Wednesday, February 26, 2003

Very unfriendly

My raccoon came back tonight. And left again, a little bit wetter.

Speaking of water fights, see this interview (ok, not really) with a sea lion being trained by the Navy for combat against Iraq (interestingly, the link in the article to the page on this program in the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command website does not work).

The Fox affiliate in Tampa, under pressure from Monsanto, tried to get 2 reporters to broadcast false reports related to the presence of Monsanto’s synthetic bovine growth hormone in milk. They refused and threatened to report the station to the FCC; they were fired, filed suit, and the court ruled that the station had deliberately falsified news. The decision has been reversed because it’s not illegal to lie in a news report. Which is as it should be, but that shouldn’t mean you can fire whistleblowers.

An American professional snowboarder (!) dies after trying to slide down the handrail of the fifth floor staircase in his hotel, then falling 15 meters. Alcohol is believed to have been involved.

And in Philadelphia a man responds to his daughter being hit with a snowball by shooting into a group of children, hitting one in the head. Which is the same principle US foreign policy is based on.

Speaking of shooting people in the head, see this on US assassination policy.

Forget the virtual march on Washington (that’s today). Instead, join the fast for GeeDubya’s holiness: “Our goal is to have 1,000 people fasting for the President each day. That will greatly encourage him and keep him accountable when the Evil One [Donald Rumsfeld?] seeks to sidetrack him from his commitment to the Lord.”

Do you know what the CIA hq is named? Neither did I, but it would explain a lot.

Here’s a nice gross story. A man beats his baby, then 3 months old (this was December 2001) to brain-death, but it’s been on a ventilator since then, with the mother going to court to get him removed, the father trying to prevent that happening and, coincidentally, his subsequent trial for murder. A court just sided with the mother.

North Korea conducted a missile test just before the inauguration of a new prime minister in S Korea. Ari Fleischer says N Korea will not be rewarded for bad behaviour. Also today, Colin Powell says the US will resume food shipments to N Korea. Obviously they’re not coordinating. I’m not sure I understand the absolute US refusal to talk bilaterally with the N Koreans and its insistence that any talks be regional. Japan isn’t the one with 40,000 troops stationed in S Korea, we are.

From the Telegraph: A woman spent a night in jail for trying "to help" a 6ft long alligator she had run over in her car. Leslie Strickland, 49, took the animal to her home in Florida but when neighbours said it was illegal to possess an alligator she panicked, and drove off to find a pond in which to release it. But the animal thrashed its tail causing her to crash. She faces motoring offences. The animal died.

I thought this crap had stopped: Slovakia is still coercing gypsies into being sterilized.

Sharon adds another party to his coalition, one opposed to any Palestinian state. And some tiny parties which support ethnic cleansing get some positions too.

That Palestinian film, “Jenin Jenin,” that the Israelis banned? Some reservists who took part in the Massacre of Jenin have sued the director for libel. Incidentally, one cinema defied the ban and showed it.

Tom Toles’s political cartoons have been pretty good lately. On the Yahoo site is probably the easiest way to view them (well, second easiest: I have them sent to me as email).

The Bushies have been emphasizing more that the war in Iraq will lead to a wave of democratization all over the Middle East, what Bush calls a “battle for the future of the Muslim world.” (Oh good, a rabid Christian gets to decide that future.) That is, democratization unless you count the places like Jordan and Egypt that are putting anti-war protesters in prison (see the Amnesty International reports), or Turkey, which is about to defy 96% of its population (or as low as 94%, if you read other polls) and give support to the war, or... The Post talks about a credibility gap on this issue among those with long memories. What, like when we abandoned the Afghans to warlordism and a puppet government a few months ago?

The army chief of staff told a Senate committee that occupying Iraq would take hundreds of thousands of soldiers. Rumsfeld later said that he had “misspoken.”

The American ambassador to France says that the US would view a French veto of its war resolution as “very unfriendly.” I don’t know, I think friends don’t let friends do genocidal wars. Speaking of friends, a member of the Kurdish Parliament in northern Iraq says that if the US lets Turkish troops into Kurdistan, “the United States will lose its best friend.” I don’t know about best, but certainly most consistently gullible.

Incidentally, the Post article, under the haven’t-we-seen-this-before headline “Bush Firm Warning on Iraq,” says that the US draft resolution “recalls the council's November warning that Baghdad would face ‘serious consequences’ if it did not [disarm], language that the United States and its allies in the chamber view as an explicit authorization to use force.” Explicit? In what dictionary?

A Post article on possible ethics charges being filed against a Republican Congresscritter says that this would break a “six-year ethics truce,” but doesn’t elaborate. Sounds like there was an agreement to ignore all the ethics rules by not filing charges against each other. How cosy.

I mentioned the admiral who was removed from a battle group on the way to the Gulf for having sex with a subordinate. Evidently, that was the USS Kitty Hawk battle group. That’s “kitty hawk,” admiral, kitty, not...

No, no, I guess that joke isn’t really my style.

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