Friday, November 01, 2002

The future is now

The Republican lamb being sacrificed to Walter Mondale, Norm Coleman, is using the slogan “The future is now,” which shows a disturbing lack of understanding of the space-time continuum. Although if the future is now, I’m putting in for Social Security.

A letter to the NY Times on the snipers suggests that where the trials should be based on where the crimes were committed, not who has the nastiest death penalty. Just one more example of ends having become significantly more important than means.

So after the Moscow hostage thing, will Bush stop saying of Saddam Hussein that he used chemical weapons on his own people?

The butler did it: I wasn’t following the story of Princess Diana’s butler, who was on trial for stealing a lot of her stuff after her death, until today when the trial collapsed because the queen suddenly “remembered” that he’d told her he’d be storing the stuff, for safe keeping like. In other words, as any three-year old instantly understood, he had blackmailed the queen.

From the New Republic, a story on how the US is encouraging other countries to deal with terrorism through extra-legal means, something I’ve been saying for a year. Also how the US is transporting suspects to countries like Egypt and Jordan for torture. Here’s an especially smug Hosni Mubarak: "[W]e were right from the beginning in using all means, including military trials... There is no doubt that the events of September 11 created a new concept of democracy that differs from the concept that Western states defended before these events, especially in regard to the freedom of the individual."

Florida just figured something out about it’s brand-new voting system: even if the machines work this time, as they didn’t in the primaries, given the length of the ballot, there literally isn’t enough time for everyone to vote, and the wait is likely to be very very long. Oh, and those new voting machines? They were not distributed according to the number of voters in each district.... There was also something in Salon that only subscribers could read and no one else has picked up except the Guardian in Britain (and I checked the Miami Herald), that they’re still using the highly inaccurate list of alleged felons they used in 2000 to disenfranchise mostly black people. 94,000 are still on the list, of whom only 3,000 are known to be legitimate felons, so to speak. The list includes 8 people whose “convictions” pre-date their birth date, and 400 whose crimes are listed as happening at dates in the future. The future is now. The state plans to fix the list... next year.

Stuff like the accountancy oversight board is actually important, if unexciting. Honest capitalists should be expressing outrage today that Webster was nominated despite his own involvement in firing an accountant who told a truth about fraud in the firm he was director of. They should be demanding Pitt’s resignation as chairman of the SEC. They are not. This suggests that corporations are indeed all up to their necks in corrupt and fraudulent practices, or at least would like to be. Look at the way businessman candidates like Bill Simon have been pounded this year and you can see that the reputations of corporate directors as a group are racing those of politicians and priests to the bottom. You don’t have to have money in the stock market to worry about the effect of all this on the economy.

Speaking of which, it seems that in 1990 Harken’s lawyers warned directors who had negative information about the company to refrain from selling their stocks. A week later, Dubya sold off $848,000 of his, triggering an SEC inquiry (while Daddy was prez). The letter from the lawyers was suppressed, not given to the SEC until the day after the inquiry was concluded.

A big Paris baker, something to do with bread but not baguettes, died today. Headline: “Master baker dies in helicopter accident”. That’s baker, with a k.

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