Sunday, March 31, 2002

Condemn, in Arabic

The Tom Ridge color of the day is banana yellow: You did it! You finally, really did it! Damn you all to hell!

US forces are going along on raids in Pakistan, bringing the countries in which Bush has introduced combat forces up to, what, 37?

Hard to get much sense out of my usual British sources of news today. Evidently they were all really shocked at the sudden and completely unexpected death of the Queen Mum. And some were jolly cheesed off at the BBC coverage, because the presenter was not wearing a black tie. Winner of the Ted Baxter News Duh Award: The CNN news scroll said that most Brits could not remember a time when she was not around.

The Israeli soldiers have been executing people. And by executing I mean executing: shots to the back of the head.

Bush finally speaks publicly about the events in the Middle East, stupidly. Not surprisingly, since Israel is doing what he’d like to do with bin Laden, Saddam Hussein and so many others, he blames Arafat for everything. As ever, there are assertions that Arafat is somehow ordering every single terrorist attack, and no evidence at all. Bush says “I believe he needs to stand up and condemn, in Arabic, these attacks...” If Arafat tried to do that, he would be drowned out by the sound of gun- and tank-fire, but it’s the thought that counts. That incredibly condescending and arrogant “in Arabic,” which we’ve heard a lot lately, is the result of Tom Friedman of the NY Times continual emphasis on the disparity between the Arabic and English pronouncements of various peoples and countries. Friedman in today’s paper also has the best case for letting Israel do its worst that it is possible to make, which is that if suicide bombs work here, they will be used in every conflict. True, but you can’t refuse to do the right thing because there are assholes on the other side. Bush also said that he’d continue not phoning anyone, saying of Arafat, “all he has to do is watch what I just said.” Gee, if only the Israelis hadn’t just blown up his generator. Bush also had words for Israel, that while they’re doing their worst, they should “keep in mind there must be an avenue toward a peaceful settlement.” Sharon immediately responded, “Oh, you want a settlement? I’ve got as many settlements as you want. They’re cheaper wholesale.” [It’s not every day, but it’s a good day, when you can combine a pun with an ethnic stereotype.]

An article I think in the Times, maybe the Post, says that US documents show that the CIA did not intervene in Angola in 1975 after the Cubans got involved, but before, when there was no hint of Cuban interest yet. And that US activity was closely coordinated with the South Africans. Just a timely reminder that your government lies to you. Every single day.

Friday, March 29, 2002

Keeping the bird-watchers happy

The Tom Ridge color of the day is black and white on silver nitrate: God willing, we will prevail, in peace and freedom from fear and in true health, through the purity and essence of our natural fluids.”

Three jokes from this week’s obituaries:

Milton Berle married and was then divorced from a showgirl. They married again 2 years later. Asked why, he said Because she reminded me of my first wife.

Dudley Moore was married to a much taller model. He said that he had to go up on her.

Billy Wilder worked for the US Army in occupied Germany after the war in a program to de-nazify films and theater. Asked to allow a former Nazi to play Jesus in the Passion Play, he replied, “Permission granted, but the nails have to be real.”

At least Bush’s efforts towards Middle East peace are working out well, huh? Hypocrisy watch: it was surprisingly Colin Powell who brought up Passover. I have seen no commentator or politician anywhere mention our Ramadan bombing. He also said that the problem was terrorism and not the absence of a political way forward. Riiiiight.

Something I’d like to put a lot of stress on because it ignored as events overtook it: Arafat tried to stave off the ridiculously vengeful assault on his hq by accepting a cease-fire. And then he saw the cease-fire that the Americans (General Zinni) brought him, which had been rewritten by the Israelis to allow it to continue “proactive attacks” on Palestian civilian targets. This is the American version of being a neutral go-between.

Bush really was neutral today, playing with his dog on the ranch and not issuing any statements, talking to anyone in the Middle East, or making much effort to keep up with events there, according to the Washington Post. Maybe it’s just as well. Powell had advanced warning of the raid and didn’t ask that it not happen.

The Israeli deputy minister of internal security wants Palestinians with bad or suspect papers to be put in detention camps.

The US military has been in Kazakhstan for a while, secretly, training what they laughingly call a military. The secret war continues to spread. Whatever happend to those troops in the Philippines? Self-explanatory. Some neat pictures, if you like that sort of thing.

Thursday, March 28, 2002

You may remember from a few months ago a story I sent that the president of Zambia, Frederick Chiluba, had gotten so mysteriously rich in office that he didn’t notice when some bank clerks siphoned off his entire salary for over a year. Anyway, he’s getting divorced, and his wife wants half their 6 houses and farm and the 400-head herd of cows, sheep and goats, and $2.5 billion.

Right-wing Christian types like James Dobson are complaining about a gender-neutral Bible. Also out this week, the first translation of the Bible into Romany. Don’t know if it includes the bit about Jesus on the cross giving permission for gypsies to steal from non-gypsies.

Thanks to a rather important breach of privacy lawsuit in Britain, I’ve had to read more than I really wanted or needed to know about Naomi Campbell. Celebs have been trying to use the European human rights laws to stop the tabloids writing about them. Anyway, she won but the judge called her a liar and gave her a minimal award. The paper that had to pay, the Mirror, began its story, “Judge gives lying drug abuser £3,500.”

The Supreme Court rules that it was ok for a man to be sentenced to death in a trial in which his lawyer had also previously represented the victim, a “mere theoretical division of loyalties,” according to Fat Tony Scalia.

It also says that employers are allowed to cheat illegal alien workers; courts cannot force them to pay back wages.

The prime minister of Thailand thinks that the opposition is trying to get cab drivers to gossip about him.

People have been breeding cats with stubby little legs, Munchkins, so that they are unable to jump or hunt, making them less difficult pets. Practical, but creepy.

According to the NY Times, the new big thing on all the Springer-type shows is snap paternity tests.

Wednesday, March 27, 2002

Spent the most futile 2 hours of my life today on the phone to tech support for my modem...

Sorry, almost forgot... The Tom Ridge color of the day is periwinkle blue: The cermony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Tech support being in Colorado, so at $.05/minute, that call cost more than the modem, and got me exactly nowhere. At the end it was suggested that I reload Windows95, which is not going to happen.

Hypocrisy watch: I’m waiting for someone in the Bush admin to forget about bombing Afghanistan over Ramadan and complain about this latest attack coming on Passover (actually before Passover). Bush already made some comment about people who would rather kill than have peace. As opposed to Bush himself, he wants (temporary) peace in Israel so he can kill in Iraq.

Note that when Lebanon for some reason blocked Arafat addressing the Arab conference by video link, he was able to bypass them by going on Al Jazeera. A semi-free press, ain’t it great?

Dudley Moore died today (as did Milton Berle, as ever stealing someone else’s act), and I’d just like to point out that he did actually do some pretty funny work, little of which you’ve ever seen or heard, so it’s sadder than you think.

Tracy Emin is a British artist and Turner prize winner who has sometimes featured in my “But is it art?” e-mails, including for her most famous work, an unmade bed. Anyway, her cat went missing and she put up posters, which were immediately taken down again by neighbors who thought they must be worth something. The cat came back anyway.

A first in Spain (or anywhere else, to my knowledge): a priest installed a mobile-phone jamming device in his church to prevent phones ringing during services. Especially annoying are the ones that play tunes. The most popular tune in Spain is the Mission Impossible theme. You can make your own joke about this one: parting the Red Sea, virgin birth...

Indian scientists have worked out a way to make vegetables less
gas-producing: bombarding them with gamma rays. And you’d better fart less, because after the first irradiated aspharagus, you grow three extra butts.

The Supreme Court, by an astonishing 8-0 vote (I didn’t know Breyer had a brother on the circuit court in SF, did you?) allows public housing to throw out people who are visited by people who are caught with drugs somewhere else entirely without the knowledge of the tenants. Rehnquist says that’s reasonable.

Californian prison authorities are planning on new rules to allow strip searching and background checks on visitors over the age of 7, a ban on sitting on laps, requiring women visitors to wear bras and not to kiss their husbands or whomever for more than 5 seconds, etc etc.

Tuesday, March 26, 2002

Don’t tell Bush about the INS

The Tom Ridge color of the day is hot pink: Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night.

My mother called at 11:05 last night to ask if I was in jail. I wasn’t.

I was going to elaborate on that, but I like it the way it stands.

Former New Zealand Prime Minister David Lange says that Dan Quayle said he should be liquidated. Incidentally, NZ is being pressured again to allow American nuclear subs into its ports, if I’m reading between the lines correctly.

A Miami nursing home, according to an AP story, wants a vote to unionize to be thrown out because voodoo signs (black beads, lines of pennies etc) may have intimidated the home’s Haitian staff into voting for the union. So management is willing to admit that its staff believes in sacrificing chickens as a form of medical care.

John Ashcroft says of recent INS fuck-ups that it’s “enough to drive a man to drink.” Or the hard stuff---dancing.

Monday, March 25, 2002

The Tom Ridge color of the day is baby-puke green: I love the smell of napalm in the morning. It smells like... victory.

Cambridge, Mass. wants to reduce the local voting age to 17. I don’t think I want politicians trying to speak “to the young people” any more than they do now. Today I had an example of a credit card company trying that. When UCB sells my name, it doesn’t distinguish between grad students and the other kind, so in addition to the normal credit card company come-on’s, I get solicitations for “starter” credit cards. This one was instantly recognizable as the latter rather than the former because it offered as one of its benefits, “discounts on cool stuff.”

Along the lines of the Classmates Reunited website have been Bullies Reunited (to reunite bullies with their victims), a satire, and Cell-mates Reunited, which only sounds like a satire, there is now

Saw a clip of Halle Berry’s Oscar speech on McNeil-Lehrer. So how exactly does winning an Oscar (in the same year that she pulled down an extra $500,000 for showing her boobs in another movie, but I don’t think she mentioned that in her speech) make her the new Rosa Parks?

Still, even she wasn’t as self-important as the representatives of the Catholic church on the same program. I was in the kitchen, but did I really hear someone say that the real victims are the good priests whose reputations are now tarnished? As opposed, say, to all the thousands of kids who got diddled. The spokesmonk for one American archdiocese, Denver I thinkk, said that the problem was solved there because priests had to sign a piece of paper saying they wouldn’t punk out the choir boys. And I’m not particularly exaggerating that, either. Reminds me of a Dave Allen joke: a nun asks a priest if he thinks the clergy will ever be allowed to marry. Not in our lifetimes, he replies, nor in our children’s lifetimes, but maybe in our children’s children’s lifetimes...

Sunday, March 24, 2002

The Tom Ridge color of the day is, oh let’s say chartreuse, have I done chartreuse yet? : And we are here as on a darkling plain Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.

Bush rolls back Clinton rules on medical secrecy, coincidentally giving parents access to minors’ medical treatments for birth control, abortion, drugs, etc.

Saturday, March 23, 2002

The Tom Ridge color of the day is cerulean: Now is the winter of our discontent.
The Tom Ridge color of the day is burgundy: Mein fuhrer, I can walk!

Margaret Thatcher has been told never to speak in my public again. By her doctors, who presumably saw that thing about how Britain should leave the EU. It’s like nails that have been scratching a blackboard for decades have suddenly been silenced. Peace, ain’t it grand.

The New York Times’s most entertaining movie reviews are always those of bad movies, and sometimes the best part is in the parental advisory part: “Sorority Boys is rated R. It has profanity, nudity and crude sexual humor, and I still wanted to walk out after 10 minutes.”

The Whaling Commission is due to meet again, and the Japanese will again argue that whale meat is an integral part of their culture, hampered only by the fact that it isn’t. So they’re sending, like ice cream trucks up and down the country trying to encourage people to eat whale meat, handing out free samples and whale sausage and so forth. Why this is so important to them is a rather interesting question, to which I have no answer.

The EU has announced its first targets in the response to Bush’s new steel terriers--I mean tariffs and barriers. It’s a motley assortment of products including various textile and citrus products and Harley Davidsons. What they’ve done, since the steel tariffs were intended to bolster the R’s in marginal states, is target the products of marginal states: the Carolinas, Florida, Wisconsin, etc. Rather clever, really.

Thursday, March 21, 2002

The Tom Ridge color of the day is peach: all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

So the US is back in the Middle East peace negotiation biz, if you count only talking to one side as negotiations. I just want to pause for a minute to reflect on the incredible realpolitik of a nation only willing to do this in exchange for Arab countries acquiescing in its forthcoming attempt to overthrow the Iraqi government.

An Arab newspaper apologizes for saying that the secret ingredient in Jewish cooking is the blood of Christian or Muslim babies. The secret ingredient, as my grandmother would have told you, is love: you use the *hearts* of Christian babies.

After months of trying to fix the modem problem with my computer, I broke down yesterday and spent $5 buying a new one. It doesn’t work either, of course, and now neither do my mouse, keyboard, or Windows. Fortunately, by the time all that had happened, I no longer needed such sophisticated forms of interface with my computer, having been reduced to shouting at it.

Wednesday, March 20, 2002

The Tom Ridge color of the day is black: the horror, the horror.

An Australian lifesaving competition was disrupted by the arrival of 50 sharks. The competitors all ran away.

The US, not re-elected to the UN human rights commission last year, and deeply committed to human rights, has ensured that the next election is as open and fair as Zimbabwe’s, forcing all competitors to drop out. And fired the head of the commission, former Irish president Mary “Here’s to you” Robinson, for actually criticizing the US on civil rights.

Lloyd’s List will no longer refer to ships as “she” but as “it.”

The US is to provide $98 million to Colombia to protect Occidental Petroleum’s pipelines there. I forget, why was it a good idea not to raise the CAFE standards?

Peace Now says that 34 new settlements have been erected in the West Bank since Sharon took over.

On Thursday a man is to be executed in Texas without his final request being granted. 8 months ago his left leg was amputated and he says they’ve been delaying fitting him with a prosthetic all this time to save on the cost. The Cowboy Gulag strikes again.

The Pentagon says that Operation Anaconda was a complete success, although it refuses to issue any numbers supporting that claim. At first it gave numbers, but soon had claimed to have killed more people than it had said were there in the first place: Robert MacNamara’s 5 O’Clock Follies by way of Arthur Anderson by way of Katherine Harris. And it claims to have killed all of them, with only 10 of the estimated 1,000 having gotten away. Except they can only find 20 bodies. Well, they say, Muslims like to bury their dead, so those 10 guys who later escaped, must have first buried 970 bodies, yeah, that’s the ticket.

Tuesday, March 19, 2002

The Tom Ridge color of the day is silver: Keep watching the skies!

The FDA has decided to stop testing drugs for their safety for children, so doctors will have to go back to guessing. This one has Shrub’s smell all over it, since they prefer to bribe drug companies with longer patents if they do it than to require it.

Sunday, March 17, 2002

The Tom Ridge Homeland Security Office (motto: Panicking the American People with Vague Warnings and Arbitrary Colors Since 2001) color of the day is grey: duck and cover!

Saturday, March 16, 2002

For tomorrow, Tom Ridge’s color of the day is green: watch out for barfing Irishmen.

Thursday, March 14, 2002

Bush on Zimbabwe elections: “The US will not recognize the outcome of the election because we think it’s flawed.” And he should know.

At the same press conference, he castigated Iraq for having weapons of mass destruction, and threatened it with nukes.

Elsewhere, Captain Hypocrite said “I understand that the unrest in the Middle East creates unrest throughout the region.” Quite.

In a remark characterized by the press as a severe criticism of Israel, Bush called Ariel Sharon an evil-doer. No, of course not, he said that his actions (massive military incursions, machine-gunning an Italian reporter, etc etc) were “not helpful.”

In a measure virtually unreported, the House, instead of attempting again to outlaw late-term abortions, voted to define an aborted fetus with a heartbeat or a breath as a person, in the “Born-Alive Infants Protection Act.”

I believe Tom Ridge’s color for the day is still yellow. After the announcement of the color-coding scheme on Tuesday, Chris and I did our part in being alert at a yellow level by carefully searching the Atlantic Casino for Osama bin Laden. He wasn’t there. Jon Stewart suggested that the new system allows one to coordinate the color of one’s clothes with one’s level of panic.

According to the OAU and South African observers, the Zimbabwean elections were perfectly ok. I don’t know if this is better or worse, but the reason for this may be less about what constitutes a fair election than South Africa not wanting to see a civil war that it might have to intervene in when Mugabe refused to give up office peacefully. One problem is that Mugabe might really have won a fair election, not that we’ll ever know.

A German art historian claims to know who the Mona Lisa really was.

Rumor is, Tipper Gore is planning to run for the Senate.

In Saudi Arabia, the religious police beat some girl students for not wearing properly modest garb, and force them back into their school. It was on fire at the time. 15 die.

Missed the big Paula Jones/Tonya Harding fight. I understand that Amy Fischer was originally supposed to participate, but wasn’t allowed to by her parole board. The NY Times commented that this just shows that all celebrities should have parole boards.

Yes, that’s what Yugoslavia really needed: a new name.

The Tom Ridge color of the day is purple: be afraid, be very afraid.

Tuesday, March 12, 2002

Or the terrorists win.

Yesterday was the six month anniversary of 9/11. Since 1970 I’ve been trying to convince people to celebrate my half birthday as well as my actual birthday, but nope, didn’t get cards, didn’t get presents, didn’t get articles in the NY Times on how the world has changed since my advent...

To commemorate, Chris (who was visiting from Vermont) and I went to Reno. Because if we don’t lose at nickel slots, ogle cocktail waitresses, and pig out at buffets, the terrorists win.

Not too much to report. Saw a place called Nu Yalk Pizza. We also saw a sign for a “Speakeasy Casino,” although as we got closer we could see that the Casino part was less illuminated. It seems to be a decommissioned casino bought by Ramada. When we went inside, there was nothing casino-like, just some pool tables, and someone immediately told us “No casino.” Only a couple of minutes after we left did I realize that that was just what they *wanted* us to think, and that if I’d known the right password, the pool tables would have rotated into the floor and the real secret casino revealed. If that isn’t true, it should be. And the password should be “swordfish” (from the Marx Brothers movie Horsefeathers).

We saw the most pathetic-looking liquor store slash wedding chapel, although we did not go inside. I thought about asking if they did gay weddings.

Of course Chris is already married. As we passed a pawn shop and were looking at the stuff in the windows, I suggested that he buy a really cheap ring, say under $10, replace his wedding ring with it when he went home, and, first, see how long it took for Suzanne to notice, and then tell her that he’d had to hock it in Reno ‘cause the slot machine was about to pay off big, he knew it, and that the new ring was nice and cheap because the previous owner was a jumper. Chris thought not. Wimp.

It’s been maybe 9 years since I’ve set foot in Nevada, and the technology has upgraded, but not in a good way. For a start, a lot of them have themes. Instead of matching up bars or 7's or fruit, there are cartoon sheep and fish and The Munsters, and I was shocked, shocked to see a slot machine with a Casablanca theme. At the nickel machines this is one thing, but you really have to wonder about the people betting a dollar at a time at slot machines with a Mummy or I Dream of Jeannie theme. While there were always machines that imitated poker, now there are ones that replicate Monopoly or, believe it or not, Scrabble.

These new slot machines are all computers, with no moving parts to spin around, all virtual, and most of them don’t even have levers to pull to get them going, just buttons, to facilitate faster money loss. Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but this is just wrong. I think you need to put the money in the slot yourself and pull on a lever. For a start, it’s aerobic, and you need that after the all-you-can-eat buffet. But really, it’s a question of work ethic. You need to pull the lever to feel you’ve actually earned the right to lose that nickel. I’m telling you, these gamblers today, they’re just plain lazy with their player’s cards and their fancy-schmantzy video screens, why in my day we had a sense of tradition, of accomplishment, I’m telling you...

