

Did Australia really greet each Olympics athlete with a welcome package including 51 condoms? And a medal at the end of the 17 days to those who managed to use all of them. Wouldn't that piss off some countries?

I might actually pay some attention to the Olympics if it weren't for all the athletes thrown out for taking drugs. I say let them in and may the best pharmaceutical industry win. I want to see what the human body can do when enhanced. I want to see someone break the 30-second mile and then burst into flames.

Tuesday, September 12, 2000

Spot the subliminable (as Shrub puts it) message

The Netherlands legalizes gay marriage on absolutely equal terms, RATS including equal terms for adoption, and divorce.

The EU ends its diplomatic sanctions on Austria, RATS which has evidently suffered enough in the seven month since it installed in power the neo-fascist party of the homosexual Jorg Haidar.

And the isle of Lesbos will allow in the tour group of British lesbians. That mayor has been persuaded to withdraw his objections, as long as they don't do anything too openly lesbianic. Unless he can watch.

So who shits while standing on the toilet seat? Evidently Kosovars, according to Haliburton.

Personally, I think the subliminal message RATS was intended to refer to the Emmy rat bastards who preferred The West Wing over The Sopranos, those motherless motherfucks.

Sunday, September 10, 2000

Sun, 10 Sep 2000 23:20:00

The Moscow Times reports that Putin stole the last presidential election with millions of altered ballots, switched tallies and fake voters.

The pope performed an exorcism last week.

Tale of woe of the week: Lord Palmer, who can no longer afford to have his silver balustrade polished, is asking for volunteers. He'll supply the sandwiches and wine.

Scientists at the Wellcome Centre for Cognitive Neurology (I think I remember that correctly and if I don't, they could probably explain why) have finally answered the question Why can't you tickle yourself? The answer is that you know it's coming, and the cerebellum is designed to focus not on what you're doing but what potential predators might be doing. And you can tickle yourself: they've invented a robot that you cna use, but only if there is a sufficient (and I think random) gap in time between pushing the button and the tickling.

Saturday, September 09, 2000

Scotland Yard is investigating the alleged murder in 1907 by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle of the real author of Hound of the Baskervilles.

Slate points out that Shrub's latest slogan Real Plans for Real People sounds suspiciously like the Beef Council's slogan Real Food for Real People. Al Gore, meanwhile, is still eschewing real people, but has the android vote pretty much locked up.

Friday, September 08, 2000

Gloria Steinem finally got married this week. Oddly enough, she is not planning on taking her husband's name, although her husband is famous as the man who introduced the skateboard into Britain. The wedding was held at the home of Ms. Steinem's friend Wilma Mankiller. Really.

Most repulsive revelation of the week: Ronald Reagan called Nancy Mommie Poo Pants. And that's before he went gaga.

The Italian Supreme Court, which has never to my knowledge ruled on any matter that doesn't have to do with sex (or perhaps my British news sources are lax in this regard?) rules that it is ok for wives to commit adultery, but during daylight hours only.

I've been meaning for some time to write about Dick Cheney. Before I forget, it was discovered today that Cheney has rarely bothered voting since leaving public service, and failed to vote in the March primaries. But it's this question of the Haliburton stock options that's been niggling at me, until I sat down to think about why. He's promised to forgo his stock options if he gets elected, so that he doesn't have a conflict of interest. (Interestingly, he didn't even make the case, natural for a Republican I would have thought, that what is good for Haliburton is good for the USA.) But the assumption is evidently that it doesn't matter if a candidate has a conflict of interest. Presumably, commitments and decisions made now do not count, so it is ok if he is ethically compromised now.

It also occurs to me that for the first time in, well, ever, neither VP candidate is one who will ever be president or probably even run for president, unless through a death, of course.

There is a French army major who is preparing to skydive from 28 miles up, wearing a space suit, the first skydiver to break the sound barrier. Normal skydiving reaches c.120 mph; he is planning to hit ten times that. How do you say "splat" in French?

