Wednesday, May 15, 2002

The Japanese are literally preparing for an invasion. English football fans, for next month’s round of the World Cup at which England will be eliminated. They’re very scared. The government has helpfully prepared t-shirts which English football fans who are not football hooligans can wear to identify themselves. They say “Not a football hooligan.” Problem solved. A friend of mine is planning to buy a bunch, figuring they’ll become collector’s items.

In Jordan, for the first time a woman divorces a man.

The NY Times points out that when Bush was condemning Castro’s human rights record yesterday, he was standing next to the prime minister of Malaysia at the time.

One of the sillier conflicts is between Britain and Spain over control of Gibraltar. Talks are breaking down even as we speak, in part because Britain has promised not to change the Rock’s status without a referendum of the locals, who regard absorption into Spain much as Ian Paisley does the Irish Republic. Spain doesn’t want to admit to the principle of consulting people, because someone might suggest that the Basques be asked their opinion (Spain is about to ban the Basque independence party Batasuna).

Speaking of referenda, do you notice that no one but no one is demanding the referendum that was supposed to be held for the last 50 years in Kashmir? One reason I have trouble choosing up sides there is that I really have no idea what the majority of the Kashmiri people actually want.

The Democrats are shocked, shocked, to find that there is fund-raising going on (that’s a Casablanca allusion, in case you missed it). Bush is using in his fund-raising a photo of himself on Air Force One on the phone to Dick Cheney on September 11, asking “Can I come home yet?” This is said to be capitalizing on a national tragedy, although Bill Maher says that another picture, of Bush after the last election, is doing the same. I never watch his show, but I’m kind of sorry he’s been cancelled.

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