Sunday, September 08, 2002

You don't introduce new products in August

I mentioned the Florida trial of the two boys. They were convicted, the other guy was not, but the jury in the second case (the boys) says it was tricked, that it thought the other guy must have been convicted, and believed everyone was guilty but that the family friend did the actual murder. The jury convicted them, and exposed them to up to 22 years, because it thought they--opened the door. So what happened was that since the DA didn’t have any consistent theory of who actually committed the crime (and without one it was unethical to try anyone), the jury made up one of its own, largely based on guess-work. So what else happened, maybe, was that the defendant who got off was better able to game the system than a 13-year old, who was in no position to participate adequately in his own defense in a grown-up courtroom. They jury also didn’t believe the boys’ confessions.

Belgians have a technique they claim can determine the sex of children through IVF, that they can sort sperm by X & Y chromosome. It’s pretty much unproven, but they’re implementing it. But only to give couples who already have children a child of the opposite gender. I might not have mentioned this, but for the opportunity to note that the head of Britain’s Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, who sound-bites for the Observer, is named Suzi Leather.

Evidently, if Quebec had declared independence in 1995, Canada was prepared to invade, at least to secure weapons stockpiles (for some reason, most of the Canadian army’s ammo dumps are in Quebec, isn’t that comforting).

A headline in the Wash Post says that Bush and Blair “decry” Saddam Hussein. In one of my linguistic moments, I stopped to look up decry and found that its origins was to “decrease the value of coins by royal proclamation”--or in this case, to increase the price of oil.

Explaining why the White House hasn’t made much of a case for the forthcoming Iraq war, chief of staff Andy Card says, “From a marketing point of view, you don’t introduce new products in August.”

I almost wish the Bushies would make their case for Iraq entirely on the basis of American national interest, because it is when they speak for everyone else that they are at their most annoying. Saddam is breaking UN resolutions? Maybe, but that’s for the UN to say. Threatening his neighbors? There isn’t one country in the region, including Kuwait, which feels any threat. Kurds? The US has “stiffed” the Kurds by “crawfishing” in its policy more times than most Kurds have had hot meals, and they’re better off now, autonomous, than they would be forcibly re-integrated into a new “democratic” Iraq.

The Pentagon has cleared itself for the air strike on the wedding in Afghanistan.

The latest in incredibly intrusive surveillance of high school students.

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