Monday, September 04, 2000

Bush-league asshole: at a rally, Shrub called for more "plain-spoken folks" in Washington moments after one of those open-mike gaffes that occasionally make politics so entertaining. Ignoring his comment about the NY Times reporter, does Junior actually classify himself as one of the "plain-spoken folks"? Doesn't he ever see tapes of himself? Someone once described someone (and Bush the Elder might have been the second someone in this sentence) as somebody who had no first language. Plain-spoken, indeed.

Saturday, September 02, 2000

Milton Obote, the president of Uganda (former) was once asked whether his policy of eliminating British influences would mean a shift from driving on the left to driving on the right. "Yes, gradually," he said.

Another victory in the current British, New of the World-driven, moral panic about paedophiles: this week a town in Wales successfully drove out a paediatrician. Paedphile, paediatrician, what's the dif?

The school year starts in Russia, now with new improved military training (abolished by Gorbachev in 1991), including a week in barracks every summer for those over 15, including instruction in mortar firing for the boys and bandage-rolling and wailing over the deaths of sailors blown up by their own missiles, not the government will ever admit it, for the girls.

Also, the tax police (the next version of the KGB, mark my words) has opened a cadet school, where 10-year olds and up will learn how to smash in doors while wearing ski masks and carrying Kalashnikovs.

Thursday, August 31, 2000

A district judge finally admits that the LAPD meets the legal definition of a racketeering organization and can be sued as such.

Speaking of cults, officers of the Salvation Army, for the first time, will be allowed to marry people who are not also officers of the Sally Army.

And speaking of cults and marriage therein, here is the first sentence of an AP story: "The Rev. Sun Myung Moon, leader of the Unification Church, has been charged with catching too many fish during a visit to Alaska."

More signs of the former colonies getting uppity: Tartarstan (which actually is a current colony) is dropping the Cyrillic alphabet, forced on them by decree by Stalin in 1939. And Estonia just ordered too Russian diplomats out for being spies.

Putin said that that giant tv tower burning down was a symbol, in some way or other, of the failed policies of the past. Actually, as it turns out, the way the fire was handled was a symbol of the failed policies of the present, in this case Putin's obsessive centralization. The fire would have been smaller and less dangerous to the firefighters, had they turned off the electricity to the building, which seems like an obvious decision, but one no one was willing to risk their careers by taking. So someone called his boss, who called his boss, etc, until Putin himself gave permission, three hours later.

The Anti-Defamation League asks Joe Lieberman to stop being so damned religious. Joe the Jew increasingly reminds me of a job my great-uncle once had, to sit in an office and look Jewish. Not do any actual work, just look Jewish. I'm not sure if he had to sound Jewish too, but in his later film extra days he was always ordered not to speak on camera, although I've never been sure how they got him to shut up, which god knows no one else could ever do, but I digress.
4/2/05: hello to all who Googled to this spot looking for information about Joe Lieberman's nudism. Click here for that. Don't say I never did anything for you.

Sunday, August 27, 2000

In Nigeria, President Clinton is presented with a ceremonial hoe. How disappointed he must have been to find out that it was an agricultural implement.

In Zimbabwe, Chenjorai "Hitler" Hunzvi is deposed as head of the veterans' organization that has been occupying land. He has been accused of running the organization "like a dictator." Fancy that! Actually, Hunzvi is not himself even a veteran. I think he was in Oxford, or the Texas Air National Guard or something during the civil war.

The UN still has 4,000 victims of the Srebrenica massacre stacked up in a warehouse, that noone is providing the funds to identify.

A Tennessee car dealer is offering a free rifle with every car purchased.

Saturday, August 26, 2000

Portugal re-legalizes killing animals in public so that it can take away the tourists who want to see non-wimpy bullfights against Spain, which has finally begun to realize how icky they are (Catalonia banned them last year).

