Saturday, March 08, 2003

Journalism delayed

Just received my first feminist Nigerian scam. I’ll pass the whole thing on to anyone who’s interested, but the idea is that this woman’s husband died just as he was setting up a $30 million business deal, and now his wicked family members are trying to cheat her and her daughter out of it because they’re women, who can’t inherit in Nigeria (simply not true).

Utterly repellant website of the week.

You may have heard about Benjamin Netanyahu’s nephew, who will go on trial this week for refusing Israeli military service as a conscientious objector. Naturally, they will come down hard on him. Actually, it’s pretty easy to get out of military service (45% of Israeli men do), and it’s not just for religious loons anymore. The military encouraged this kid to get a psychiatric exemption (as 10% do), or serve in a military hospital, but he refuses to go the hypocritical route. He was examined by the army’s...wait for it...Conscience Committee, which looked at his previous record of refusal to engage in military areas of his school curriculum and came to two conclusions. First, his record of opposition to the army showed he had the character of a warrior and was clearly not a pacifist. Second, the best place for someone like him who refused to submit to authority and discipline was the army.

Next week, Liechtenstein will vote on the prince’s demands for a return to absolute monarchy. Isn’t that quaint?

The Observer, which last Sunday broke the story about the US spying on UN Security Council members, asks why it was big news throughout the world, but ignored by the American media. Well, they asked the NY Times, which 4 days later still hadn’t published anything at all, because the government wouldn’t confirm or comment on it. The Observer commentator commentates, “Journalism delayed is journalism denied.” The Post gave it 514 words, the LA Times rather more, both emphasizing that this sort of thing happens all the time, so that’s all right then.

Britain, along with every other racist European country, which is all of them, wants to deter Johnny Foreigner coming there and claiming political asylum. The latest plan is to send them to Siberia, well ok, Albania, which is arguably worse. The poorest country in Europe has agreed to be the site of detention centers on behalf of other European countries, how many is as yet unknown. The Telegraph notes the travel advisory issued by the Foreign Office on Albania, which says everybody there owns guns, driving there is dangerous, and for god’s sake don’t go to an Albanian dentist.

The US says that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is finally talking. How did they get such an ardent hater of the US to talk, if he really is? Here’s a hint: Pakistanis authorities have been holding on to his 7-year old and 9-year old sons since September, and just transferred them to American custody, where they are being interrogated. That came from the Daily Telegraph, and nowhere else, although it contains quotes from US officials confirming it. The Sunday WashPost has a story on Mohammed which only mentions that his sons were nabbed in paragraph 143, without mentioning their ages or current whereabouts. A long piece in the NY Times about techniques of questioning prisoners fails to mention threatening their children.

Incidentally, did you know he went to North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, Jesse Jackson’s old school?

A British Department of Education ad for a literacy campaign says "One in five British employees have poor literacy and numeracy skills."

The death toll in the Thai drug crackdown is now...oops, the government has stopped releasing that number.

The UN monitors of the Iraq-Kuwait border, the ones who just reported American incursions, have all been removed.

Maureen Dowd summarizes Bush’s press conference: “Message: I scare.”

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