I’m going to lie down now.

Saturday, March 09, 2002

In a piece of irony, the BMW design center in Munich had to be evacuated this week when a World War II unexploded bomb was discovered. The bomb had been manufactured in a Rover plant in Oxfordshire, which is now owned by BMW.

An Italian bishop in Tuscany rented out his seminary to the last-ditch Mussolini government as a concentration camp for Jews. And he didn’t even get paid, amazingly enough asking the post-war government for his money. He didn’t get it.

What to say about Bush’s contingency plans to use nukes on any country on his increasingly long enemies list? One can but hope that Congress will do something about preventing him developing battlefield nukes.

This is Bush, the man who recently at a concert tried to wave at Stevie Wonder.

I didn’t make that up.

A blood-buying scheme in China, in which plasma was reinjected into donors, presumably so they could take out more blood (?), but in which the idiots mixed up all the plasma together, has turned Henan province into one big AIDS hospice, with 100,000-500,000 infected. Some of whom have made their way to larger cities and are stabbing people with syringes. The government is covering this story up, of course, but the cities are in a panic.

Friday, March 08, 2002

Ashcroft wants to form neighborhood watch groups to fight terrorism. That’s too silly even to make a joke about.

The Israelis, meanwhile, are passing out guns to everyone, including schoolteachers. Ariel Sharon said, in case you missed it, “If the Palestinians are not being beaten, there will be no negotiations. ... Only after they’ve been battered will we be able to conduct talks.” And then he bombed a school for blind children.

Bush slogan: “A quality teacher in every classroom.”

The Whitewater investigation is over, if anyone cares, Robert (you can call me Ray) Ray’s final report says he could certainly have convicted Clinton if he felt like it. Well that was certainly worth $70 million, or whatever the final figure was (no reporter saw fit to ask).

I understand that some of the Afghans rushing in to support US troops are being paid, that is as mercenaries, by the US.

In yet another creepy story about twins, two 70-year old Finn twins are killed by being hit while driving bicycles on the same day.

Indian bookies have been spreading rumors to promote further violence. They are currently offering between 4:1 and 6:1 that inter-communal violence will spread to Rajasthan.

When the US started rounding up furriners after 9/11, you may remember some very brief mentions of the fact that a bunch of them were Israelis. So what happened to them? I don’t actually know, and have seen only one story in the middling-reliable Daily Telegraph, which suggests that a couple hundred of them were actually spies, possibly shadowing Muslim militants in this country, without the knowledge of the US government. At the very least, a suspiciously large number of them have backgrounds in military intelligence. So why were they arrested in the first place: I think they were pretending to be Arabs.

Although I often say that the real news about how the world works is hidden away in the business pages, I don’t always take my own advice, and missed an interesting issue. A passing reference in the New Statesman sent me to the Web, to look up the Carlyle Group. In retrospect I remember one minor aspect, that there was this major but secretive military company (technically it’s an investment group, and is now somewhat diversified, but it specializes in gentrifying dilapidated defense contractors) in which the bin Laden family was an investor until last Oct. 27, and which employs George Bush the Elder. Carlyle is very hooked up, its chair being Reagan’s defense secretary & ex-head (assistant DCI? I forget) of the CIA Frank Carlucci, who was Donald Rumsfeld’s wrestling partner at Princeton (ie, look for Rumsfeld to join the board when he moves out of government), and others working for it include James Baker and John Major. There’s a self-propelled howitzer project even the Pentagon says is outmoded and it doesn’t need, which was due to be killed by the Clintonites and mysteriously revived by the Bushies. There are issues of Carlyle’s investments in South Korea, possibly responsible for Bush’s u-turn re North Korea after a call from his father. Shrub himself worked for the company before he became governor and, after he appointed a few members to the board of the Texas teachers’ pension fund, $100m of public money was invested in Carlyle. The real problem is the connection with Saudi Arabia, perhaps explaining the administration’s complete inability to criticize the Saudis for anything (his father is over there a lot trying to sell them stuff--Carlyle is responsible for training the guards for the royal family--and gets a lot of money for it). No wonder we’ve heard so little from Bush Senior, he’s out making money, something like $50m, and $100,000 every time he opens his mouth for the company, and no one is screaming conflict of interest.

