Tuesday, January 29, 2002

The state of the union is just tickety boo

Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia tells the NY Times that there is no limit to how far women can go in our society. As long as they don’t drive and are accompanied by a male relative and don’t try to leave the country without getting permission from a male relative.

Yet another Bush with a substance abuse problem: Noelle Bush (which I assume is for people who can’t afford a Christmas tree), Jeb’s daughter, caught for prescription fraud.

With communications between India and Pakistan largely cut off, the Pakistanis are resorting to sending over balloons with insulting messages.

Last week Shrub was complaining that Enron had kept its affairs secret and if his mother-in-law had known the true state of Enron’s finances she wouldn’t have lost $8,000. In the State of the Union address he talked about “accountability,” the closest he got to mentioning the biggest domestic issue currently before the nation. But he is also defending the refusal to release the names of contacts of Cheney’s energy task force, defending the government’s “privacy.” Interesting definition of what is private and what is, oh I don’t know, the people’s business.

The Post says that Bush rejected the idea of having a separate speech just for his economic plan, since this one would be dominated by national security. Bush said that economic security is national security. Of course he also insisted yesterday that Enron is a business story and not a political story.

Still, if one were to parse the State of the Union address solely in terms of hypocrisy, well it would certainly be easy. Bush defending liberty and the dignity of every life, quote unquote, for example. All right, he’ll get away with all that stuff. Anyway, when he wasn’t being hypocritical, he was being scarily evangelical. If the head of Amnesty International says that “right, liberty, and justice are true for all people everywhere” [the quote is approximate] it’s one thing, when a president of the US says it, look out.

Again making my point about the nation-state, he accuses the enemies (at least he didn’t use the phrase evil-doers) of seeing the entire world as their battle field. Of course, part of the speech at least finally told us who the next target is, Iraq, not Somalia. Can’t wait. Maybe we should start a pool on the code name: “Operation Desert ______.”

Incidentally, I’ve been hearing the war in Afghanistan referred to as the first war of the 21st century. And people accuse me of being pessimistic. It reminds me of the first book to call World War I by that appellation, in its title yet, published I believe in 1920.

Other quick takes on the speech: the State of the Union has “never been stronger.” What, never? I could have sworn there was a day in 1884, May 13th I believe....

We are now working with Russia, China and India as never before. How did India get on that last?

Especially in tragedy, God is near. Well you know how it is when you’re driving past car crashes, you just have to look.

My economic policy can be summed up in one words: jobs. You just knew it would be a one-syllable word, didn’t you?

Well, since it didn’t make the Washington Post, for some reason, maybe it’s another incident of American self-censorship, or maybe it’ll be all over the news in a day, but evidently Bush has a fairly serious heart condition. That low heart rate he boasts about is not from exercise and is too low to be a good thing, thus the pretzel incident.

White House counsel Alberto Gonzales says that the Geneva Convention is “obsolete” in terms of questioning prisoners. He probably read that book by the French general describing how they got information out of prisoners during the Algerian War (torture and then execute), for which the general was forced to pay a modest fine (for defending it in a book, not for actually doing it). What does France think it is, anyway? Israel?

No comments: