Monday, July 29, 2002

A draft national walking strategy

Remember the wedding in Afghanistan that the US bombed earlier this month? The Pentagon is kind of hoping you don’t, of course. They sent in “investigators” to find evidence. And remove it, to make sure no one else could see it, according to a preliminary UN report. I always wondered how you could bomb people and then send in more military to question witnesses (after securing the scene and tying up the women, of course) and expect much cooperation. One might also wonder why we haven’t seen any film from the cameras on the wings of the planes that were supposed to have been shot at.

You may remember the Beijing Evening News printed as true a piece from the Onion about Congress threatening to leave DC unless it built them a brand-new capitol with a retractable dome & luxury boxes, and then it refused to accept that it had made a mistake, challenging an LA Times reporter to prove that it was true. Eventually, they did retract, but they never quite got that the Onion is intended to be satirical. The paper said that some American newspapers make up news in order to make money. “According to congressional workers, the Onion is a publication that never ceases making up false reports.”

The British transport minister has become worried about a study saying that British people are walking less than they used to. “A draft national walking strategy is being prepared,” he said. The Sunday Times headline was “Minister of Sensible Walks.”

This week, the first Tory MP ever to announce his own homosexuality, without being, you know, caught at it, does so. Alan Duncan. And to tie this story in with Monty Python as well, it seems that Duncan’s constituency includes the grammar school that Graham Chapman went to. When he announced his own homosexuality:

the Python team received a letter from a woman outraged that he had confessed to being homosexual. She enclosed several prayers for his salvation and a quotation from the Bible. Eric Idle wrote back stating simply that the rest of the team had “taken him outside and killed him”. She did not write back.

Mr. Duncan has received the support of his party leader, Iain Duncan Smith, whose head looks remarkably like a penis. Other Tory MPs quoted were less supportive, including one called Crispin Blunt, whose name gives a decidedly mixed message.

A rather good “This Modern World” cartoon this week (find it at Salon)

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