If you think that global warming is bad, you aren't thinking like an entrepreneur and you may possibly avoid going to hell. The fashionable drink in Beverly Hills is now melted Arctic iceberg ($10 a bottle).

5A correction from the NY Times: "In an article yesterday about a visit by VP Al Gore and Senator Joseph Lieberman to a Jewish community center in Florida misattributed a Yiddish greeting. It was Mr. Lieberman, not Mr. Gore, who said "Shalom aleichem"; Mr. Gore said, "Mazel tov."

Alert readers will be anticipating a correction of the correction.

I believe I forgot to follow something up. For a couple of weeks after the Philadelphia police beat up that guy, I was asking whether or not he had a gun as they initially claimed, the sole inadequate explanation they offered for their behaviour. As it turned out, the cop who had been shot was shot by another cop accidentally.

A story this week has Shrub intervening to pull an RNC ad before it is aired, attacking Gore with out of context quotes. Keep in mind that this ad was produced by the party and not by his election committee and that previously when such soft-money ads were used against his opponents he claimed that he couldn't control them, or it would be a violation of the 1st amendment. Now he wants credit for doing what he said he couldn't do.

If you are a Christian surfer, you will want to attend Jesus Surf Classics 2000. But then again, you probably aren't a Christian surfer.

This week the British high court ordered the surgical separation of Siamese twins who are, I believe, 3 weeks old. Separation would mean the death of one, but save the other. The parents, who are Christian surfers, no, that can't be right can it, well, they're idiots of some variety, think that God wants the two to stay together. Anyway, the pope has offered them sanctuary.

Friday, August 18, 2000

Watching the convention tonight, I was able to see my Congresscritter Ellen Tauscher. Like UCSC chancellor Sinsheimer (who by the way was evidently important in launching the human genome project, confirming what the Daily Show said about it: In case you're wondering, yes it will be used for evil), who would have preferred to be running a different sort of school, Tauscher practically claimed to represent Silicon Valley.

Gore is leaning awfully heavily on his wife and daughters to try to make him seem human. His son, exploited so effectively in the past, was virtually nowhere to be seen. Today we saw a bunch of photographs allegedly taken by Tipper. Some amateur photographers consistently cut off people's heads, Tipper consistently cut off Bill Clinton, who I don't think appeared in a single one of hundreds of shots.

Also speaking tonight, Louisiana Senator John Breaux, who last week said of Joe Lieberman, "I don't think American voters care where you go to church on Sunday." And a happy shalom to you too, senator.

I've heard at least 6 times during the convention that Gore volunteered to go to Vietnam in order that no one else from Carthage would be drafted in his place. Given that he was given a safe job in Vietnam, and a bodyguard, I don't see how that follows.

Pat Buchanan has his gall bladder removed. Well I could have told you the man had too much gall. They should have removed his spleen as well.

Farewell to Edward Craven Walker, the inventor of the lava lamp. And a nudist. In case you were wondering, he invented the thing in 1963.

Wednesday, August 16, 2000

One more country which seized bank accounts and such of Jews killed in the Holocaust: Israel.

The British police are trying to create a national DNA database but are finding some serious resistance from...the British police, who really of all people need to be typed so that they can be eliminated as possible contaminants of crime scenes, but the coppers are afraid their saliva will be tested for drugs or that the results might be turned over to the Child Support Agency.

Speaking of DNA, Bush sets another execution date for the guy he gave a stay so that he could have his DNA tested. So we now know that Texas has great safeguards and never executes innocent people. I still say the whole thing was a set-up.

Caught most of Jesse Jackson's speech yesterday. He referred to Lieberman as "one of the good hymies." All right, he didn't, but it would have been less creepy than his introduction of the slogan "Stay Out the Bushes."

Caroline Kennedy (Insert name of lesser mortal she married here) invoked her father, and informed us that her daughter slept with a teddy bear which she called Uncle Teddy. Only a Kennedy would fail to realize how utterly creepy that was.

