Wednesday, October 17, 2001

Another sign that science must be stopped: phone lie detectors, soon to be used by British insurance companies to deal with claimants. They claim over 90% accuracy rate.

A Guardian columnist, suggesting that the American political elite isn't up to its new task of dealing with foreign stuff, quoted Joe Biden, now chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who suggested that the Norwegian countries could act as intermediaries with Afghanistan. Knowing Joe, he was just reading off the paper of whoever sat next to him (Jesse Helms?)

Colin Powell is busy negotiating the shape of the next Afghan government with Pakistan, Iran, Peru for all I know, anyone, basically, who isn't actually Afghan. He is willing to include "moderate Taliban members." I think we once exchanged arms for hostages with their Iranian cousins.

Funnier than moderate Talibans was the description on ITN of Rehavam Zeevi, the guy assassinated yesterday, as the hardline tourism minister. Or possibly it was the minister of hardline tourism. I think hardline tourism is where you demand that the locals serve you food you're familiar with, speak your language, and you speak very loudly and slowly to them if they don't. No wait, that's American tourism. Zeevi has been advocating a full-scale invasion of the West Bank and Gaza, so I'm guessing he wasn't that good as a tourism minister. Actually, Zeevi was a big ole shit (I was going to call him a pig, but it didn't seem kosher, although Muslims keep calling Bush a dog, probably because they've heard that he can lick his own genitals, but I digress) and when he joined the government I correctly called it an act of war. I haven't heard what the US reaction has been, although it'll be interesting to see if they label this assassination terrorism but not the one by the Israelis that this was in reaction to, and whether Dubya knows that Zeevi once called his father a lying anti-Semite.

The House by a vote of 404 to 0 suggests that public schools use the slogan God Bless America, presumably because America has just sneezed. The pledge of allegiance is also big just now, even in Madison, which reversed its previous decision and will now allow either the pledge or the Star-Spangled Banner, which under the old rule was to be instrumental only, you know, the easy listening version. This is to comply with a state law requiring a daily display of patriotism. I'm assuming that foreign students are also required to sing God Save the Queen or O Canada or Waltzing Matilda, as appropriate. I don't mind them singing the Star-Spangled Banner, as long as they sing all of it, including the "their blood shall wash out their foul footsteps' pollution" line some of us spent too much time at Santa Cruz trying to figure out how to sing.

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