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.