Speaking of which, Neil Bush is also in Saudi Arabia (I sent something from a Saudi paper a while back), this time promoting educational software. There was an article in the NY Times this week. He thinks it has nothing to do with who all his relatives are; he thinks he’s just a great salesman.

The Guardian reports that when the US blamed the French for the failed attempt to capture Karadizc in leaks to the press, they had absolutely no basis for it.

Advice to Tonya Harding: go for the nose.

Tuesday, March 05, 2002

How to fry an egg on your computer.

The last Irish World War One veteran has died.

Tony Blair today was talking about the consequences “if” the Zimbabwean elections were unfair. I just want to point out the incredible hypocrisy of that “if.” The elections can be pronounced unfair now, no one needs to wait for the result. Violence and intimidation have been rampant, normal election activities by the opposition have been banned, voting lists have been blatantly rigged, military and police officers ordered to get absentee ballots and vote in front of their commanders, and I could go on and on. Still, by that “if,” Blair was leaving the door open for recognizing a government if the opposition somehow miraculously won despite everything. But such a victory would not make the election fair, or democratic. It would just indicate that people were sick of Mugabe. They could hardly have any idea what the opposition’s policies are, given the absence of election meetings or uncontrolled media. *I* don’t know what those policies might be. That “if” encapsulates and encompasses all the hypocrisy of the West towards the democratic process in the underdeveloped countries.

Monday, March 04, 2002

There’s another interesting piece in the Guardian on racial profiling by the US in immigration and other matters, including noting that an April 2001 report by the anti-terrorism czar focused exclusively on acts of terror against Americans and other white people, like saying that the most significant event in Angola was the kidnapping of 3 Portuguese oil company workers, while ignoring killings of hundreds of black Angolans, etc. You
can read it at

Turkey has been arresting Kurds for giving their children Kurdish names. It also just banned a film that was its entry for Academy Award for Best Foreign Film.

Californians should all go out and vote. And remember, if they have a lot of commercials and lawn signs (which you never see on people’s actual lawns anymore), they must be wise, honest, brave, forthright champions of justice and true statesmen.

Sunday, March 03, 2002

Right now I’m listening to the election debates on cable access; a little while ago I heard the sheriff debate, which evidently hinges on whether deputies have to wear baseball caps. No debates for judges, although there’s at least one I’d like to see asked to spell the word “juvinile” (as it appears in his mailer).

The statements in the voters’ pamphlet are fun, especially the
Libertarians. The gubernatorial candidate is a “practicing Druid
Unitarian,” and the lite governor candidate is campaigning on a platform of legalizing ferrets.

US troops who failed to capture Karadzic are putting it about that the operation was betrayed by some local mole. Actually, and this didn’t make the NY Times today, it was because the idiots cut phone lines, cell phones & all other forms of communication, many hours before the attack commenced, which might just have been a tip-off.

Friday, March 01, 2002

Senator Barbara Mikulski is quoted in the NY Times as saying “Mammograms should not be equated with nose jobs.” Damn, have I been doing that again? Well, I don’t get out that much.

Iowa declared English its official language today, just as Bush came to the state. Think they were trying to tell him something?

Daily Variety lists under Film Reviews today, “Cinderella II: Dreams Come True, Sex With Strangers.” That turned out to be two different movies, much to my disappointment.

The Duke of Edinburgh (the Queen’s husband, aka, the Duke of Hazard), displayed his usual cultural sensitivity today in Australia, asking the head of an aboriginal cultural center if they still throw spears at each other.

The chancellor of Germany is suing a news agency for suggesting that his hair color is not natural.

The LA Times says that in many parts of California, esp LA, there are no polling places and mail-in balloting is mandatory. This must stop.

Bush says that there has been a shadow government in place since September 11. The cynics amongst you will already have noticed that he didn’t say of what year.