Friday, November 15, 2002

Not the camel fair! Is nothing sacred?

Doug Ireland talks about Nancy Pelosi’s record, suggesting that she’s not much of a leftie after all, and that her reputation for it rests on only a small portion of her voting record--her advocacy of homosexuals and AIDS sufferers and support for civil rights in China--which was basically forced on her by the demographics of her SF district. Also she’s been bad recently on Israel, Iraq, and she’s an airhead. So as usual we get all the right-wing rhetoric about lefties taking over the Democratic Party, without the benefit of any of the left-wing policies we’d get if that ever really happened.

Speaking of heiresses to the political elite, it’s getting curiously little attention, but Chief “Justice” Rehnquist’s daughter, the inspector general at Health & Human Services, liked to keep a gun in her office, which is generally not good either for health or for human services, to say nothing of being illegal. At least she’s not wearing a robe with stripes on the sleeves. She’s also accused of politicizing the office and forcing non-partisans out (at least she didn’t shoot them, although she did try to force them to take loyalty oaths).
(yes it’s the Wall Street Journal, but you can access it)(also Molly Ivins’s current column, quoting the Journal).
Janet Rehnquist prefers that health care companies that have previously defrauded the government be dealt with on a voluntary basis, because forcing them to use strict reporting would have a financial impact on the poor babies. She also halted an audit of Florida’s pension fund until after the election.

In Macedonia, NATO soldiers attack some terrorists and hold them at gunpoint. Well, not actually terrorists, but actors in a movie being filmed.

Labour MP Alan Simpson: “I think Bush will hit Iraq in the same way that a drunk will hit the bottle.”

The State Dept warns Americans to stay away from the annual camel fair in Rajasthan, India, as there is a risk of terrorist attack. Plan your vacations accordingly. I’m beginning to think that The Onion is writing State’s press releases.

The Russian Duma rejects investigating the mishandling of the Moscow theater siege, giving in to authoritarian President Vlad the Impaler Putin.

The US House rejects investigating the mishandling of intelligence before 9/11, giving, you get the idea. And by a party-line vote. You might think that means that there really is a difference after all between the parties on foreign policy, but actually they were both alike in thinking of an inquiry in terms of partisan advantage.

The R’s also snuck some other stuff through in the Homeland Security Bill, like letting companies which use offshore tax havens contract with the department, and anyone else it contracts to, like airport screening companies and makers of smallpox vaccines, are completely immune from lawsuits. Oh, and Eli Lilly is protected from liability for a previous drug which may cause autism; this has nothing to do with the Homeland Security Agency in any way, but it got inserted into the bill anyway. You’ll remember the R’s ran ads accusing the D’s of being worried about extraneous things like government workers being ordered to leave their unions instead of the national security.

Judging from the tone of Iraq’s acceptance of the UN Security Council ultimatum, which is described by newspapers with hilarious understatement as “grudging,” if I were the UN inspectors before handling any list of weapons programs handed over by the Iraqis that they hadn’t used it as toilet paper first. “No no, my infidel friend, that is only coffee stain.” As Jon Stewart said after reading bits of it out, imagine what the draft of a rejection was like.

I mentioned the proposed (or has it been passed?) Hong Kong treason statute dictated to them by the evil overlords in Beijing. The Chinese vice-premier has a good explanation for the (weak) opposition to it: they must have done something wrong.

The Mother Jones website has an ad for Viagra on it. Well sure, have you seen the picture of the actual Mother Jones at the top of the page?

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