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.