Wednesday, February 19, 2003

What would Jesus litigate?

Nicholas Kristof in the Times says roughly what I said last week about Bush’s frightening optimism.

It got no particular coverage, but police in Colorado Springs shot anti-war protesters with rubber bullets.

It’s kind of fun to watch the US and Turkey haggling about the size of the bribe Turkey’s going to get. We all know they’re going to come to a deal, but there’s all that bazaar bargaining to be gotten through first--“Sooner would I cut off my own left testicle than accept such a measly offer as $15 billion.” Hope they’re gonna pass some of the extortion money around; the last opinion poll showed 96% of Turks opposing this war, which may be higher than in Iraq itself. Actually, even with the bribe, Turkey is expecting to be really badly hit economically (unless of course it can find that map it says shows that the northern Iraqi oil fields are actually theirs), which should mean plenty of discontent, which I’m sure the Muslim extremists are much too ethical to exploit. No, no way this could go horribly horribly wrong.

Another possible political casualty is the EU. Chirac may be on the right side of the war issue (or he may be playing the Turkish game a little more subtly: God knows it’s not like he hasn’t taken a bribe or ten in his time), but he’s still a major prick, and way overplayed his hand when he told the Eastern (“new”) European states that now was a good time to shut up. Usually it takes an Israeli leader to come down from a moral height so quickly. Still, he may have a point: the US is using the former Warsaw Pact countries’ allegiance to NATO as a way of subverting their allegiance to a European community, or perhaps more accurately as part of an attempt at a hostile takeover of the EU by the US.

Have you noticed that the US bombing of Iraqi military sites, which is now a daily occurrence, no longer comes with any justification whatsoever (they fired a missile at us, they turned their radar on, they looked at us funny)?

Salon has an interview with Molly Ivins. They make you watch a commercial first, except they’re also failing economically and no one much wants to advertise, so sometimes you can’t read anything, like yesterday when it first ran.

Evidently part of the reason the GAO abandoned its efforts to get the names of Cheney’s energy advisors is that the R’s threatened to cut its budget.

Colin Powell, showing why generals make crappy diplomats, accuses the French--excuse me, “some nations”--of being “afraid of stepping up to the responsibility of imposing the will of the international community”. Oooo, now he’s calling them ‘fraidy cats. That should work--if they’re six.

Also, what’s “will of the international community” when it’s at home? The Holy Ghost?

A study shows that the majority of AIDS cases in Africa before 1988 were caused by unsterilized needles. This may or not be true, but there’s certainly been something of a cover-up of unsafe medical practices, for fear that Africans will give up on Western medicine altogether.

Another creepy medical story: a pregnant woman goes into the hospital in Sardinia to give birth, but instead for some reason decides to jump out the window, killing herself. A caesarian is performed successfully on her dead body.

Here’s a story of truly French thieves: they broke into a cheese cellar in eastern and stole one ton of something called comte (like gruyere, the article says), worth about $10,000.

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