Today Joe Lieberman gave a rousing speech. Well, it didn't rouse me: I woke up after it had started, but I fell back asleep. He didn't invoke God five million times in this speech, but he did attack Hollywood, saying something about how parents shouldn't have to compete with the culture in raising their children.

I suppose it would be a really cheap shot to insert at this juncture that Israeli Orthodox Jews, continuing a program of arson against sex shops and such in Tel Aviv, burned down a brothel today, killing four people.

I was awake for Tommy Lee Jones's speech, which I actually enjoyed. What is it in this election about good ol' boys in the Ivy League? Tommy Lee talked about huntin' with coon dogs (fortunately, Jesse Jackson was not speaking afterwards. Sorry.) in the context of trying to humanize his old Harvard roomie. Al Gore was also a Star Trek fan, but then so was Alan Keyes. And George "W" used chewing tobaccy while attending Yale Business School.

Tuesday, August 15, 2000

The Democrats have a trans-gendered delegate, from Minnesota. And no, not the governor.

The Russian Orthodox Church has canonized Tsar Nicholas II and all his awful family. Not, of course, their servants who were also executed--they were just doing their duty, according to the church.

Headline in NY Times: "West Nile Found in Brooklyn". Now that's lost.

Clinton gave another of his Alzheimer's-inducing speeches: four hours later and I can't remember a word of it.

I do like the theme, Are you better off now than you were 8 years ago. Personally, I'm not, but it's still a pretty good theme. With all the sound-bite theft of these two conventions, I can't wait to see who gets to use "There you go again" first.

Hillary said something, and I believe I'm paraphrasing here, about Gore being able not just to talk the stiff robotic talk, but walk the stiff robotic walk.

Monday, August 14, 2000

As I write, it is ladies' night at the Democratic convention. Barbara Mikulsi has said that such women are changing the face of the US Senate. A national tv audience of 3 looked at Mikulski's face on their screens and shuddered.

Don't blame me, she's the one that brought it up.

Fun fact of the day: it is illegal to get a vasectomy in France.

Japan has been influencing small nations to vote to allow Japan to kill endangered whale species by threatening to withhold foreign aid.

Some Japanese want to go to Australia for the Olympics, but being Japanese don't want to take more than one day off work. The result: "banzai tours."

Barbara Boxer spoke a little while ago. Who knew she was still alive, much less one of my Senators?

Saturday, August 12, 2000

Shrub wants Gore to distance himself still further from Clinton's sex life, because I don't think any of us have heard nearly enough about what everyone thinks about that. "If he's got a problem with what on in the past, he ought to explain what it is." Shrub has a problem with what on in the past: twenty years of his past is just a blur in his memory. This is the Bush who executed one retarded guy this week, of whom the prosecutor said that he should be executed because he was retarded, and therefore more dangerous, and another guy from whose jury all minorities had been systematically excluded, in accordance with the handbook prosecutors used in Houston until they were caught at it.

Pat Buchanan managed to find a black woman who supports the Confederate flag. Buy that woman and put her on the ticket!

A Wal-Mart in Pennsylvania had Back to School Sale signs over its ammo.

An article in the New Statesman on the British obsession with class, from a South African Oxford don who used to be at Magdalen College, Oxford, which is pronounced just as it is spelled, if it were spelled Maudley. Magdalen was the place that turned down Laura Spence, who had to settle for Harvard, as I mentioned once before. The article talks about the college's old master, Sir Herbert Warren, a great snob. He liked to greet every incoming freshman. One year one of those was the Imperial Prince of Japan. Warren asked him what his name, Prince Chichibou, actually meant. "The Son of God," Chichi said. Warren replied, "Of course you'll find we have the sons of many famous men here at Magdalen." But there was also the labor historian R H Tawney, who once pulled out a chair for a visitor, a guest called Sir Arthur Cholmondley-Withers, saying "Have a seat Mr. Withers." Sir A C-W insisted, "Cholmondley-Withers, if you please!" Tawney pulled up another chair: "Have two seats then."

Dick Cheney, who does not plan to sell off his company's stocks until after he is elected, just as Leiberman plans to run for his Senate seat, was allowed by his oil company to retire 3 years early and still keep all his benefits. This is in essence a $10 million favor, which some might call a bribe, but not me, so sirree bob.

Last year, one Michael Forbes, Congresscritter for NY, switched from the R's to the D's. Yeah, I don't remember it either. This means that the R's, who would really like to defeat the turn-coat, have in their possession outtakes from campaign commercials he shot when he was with them, in which he made farting sounds with his armpits. They are considering whether they might wish to make some use of that footage in this election.

Friday, August 11, 2000

Iran may raise its minimum marriage age for females from 9.

Texas now has more prisoners than California, despite having a population not two-thirds the size (although Walker is doing his best to kill them off, one retarded guy at a time. Didja read the story about the retarded guy who was so eager to please that after confessing to a Texas Ranger, he climbed into his lap? Heartwarming.) 163,000 prisoners each. But Texas has a lot more people than that with concealed weapon permits. Including all those priests. Don't mess with Texas.

Britain has been having one of its little panics over paedophilia, thank to the News of the World publishing the names and addresses of registered sex offenders. Today the 3-year old child of one of the leaders of the vigilantes was found in the street 3 blocks away from home and naked, while his mother was off giving a tv interview.

Monday, August 07, 2000

Two favorite headlines of the day: "Firemen Act as Anteater's Gynaecologist" and "State Outlaws Farmyard Noises."

The rabbi leader of the Shas Party in Israel says that all the Jews killed in the Holocaust were reincarnated sinners. Well, that's ok then. To quote Arnold Schwarzenegger when asked in True Lies if he'd killed people, "Ya, but they were all bad." I've said it before and I'll said it again, that Shas is one bad mother...

In his speech at the Convention, Bush made fun of Gore's use of the word "risky," painting him as a man too timid to take a spin of the wheel and "risk" wrecking Social Security, the big weenie. Now Gore has returned the favor by picking Lieberman, pulling the teeth of Junior's Christian rhetoric.

I'm curious about why this was announced when it was, very early in the morning, one day before it was scheduled, and not one day after Gore said that he still hadn't made up his mind. It doesn't say a lot for his conviction that the prig from Connecticut is the best man for the job.

Nothing I've heard of Lieberman's record today suggests that he is anything other than a Republican, but with a sense of humor. And to answer my first question about a sabbath observant Jew, yes he can push the button and annihilate the world on the sabbath, but he might have to walk five miles through the snow first to do it.

Sunday, August 06, 2000

Last comments on the Republican Convention, really

Molly Ivins suggests to Bush's speechwriters that the comment on restoring civility to Washington should have come at least two paragraphs away from his last attempt to shiv the Dems.

And she reminds me that whoever spoke for Utah began "Utah, the only state that begins with U". And ends with "tah". Personally, I preferred Wyoming, "the land of high altitudes, low multitudes and good attitudes."

Dennis Miller points out that the "Leave No Child Behind" night was capped by a speech by Laura Bush, who gave up a teaching job to help her husband's political career.

Miller also says that Al Gore couldn't be more phony if he were a professional Al Gore impersonator.

The Washington Post finally breaks the news that Mary Cheney is gay. Remember, you heard it here first. Incessantly.

Friday, August 04, 2000

The Queen Mum is 100 years old today, and doesn't look a day over dead.

The Republican Convention has inspired me. Later in this month I will have my opportunity to participate in the sacred duty of every citizen to weasel their way out of jury duty.

Thursday, August 03, 2000


In the big news of the day, the skull of anti-Pope Benedict XIII (14th century) has been stolen in Spain and is being held hostage. It has magical powers.

The Republican Convention continues to put all of its blacks (none of whom besides Julius Caesar Watts have been nominated by the party for elective office, you'll notice) right up there on the podium, so that the delegates can feel secure that their wallets won't be lifted.

The Post comments that having it in historic Philadelphia just reminds everyone how far leadership in this country has fallen in 200 years. And Gerald Ford (whose presidency almost looks good in comparison, huh? I mean, he did restore the nation's self-respect with the Mayaguez incident) nearly fulfilled the W. C. Fields nightmare of dying in Philadelphia.

No, Mary Cheney's girlfriend did not show up.

In the primaries, McCain referred to Bush's soft-money-financed machine as the Death Star. At the convention, he was brought on to the tune of John Williams's theme from Star Wars.

Colin Powell said that there was no room in the Republican Party for racists. Evidently all those slots are already filled. (Will Durst joke)

George Bush Senior threatened that if Clinton kept attacking his boy, he would say what he really thinks about him. Am I the only one reminded of the episode of The Simpsons where the Bushes moved in across the street?

Cheney delivered the attack speech. Who would have thought? I especially liked the bit when he said that Clinton, the man from Hope, would be going home to (and here he gave a little shake of his head, evidently hopelessly confused by the thought of someone moving) New York. "It's time for them to go", he reiterated, reminding us that Gore gave the same line 8 years ago in a far more dynamic speech.

Cheney is finally going around defending his Congressional voting record, repeatedly saying that we must remember the context of the times, an excuse last trotted out at the Nuremberg trials, if I'm not mistaken. Next he'll be saying it was peer pressure. Just say no!

He explained the vote against releasing Nelson Mandela by saying that back then we thought that all those black people were communists. He then explained his vote against Head Start by saying that back in the '80s we thought that all children were communists. "My bad!" he added. He defended voting against cop-killer bullets by saying that it was his job to represent the views of the people of Wyoming, and that there were more people in Wyoming who wanted to shoot cops than there were cops. And they vote!

Al Franken points out that while Cheney attacked the Clintons for moving to NY, Cheney himself changed his voter registration from Texas to Wyoming just a few weeks ago.

I was pleased to see Bush claim that he could turn part of Social Security into a stock market lotto without reducing benefits, the equivalent of the Laffer curve but more to the point also the equivalent of the Read My Lips speech, since sooner or later he has to produce this proposal with the blanks actually filled in.

Wednesday, August 02, 2000


I was distracted earlier by watching tv and writing at the same time and by the heat. Like my refrigerator, my brain simply does not operate well over 100. So sorry about saying Cheney was speaking today. Also, I started to compare Junior's distancing of himself from his own party and especially its Congressional members with Clinton's. And we all know how well that worked. When Shrub arrives in the White House, he will be in for the same rude awakening that Clinton did at the hands of old Washington hands who consider him a carpetbagger.

What I missed realizing during the Gerald Ford video tribute was the number of times it said that he "restored the nation's confidence." Evidently, 25 years on, Clinton = Nixon. Which means that even the R's are now tacitly agreeing that Nixon was evil personified, just as Newt Gingrich, who 2 and 4 years ago was the guy against whom all the D's defined themselves, now performs the same role for R's, who are otherwise trying to airbrush him out of all the old photos, like Trotsky [line lifted from Jacob Weisberg of Slate].

Clinton keeps making comments about Bush and it's driving the Gore folks, and Bush the Elder, bugfuck. George Stephanopalous, the little man with the big name and no particular sense of loyalty, thinks that Clinton is seriously off the reservation, but if Gore isn't willing to slap Shrub down, someone has to. When you consider what it would be like putting Clinton and Boy George in a room together, it becomes crystal clear how unready for prime time the latter is. Clinton would eat him alive. By the way, my prediction: Gore will lose the debates. Badly.

So Cheney will show up tomorrow. There is a lot of comment already about how crappy a campaigner he's turning out to be. But the real question will be whether Mary Cheney's live-in lover will be on the podium.

Haven't seen it yet, but there's supposed to be something in the Wed. NY Times about Bush's really big donors and why their donations haven't been reported. I think reporters should start staking out these high-ticket fundraising events like papparazi, or Michael Moore, and taking pictures of everyone who goes in.

Tuesday, August 01, 2000


"We almost lost him" -- the start of a video tribute to the sainted Ronald Reagan. To quote from that period, gag me with a spoon.

This followed a tribute to Gerald Ford which didn't mention Nixon even once, but did make the Mayaguez incident into some sort of triumph. Whip Inflation Now!

I didn't recognize the music introducing Jim Kolbe. Dole, however, was brought on to the tune of When the Caissons Come Rolling Along. Caissons were last used, what, in World War I? This is defence night, leading up to the speech by draft dodger Dick Cheney.

This isn't especially original, but this is Bush's convention, not the Republican Party's. Newt is locked in the basement until it's over, the Clinton impeachment is well in the past, with no one even essaying a defence of it.

Speaking of convenient memory loss [the wonderfully caring Nancy Reagan, someone just said], did you know the German Catholic church, monasteries etc requisitioned slave labor during WW II?

Monday, July 31, 2000


As I write, and surf, the Republican convention is droning in the background. I should pay more attention to the music introducing the speakers, since someone speaking about education was brought on to the tune of "Don't know much about history". And someone said, and I quote, "Literacy and the Bush family are practically synonymous." To paraphrase a famous quotation, Millie the dog Bush has written more books than W has read.

A Russian company has patented the bottle. Also nails and railroad tracks.

A Lithuanian businessman wants to start a theme park called "Stalin's World", for those nostalgic for good clean Gulag living. Visitors would enter the park in cattle cars. It still sounds like more fun than the mile and a half roller coaster the Japanese just built.

The Washington Post, despite having an article on gay Republicans in today's issue, has still not mentioned Mary Cheney. The NY Times alluded to it, referring to the ABC interview with Lynn Cheney yesterday in which she inned her daughter.

The R platform, by the way , specifically condemns the "gay lifestyle" and supports the ban on gays in the Boy Scouts and in the military.

Friday, July 28, 2000

Obviously I wasn't in the pocket of the NRA

John Tukey, a statistician who seems to have lead a much more interesting professional career than you'd expect from a statistician, and who coined the terms "software" and "bit", died this week.

Congress votes to ban states executing pregnant women, just in case anyone other than Al Gore had a question as to whether that was a good move or not.

Some quotes from the porno team of Bush and Dick (no, I said I wasn't going to do that joke, didn't I?):

Bush: "Secretary Cheney brought people together and helped win a war, which stands in stark contrast to Vice President Al Gore, who tends to divide people to create war." In other words, Gore = Saddam Hussein.

Bush: "Of course I knew his votes. But I also know his record."

Cheney: "this notion that somehow I was opposed to freeing Nelson Mandela is a typical distortion of Al Gore." Well, you voted against a resolution that Mandela should be freed. Where's the distortion?

Cheney on voting against a ban on plastic guns, which even the NRA did not oppose: "Well, obviously I wasn't in the pocket of the NRA."

Thursday, July 27, 2000

You heard it here first?

Dick Cheney's daughter is a lesbian. Like we're not going to have enough "Dick and Bush" jokes as it was.

Nothing on this in the NY Times or the Washington Post, but the British papers all have it, not that it was ever much of a secret, and still less so when Bob Woodward cocquetted at the news on tv a few days ago.

Wednesday, July 26, 2000

Here's a joke you've already heard ten times: Bush-Cheney is the Wizard of Oz ticket, one needs a heart, the other needs a brain.

Cheney is praised as bringing some much-needed gravitas to the campaign, with everyone pretty much ignoring his extreme right-wing record across the board on any issue you care to name. If you don't foam at the mouth or have the uncouthiosity of a Gingrich, you're ok in Mark Shields's book (however, thanks to Shields for reminding us that 25 years ago when Cheney was White House chief of staff, Bush the Younger was snorting coke off a prostitute's ass in a Houston bar. Thus Cheney has become--you will be sick of this observation by the end of the convention--the "babysitter" of a man 4 years younger than himself. Cheney is the adult, Bush has demoted himself to the post of this year's Dan Quayle, where I always said he belonged.

When the pundits say that he chose Cheney from a presidential perspective rather than a campaign perspective, one of the things they mean is that he has given up the option of pretending to be an insurgent outsider storming the Beltway.

By the way, Alan Keyes has dropped out of the race, a stunning development that has completely crowded the Cheney decision, the inevitable failure of Camp David and that cool picture of the Concorde on fire, right off the front pages.

Tuesday, July 25, 2000

Ya gotta have heart

So Shrub did what I told Kevin two days ago he wasn't stupid enough to do, picked Dick Cheney as veep. Consider me corrected as to the level of Boy George's stupidity. In Washington there are already pools on how many times he'll use the word "heart" in his convention speech. You know, Christ changed my heart, don't judge my heart, etc etc. (by the way, read a Monday Washington Post piece about--maybe Sunday--about Bush's form of Christianity. Remember, most of the religious stuff is coded in a language not intended to be understood by people like y'all and me; it helps to have a guide). This will maybe cut down on that language, since they've already sent in the cardiologists to do just that with Cheney. Scott Shuger of Slate asks whether the statement issued by the doctor that Cheney's condition shouldn't affect his campaigning was maybe not getting it the wrong way around from what a doctor is supposed to be saying. And just to kick it off, Bush called him this morning before dawn. There's nothing like the phone ringing when you're sound asleep to jump-start the ol' heart, right? See Slate for Table Talk today about the Cheney nomination, and another piece about what a bitch Lynne Cheney is.

The good news is that it's no longer illegal to say "sorry" in the state of California, or at least to have it held against you in a civil suit. I look forward to hearing it from Albertson's checkers now, since their cash registers over-charged me two out of the last 3 times. I'm a strong believer in the effects of legislation to improve our lives by altering speech. Remember when Proposition 121 banned "Have a nice day"?

Monday, July 24, 2000

Think big

A 67-year old Russian pensioner is being hailed as a hero after shooting a thief who was stealing potatoes from his allotment.

And Swiss authorities would like to talk to the Russian Prime Minister, known as Misha Two Percent, for the misappropriation of $4.8 billion in IMF loans in 1998.

That's a lot of potatoes.

Sunday, July 23, 2000

Message to the Sunday papers: it doesn't count as a restoration of civilian government in Ecuador if the elected president has to leave the country. Come back, El Loco, all is forgiven.

A Chechen rumor that hasn't made the American papers: an actual gunfight earlier this month between the biggest warlord and the defense minister. I believe it was a fight over who hates the Russians more.

Saturday, July 22, 2000

South Africa is to start renaming its major cities. Sigh. Pretoria will be Tshwane, which is pronounced to rhyme with Tshwane, I'm guessing.

NATO is finally capturing Serb war criminals from the Bosnian war, by offering massive bounties which are mostly being paid to Serb war criminals who capture other Serb war criminals.

War is Hellibut: Britain is to compensate trawlermen who lost their livelihoods in the Cod War of the 1970s, in which Iceland kicked their pale butts.

Speaking of old wars, you can now buy a Spitfire. A company started making them, sort of half from scrap from old WW II-era Spitfires and half new, for the anniversary of the Battle of Britain. Now they're selling them to you the punter, for a low low one million pounds or so. Some of the parts can no longer be made in the UK. The propellers, for instance, which were made of can you believe it wood, are made in Germany.

A Koranic scholar has written a book called Women in Islam, recently translated into Spanish, where there is a bit of a furore because it tells Muslims (the book is aimed at Muslims living in non-Muslim societies) how to disguise their wife-beating. For the record, wife-beating was legal under Franco.